Helluva month

Marigold the doeling
Marigold the doeling, looking for her sister, Iris, who left the farm last Saturday

It’s been one of the craziest Novembers that I can remember. Folks in the Great Lakes are getting hammered with multiple feet of snow, and we have had some pretty cruel temperatures here as well. Tomorrow morning is supposed to be the coldest of the season so far, but after that there should be a little warm up. And I am definitely looking forward to that!

Walking in the paddocks has been a little bit easier the past few days because the mud has firmed up, but it also causes a little bit of a slowdown at chore time, because the walking is also hazardous due to the peaks and valleys in the frozen mud (made by my feet and little hooves). But, I do like having a good freeze-off so that I worry less about the parasite situation with the goats.

#827 is a daddy!
#827 is a daddy!

And we have some news today: our first pigeon chicks hatched. They are definitely “so ugly they are cute” material, with their gigundas beaks and their huge eyes and not-much-for-feathery-covering. Hopefully they do okay, as they are in the general population area (our breeding room is not quite finished yet). Lovely to get a little bit of new life on the farm even as we are going into the hard months of winter. Nice for a pre-Solstice event!



Baby Iris, one of Zelda's girls. April 2014
Baby Iris, one of Zelda’s girls. April 2014

So it finally worked out. Long range planning for the farm means that we cannot keep all the beautiful babies that are born here each year. I hate having to make the decision about who is to go, but it needs to be done or we would be overrun with goats!

Elf's girl
Elf’s girl

I had advertised the two doelings that I needed to move along over the summer a few times, without any response. And then a few weeks ago we were contacted by someone from the Bangor area about wanting two LaMancha does. We spoke and emailed for quite a few days, and came to an agreement about them. Being as she lives almost 3 hours from here, we decided to meet in Belfast. About an hour and a half drive for each of us. Saturday was the day, and into my new-ish Subaru they went. Iris is a very calm and friendly doe, Elf’s girl is a little more nervous about people, so I was a little concerned about keeping the trip low-key, and as laid-back as possible.

It was a gorgeous but extremely cold day, and everything went like clockwork. As soon as I started up the car the girls lay down, and we took it easy up the coast and into the Reny’s giant parking lot in Belfast. The wind was brutal there, but we made the switch and the girls settled into a large dog crate in the back of their van, and off they went.

Elf is now left without her baby, and I really thought that we would have a few rough nights. She bellowed piteously for an hour or two, and since then has been okay. And now we are having the cold rains, so two less bodies in the greenhouse is probably a good thing, more room in the straw for everyone else.

It’s just about time to get the breeding started. Next weekend I am hoping to have a pen set up that I can segregate for the little love birds :*)

Mid-November already

Yesterday morning
Yesterday, early morning

Midweek holidays don’t come around very often, now that most of them have been moved to Mondays, and Veteran’s Day felt like a real treat yesterday. I began fairly early, and got out to pen and worm the goatie girls. Sometimes that’s a bruising activity, but things went pretty smoothly. (Strong necks and heads don’t always want to cooperate with a dosing syringe full of stuff that doesn’t taste so nice! And if they put their heads down and hold them there, it’s almost impossible to dose them. Their other trick is going air born, of course!).

Felt more like spring yesterday afternoon
Felt more like spring yesterday afternoon

My husband and I did have a lot of errands to run, but it was a pleasure to be out and about on such a beautiful day. Even though we were busy, it was a fun and relaxing day. Sleeping in until 5:30 yesterday morning was a real pleasure as well, and the weather cooperated and was extremely mild.  But the real treat in the afternoon: ice cream for lunch! One of our favorite ice cream places in Thomaston, Dorman’s Dairy Dream, just happened to be open :*)

Still warm today, but it won’t be for much longer. Actually, they are talking about a significant cool-down tonight, and cold and snowy for Friday morning.

So glad that John had the forethought to get my snow tires on today!


That went quickly

Gentle Sunday skies
Gentle Sunday skies

It’s Sunday night again. We have power tonight, as opposed to last weekend, but it is the end of the weekend as well. Oh dear, didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as I had hoped, but we did make some progress on a few things.

Bucket of rocks
Bucket of rocks

I was mostly moving rocks for the better part of the end of the afternoon. Nothing glamorous about that, but it had to be done. Some of our cattle panels in the paddocks lean outward, because the green t-posts that are holding them up are sitting on ledge. Granite. So they droop. Someone we know who used to raise sheep not far from here used tall spirals of wire that she filled with rocks, as a support for the t-posts. I have made a few of these before, with very unsatisfactory results (because I used chicken wire for the baskets, and they all broke and exploded their rocks everywhere).

Half a rock pillar support!
Half a rock pillar support!

So this time I used different wire, tried to fashion a little bit of a bottom, and then went about filling it. My grandson and I have been making a small pile of good sized rocks since last spring, and today I used them. But they were about 2 acres away from where I needed them, so I got the black rubber bucket, and shuttled away. Where are those grandkids when you need help???

Milking greenhouse. Empty!
Milking greenhouse. Empty!

The other thing I worked on was getting the milking greenhouse cleared out. I am moving things around and am going to try and use that as part of the girl goats’ shelter this winter. Maybe with an eye to using it for kidding in the springtime.

