And so it goes. Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas! The year is coming to an end, but the daylight is returning to us. Such a relief :*)
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.
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.
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 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.
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,
All the holidays of the cold season that involve lights are very satisfying to me. At this time of year, when I am doing chores some days in the dark both morning and night, coming in to light the Hanukkah candles or to the tree and twinkle lights, just makes everything seem a little better, just a little brighter. Not so dark. I become obsessed with sunrise and sunset times as the autumn wears through to winter, checking weather websites and listening raptly to our Channel 6 weathercasters like they are prophets. It must be a totally primal or genetic thing. Of course I realize that the farming life makes the weather a very personal thing at any point in the year, but at this season it seems even more so.
Of course, this time of year also fills me with all kinds of joy, hope and gratitude: seed catalogs and pregnant sheep and goats to tend until it’s almost spring, and then new life appears, bouncy and fresh. That, family, friends, music, good food and a warm house help to keep the dark away. And then who can beat those really cold, clear nights when we are feeding sheep their hay on the snow-covered ground and the sky is full of the winter constellations, clear and bright.
So we surround ourselves with greenery, like the holly from my good friend Jolly (thanks again Jolly!). And then, who can resist smiling when they see this face? Another blessing on any day of the year.
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!