The serenity of the woods and the sky
Yesterday was so amazingly gorgeous and sunny that we decided to take a walk through our woods all the way down to the local sandpit. I wouldn’t have trudged through the snow which is still quite deep in places, but there is a sled trail that runs along one edge of our property that heads straight into the pit. And since it has been heavily used this winter by the snowmobilers, we had a fairly stable path to follow. It was beautiful, and the walk was made even more fun as we had our grandson for a visit.
A woodpecker’s work is never done!
The path was easy walking as long as we didn’t get too close to the edge of the trail. All of us went in up to our knees multiple times, but we had a lot of fun. Extreme blue sky, naked trees and the snow were spectacular. Our grandson was watching for birds and squirrels, but in the middle of the afternoon it was very quiet in the woods. Our big bird-related discovery was the tree that our resident Pileated Woodpecker has been working on… Holy cow, I have never seen a tree so full of holes! All the way around the trunk are giant craters, with an enormous pile of shavings under the tree. Judging by the fact that there is such a big pile there, the bird must have done most of his/her work since the last snow! Wow is all I can say. That’s one hungry pecker :*)
Posted in Weather | Tagged Maine woods, Pileated Woodpecker, snow, snowmobile trail, trekking | Leave a Comment »
I adore Daylight Savings. It offers so much more light on the end of the day when I can actually get something accomplished. Of course, it comes with a challenge as well. Crazed catching up on the Sunday of the big changeup!
Jingle moves in with the boys
Already feeling like I can’t get out of my own way this week, today is another gorgeous day and it’s slipping by too fast! Yesterday was in the mid 40s, today a little cooler, but just as bright and blue sky sunny. It must be a good day to go for a walk down the woods trail. And, get a little more work done out in the paddocks.
Sunday morning girls
It’s getting much closer to kidding time and I moved Jingle the donkey out of the paddock with the ewes and the pregnant does. I am beginning to feed the girls some medicated pellets, so by the time the babies are born everyone will have some protection (we hope) against some of the bugs that cause terrible scours (diarrhea) in lambs and goat kids. The pellets also have higher protein which the does need at the end of their gestation. I try not to use much medicated feed, but in our muddy paddock conditions, it’s probably the wiser course, and I do get the higher protein levels as well. Moving the donkey at this point is crucial, because any access to the medicated pellets would be toxic to her. The other reason I don’t like having her in with the pregnant girls is that she kicks when she gets annoyed. Always a little bit of a hazard as the girls begin to have those big baby bellies. Now if I can get the gate open between the two paddocks, maybe I can lure Zorro the llama into the paddock with the girls. Then both groups will have a guard with them. Coyotes can’t be trusted at this time of the year when it’s been so brutally cold. Hope all of them are still finding enough food out in the woods!
Today feels like it is racing by, but we are spending time with our grandboy which is always a lot of fun. We made blueberry pancakes this morning, and I almost forgot to get my pot roast into the crockpot! Time to get moving. I hope the ‘plowable’ snow they are predicting for Thursday does not get to us. Groan.
Posted in LaMancha Goats, Livestock guards, Seasons | Tagged Daylight Savings, Jingle, spring, Zorro | Leave a Comment »
HoneyBea last spring with her boy
Really? Cold, cold and more cold. Little bit of snow every few days which covers the ice in the driveway, so the footing is continually hazardous. But the sun this afternoon felt so wonderful! 28F was such a treat! And they are teasing us with the promise of 40F this Saturday :*) It really better happen. Particularly on the cusp of Daylight Savings.
I want to believe that we will warm up to spring. But unfortunately, nothing feels “normal” this year. Who knows? I am just hoping that the 22nd of March is fairly warm and clear so that our last shearing will not be a nightmare, but a celebration. Yes, our last shearing. I am very sad about this, but we need to be planning for our next great adventure, which involves working toward a licensed goat dairy. My bursitis and arthritis are not going to allow me to be moving flexnet fencing down in a sloped pasture this summer for the ewes. So we have been making some tough decisions this winter, and it looks like we will just be raising goats for the next few years. And planning for a cheese-making future. It is my passion, and now seems to be the time.
Posted in Cheese, Farming, goats, Sheep, Weather | Tagged kidding, LaMancha Goats, shearing, winter | Leave a Comment »
I had the opportunity to attend the NETA Spa Knit & Spin weekend in Freeport, and I jumped at the chance to go. It has been an extremely long, icy, bitter winter. Being able to spend the weekend in one of three inns/hotels that support the event was awesomely wonderful. Our friend Chris of the Salt Bay Treadlers invited me to share her room at the Harriseeket Inn, and I loved every minute of it. We never did get to any spinning, but we spent the time chattering, knitting, shopping with the vendors, eating great food, and sharing some wine. And Saturday afternoon Chris and I spent quite some time in the warm, salt water pool at the Harriseeket.
