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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
4 H FRETTER-ER
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AGAIN, THE SKY IS FALLING
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AND THEN IT GOT COLD
AND THEN IT WARMED UP TO ZERO
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ANYTHING BUT THAT
ARE BUCKS EVER BABIES
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ARTFUL DODGERS
ARTIC FRONT
AUTUMN BOQUET
B U B - B U B - B U B
BABY BACK EXCUSE
BABY MONITORS
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BARKING AT GOATS
BARN SOUR TRUCK
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BE HAPPY
BEAUTY MISTAKES
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BIKINI WEDNESDAYS
BILLBOARD GOAT FARMING
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BLIZZARD OF 92
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BLONDE HUMOR
BOTTLE BABIES
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BOXING SUNBEAMS
BRONCHITIS.
BRUISE OR DIRT
BUCK LOVE
BUCKETHEAD
BUCKS IN STOCK
CALLING YOOOOU
CAN'T TOUCH THIS
CANE I DO IT?
CARPAL TUNNEL HAY
CATCHING PEARL
CHICK CHICK CHICORY
CHOCOLATE PLUM
CHRISTMAS KIDDING
CHUCK
COLD IS OUR FRIEND NOT
COUGH DROP WORMER
COUNTING
CRUMPLED
CUD CHEWING CONTENTMENT
DAYCATIONS
DEAR FAVORITE RELATIVE
DELOUSED
DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW ...
DOES ON KIDDING
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DRENCHED!
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
DUCT TAPE.
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FEEL LIKE A NUT
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FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE
FIRST YOU TAKE YOUR SOCK
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I PREFER LONG EYE LASHES
I REALLY DO HAVE A HOME
I'LL HOLD HIM BACK
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INTERNET AUCTIONS
INVESTMENTS
IRON WILL
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JOKE - GET A JOB!
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JUST 1 MORE GOAT
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LADYLIKE BUCK SELLER
LAST BUCK STANDING
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LETTERS
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MANIPULATE WHAT?
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MAYBE THIS TIME
MEMBER ME
MIND CONTROL
MR. SNUFFY
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NANNY BERRIES ~ DEAR FAVORITE RELATIVE
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NEW KIDS.
NEW YEARíS RESOLUTIONS
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ODE TO ODOR
OH, MY
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PANIC ATTACK!
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PLAYING DEAD
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PLOP
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PRO WRESTLER OR PUPPY
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PUTTING ON A SHOW
QUIPS & QUOTES
QUIPS-N-QUOTES II
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ROLLIN', ROLLIN', ROLLIN'
RUB DIRT ON IT
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SANDWICHED
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SHOULD EVERYONE VOTE
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SONG OF THE FROG
SPIES, SECRET AGENTS, SPOOKS, AND OTHER GOATS
SSSNAKE
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STARGATE BOERS
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STEP BY STEP
STICK IT WHERE
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STUCK AGAIN
STUDENT ANALOGIES AND METAPHORS
STUPID IS...
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SUPPER AT SEVEN A.M.
SURVEY SAYS
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SWASH - BUCKLING BUCKS
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
TALKING POCKETS
TATTOOING
THANK GOODNESS FOR MUD
THE $37.50 BUCK
THE 2003 DARWIN AWARDS
THE COWBOY WAY
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THE MOB SQUAD
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THE PLAN
THE SCARECROW GOAT SELLER
THE SMELL OF MONEY
THE TALKING GOAT
THE TARP ANNIHILATOR
THE THINKER
THE TICK
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THE V WORD
THE WINDY TAX
THE WORM HAS TURNED
THEN THE KNEE DOCTOR SAID
THIS END UP
THUMP, BANG, WHOOP, AND HOLLER
THURSDAY, THURSDAY
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WEE GOAT FARMERS
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WRONG.TURN!
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ZAPPED!
autumnfarmsboers.com
Lee & Connie Reynolds
Autumn Farm
Ravenswood, WV

THE "V" WORD
By Connie S. Reynolds

Every year, around the fall of the year, Lee comes into the house and says the "V" word. Itís a word that chills the blood and makes the hair on your head turn gray. Your hands shake like they have palsy and your heart beats fast, causing you to stagger and find a chair to sit in. That time already? I thought I still had a month or two to go.

Yes, itís Vacation time. Some people actually look on Vacation time with great joy. They happily load up the kids and off they go to visit America. Or, Disney World, same difference, I guess. It only costs them two years of wages and they can either visit sites that 60 zillion people have stood before, or go stand in line for two or three hours just to get on a five-minute ride. And, they look forward to this as a time of getting away from the crowds and hustle and bustle of normal life like they have at home.

Vacation for us is getting ready for Winter. Itís two weeks of uninterrupted work. No time for regular meals. No time for visiting friends. No time for shopping. Itís getting up to work before itís light and not quitting until itís too dark to see at night. Lee and I make a list of at least triple the stuff we are capable of doing in two weeks and we go at it like our lives depended on it.