Otherwise, John and our son and grandson worked on electrical things in the pigeon loft. It was a busy day, and I was glad of the hot bath and pot roast out of the crock pot tonight. I think it is going to be an early night!

And we have power

Cleanup in progress
Cleanup in progress

Came back on Wednesday afternoon, late in the day. 4:30ish. Not too soon for us! The outside cleanup continues, and as it has, the snow has melted and we ended up with some warmer weather.

Getting the driveway clearer of the downed trees
Getting the driveway clearer of the downed trees

Now I have to get after the mess we made in the house moving things from one place to another. Almost every electronic thing had to be charged each in its turn, in the bathroom at the one lonely outlet that was electrified. No light in the bedroom, so clothes were piled everywhere. Kitchen is a disaster. But that is part of what makes an episode like this so exhausting, even though we had heat and water. That’s just the way it goes!

Part of the driveway mess
Part of the driveway mess

Such First World problems we have!

No power, but blue skies return

Blue skies took over earlier today
Blue skies took over earlier today

Day 3. No school for a second day, either. But it got a lot warmer and the snow came off the roof like gangbusters. Looking at the map of power-outages in Maine, we are still in relatively tough shape in Lincoln County. Our section of Bristol is not expected to regain power until tomorrow night or Thursday. Sigh. The YMCA in town is offering free showers, which is wonderful for a lot of folks. We are lucky enough to have a big Honda generator that is hooked in to our electrical panel and it runs our water, heat, and a couple of lights. Our “charging” center only works from one outlet in the house, which happens to be in the bathroom!

Coffee grinder and power charging all of our "devices" at the only outlet that is connected!
Coffee grinder and power charging all of our “devices” at the only outlet that is connected!

So we are comfortable, but every day it’s another trip to town to buy a few more cans of gas, and fooling around with the generator. At least we can keep our elderly neighbor in water for flushing and drinking, and the animals aren’t hurting, either.

And so the meteorological winter season comes to us a little earlier than we had wanted to meet it. With the time change, it already feels like darkest winter by 5 PM!

Still no power

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But I know that our little peninsula is not a priority when there are over 26,000 people without power just in our little Lincoln County. We were definitely not ready for this one, and I am feeling relieved that the temps are supposed to go up close to 60F by Wednesday.

With the weight of the snow and 50 mph winds, we had a bunch of close-calls here on the farm. A huge limb of a maple came down within a few inches of the pigeon loft, and a huge white pine uprooted itself and fell into the driveway, totally missing the buck’s paddock fences. When I went out this morning to feed the goats, I got a moment of panic: there were lots of footprints in the driveway, but they turned out to be deer tracks! Phew. Don’t need goats loose in the ice and the snow.

My iPhone photos are not fantastic, but I will share some here. We are now getting ready to start chopping up the trees in the driveway.  We can’t get out until those trees are moved! And our son, who only lives less than a mile away, is trapped behind trees down on the connecting road. Here we go. I can hardly wait.

November: Snow, slush and rain

Snow on the roof windows is getting deeper!
Snow on the roof windows is getting deeper!

And no power. Typical! I imagine most of the peninsula is out, the snow is so heavy and wet the trees are bent over and covered. And we are having 30 mph wind gusts. If we get sleet on top of all this, I can only imagine how long it will be to get the power back on.

Fairyland out there!
Fairyland out there!

Well, nothing to do about it. Just hunker down and enjoy the view. I am grateful for the generator that runs some of the house, most importantly the water and heat. I am going to try and get a knitting project started that is a holiday gift for a friend. Sounds about the coziest thing to do. I had oven-roasted vegetables on the menu for tonight, but instead I think I will get some lamb shanks going on the stove a little later. Thank goodness for the gas stovetop! (Our oven is electric, and even our heavy-duty generator won’t run that!)


Halloween, 2014

I have not dressed up in years, but today at school was a lot of fun. It was pay-to-wear-a-hat day (or donate two cans of food to the food drive) at the middle school. Some of them were very creative! It was quite a Friday.

On the flip side at home, it was time to just relax up with the goats. The girls were having none of my offers to play, so I just stood back and watched them at the feeder. It was a lovely evening, and the goatie girls were having their usual romps around the bunker, so I took a video of the scene. And Iris the doeling does not disappoint, as she is hopping behind the feeder and then running around to push SnowPea off her side. Gotta love those girls!


Last week of October

Dinnertime, and it's still light!
Dinnertime, and it’s still light!

It’s beginning to feel as though I am down to a blog post a week, which is definitely not my intention. Work has been totally draining, and after getting home and doing all those things that need doing, I end up in the chair with a glass of wine, nodding off.

Things are chugging along, and I am aiming to set things up for breeding this coming weekend. I need to get the boys settled in a different area so that I can put the girls who are going to be bred in where the boys are now. With their intended beau.

I am hoping that we can get some outdoor work in this weekend as they are forecasting rain and snow in some areas of Maine. Yay. We need more moisture like a hole in the head! I am still dealing with the last 4″. Nuts. At this point I would rather have snow than torrential rains. But many of the trees are still holding onto their leaves, which gives me the feeling that we are holding onto autumn for a little while longer. But it’s almost November, and I do not have a clue where October went.

Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!


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