What a lapse in blogging! The days have been flying by, even by winter weather standards. I think most of us in the northeast can agree that this has been the winter of ice, which was definitely not an easy-to-handle one. Each snow storm we had ended in rain and sleet, and the buildup of ice in all the areas where the shade predominates has been epic.
And so we enter the in-between time of icemud. Not yet mud season, but mud mixed with layers of ice… and everything re-freezes at night. Gotta love it because there is nothing to do about it! I am enjoying these 40F days, though, and afternoon chores are my favorite time of day. The sun is high and warm, and even the unrelenting wind has not spoiled how nice it feels to be outside.
On the goat front, we are just 3 weeks away from our first babies! Eleganza is our Number 1 this year, and is due on April 9th. The other two are due a week later. Our first-timer, Twig, has begun to have a nice little udder, so even though she does not look incredibly pregnant, she is chugging along well.
And so it goes! Spring is not a season that we really have here in Maine, but the trees have buds on them and the overnight temperatures are in the upper 20s and low 30s, which is delightful. Maple trees are tapped and syrup is flowing well. And Daylight Saving time is here, which always makes my day :*)
Rain has finally come to Maine. After all of that snow melted so beautifully and slowly, I couldn’t imagine that we would end up in such a dry spell. (It was lovely, though, as mud season was almost a non-event this year!). Since early Sunday morning we have had pretty steady rain, and it’s back in the 40s again. But we needed it.
When Sunday turned into a day of steady downpours, I took the time to ignore house cleaning and went upstairs and measured off a warp for some towels that I have been planning to weave since last summer. Waffle weave towels, which are one of my favorites. I am using cottolin, which I have never woven with before. So I have hopes of some nice time on the loom in the coming weeks. If I can get this warped over the weekend, maybe I can start on it sooner rather than later!
The days do not disappoint! I can hardly believe the change. 64F on the way home this afternoon, and the snow is rapidly sinking into the mud and the leaves. The birds are beside themselves with song, and the racket they all make from before dawn until after dusk is very welcome. What a relief :*)
We are coming into the home stretch of the days leading up to kidding. SnowPea is due a week from tomorrow, on Wednesday April 22. She usually goes a day or two more, but we are getting there. Pippi is not due until May 9th. Both girls are showing signs of udder development, which had me dancing through the mud the other day. I keep hoping that I might get a doeling from SnowPea, but in all the years she has kidded, she has only once had a doeling (who met a bad end, strangled in a basket feeder). Each year I have new hope, but usually she has twin rams, and doesn’t look back. Ah well, it’s all as it needs to be, but she continues to be my good buddy and my favorite milker.
This afternoon I had a chance to clean out a corner of the hay greenhouse and then I took some time to sit on the rock and enjoy the sun and the breeze. Marigold the Amazing always joins me up there, and today she begged for a Spring Selfie. And she got one :*)
Three more intense work days until April break. I am ready!
I have been feeling as though we are living through a second mud season this year. We have had so much rain and so many warm days and nights, doing chores means doing battle! It’s about this time of year that John usually gets to cleaning out the paddocks, but a whole host of things have pushed that back a little. We are replacing our “temporary” set of back steps with the real thing, which is quite the relief. John and a friend have been working on that so the paddocks remain a mess for now. When the nights start getting consistently cooler the ground will firm up, but when we keep getting 2-3″ of rain in a day or two, it just doesn’t seem right.
In the midst of all this muddy fun, Jim and Pam of Hatchtown Farm decided to get a whole piggie out of their freezer to make some room. And they invited a whole bunch of nice people over to share in their pig roast this past Sunday! I think the plan had been to have most of the afternoon outside near the big roaster, but (what a surprise) it was raining again, or at least cold, damp, and about to rain again. (It did start to rain late in the afternoon, so I was very glad the party was moved inside). There was a lot of wonderful food and it was very good to see some of our farmer friends socially. They were able to borrow or rent an oil drum roaster, and the pork was delicious. Everything was delicious… I should have taken a photo of the groaning table! Getting out of the house for such a pleasant afternoon is such a nice change from slogging through the mud and working at all of those things on the “to do” list.
Spring is here and lambing is coming along… we have 5 lambs so far and seven more ewes to go! The lambs are enjoying their freedom as the days are getting longer and (maybe?) a little warmer! The header above is a picture I took about a month ago at dawn of the top of the winter paddock area. The snow is melting now, but the temperatures don’t seem to be cooperating yet. Soon we won’t be complaining about the snow, we’ll be crying about “mud season!”
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!