Friday, April 12, 2013

indoor chores

It's a raw and rainy day.

Fortunately, there are many indoor tasks awaiting my attention.

Many, many indoor tasks.

I could be doing some of this, for example:

The only thing standing between me and an emulation of Ruth Kellogg's perfectly-postured sweeping* is that my floor is a teensy bit less available than the pristine hallway above.  In fact, the floor is cluttered with boxes and bags and more boxes.

At the moment, walking through the house is an exercise in Interpretive Dance.

Advanced Interpretive Dance.

Because last week, three days into a wrong-headed effort at "organizing" everything I own, just when things looked vastly worse than before I began...

the weather changed.

All indoor work was immediately suspended in favor of an outdoor project, because after months of winter, a clear, warm day is a gift.  A treasure. An opportunity not to be wasted.

And when the bright and breezy weather persisted for several days, the indoor situation settled into an uncomfortable familiarity, whilst general outdoor puttering continued.

And it's been worth it.  There's been a lot of outdoor puttering underway, with at least a bit of progress made on several tasks.  The most satisfying accomplishment is this: after thinking about it for a year, I finally tore out the corner shelving in the little goat barn, removed all the feed and grain bins, and made a tiny stall adjacent to the Main Lounge area.

Here are a few snaps from the GoatCam, just to give you a highly-distorted, wide-angle, low-resolution idea:

original lounge area, with stanchion

Lily by stanchion, for scale

Lily in the little stall, connecting door on right

And here's Violet just visible - see the white ear? - in the corner of the little stall while Lily is in the original area.  The opening between can be quickly gated shut if necessary.  For now, it is like a connecting door in a hotel suite, and the girls spend much of their time to-ing and fro-ing between their rooms, checking out the courtesy bar and waiting for Room Service.

Although I might have gone to all this work just to entertain the goats, in fact there is a good reason.  (Perhaps I should say "another good reason," since I appreciate the value of habitat enrichment as much as anybody.)  Now it is easy to temporarily separate a goat but still keep her or him within the barn group.  Goats are herd animals through and through, and even when they suddenly do not like each other for some reason, they still want to be in close physical proximity.  A goat alone is a very unhappy and stressed goat.

And touch wood that it won't be needed, but from a herd-management perspective, it is always nice to have a "sick bay" for non-contagious issues.  Heck, if I start feeling poorly, I may move into that stall myself.  It's pretty cozy.

In addition to all this hammer-an-nail stuff, much mundanery came and went.  The most exciting moment was during a walk in the woods with Piper.  She was running far in front of me, as I ambled along enjoying the possibility that Spring will really, truly come.  Then I came around a corner to see Piper walking merrily straight toward a pair of ducks.

Piper was walking on shoreline ice.

The ducks were in open water.

"Piper, COME!"

Grey hairs?  Yes, I've got them.

It just started snowing again, so before I bring in another load of wood for the stove, I will close with a hopeful gesture:

Organic seeds, organic seed starting mixture, organic eggshells.

Fingers crossed!

*Miss Ruth Kellogg demonstrating correct postures for various forms of housework. 1921-26. Source: Div. Rare & Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library