Saturday, September 8:
The six young pigs in the big barn love milk and whey better than anything. When we pour the bucket into their trough they get right down to it, urgency making them silent, or as silent as six pigs eating can ever be. The bucket of windfall apples beside the pen is getting low, and we climb the steep side of the pasture to collect more from the apple tree beside the high water hog. It is a good year for apples, as the bushels in the woodshed still waiting to be processed will attest. This time of year there can be no excuse for feeding grain to the pigs. Everywhere on the farm is superabundance, more almost than these young animals can consume; the scrapings from the hog trough flung out in the barnyard – pumpkin rinds, corn cobs, — are scavenged by the hens who scratch and dustbathe there.
When we are doing this thing right there should be no waste at all.
Both cows are giving less milk this last week. Both are on excellent pasture, although not the same one, they are in different stages of estrus, we can only venture various conflicting and unsupported theories for this reduction. The weather cools and Baby gives an additional gallon; Isabel is still low.
The rain last night got us out of bed, shutting windows where puddles were already spreading on sill and floor. It woke the little girls, too; they materialized like small pale ghosts with worried eyes. It seems that sometimes when they have thought all the chicks were safely collected from the sliding pens and shut up in the brooder for the night, one has been missed, hiding in some dark corner, there to be found in the morning, probably shaking from cold and nightmare. Now, sprinkles of rain coming in through their screen have wakened them, and their first thoughts are for the small animals in their care; they have come to us not to pass on their worries, but to say they must go out and look into the chick situation. In a moment they are both out in the pouring rain in nightgowns and slickers, poking a wet flashlight beam into the recesses of the sliding pen, then circling the house to see that no rain is getting in under the door of the brooder house. Ten and seven, these two are. No amount of talk could teach the virtues of faithfulness and mercy as those chicks have done with soft yellow down, bright black eyes, and helplessness.