Saturday, February 9, 2013

Real Snow

We got it.

Wore my tallest muck boots, the ones that touch my kneecaps, for chores this morning, but the snow laughed at my boots.  Then filled them up.  Then melted, saturated my jeans and froze them to my legs. Hahaha! said the snow.

On a brighter note...
aren't my goats lucky to have such nice hay to eat?
All my goats love HayMan.
HayMan is my goats' favorite person in the Whole Entire Universe.

I tried an experiment this morning.  It's something I've been planning to do the next time we had deep snow.  Instead of delivering hay via a straight line between goat shelters in the little paddock, I made a deliberately meandering path.  Here's why:

In snow that is even a few inches deep, my goats prefer to stick exclusively to MY path through the snow, walking along in single-file.  If new snow is more than a few inches deep they will actually linger in their shelter in the morning, waiting for me to break trail for them.

The big babies!

In a typical winter, that means there will eventually be a single, narrow, ice-and-poop-encrusted trail that the goats follow all winter.  They ignore the rest of the paddock that I spent so much time and effort fencing for them.

The fencing is also for me, I suppose.  There is a possibility that at least one of my goats, the big black doe, would prefer to move right into the house.  There she could relax in the parlor, alternately working on her memoir and amusing herself by staring Piper into a state of befuddled frenzy.

So, back to the path.  I would like the goats to use and fertilize more of the paddock throughout the winter.

According to my plan, then - a plan made before there was thigh-deep snow - the first thing I did when I went out to feed this morning was trudge a meandering route through the little paddock.  Took 10 minutes and I'll tell you what: I'm glad I did it first thing, because that is the LAST unnecessary expenditure of energy there will be around here today!

After that little flight of whimsy, what would normally be 20 minutes of bare-minimum chores took an hour and a half, and I came in soaked to the skin with either melted snow or sweat, depending on geography. (Yes, who's the big baby now, eh?  And I used to work in the woods, in the winter, all day long, and loved it.  Shocking!  Or sad.  Or shockingly sad!)

The goats did follow one of the loopy paths down to their hay, and to be fair, even within the paths the snow is still at least a foot deep.  I wish I had gotten pictures of one of the youngsters, thrilled to find himself at the front of the line and leaping like a fish to get through the snow to be First At The Hay!

But it was not a great morning for pictures.  It was still snowing and blowing and dim.  After nearly dropping the camera twice while trying to stay on my feet in the wind, it seemed like that was about enough fun with photography for the moment.  Fun with the shovel called to me.

 I did get this one of Piper's first leap from the porch.  
Piper embraces life, with or without snow.
But even Piper chose to follow my path.

(The big baby!)