That opened the door to a discussion on enlarging the barn for goats. I was beginning to think these boys will make a farmer of me if I wanted to be one or not. The next words out of Tom’s mouth concerned expanding the garden. That led to a discussion concerning property lines. I told them I’d get a plot of the land, and we can have it surveyed. That opens the discussion of what we could do with the extra land. Tom said we should use the land to grow oats for the horses and maybe a pasture for the cows and goats. I caught the remark about cows.
Brad said we should enlarge the barn to include space for more livestock. I had a feeling that there was a discussion on their way home as to what they could do or would like to do.
“Why not build a chicken coop with a run on some of the idle ground. You could also add a place for the pheasants. This will free up a stall in the barn.”
“We’ll need to include a place for turkeys as well. We could build several coops, with runs backing up to the right side of the barn.”
“If you increase the livestock, you’ll need more pasture land.”
“Let’s take a look at the plot diagram and see what land is available. You want to enlarge the gardens to grow oats and corn for the animals. We need to think about how we will utilize the land most efficiently.”
After saying that, I left them to think about creating a farm. I knew the boys would be in favor of enlarging what I had. They were farm boys at heart, so I couldn’t blame them.
Over Thanksgiving break, the boys talked to Dad about building sheds for the additional animals. Dad suggested a large shed separated by fencing for the different animals. By Christmas break, a design was created along with a materials list which the boys presented for my approval.
“I have no problem with this design or the plans to increase the livestock. But what happens if you boys decide to leave? I cannot take care of these animals alone. If I have to hire people, then what is the advantage of having more animals?”
“We have at least four more years of college. Tom and I want to get our Master’s degree.”
“Okay, for the next two years, we operate the expanded farm. Are you prepared to begin downsizing the farm when you receive your Bachelor’s degrees? That is the only way I would agree to what you both want to do.”
“Brad, if we get teaching jobs within this county, we could stay here and work the farm.”
These boys wanted to make this a working farm. I looked at Charlie, and he was smiling.
“Alright boys, first build the sheds for the chickens, pheasants, rabbits, and turkeys. Plow the extra acreage for corn and oats. But no more livestock.”
“Not even a goat? We can put her in the barn where we had the chickens.”
“Okay, one goat. No more than one.”
I could see the boy’s eyes light up. Charlie was laughing.
On the following Sunday, the boys told Dad what we were going to do. “Tony, you should buy a tractor if you are going to plow that area west of the barn.” Now Charlie had a smile on his face.
School resumed after the Thanksgiving break. On the weekends, the boys worked on building shreds.
Christmas break gave the boys and Charlie a chance to go shopping. I thought they were shopping for gifts turned out they were shopping for a tractor. They found a used tractor in the next county. Charlie said it was in okay shape, and he could get it running like new. They told me the cost, and I agreed for them to go ahead and buy it.
Three days before school was to start, the boys and Charlie went to bring the tractor home. I envisioned a tractor like my dad’s. This tractor was two and one-half size larger.
“Charlie, that’s a big tractor. Do we need one that large?”
“No, but the price was right. You will be able to not only plow the land, but you can also use it when the oats and corn are ready for harvesting.”
I wondered what my dad would say when he see what I bought.
By the time Spring Break was upon us, the boys had finished the sheds. I asked them what their plans were for Spring Break. One word, ‘Camping’.
The day they left, I told them no more wild animals. Charlie and I watched as they left. The following morning Charlie and I checked out the barn and the sheds. We had to brush the horses, milk the cow and collect the eggs.
“Charlier, I think the number of chickens has almost doubled. We’re going to start having more chicken for dinner.”
“Maybe we should make sausage out of a few. How many do you need for eggs?”
The boys would think that was a great idea. I wonder what Pa would think about making sausage with chicken meat.
I had been sending eggs to Uncle Angelo, and I still had too many. Mom and Dad had their chickens so that I couldn't give them any.
When the boys returned, I was glad they had no wild animals.
"I'm glad you are back and no animals?" I carefully checked them over, making sure they didn't have some animal hidden in the bags.
They laughed, "We saw a deer but decided we couldn't keep it on the farm."
I didn't tell them I had seen deer in captivity, and they were kept within a fenced area.
"Charley wants to make sausage out of chicken meat. What do you think?"
"Why do you want to do that?"
"We are overrun with chickens. We don't eat enough, and we have more eggs than we can use."
"Why don't we sell eggs?"
"Since you had initiated the raising of chickens, why don't you take it on as a project.If you are successful, I'll split the earnings with you and Tom."
A week went by when Brad and Tom at dinner one evening, "Tony, I was talking to the owner of that small cafe close to the University's campus. He said for the right price, he would buy our eggs. What do you think?"
"I think that would be okay, but you need to set a price. Go to the grocery store and see what they charge, then we'll charge ten percent less. See if he finds that acceptable. Take a dozen of eggs with you when you go to talk with them."
He had a smile on his face, and I think he may have already talked to the owner of that cafe.
The next morning Brad had two dozen of our eggs. I looked at Brad and Tom. They smiled as they left. I wasn't sure what they were going to do, but after living with them for a few years now, I trust them. So far, everything they have done was to the benefit of the farm and me.