Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rough Seas

I drove over to Firecracker Farm to spend some time with the Daughtons. I missed them, having not seen as much of them as I would have like this past summer. I was in love with horses and they were hard at work on their farm. With winter's rest here, the plan was to enjoy the afternoon with them, as I had a full morning of work here at the farm (and not the sort of work I like). It was a morning of bills and bank accounts. I did a lot of cringing. Nothing tragic but scary at times. When I decided to take on the self-employed life I expected days like today. Some days the sea is calm and you can almost see shore. Others days my finances are more of a storm with thirty-foot swells. Today was a swell day. I was very grateful to close down the accounting browser windows and change into an old flannel shirt and work kilt. You want some perspective on your negative bank account? Spend an afternoon harvesting meat for the table. Suddenly that little minus sign in front of a few digits seems like a lot less of a big deal. I may be in a short-term slump but at least I still have my head. Which is something I can't say that for a few Washington County rabbits…

It was a comfortably warm day out there in the county. We were blessed with clear skies blue as the birds named after it. If it wasn't for the stickily trees and the morning's frost you would think it was October. It was crisp enough of an afternoon to bite into. Or, you know, disembowel.

Cathy's 12-year-old son had his first crop of farm-bred-and-raised rabbits to slaughter today and I was asked to help out. I was happy to help them. The first few times you harvest a rabbit it's good to have more experienced hands on deck. I'm far from an expert but I can get the job done.

Together we killed, skinned, gutted and dunked four big rabbits. We did them in using the broomstick method (I killed the four while the boys watched with interest). When we had four long furry bodies on the grass we set up an impromptu abattoir in her barn and together Ian, Cathy and I went through the techniques and steps and had all the work done within an hour and some change. I know I arrived at 2PM and left before 4. That's not a bad way to spend a little south of two hours. It's not pleasant work but now her freezer has a crop of rabbit to pull out on a cold winter afternoon for stew or soup. I hope she tries Patty's Ginger Rabbit Noodle Soup. It tastes so good you'll want to buy a hutch and some timothy hay in a little bale.

They had to at least weigh in at fifteen pounds of meat altogether, if not more. I think that's grand! And as a thank you for helping out Cathy gave me a chicken from her freezer. One of the Freedom Rangers she raised for her church group this past summer. It was a payment well above the wage owed for a friendly hour of quick work but I thanked her and took it. Since her son Holden has a poultry allergy they wouldn't eat it anyway. So I was happy to oblige. I was down to my last rooster in the freezer and nothing beats free-range farm birds for flavor.

It was a long day for me, and all of this went on after a night without sleep. I think it'll be a rough few weeks leading up to the holiday season. I am a positive person, but a lot of this time of year is hard on me for reasons I don't wish to write about but aren't too hard to understand. I will look forward to all the holly and the holy up ahead these next few weeks but I sure am looking forward to that clean slate we all call January. Snow and a new year, lucky number 13. How about that?


Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

Sounds like a perfect day, sans the worry. Take comfort that you are not the only one. My wife is not working at the moment due to maternity leave, and I spent today in my cubicle, stressed out over work I loathe and bills that will only get paid thanks to a dwindling savings account. But I have my health, my beautiful family, and a freezer/pantry full of food.

December 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

P.S. How is Jazz?

December 13, 2012 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Christee said...

13 is one of my lucky numbers too! I am all for 2013 being GREAT!!! I finally got a job and might land a 2nd one so we can get crap paid off and start living the life we want; on a farm making our own way!

The rain has started to come down here in AZ and I am grateful for it. It is going to be a good nights sleep.

You are a force to be reckoned with Jenna. :-)

December 13, 2012 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger daisy g said...

This time of year can be challenging for many of us. I look forward to New Year's more than Christmas. Love the chance to renew my spirit by starting over. Warmest wishes for a peaceful holiday season, farmer.

December 14, 2012 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Huh. I hadn't thought about the new year being lucky 13. 13 is my lucky number too. Clean slate, here we come!

December 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

We all send you hugs from Key west. They might not be the kind of hugs you long for but they are heartfelt. We talk about the trip up there this summer all the time. Your kindness and your friends welcoming spirits overwhelmed us. Thank you. May your holidays bring you peace and love. See you in the spring.

December 14, 2012 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Rich With Life said...

Jenna, have you ever thought of taking an intern? I bet there are plenty of fledgling writers or even fledgling farmers that might be willing to come up for a couple weeks and share in your work load to get some experience and perspective on what you do. Not sure if that is something you would be interested in, but I'm sure it could help with the loneliness and also help someone else get started. Anyway, just a thought!


December 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Hugs and blessings to you. We're here whenever you need us.

December 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Jenna and Pit Stop...I am with you both. My job ended Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Planning for 2013 to be a year of growth and full time farm living!
Hang in there Jenna")

December 14, 2012 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Sandy Miller said...

been a year here in north east ohio too and as the last check came in I did the bills....... heavy sigh. As it is December and the sun was out with temps in the 40's I hit the river fishing. Standing in freezing water for 4 hours does wash the worries away...... even for a short time. The king fisher kept me company had a well fed breakfast on the river. Seeing him feed himself and thrive gave me a knowing I will be fine........ be the king fisher I told myself :)

December 14, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi Jenna.
What if you had some type of farm related product that you could produce to help carry you financially? Something that you could produce a lot of in batches that you could offer on-line as well as in local shops?
It wouldn't necessarily be your main income stream but a stream nonetheless!
Lisa in Maine

December 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Amen to everything you just said!

December 14, 2012 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

thanks all!

jazz is tired, the same. no news.

December 14, 2012 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I'm okay guys, thank you for the concern.

No interns. I'm not comfortable with it and do not have the insurance to cover it.

December 14, 2012 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Lisa, I do! they are called workshops and books!

December 14, 2012 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Copper + Cream said...

My husband is wanting to get some rabbits. It's hard to raise them where I live because we get so hot in the summer. Glad you were able to get a break from the bills...I hate bills. Stress and myself are not a good mix!

December 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM  

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