Winter might be coming? But it’s still vacation

Golden Guernseys and Oreo the Buck mugging!
Golden Guernseys and Oreo the Buck.  Winter?

We think.  Tomorrow is predicted to be one of the coldest days of the season.  High of 24F.  Today it was in the 40s.  And it rained.  And rained.  I know we have had a few lovely days in the past week or two, but the overall feeling is of the grey sky and damp.  My arthritis is killing me.  It definitely does not feel like December.

Enough complaining, though.  It is past the Solstice, and we are still just wearing light jackets.  Not too shabby!  My husband keeps the wood stove going, and dollars to donuts, we have to keep opening the back door or the windows.  (I get where he is coming from; he hates to have to restart a fire everyday, so he wants to just keep it humming along.  Sometimes that humming is to the tune of 80F in the house.  Too hot for me!)  So it is this season.  Warm so far.  It feels more like a spring mud season than the end of December.  Mud and water galore in the paddocks.  The donkey didn’t want to go into her shelter in the last few days, and we finally realized that it was too wet where we had placed it over the summer.  We moved it this morning, thanks Sam, and now she is cozying into it.

Anyhow, it’s the holiday break and I am loving it.  Sleeping in until 6:30 a.m.  Lingering over coffee in the morning.  Not getting dressed until I have to.  Reading into the night.  I must be in training for retirement.  Hmm.  Sounds good to me!

Merry, merry 2015

treewithtrainsAnd so it goes. Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas! The year is coming to an end, but the daylight is returning to us. Such a relief :*)

Teaser the Chihuahua loves a ride!
Teaser the Chihuahua loves a ride!

We can’t really complain, though, because even today it was almost 60F! It’s supposed to be getting colder by Monday, and snow is forecast for Tuesday. I will believe it when I see it! A friend posted a photo of the dandelions that are sprouting on their property, and I have heard folks discussing the budding of all kinds of plants. It’s not natural for this part of the world to be so warm this late, but it has been something of a respite after last winter.

Quiet time in the greenhouse for Zelda and Beezus
Quiet time in the greenhouse for Zelda and Beezus

2015 has turned out to be quite a year. I have not really had a chance to fully take stock, and we had our downs as well as our ups. At the very least, we were able to finally welcome our first Golden Guernsey goaties to the farm, and I even managed to get Pickles bred a few days ago. Thankful for all the little triumphs!

I hope everyone has had a peaceful holiday/holidays, with your loved ones. Time to look forward to the new year.

Pippi’s big day

Pippi leaving in the back of my Forester
Pippi leaving in the back of my Forester

Or rather, date!  Yes, our breeding woes have gotten us so far that we really have no other option than to get the girls we want bred to a buck off the farm, one we know and trust,  for breeding.  And of course, yesterday late in the afternoon when I was just (finally!) getting my garlic planted, I looked over to see Pippi behaving rather peculiarly.  Jumping on all the smaller girls, and just generally being a loud nuisance.  And her tail was flagging madly, so I knew right away that we had a live one in heat.

We are down to not many options, so I went in and called our friends at a farm in Friendship, and the date was made. But because we do not have a cap on our truck, my husband needed to take my car, and I was left hitching a ride to work from my son.  As complicated as the day felt, almost everything went to plan.

My one miscalculation was in the set up.  I had to get Pippi separated from the rest of the girls before I went to work.  (The goats aren’t stupid, they know when the two men are coming at them that something is up!).  I have a permanent “catch pen” where I feed them their grain everyday, so at a moment’s notice, I can grab any one of those crafty buggers.  But since it was going to be another few hours before John would load her up and take off, I didn’t want her in the pen alone, to get all worked up and crazy.  So I made sure to leave both of her daughters in with her.  Apparently Beezus, the sweet brown yearling goat, didn’t think much of that plan.  When the men went out to load Pippi up, they found that Beezus had tried to jump the high galvanized 4X4″ grid fence.  At least her front feet were on the ground, but both her back feet were caught in the fence, higher than her head.  They got her out and she was very shaken up.  No broken bones, but a giant loss of equilibrium for awhile and she still seems to have some aches and pains.  Sheesh.  It’s like we can’t get through a week without at least one goat disaster.  No, not true, it just feels like that recently.

I gave Beezus the Jumper an anti-inflammatory and she is fine tonight.  When my son went out to check on things a little while ago, she ran away from him and hid behind Big Zelda.  I hope she continues to do okay.

