Baby dances

Pippi from behind. Baby bump on the right.
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!
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.

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Day after the downpours

View at chores this morning
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!

photo 2 (2)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!)
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)

Can’t even hear the music

This morning. Flakes as big as dinner plates (Thanks, Pam, for that description!)
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.
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 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 :*)

Vacation, grey weather and knitting

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(I did not have a chance to post this last night, as the power outage went on until close to midnight.)

What a stretch of weather. It will not stop! I am reminded almost every day that it feels like we are on the set of a Narnia film. But vacation has been good so far. Today I had a wonderful day with a friend from work. We had an outing to Portland, lunch, and just a regular good time, not missing a visit to Trader Joe’s and Micucci’s Grocery* (where my friend had never been! Horrors!). Over the past weekend I went to a friend’s shearing on a very windy, cold day. But there have not been many days that aren’t windy and cold recently!

The snow keeps piling up, and even the next few days with 35-40F temps probably will not get the darn stuff to disappear. And the rumor is that next week the ‘arctic express’ is returning. Ah well, as our farrier said today, “I wonder what we did to piss off God or Mother Nature!” That’s about what it feels like, I guess.

On the knitting front, I am making good progress on my Hitchhiker shawl. I have 11 more sections to go. Hopefully I can get at least one section per night accomplished. And I guess that none of that will happen tonight as we just lost power… probably a tree somewhere finally gave in to the heavy snow. Who knows! I think that I will just throw in the towel and go to bed.

*Micucci Grocery being the best place in southern Maine to get imported Italian cheeses, pastas, etc., outside of Boston.

Don’t know how it happened

Today at choretime
Today at choretime

Well, I know, but it’s a bit of a surprise. I turned 60 today, and truthfully, I don’t know when it happened. It just snuck up on me, for sure. (The worst part of it is that the next decade birthday age has a 7 in front of the zero!)

Girls eating their supper this afternoon
Girls eating their supper this afternoon

The weather has gotten brutally cold again, and it seems as though most of the country is in for bad weather in the next few days. We are supposed to get snowy/sleety/rainy weather Thursday and Friday. Our February break begins this weekend, and I am definitely looking forward to it. I have lots of wonderful plans to meet up with friends and spend some time with our grandson. Good stuff. I think that the birthday shock will pass quickly. I can only hope. :*)

It’s been a day

Saturday morning chore time
Saturday morning chore time

Not exactly the day I had planned, but I kind of lost my momentum when we got word that a friend of ours passed away this morning. Not totally unexpected, but we always hoped he would have more time. He was a very close friend of John’s, and it just really stinks.

Beige Boy checking out the new piece on the gate while Zorro looks on
Beige Boy checking out the new piece on the gate while Zorro looks on

So, instead of doing the gift sewing that I had been looking forward to, I ended up doing a day of cooking and cleaning, which is my default deal when things aren’t going well. Yesterday I had finally gotten over the week that was, with budget cuts hitting our district library staff very hard, and was hoping that today would be a satisfying one. Ah well, life just happens most of the time. At least I have gotten more accomplished on my Hitchhiker scarf/shawl. It is still an addictive knit. And the winter Olympics are offering some measure of diversion.

Bagels the Buck checking out the fence
Bagels the Buck checking out the fence

On another note, the weather was beautiful today, if still quite cold, and it wasn’t bad spending time out there as I had to tweak a few things up in the paddocks. The goatie boys are becoming bold and practicing their moves at the gate. I was surprised that Beige Boy didn’t go right over! So I had to tie another small galvanized panel to the gate, and hopefully that will be enough to keep them in. It feels like a piece-meal affair at the best of times :*)

Snow days

You can tell how thrilled Elf the doe is about the new snow
You can tell how thrilled Elf the doe is when it comes to more snow

Another successful Snow Day was partially enjoyed by all the denizens of Ruit Farm. I was not particularly looking forward to a day off from school as we are getting low on our allowable snow days. I do not want to be in school into July!

Beige Boy doesn't know what to do with it all!
Beige Boy doesn’t know what to do with it all!

We got almost a foot of very soft and dry snow, so I can’t really complain. Folks in the mid-Atlantic area got hit with the heavy, wet stuff. Shoveling wasn’t difficult, but the wind got pretty strong and kept blowing everything around, so it felt kind of pointless.

The sheep don’t care much about the snow, so they are just as happy as usual, but the goats really don’t appreciate it much!

Early loss of 2014

Pete Seeger thanks to a Creative Commons search
Pete Seeger thanks to a Creative Commons search

I have barely ever been so glad to see the backside of a week. It was total insanity. Tonight most folks are probably watching the SuperBowl, but I have been sitting and knitting, listening to music. And all I can think about is that we lost Pete Seeger this past week. Maybe the mojo of losing one of the 20th century’s most special people sent a wave into the Force and it got us all crazy. Who knows.

I never thought that Pete would die. Somehow he would make it, and always be there for us. I was raised on Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary (as well as classical music). As a child of the ’50s and ’60s, it just is not right to have lost him, even though he lived a very long and productive life. He never stopped working for equality, human rights, and the environment. I can’t think of anyone that can top that. I know the music will live on, but it feels like a very final chapter of sorts, leaving a definite void.

While knitting this evening I happened to hear the Indigo Girls’ song ‘Hey Kind Friend.’ It never fails to remind me of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger riding the rails all over this amazing country, gathering folk songs and playing their own as well. Post-depression era America is not typically hit very fully in high school American history classes, and it’s a time that my parents spoke of, but as remembrances from their young adult lives, not as adults, with all the responsibilities of adulthood. I remember when we first moved out of NYC into the North Jersey suburbs, us kids loved to play in the woods up at the end of our dead end street, right near the railroad. Our moms were very clear that if we played in those woods, The Hobos would appear and maybe scare, hurt us, or worse. The riders of the rails still made folks uncomfortable, even in the sixties. (I think that I always secretly hoped that we would meet a magical kind of troubadour jumping off one of those freight trains, but the woods were eventually¬†cut down and all but gone by the time I was 10.)

I can’t imagine that Pete Seeger won’t continue to make a difference in the future. I am hoping that it’s not the end of something that has meant so much to so many of us.