August is rapidly coming to an end and with it the whispers of the upcoming fall with crisp evenings, apple cider and pumpkin spice drinks, bonfires, crunchy leaves, and sweaters. And yet, with temperatures still hovering in the 90’s, fall seems a fair bit of distance away. Normally I long for the changing of seasons and fall will be a welcomed relief from the heat but there’s still much to be enjoyed on Iron Side Ranch during these last few days of the heat.
Homeschooling is in full swing and the kids are seeming to enjoy working at their own pace. The days start off almost identical with the necessary care of our animals. Feeding, watering and checking on their general well-being. They’re always happy to see us in the morning and come running over to be let out of their pens to free-range and eat. The goats need scratching and petting, very similar to our dogs. The chickens flutter out of their chicken tractor with a squawk. The pigs waddle over grunting and ready for food. The dogs bark their morning greeting and jump in anticipation of food bowls being delivered with tails wagging furiously. The kids look for eggs hoping to find enough for breakfast. The sun is out in full force but not so hot that we can’t breath. There is joy in anticipation of a good day with sleepy yawns, big hugs, coffee and smiles.
Child number three, affectionately nick-named Gator, is 23 or 24 weeks along still in utero making demands of his own. He is strong enough now to be felt and seen moving and responding to our voices. He has his own rhythm of life and demands a morning breakfast of protein. And yes, I really do mean demands a protein breakfast. The protein seems to help keep morning sickness at bay until at least lunch. Hannah has enjoyed learning how to cook eggs in a cast iron skillet and if you’ve ever cooked much with cast iron, you know just how much of a feat this is! She is becoming quite accomplished with learning the basics of cooking at the tender age of 8.
We just had several days of summer storms and everything is now a deep lush green. Dragon flies are out and to me, this has always been one sign of the nearing the end of summer. They’re furiously mating before the end of their short lives. Cicadas and frogs croak in the evenings singing their summer lullaby and mating calls. Several of our hens have adopted the goat pen as their evening roost space in order to evade the amorous advances of our two roosters. (Not that I can blame them, those roosters have huge talons that can do damage to their back feathers!) Muscadines are in season and the pear trees have just about given all their fruit (much to the chagrin of our pigs who can’t get enough of them).
Afternoon is now upon us and the heat is almost suffocating because of the humidity. The goats are chewing their cud in the shade and the chickens are hiding somewhere under the trees on the hillside. The pigs go for a quick dip in their water and then nap lazily under the pear trees. Even our dogs have calmed down for a bit to rest. I completely understand why people used to sit on their front porches for the shade and to sip iced tea - anything to beat the heat. Thankfully we have air conditioning and I do everything possible to avoid going out in the blazing heat. Being pregnant, my body is already on the toasty side naturally and I have to force myself to drink enough water to keep from getting dehydrated. There is a lull before the evening cool arrives with a gentle stir of activity. Now is the perfect time to send the kids outside to play in the sprinkler or to find a book to escape into. I may have to try and sneak a quick nap as Gator quiets down from his afternoon gymnastics from lunch and before his evening marathon. Although there is still much to be done between cleaning, laundry and grading the morning tests, I cannot complain. Life is pregnant with possibilities!
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I'm a wife, mom of 3 wonderful children, homeschool teacher and loving ranching. After Mackay and I married, we've been steadily pursing our goals of having a self sufficient life and teaching others along the way.