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Anna No heat
Honeysuckle hedge

For the last two winters, I've debated the pregnancy status of our goats at length. This time around, though, I'm confident Artemesia is pregnant both because her behavior changed markedly after being bred and also because we passed the three-week mark with no signs of heat.

I'd like her to gain a bit more weight before she hits the hard final months of her pregnancy, so we're increasing rations --- more carrots, more alfalfa pellets, and a daily head of sorghum. Good thing I've started being able to expand my own dietary repertoire at long last or I would have been fighting my pregnant goat for those precious carrots!

Posted Fri Dec 9 07:20:58 2016 Tags:
Lucy chewing on creek flotsam.
Lucy likes to find plastic bottles floating in the creek and chew them to death.
Posted Thu Dec 8 15:01:25 2016 Tags:
New clothespin

The cheap dollar-store clothespins we bought when we moved to the farm a decade ago are few and far between at the moment. Some fell to the ground and were lost. Others rotted or split. Suffice it to say, I mostly drape my clothes nowadays rather than pinning them.

Why not just buy new pins? I got stuck on what kind I wanted back when the Deliberate Agrarian started producing high-quality clothespins. Maybe I should pay more for a product that would last a lifetime?

Then, while clearing off my desk in preparation for my painting spree, I found a dozen or so new clothespins, presumably the last of the original batch that hadn't originally fit on the line. Perhaps these will buy me another year or two of indecisiveness?

Posted Thu Dec 8 07:39:08 2016 Tags:
Mushrooms drying on the rack.
An upcoming cold front might make these our last mushrooms of 2016.
Posted Wed Dec 7 16:01:03 2016 Tags:
Selfie with cat

Eight years ago when Strider showed up sick and wet in our barn, he would have been diagnosed with PTSD had he been human. It took years of tiptoeing down the hallway for Mark to prevent our younger cat from running away every time the man of the house entered the room.

And yet...slowly but surely our lost cat has begun to bloom. First he learned to raise a paw on command when Mark offered a treat. He'd sit on my lap and pur more deeply than any cat ever has before. And this year, he learned another new trick --- catching voles.

Ledge catIn the past, Huckleberry has been the hunter in the family. Where we live, this is actually a very good thing since mice try to move into the house every fall and the garden is full of rodents that nibble on our crops. But this year, Huckleberry didn't kill his offerings. Instead, time after time, he brought them through the cat door alive...and let them go.

I growled and complained, but then I realized that our more complacent cat had merely decided Strider was finally ready to expand his repertoire. Sure enough, soon after that final chipmunk had been recaptured, Strider began bringing in voles and consuming them down to the guts, including one massive specimen bigger than any I'd ever seen before.

An online calculator suggests Strider will be turning 48 shortly in human years, definitely no spring chicken. The moral of the story? Whether or not you can teach an old dog new tricks, that rule doesn't apply to cats. Cats, like people, keep growing and changing with every day they spend on this earth.

Posted Wed Dec 7 07:44:20 2016 Tags:
Tossing firewood

When I went on my usual morning walk on Thanksgiving, the world delivered a gift right in front of my bootsteps. My work gloves had been getting holey, but not so bad I was willing to buy a new pair. So imagine my surprise to find a nearly new set on the road, soggy from rain but otherwise intact. Score!

That said, if you hunt along our road (which, no, I'm not going to  name) and lost a small pair of blue gloves with tree patterns on the back a couple of weeks ago, please let me know. They're only lightly scuffed and still quite ready to wear.

Posted Tue Dec 6 07:30:52 2016 Tags:
Wood splitting action shot.
The first day of wood chopping means Winter is coming.
Posted Mon Dec 5 13:50:57 2016 Tags:
Wet goats

We'd gotten so used to this October-in-December that the chilly rain came as a bit of a shock. No more halcyon afternoons lounging with the goats. Instead, it's a delivery of wet honeysuckle then back to fighting the cats for the prime spot in front of the wood stove.

Posted Mon Dec 5 07:33:46 2016 Tags:
Wet garlic

Despite the drought, our garlic sprouted and grew.

Its newspaper mulch is keeping invaders down, but we may still need to hand weed the beds once before spring.

Posted Sun Dec 4 15:40:07 2016 Tags:
Grazing goats

We won't know for sure until she fails to go into heat Wednesday, but I'm already starting to think of Artemesia as a second freshener. She's dried off (finally!) and is starting to shine back up on unlimited fresh minerals and hay combined with a daily dose of oats or honeysuckle.

Unfortunately, Aremesia has also taken to trying to pull me off my feet when I put on her leash and open the gate to lead her out into the garden. I'm assuming this abrupt leap from mild to headstrong is a result of the embryos swimming around in her belly, but I may still have to resort to goat training 101. Even a Mini-Nubian can pull me off my feet if I'm not careful!

Posted Sun Dec 4 07:31:27 2016 Tags:

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