A Week On The Farm Pt. 4

The final morning before Nolan had to leave he was sleeping soundly. Everything was black in his mind and in the room around him. In this unconscious state of amazing rest Nolan heard a voice. The voice spoke to him in clear words this time of day pretty regularly so he wasn’t alarmed. He didn’t even wake up when he heard, “Before you go, learn the system.” Nolan continued on sleeping for another hour or so then he heard it again, “Before you go, learn the system.”

The second time it was enough to wake him up. He wasn’t the type to sleep late because sleep was so much work, so hopping up at 5 didn’t bother him. When he went into the kitchen he saw his great aunt getting out the flour. She made biscuits every morning just like his great aunt Margarette. She didn’t make bacon though, she had a different way of doing things. After she got the biscuits in the oven, she asked Nolan to come with her to fetch some things to finish breakfast.

First they went out to the chicken house and she had Nolan grab the eggs. They looked different than the eggs he had at home. They were brown and some had goop on them or a feather stuck to the side. There were fewer than a hundred chickens out there but it seemed like a lot. Nolan carried in six dozen eggs, then he went to the corn barrel and scattered some corn out for the chickens to eat. “Where do you get corn like that?” Nolan asked. It looked like canned corn but it was hard as a rock.

“We grow it ourselves, dear. Your uncle plants plenty of feed corn every year and we fill up all of our storage barrels and sell the rest to our neighbors for the price of seed.” As she revealed to him a little piece of the system, Nolan remembered the words he had heard while he was sleeping. So he began to ask about what else they did and how it all worked. They carried the eggs inside and she began to explain it.

Apparently, they sold the left over eggs every day to a little diner in town. They hatched chickens in a homemade incubator once a year and when the roosters got old enough they were slaughter most of them to put in the freezer. Everything was free and brought in a few dollars here and there. They had a greenhouse where they raised new plants from seed too. They would put out all sorts of garden plants, fruit trees, nut trees and berries. They sold the extras off cheap to a local man who sold fresh fruits and vegetables at a roadside stand. They also canned or froze a lot of the fresh stuff for winter.

Then there were the cows. Their 40 acre pasture land and pond were enough to sustain and raise about 20 cows without buying hay. They gave them the same corn they gave the chickens to supplement the grass. They would sell 5 grown beef cows every year at auction and use the money to buy 5 weened calves. There was a nice profit between the price of cow and calf and it was enough to cover many of their basic expenses and a few repairs. It was all free, provided for by managing the land. It was just patients and order. Nolan and his aunt had gone back out for berries while they talked and by the end of the conversation they sat down to biscuits, eggs and a big bowl of strawberries and blueberries mixed together with a sprinkle of sugar on top.

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