Sunday, March 17, 2019

random weekend snaps

We've been having more strong winds.
These are not small branches.

I thought you might like to see what an
8-foot-wide hay bale looks like.
I probably should have put something on it for scale.
Piper, maybe.

A peaceful moment for Iris and Rocket.

Today Iris was combed for the first time.
Not so peaceful, but we took our time, got through it,
and were still friends at the end.

By the way, you can see why I've started calling her "Tiny Iris."
Literally from the moment of their births, she's been on the petite side,
and her brother has been on the solid side.
When you see them together like this,
the difference in the two extremes is really emphasized.

Daily markmaking continues!
This was Friday, #439: a dried zinnia head from last year's gardens.

This photograph of a hairy woodpecker could be clearer, but it was taken from 12 feet away and through two layers of glass. I'm glad I put this suet feeder close to the porch, because I've discovered the sound these birds make - a sort of whistly cheep, repeated, with a silent beat in between.

Every morning a woodpecker politely approaches the feeder,
and sounds so delighted and surprised to find the suet:
cheep?! pause cheep?! pause cheep?! pause cheep?!
It makes me smile.

I hope you had a lovely weekend!
Isn't it amazing how much daylight we're seeing now?
It's 7 PM and I can almost see the barn.
Even with the clocks moved ahead one hour, that's a nice change.

Friday, March 15, 2019


Tsuga looks pretty pleased with her branch.

We've had some strong winds recently,
which have brought down many small - and some not-small - branches.

Fern was perfectly happy with her branch.
Until she saw Tsuga's branch.

At this time of year, I only move branches and fallen trees if I'm going to trip over them. I can't afford the extra leaning.

Fern says, "Mama, why don't we share?"

The goats spend hours nibbling on branches and downed trees.
I believe they find nutrients in the bark, buds, lichen and moss, and even the wood.

Iris has found a little stick All For Her Own Self!

Or so she thought.
Brother Rocket decided he would like that stick

Tansy found a nice branch, but then reconsidered.

"I'll have my timber 'straight up' today!"

In other goat nutrition news, I had 1400 pounds of hay delivered yesterday.
This made me deliriously happy.

It's in two massive bales.
Each one is 8 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet.
They were delivered in about 10 minutes with a skid-steer:
up my ice-covered driveway and straight into the roundtop.
It was beautiful to watch.

Unlike standard bales, which are carried one by one from the roundtop to the barns and then opened up and distributed to the paddocks,
these bales will have to be opened in the roundtop and then large amounts of loose hay will be transported over ice and snow and - soon - mud.
I hate wasting hay, and loose hay is...loose. I don't want to leave a long trail of hay everywhere I carry it, twice every day.
So I'm going to try to come up with one all-season transport method that will be effective, efficient, and which I hope will not require buying anything.

Fortunately, I don't mind a challenge. And there's a weekend ahead.

What new fun are you planning this weekend?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

brief bird bulletin

I've been scattering sunflower seed on the ground,
hoping for a return of the mourning doves.

I haven't seen them yet.

Happily, I love cardinals, too.


Monday, March 4, 2019

back to normal

Again with the snow.

I don't know why the snowplow goes back and forth in front of my driveway,
over and over again.
It's a small road.
Even though there is a little intersection with another small road,
it seems like once or twice in each direction would do the job.

But the driver drops the plow with a sound like cannonfire
then scrapes loudly forward
- I can't think of an adequately loud grinding sound to compare this to -
for 15 seconds or so,
then lifts the plow and reverses a bit,
then drops the plow (BOOM!) and scrapes loudly forward again.
Over and over and over.
This morning I stopped counting at 16, but it continued on.

And this morning, as usual, it began at about 330AM.
This has been "normal" lately, including several times in the past week.

I am happy that the road is being plowed, but I wish I understood the method.
In general, I believe that when people understand what is being done and why,
there is a much better chance that everyone involved will be happy.
That's why I consider environmental education and forest management outreach programs two of the most useful jobs I've done so far.

So, if any of my readers drives a snowplow on back roads in a tiny rural town,
please talk to me in the comments.
I'd really love to be able to embrace these 330AM wake-up calls.

imagine big yawn inserted here