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We are nearing the end of the fall harvest.

Just a couple more acres to go, and then we can finally put the combine away for the year. Robb and I are both ready for the end. The difficult weather this year, plus the extra acres of custom harvesting, have made for a long harvest season. It’s fun to get started, but it’s also nice to get finished, especially when harvest seems to drag on a little too long.

The cattle are starting to get their fuzzy winter coats on. They are still happy out on pasture, eating the remaining grass. We have had to start feeding a little hay to supplement their diet, now that the grass has stopped growing. They will, however, continue to eat all the grass that’s out there - even when it starts getting covered with snow. The hay is like a treat to them - they generally will eat it before they eat the grass. Robb and I have never been able to understand this, but they do it all the time. Even in the middle of the summer, the cows will run to a bale of hay when there’s green grass. Weird cow psychology.

Soon, however, the hay will be all they have to eat, and we will move them to different locations to make it easier to feed them. We have certain pastures where we keep them in the winter, because it’s easy to get a tractor with hay into the pasture. Other pastures are a little more difficult to get into, so we do not keep the cows there. Plus, it’s nicer to keep them close to home so that we don’t have to haul feed too far.

On the other end of the livestock front, the pigs are doing well. We have had a really healthy bunch this time around, so you may have noticed I haven’t mentioned them much. Some times, we have a lot of sick pigs, and sometimes we get lucky and they stay healthy. We always prefer the healthy pigs, because it’s less work and we have to treat fewer pigs with antibiotics. Soon they will be heading off to market, and the process will start all over again. It still amazes me sometimes that pigs can go from birth to your plate in 6 months. How amazing is that?

The boys are starting to find out that doing goat chores in the fall and winter is not as much fun as doing them in the summer. Not only is it dark when they have to do chores - it’s also a lot colder. Apparently, my youngest thinks that there are coyotes out there that are just waiting to attack him. Not sure where he got that idea, but even a strong flashlight doesn’t quite calm his nerves. It’s good that the two of them can do chores together. I’m trying to teach them that they need to do goat chores right after school, while it’s still light. They will hopefully catch on to that idea soon.

We hope that you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. It’s a great time of the year to gather and remember all the things we are thankful for, however small. This year, our family took a moment to go around the group and say one thing we are thankful for this year. The answers ranged widely, but the cutest by far was my 2-year old great-niece who piped up in her sweet voice with “I’m thankful for coming to Grandma’s.” How can you beat that? We are thankful for so many things, and for so many people. Thanks mostly to all of you for reading my little column about our crazy life. I truly appreciate all of you, and we of course appreciate the people at the Quad City Times who were willing to give my crazy idea a chance nearly 9 years ago.

Until we chat again, have a blessed week, and don’t get too caught up in all the Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping. Instead, take a moment to spend time with each other and remember that it’s not all about the stuff.

Jennifer Ewoldt, DVM, and her husband, Robb, are farmers in the Quad-Cities. Her column about life on the farm is published every other Monday.

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