Why do we do this? Itís because of Winter. If we arenít half way prepared for Winter, we find ourselves outside in the middle of Winter at 6 below, usually at night, trying to do something we could have had done during the warm Vacation time.

Like cutting wood. We decided a long time ago when we bought our badly over grown farm that we would only use wood heat. That way we could clean up all the dead wood lying around and also any trees we cut in trying to make pastures. How much more economical can you get? You clean your place off and use the excess in keeping your house warm. Perfect.

Not realizing exactly how much wood we would need for a winter, we thought a couple of truckloads would do it. Well, it might have done it if we had kept the house at 20 F all winter. What happened was we found ourselves in the middle of a snowstorm, a "white-out", cutting firewood to stay warm. Since then we know that we will need at least 22 large truckloads to get through a mild winter. That became first priority during Vacation.

Lee always likes to get an extra load of wood or two because he knows me. I like a warm house. None of this, "My, isnít 64 degrees F nice and toasty for our house?" Visiting relatives and friendsí homes in the winter freezes me to death. I usually arrive with two layers of clothing and nice woolly socks and wishing I could keep my gloves on.

We work out in some nasty weather in the wintertime and when I come in I like to defrost fast or I canít face going back out again in another hour or two. This constant freezing and thawing has created some interesting wrinkles and cracks all over my person. I am sure itís the constant freezing and thawing every winter that I go through thatís causing this, not my age, no matter what people may say.

Second priority was to have all the hay safely in buildings for the coming of Winter. Usually we would have our second cutting in by then, but we would always contract out for more. We would then have to drive at least an hour one way to find the orchard grass/clover we wanted or the alfalfa hay. As much as we tried, we couldnít raise that on our place because of the deer. They loved it. They would eat it down to the roots and leave just the fescue. This fescue we would bale and feed to unbred horses, but we couldnít feed it to bred does without running into fescue toxicity.

So, at least four to five days of the Vacation was spent hauling in hay from farms that could grow the hay we wanted. We were truckers from morning till night on those four to five days. Weíd arrive at the farms early, drag the hay out of the hay loft, load up truck and trailer, make the trip back to our place, unload the whole lot, set up the hay elevator, work on filling up the loft in one barn. The whole time we are coughing, sneezing, and snorting, hay and hay seeds covering every part of our persons.

In the middle of these hay trips we would always stop and get a treat to egg us on, maybe a Little Debbie cake and a pop, at some Speedway or BP. The looks we got were always the same as we stepped out of the truck. Imagine the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, two of them, walking towards your establishment. We would be covered in hay. Hay in our hair, down our shirts, sticking out of the cuffs of our pants, all held together with sweat. Faces streaked with dirt, sweat, and hay chaff. Iím surprised they didnít lock the doors and pretend they werenít there. This says a lot for free enterprise. No personís money is refused, even if they are sweaty scarecrows.

After we have filled up all the nooks and crannies in our barns and sheds with hay, itís on to the next project. Cleaning out the goat barn and run-in sheds that havenít been touched since last Winter.

During the summer the goats rarely go into the shelters, unless itís pouring down the rain. But, in the Winter when the sleet and snows and rains hit, temperatures suddenly dropping thirty degrees, the whole herd dives for shelter. All you see is little eyes peeking out the doors and windows and them asking, "Has it quit sleeting yet? Has the snow squall quit?"

Usually Lee and I are looking at only 3 foot or more of manure and hay, all mixed nicely together, composting all summer, to clean out before Winter hits again. The one good thing you can say about this time of yearly goat barn cleaning is, you can eat all the forbidden foods you want, because it won't have a chance to turn to fat. Of course, you usually donít get into the house that often to eat, because Vacation is nearly over and you have 10 other projects on the list to finish.

But, if you clean the barns the way we do, donít worry about eating high calorie foods. We clean barns fork full by fork full. No fancy end loaders for us. Just good old fashion six pronged forks. We did get extravagant and buy a manure spreader, definitely Godís gift to farmers, but we probably wonít get a front-end loader or a bob cat until we donít need one anymore. Ever notice how that works? Youíve wanted something forever and when you finally get it, you donít need it anymore. It just sits in the corner of the shed and you go out and look at it and say, "Man! We really needed that way back when."

After three or four days of cleaning out the barns and sheds, covered in sweat, coated with manure, Lee finally says, "Thatís it."

Iím staggering around to the other side of the manure spreader with a big forkful of manure. I clutch the side of the spreader. "Weíre finished? Weíve got it all?" I gasp.

"Naw, weíll have to finish up next week-end. Vacation is over. I go back to work tomorrow."

Weíve survived the Vacation. I thank the good Lord that it will be another year before Vacation starts again. I will try very hard to forget the V word until that time rolls around again.

THE END

 

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