And I can't believe how much bigger it gets every year! What started as a couple of pickup trucks selling and trading fancy fowl has turned into a thriving grass-roots marketplace. It's the kind of bazaar of scrappy little businesses selling livestock, plants, cages, and saddles you'd expect to read about in some post-apocalypse novel. There are lambs in big crates and goat kids running down the market aisles. There are highland calves on lead ropes being walked out of trailers and parrots and puppies in crates and cages. It's a real country affair for people looking to buy and sell animals they raised to help make ends meet. I love it.
I was looking for new breeding does (rabbits not goats) and hopefully some turkey hens. It didn't take long to find two gorgeous half-flemish does (one bred!). I snatched them up and looked everywhere for turkeys, and sadly they were all $50 or more. That is too rich for me, so Lucas and Bryan remain single until I find some better prices on Craigslist.
It was good to see friends and fellow farmers I knew well. Lots of dogs, too (I brought Friday). There were gorgeous horses (a horse show was being held at the fairgrounds at the same time). And the human animals were a joy to watch as well. The kind of plucky people who wake up before dawn to feed their own farms and serve their kids breakfast before packing up a truck of hope and hoping to make a killing at an animal yard sale.
I'm home now, of course, and the new does are already set up in their outdoor, on-earth, hutches. They seem to be doing just fine. Friday is asleep hard in her crate. I think the whole thing was a bit shocking for her to take in, but after some original nerves she walked proudly through the crowds and got to play with Swanson, my friend Ejay's nice lad of a border collie. And by "play" I mean sniff and raise a lip to because Friday is kind of a bitch. Literally.
I got 2 flats of vegetable 6-backs, all kale and salad greens to populate the Kailyard with. There is an amazing pile of fresh compost for it, since yesterday me and my friend Trevor pitched muck into a pile for a few hours after we finished a 4-mile run (for fun!), but what the hell. You only live once. My body isn't sore yet from the mucking but I know by the time Game of Thrones is on I will feel like a piece of burned oak that was once a human woman. Stiff, tight, and hurting. But in a good way.
Kids will be born any day, as both my goats look ready to pop. I got a good feel on them, their bags, and their temperaments during hoof trimming a few days ago. They both have that tired-eyed and quiet hum of mothers feeling that birth is long overdue - but not fussing with impatience. They have a cleaned out pen with fresh hay to bring those babies into the world.
More news when there is news, have a good one guys.
photo by Pat Wesner