It was phenomenal! The whole weekend is intended to be a respite from the winter doldrums, with fiber vendors, a fashion show for folks to show off their knitted items, and lots of space at all the hotels to sit, spin, visit and meet new fiber friends. It was well worth the effort of running around on Friday afternoon, doing chores, getting ready to go and then driving down there (not like it is that far, probably 40 minutes from here).
We are still having some incredibly cold temperatures this week, but the weather people are promising a warm up by the end of the week. In the meantime, tonight is supposed to be in the minus degrees. Aargh. It’s a slog, but spring has to be under the ice somewhere!
Posted in Fiber Arts, Friends, Vacation, Weather | Tagged NETA Spa Knit and Spin, snow, spring | 1 Comment »
Pippi from behind. Baby bump on the right.
If I was worried about not having any goat kids this year, I think I can relax. In the last week or two we have been watching the baby dances every day. Pippi has it the worst, poor dear, those kids are rocking and rolling anytime I am out there. She must be exhausted! All the other girls seem to be following along that way, so I am thinking that our little Bagels the Buckling did some good work!
SnowPea looking like she has a few babies in there!
Ruminant rumens bulge out on their left side (as someone on a caprine listserv commented, “their rumen sticks out on the side that would be the driver’s side of the car if you live in North America, it would be the passenger side if you are driving in the UK!”). So I have been watching the opposite side, and the jumping and rolling and kicking is fearsome. It’s much more difficult to see this in the ewes before they are shorn, but with the goatie girls it’s a lot more visible.
Posted in goats | Tagged kidding, LaMancha Goats | 3 Comments »
View at chores this morning
The big rains kept right on all last evening. It was insane because we knew that the temperatures were headed down below freezing, so it was not a great surprise when we got up this morning to find everything iced over. The wind must have been strong enough to prevent the ice from coating the trees, but it was something else on the ground!
But it was a gorgeous sunrise. I feel like I take the same photos over and over again, but the same view is always just a little different. The day is so clear that the light feels like we are dancing on the edge of Spring. But I doubt it. Just a little bit of a tease.
Goatie conga line, with Jingle bringing up the rear (only I think she is resting her head on SnowPea’s back and enjoying the sun!)
I took the opportunity of the warmth and the breeze to scrape as much bedding as I could out of the greenhouse the girls use. I love our donkey Jingle to pieces, but she will insist on standing in there and pooping to her heart’s content! During the bitter cold, it was frozen solid to the floor before morning, so I have to take these chances to get that out, along with the dirty and damp straw. I hope that the wind will dry the floor up a little, it’s not wet-wet, but it’s damp and some of the ice in the deep bedding has started to melt. Perhaps the wind will do its thing and help us out a bit before I put down new straw.
I cannot believe that we are just a month away from shearing. And after that it’s a hop and a skip right to kidding in early April. I must get my supplies in order… it will be here before we know it!
(Pippi and SnowPea showing off their growing bellies in the sunlight)
Posted in Amphibians, Animal shelters, Farming, goats, Livestock guards, Seasons, Weather | Tagged kidding, LaMancha Goats, shearing | 1 Comment »
This morning. Flakes as big as dinner plates (Thanks, Pam, for that description!)
And the roller-coaster weather continues. Wednesday evening we got all the wet, heavy snow, and yesterday it was a pretty awesomely beautiful day. But this morning we woke to sleet, giant snow flakes that weighed at least 9 pounds each, and then things turned to rain, sleet, back to snow, and now we are just getting pummeled with such hard rain that I can’t hear the music playing on my iPad. Our metal roof and roof windows transfer the sounds very eloquently!
Snow and rain mixed. Yuck.
I love the sound of rain on the roof, but I have to say that this is a little over the top for February. We are even getting thunder along with it! They predicted some ‘thunder snow,’ but not this relentless rain. Yuck! I can hardly wait to see what the conditions will be out in the paddocks tomorrow morning. I hope it doesn’t get cold enough to make a field of glare ice. Sigh.
The Azalea. Spring in a pot!
The one bright spot in the house right now is the gorgeous azalea plant that my son and his family gave me for my 60th birthday. It’s still sitting on the messy counter, but I love it and it’s bright spot of salmon-pink. I am not sure where it will be planted in the spring, if the spring ever comes! I want it to be someplace where I can enjoy the sight of it from the house, if possible. This winter has been so rough that I have not even been captivated by the seed catalogs. Oh well, the growing bellies on our goatie girls give me great contentment every chore time, mixed with a little sadness that we will not be welcoming any lambs this spring. The first spring in this house that we have not had them. 11 years have slipped by so quickly! Another very big sigh. Change is good, but difficult :*)
Posted in Gardens, goats, Home, Lambs, Weather | Tagged azalea, rain, snow, snow flakes, thunder snow | 1 Comment »