This weekend in the U.S. marks Labor Day and the unofficial start of fall. This time of year several things begin the transition to cooler weather, a somewhat slower pace and more thoughts of winter ahead. The first thing noticeable is that the garden is winding down. The tomatoes are slowing down production and no longer can we harvest enough to make a batch of salsa in one picking. The remaining tomatoes will be picked a few at a time and kept until collecting enough to make a batch of fresh pasta sauce. The remaining potatoes need to be harvested and the grapes need to be picked. The popcorn planted so many months ago needs to continue to dry even though the stalks are turning golden brown. Octobers cooler weather will likely bring in dry conditions to then bring the popcorn inside. Cleaning up the garden will take place in October as well to make planting easier next spring. If we desire to grow garlic it will need to be purchased and planted in the next several weeks also.
As daylight shortens and temperatures slowly lower the livestock also takes notice. We sell the animals that we don't intend to keep over winter. The goat breeding stock is sold many times one to two animals at a time, with the remainder sold at a specialty auction for herd replacements. There are always a few that don't live up to expectation and are sold at a separate auction. Also sold are the poultry to make room for spring chicks. A few rabbits are also sold as we start looking at breeding pairs for 4-H projects for next year. This year my son has decided to sell all of his call ducks as he looks forward to a more rigorous school schedule and preparation for graduation. This year we will be introducing a new nubian goat breeding line into the herd with the addition of a new herdsire. It may take weeks to months to locate just the right animal for the job and make preparations for bringing the animal to its new home. As our breeding plans start to take shape it is similar for other goat owners working toward improving their herd. I look forward to spring as dry yearlings become first fresheners to see if breeding hopes in years past have been realized.
I hear many people lament the start of the fall season, as winter is right around the corner, but I find it also an exciting time to plan for the future. I enjoy seeing the barn full of hay, the pace of yard mowing slowing down and a return to opening the windows day and night for cooler fresh air.