Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter and Waiting

Winter came precisely on cue this year.  On Solstice, the 21st of December, the air turned bitterly cold.  The wind blew all remaining leaves off the trees and there were snow flurries all day long.  Thankfully, no snow stayed on the ground.  The wind continued through the night.  I heard a loud bang at about 3 a.m. and will look around to figure out what got blown around at morning’s light.

The clouds hang low and ominous.  They look heavy and thick.  We are pressed upon by the charcoal sky.

So, now I will check the goats to see if my theory about kidding holds.  They seem to wait for uncomfortably cold weather to start dropping kids.  There may be a practical reason.  Maybe bad germs aren’t as likely to cause problems.  Who knows?  Maybe it is just to force the goatkeeper to suffer from painfully frozen fingers – but I doubt it.

At any rate, it won’t be long now. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012


It is unseasonably warm.  Daytime temps go from 50 to 70.  We've had no rain in over a month.  Well, unless you count 1/100th of an inch in some places in our region.

I always get edgy when we are in a drought.

Each morning, I stand outside the big barn as the goats go up the hill in single file.  I'm rudely oggling udders, watching for signs of impending kidding.  Our guard llama, Zorio, apes me.  He also stands and inspects the troops.  Then, he follows up the hill, going around to an open gate, as he can't get under the fence opening the herd uses.  He meets up with them and stays with them all day, watching for danger.

Last week, I handled a newborn heifer calf, marveling at nature's perfection.  How is it that complicated biological systems come in cute little packages?  She is tiny, but nursing vigorously, and will likely be a little hulk in a month.

Gracie is in the neighboring pasture, obviously wanting to join the rest of the cows.  She's doing great, but I want her to enjoy the priviledge of grain and hay just for her.  Once she is again in her herd, she'll have to fend for herself.