Wednesday, March 27, 2019

somewhat wordy wednesday

I'm sorry about the recent lack of updates - cashmere harvesting is well underway, and it's been a challenge just keeping up with daily chores. I've been trying to write ever since I posted that one photograph of Azalea with her newborn girl, but more than once in the past week I have actually fallen asleep while uploading photographs. Jolting awake because you start to fall over in your seat is a very unpleasant sensation, and I don't recommend it!


Here is one of my favorite pictures of Azalea and her little girl,
on the baby's first outing in the barn paddock at 3 days old:

And here is another picture of them, taken this morning:

I wonder what has captured their attention?

Could it be...

 ...another kid?

Vinca's boy was born Monday evening.

Today, both mamas brought their babies out of the barn and into the bright sunshine.
It was still below freezing, but the day gradually warmed up to around 40F.

The girl isn't wearing her jacket because she runs around like crazy outside.
She still wears it at night, though - it's gotten down as low at 18F this week. 

In case you are wondering about names, so am I!
As I've mentioned before, all the goats born here have been named for something that was either blooming or leafing out when they were born.
You can imagine the difficulty I'm having in coming up with suitable names for these two, with the ground still mostly frozen.
Will I have to change my naming system?
I'd rather not.
Feel free to make suggestions.
I'm thinking of calling my BFF (Best Forester Friend) and asking if he's seen something I've missed. Even bud-break would qualify at this point!

Meanwhile, right on schedule at 10 days old,
Azalea's daughter tackled Goat Mountain for the first time:

And at not even 2 days old, Vinca's boy was doing extremely well learning to manage those long legs while climbing around the many obstacles in the paddock:

When Vinca was calling him this evening, I pointed out that
her baby had already put himself to bed in the barn.
He must have had the most exciting day of his life :)


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

Sunday, March 3, 2019

sunny sunday

In recent weeks, there have been woodpeckers visiting my suet feeder every day,
even while snow is falling.
Downy woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers.
Unlike some birds, they never seem to squabble, but nicely take turns.
Males and females of both varieties visit.
I wonder if there will be nests nearby, and perhaps baby birds this year?

This morning, there was also a rare visit from four mourning doves.
They searched the snow under the seed feeder, but I don't know if they found much before flying high into a tree.

I would have liked to toss sunflower seed onto the ground for them, but opening a window would have scared them away, possibly for a long time.

Even from forty feet away and high in a tree, this one seems to be keeping a close eye on me as I take pictures from inside the porch. 

I'll toss some seed on the snow after evening chores tonight, and hope it isn't all eaten up by mice before morning. Maybe the doves will be back tomorrow.

It is a gorgeous day. Not snowing - really, not snowing - and the sky is blue with fluffy clouds. Unlike recent days, the the temperature has slowly climbed above freezing and it's not windy. It's quite pleasant and a bit melty out there.

So why am I indoors in the middle of the day? you might ask.
It has a lot to do with the two cats currently anchoring my legs,
but it probably has even more to do with me feeling lazy and slow.
Of course I have a long list of things to do apart from daily chores, including many little things that weren't done because of all the recent snowy days. But instead of trying to get a lot done, I just feeling like staying put. At least for a little while.

I hope you are having a pleasant day wherever you are,
 whether you are full of energy and embracing the day with gusto,
or whether you are having a cozy recharge like me.