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Watching The Sun Set on One Season, and Rise on Another


It was nearly a year ago that Dawn and I sat in front of the same dancing fire that we enjoy tonight, likely in the same spots on the couch. It was then that we made the decision to try our hands at a real pastured poultry operation. Brooders, mobile chicken coops, netting for the turkeys....all of it. We committed.

We have raised chickens and turkeys before, but it has always been a little haphazard. This time we were determined create a system that would allow us to move chickens to new grass on a daily basis, and turkeys once a week. We want them to have fresh grass beneath them, and a whole new smorgasbord of critters and creep crawlies to munch on. So there we were, realistically 10 months away from any thought of harvest, planning the newest adventure. Blissfully unaware of how many panic moments, and "heated conversations" would follow.

As Thanksgiving rolls around, there is a bit of a bittersweetness that engulfs the farm. For us, it means that pigs and sheep have been gone for a while, and now all the meat birds have followed quickly behind. The 2023 season at Broken Yoke Ranch is over. We still have our cows, goats, laying hens---and of course Macy and Paris, our new equine friends. But otherwise, this season is but a memory.

I conjecture that as we gorge on Turkey on Thursday, we'll relax and celebrate a successful year. By Friday, Dawn will have the order form filled out for next year and will be ready to smash the 'Submit' button---investing at least half of this years poultry earnings on next year's larger flock.

It will be weird---at least for a day or two---not to hear Dawn getting out of bed to feed birds at 5, and it will be weird not to roll through in the afternoon with the feed cart in tow. But as we are learning way too quickly as parents of teeny tiny kiddos, the months will fly by and before we know it, our brooders will be full again. 'Tis the cyclical life on a farm.

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