Monday, March 19, 2018


We haven't had new snow in 4 days!
And no snow is predicted until - oh rats.
I was going to type "Saturday" because yesterday the forecast called for a clear week. But I stopped typing to check, and found we are expecting 6-8 inches on Wednesday.

Still. One more clear day!

The snow is still deep. The paths are all packed down and nearly as slippery as ice, so I often just walk through the snow. Especially if I'm carrying buckets, or hay.

Only one gate is functioning now; the rest are snowed in and frozen shut. On Friday, I had to heave a bale of hay over a fence for the goats, then climb over after it and push the bale under the deck on the stilt barn, so it would be protected from rain or snow.
This may not sound like much, but these days, it was quite an athletic feat for me.

Speaking of goats...guess what time it is?

Yes, cashmere harvesting season has begun.
Slowly. It will pick up soon enough, so I am making an effort to do as much combing as possible now to help get ahead of the long push that I know is coming.

When I bring bags of cashmere into the house, I leave the tops open in case there is moisture in the fiber. But the other morning before I was fully awake, I heard an odd rustling sound coming from the table on the porch. I dozily wondered what could be making that sound, then came fully awake with a snap as I remembered the bags of cashmere carefully placed in a plastic carrier on the table. I saw a flash of white as Della hopped off the chair where she had been sitting, busily rearranging cashmere.

The evidence:

I'll have to find a better place for the bags.
Della and Moxie are Wild Girls.

Ms. Piper has also been on a bit of a tear recently!
Raiding the rubbish while I am asleep. Stealing the plastic container of joint supplements and eating ALL of them. Taking off into the woods so frequently that I am now putting a lead on her even to walk down and check the letterbox.
And here's what a cat's little dish looks like when Piper has managed to get to it, two minutes after eating her own big bowl of food:

Maybe it's just cabin fever?

I think I must have the opposite of cabin fever. I've spent the past three days shuffling around, recovering from the longest trip I've made in ages; very worthwhile, but physically grueling.

I left for Maine at 3:45 AM Friday, to visit a cashmere goat expert and try to learn a bit more about this thing I am doing. And it turned out to be four intensely focused hours of information and experience. It was excellent.

You know how sometimes it's the busiest, most knowledgeable person who is willing to generously share their valuable time and superpowers?
It was like that.

One half-hour of the day, I declared "my vacation in Maine."
Here is the sketch to prove it.

When I got home, I knew my Occasional Helper had already done both the morning and evening chores as arranged beforehand, despite this being his month "off." Words cannot convey the gratitude I felt - to arrive home after a 16-hour day, utterly exhausted, and know that there were no chores to be done before I could go to bed.
I did take a quiet walk around with a flashlight, to see each animal and say goodnight. But it was just a pure luxury.

Reliving my Vacation In Maine.
That half-hour has already inspired two sketches.

Which reminds me, I haven't done my daily markmaking and it's getting late, so time to post this and get the sketchbook before I fall asleep. Sleep is a good thing, and if we're likely to have snow on Wednesday, tomorrow will be a busy day.

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods!