Sometimes, a word just needs an exclamation point. In my estimation, turkeys! is almost always one of them.

This Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday Nov. 21, our turkeys meet their fate. We're slaughtering on the farm with a mobile processing unit. The intrepid folks from the Montana Poultry Growers Coop (namely Mark Rehder and Jan and Will Tusick) will be on hand Friday morning at 9 to do a few hours of training on the mobile processing unit as well on poultry processing in general.

Consider yourself invited for either or both days. We'll have a group of friends and family on hand to help with the processing, so if you're squeamish, no worries: There are plenty of things to do, not to mention the need for morale support.

Map to the farm:

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We have 75 turkeys to process, a little less than half of which will go to our Thanksgiving CSA members. The others have been sold direct to diners in Great Falls, Missoula, Helena and Bozeman.

Here is the schedule for picking up your turkeys and CSAs:

Great Falls-area customers:

Between 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21
2509 Upper River Road (Courtney's mother's house. Thanks Mom!)

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Conrad-area customers:
Between 2-4 Sunday, Nov. 22
504 S. Virginia Street, Conrad (our house)

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Missoula area customers:
Between 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22
1118 Jackson Street (our friend Jason's house. Thanks Jason!)

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2008 "harvest" day.

Autumn Tasks

This fall has been quite unpredictable. We had some pretty cold temperatures, where the mercury dropped to just above zero. We hustled all turkeys back in the brooder house where they could keep warm better (and eat less to do so). Most of the leaves dropped from the trees, still green, not having the chance to go through their color change. Since that cold snap, we've had more traditional fall weather and this week, it's predicted that the daytime temp may reach nearly 70 degrees.

The turkeys take it in stride, sadly oblivious to a major event for them in two weeks. They're back outside, enjoying this beautiful autumn weather, gobbling and chirping happily.

The garden after disking.

Our good friends Tim and Sarah helped us plant garlic during a warm snap. I got the tractor and the disk on the field to work in some of the crop and weed residue. Unfortunately, I don't have a working tractor with a loader or a working manure spreader, otherwise I would have spread some aged cow manure on the vegetable spot. We did manage to throw down the litter from the brooder, which will add some good organic matter and turkey poop to a small part of the garden.

Planting garlic.

Chucking straw onto the garlic.
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