Pippi takes everything in stride!
Pippi takes everything in stride!

Pippi was totally herself tonight, in spite of the ride in the car and her meet up with Romeo.  Our friend’s bucks are both experienced and efficient, so it wasn’t even that big an outing.  I am sure that Pippi had a grand time, she always makes the best of her opportunities :*)

Spring fever in December

Spring fever!
Spring fever!

I know that it’s even warmer down in the mid-Atlantic states, but 53F on December 12th is pretty unheard of around these parts!  No complaining from me, however, as I know Winter will catch up with us soon enough.  I am pleased for the skiers that it has been cold enough for the resorts to make snow, and they have also had a few precipitation events that brought snow to the mountains, leaving rain for the coast.  That’s the way I like it!  (Don’t get me wrong, I love snow.  Just not as much as we had last winter, with negative temperatures to match.  And even though I love it, I think I am still reeling from last year ).

Hose is still running
Hose is still running

We have been trying to make the most out of this weather, and did quite a bit of outside work yesterday.  My biggest pleasure of all:  the hose that comes out of a dug-well that we use to water the animals, is still running!  Usually by this time we are wrestling gerry cans of water into the tractor and driving them up.  What a treat!  We did get enough cold weather in the past two weeks that I had set up the tank heater in the big trough, and plugged in the 16 gallon heated buckets in the other two pens.  Yesterday I scrubbed all the tanks, all the feeders, and Sam got the inside of the greenhouse cleaned out, on the large girl’s group side.  Lots of stuff got checked off of our list!

What a sky
What a sky

It still feels like an early spring morning out there today.  It even smells earthy and fresh.  The girls are being very frisky and flying around the paddock like they are kids, too.  The big rock is covered in flecks of mud, there has been so much frolicking going on.

lit treeToday I must do some baking and present-putting together.  Sam got the lights on the tree, and that is where we have stalled out.  Gotta get going on that as the grandboy is anxiously awaiting Grampy’s train set around the bottom.  I think we have our work cut out for us! Hope everyone out there is enjoying their Sunday as well!

Mid-December already

Frosty morning
Frosty morning

It’s been quite a few weeks.  Getting ready for a winter that hasn’t really landed yet continues.  I am not complaining, however!  We don’t usually get this much grace time for winter prep in the animal paddocks.

Golden Guernsey update:  our girls Batty the Beautiful and Saffron the Lovely are doing well.  We bought them as bred does, and I was extremely upset when Saffron went into heat.  The little buck that my friend Jane and I went in on together is still in Vermont at Jane’s house.  He is quite young yet, and the news is that he is not yet mature enough to breed the girls.  Which left me in a terrible bind!  No Guernsey buck, and a pregnant doe.  Actually, all but Batty the Beautiful are open.  Sheesh.  What a pickle!  So I have put our only buck in with the girls, and so far, no action.  Saffron did knock the poor guy around, so I hope that he has the desire to hang in there :*)

Marigold the Sweet
Marigold the Sweet

Marigold update:  we did our best to get our Marigold up and moving, but things just didn’t work out.  She was our sweet girl and a doe that I had hoped to be on the farm for a very long time, but it just wasn’t a go.  John put her down on Sunday, so it was not a very great day, despite the beautiful weather.  Her mother, Big Zelda, had  begun sleeping far away from Marigold’s pen, so we knew that she had already acknowledged the fact that her girl was not well.  This was an extremely tough one for me.  We have lost animals and had to put some down in the past, but she was just 18 months old.  It never makes sense.

Naked tree
Naked tree
Menorah
Menorah

On a happier note, we got our Christmas tree, even as we are celebrating Hanukkah!  It’s a pretty one.  We have not been able to find anything suitable on our 20 acres (weener Charlie Brown evergreen abound, but nothing remotely nice), so we went to a local tree farm and got a 7′ lovely little number.  Our grandson was not impressed with our choices, but I am!  (The other day he asked me how old I am.  I told him I am 61.  He looked at me and asked, “Are you shrinking?  I think that someone your age ought to be a lot taller!”).  And there we have the viewpoint of the next generation :*)

And so it goes.  The holidays are upon us and I am doing my best to not get caught up in the stress of it all.  I am sure that we will get the tree decorated, and we will get the presents wrapped.  It’s coming,

Happy Holidays!