Friday, May 1, 2015

meeting the matriarch

Today I moved all the goats out of the South Paddock,
so Tsuga could bring her babies down
and introduce them to the bigger goats, 
through the safety of a fence.

Also, so Tsuga could really run around and kick up her heels.
Which she did.

The babies discovered a rock that,
compared to their rock by the barn, is a massif.
It is a continent.

They were ready for the challenge!

Scrambling up, and leaping off.
Over and over and over.

There was a lot of exploring.
Goats explore mostly with their mouths.

Here is Tsuga,
starting her daughter off on what could be
a lifetime of tree destruction.
Nice job, Tsuga!
(If I want to keep particular trees alive here,
it is up to me to keep the goats well away from them.)

I was keeping as eye on interactions through the fence,
to make sure the big goats wouldn't get too rough.
(A goat smashing its head against a fence,
especially when you are a goat on the other side of that fence,
can be a very scary thing.)

Most of all, I was looking forward to seeing LeShodu,
the Matriarch,
meet her greatgrandkids.

I perched in one doorway of the little raised barn,
so I'd have a bird's-eye view.
(A low-flying bird, but still.)

Betula thought this was a great idea.
He immediately trotted up the ramp and 
joined me at the adjacent door.

That lasted about two minutes.
Then he moved over to share my doorway instead.

Even some of the hens had front-row seats!

Right on cue:
LeShodu walked out from her shady spot under the barn.

Tsuga saw her from across the South Paddock
and ran straight over with her kids.
They all stood at the fence, 
very smart and lovely,
looking through at LeShodu
who was only a few feet away.

Here's what LeShodu did:

She ignored them.

She very deliberately Did Not See Them.

She turned broadside to the fence.
She yawned dramatically.

She looked away from Tsuga and the kids, Very Hard.

Then she walked right back into the shade under the barn.


I said, "Betula, did you see that?"

And Betula said quietly -
because he was only a centimeter from my ear -

"My mother has always been...complicated."

Oh, Shodu.

Well, it could have been worse.

The babies didn't seem to feel the snub, by the way...

They scampered off and got busy deciding
how to take down this red maple.

I have no doubt of their eventual success.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

cleaning out the kindling box

During the porch renovation, I put aside all the short pieces of pine that had originally lined the walls between the tops of the screens and the roof. They neatly filled the big kindling box by the woodstove.

 All winter, as needed, I'd pull out a piece of the old pine,
set it on the edge of the box, tap it with my hatchet,
and the kindling would fall right back into the box.
So tidy!

Action shot! See the falling piece?

This s a handful of kindling from one piece of wood.
Multiply this by about 50.
Its been very satisfying.

Piper checking my work: 

(As you see, Piper has also been opening her mail.)

It's been quite cold lately, and daily chores again include
bringing in an armload of stovewood
every time I come inside.

I can actually see the bottom of the kindling box.
The timing is good, because now I can call this,
"cleaning out the kindling box."
As if I am actually cleaning something.

In my house.


I am also burning the few pieces of stovewood
that have been set aside.
Every year, some pieces are just so interesting
I keep them to ponder for a while.

Usually, they are the last pieces to be burned in the Spring.
Occasionally, they are the first pieces
to be burned the following winter.
And very, very occasionally,
they aren't burned for years.

But that doesn't mean they are entirely safe
from destruction.

"Art is not eternal.
Go find yourself another piece of wood."

I hope you are having a warm and pleasant Sunday,
wherever in the world you are.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

day five

Yesterday, Tsuga took her 4-day-old kids outside for the first time. She considered it the day before, but was prevented; I placed a 12-inch board across the barn doorway so Tsuga could step over it to go in and out but the kids had to stay inside, nice and dry. The barnyard area is SO wet. Residual ice is slowly melting under a layer of bedding the hens have thoughtfully thrown out of the barn. I can do nothing about this mess until the ice is gone.

But yesterday was sunny and warm, and when Tsuga called the kids they just leapt and scrambled and tumbled right over that 12-inch board, so I took it down. Then I built a ramp for tiny goats to play on. This involved setting one end of the board on a rock and getting out of the way.

I didn't get any good pictures of the kids on the ramp yesterday, mostly because I was laughing so hard. But if you've never seen the flexibility of kids, you might like this snap:

Last night it was very windy - trees were bending hard and I called Piper back from a romp in the woods because I could heard big limbs cracking everywhere. And it was cold. This morning, long after the sun was up it was still only 32F and there was a biting wind, so guess who was wearing a coat again:

Training for Half Dome

And guess who else was wearing a coat today:

Yes, both the kids were nattily dressed today!

Tsuga is still wearing a bit of cashmere - she's plenty warm!

Here is another little video, taken today.
I moved three of the yearlings into the adjacent pocket paddock,
and at one point, you'll see the babies
meeting Azalea.

Azalea is not a big goat.
The babies are tiny!

Technical (ha!) note: I recommend "muting" this one.
There was heavy machinery roaring
through the whole thing, 
and Campion was yelling his annoyance.
(Which was kind of annoying!)
I didn't think of recording without sound.
Such a rookie...

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

consider the source

According to the news, yesterday was the Queen's birthday.

"You have been misinformed.
It's May 7th."