There are two things happening around here that have really messed-up timing. One would have been under our control, the other, not so much.
We acquired Stanley the pig June 28 to help us use up the excess milk we were getting from Penny. I had a couple of calves nursing her at milking time and later got a third one, but there was still plenty left over for a little bitty baby pig. When I weaned the calves and put them on pasture, I was left with a surplus of four gallons of milk a day. Stanley wasn't big enough to take that much milk, so I had to pour some down the drain for awhile, but he gradually grew enough that he could take it all; I supplemented it with a little chopped corn. We planned to take our cheaply-raised pig to the butcher shop down the road when he got to three hundred pounds: Grandson Arick would pay for the processing, since we took care of the pig's feed, and we would each take half the pig. It's a great plan, one we've used before.
We forgot to take deer season into account. When it's time for deer to be processed, the butcher shops around here stop taking cows and pigs, which is a good thing in the long run, because deer season is such a rushed, busy time for them, even if they continued to take in domestic livestock, it probably wouldn't be taken care of in a timely manner. So when Stanley is ready for butchering, no butcher will process him.
Thank goodness Cliff worked at the now defunct Country Butcher shop at Oak Grove for many years. He still has his knives, and knows how to use them. It isn't easy these days, with arthritis plaguing him in his shoulders and hands, but he can do it. We have a grinder, and I know where to get seasoning for sausage. We don't have a way to cure the hams and bacon, but Cliff and I weren't going to have that done anyhow; the grandson planned on some ham and bacon, so he's out of luck unless the butcher shop would agree to do the curing if the cuts are brought to them, ready. We just didn't think ahead when we bought Stanley. It's our fault.
The other thing that is really bad timing for us is the current drought. While there was lots of rain a hundred miles to the north, all of it has passed us by, leaving us with dust clouds and dried-up, depleted pasture. The timing is great for the farmers busy with harvest right now, but it's terrible here; cattle prices have taken a nose-dive, and we are forced to sell our weaned calves. We'll haul them to the sale barn today. As always, we thank God we don't depend on cattle-raising for a living.
I'm not as bummed by this as you might think. We have never been great at socking money away and building up savings accounts. So if the calves bring exactly what we paid for them six months ago, we ask ourselves, "If we hadn't spent that money on calves, would we still have it today?"
Probably not. So we just tell one another, "Well, at least we kept our money together for awhile."
Yeah, we'll take what we get and be happy.