Midnight is our last goat ( we have been buying milk from a friend for many years now). He is 13 years old, which is pretty old for a goat. We lost his mother 4 years ago at age 12. Midnight has always been on the timid side. We didn’t have much time to handle him when he was a baby. He was born right before our grand daughter, Miss Number One was born. As many of you know, Miss Number One was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect that needed surgery. So our days were filled with helping her parents care for her, before and after her 40 day stay in the hospital.
Midnight learned from his mom, Allie, to walk under a hand gate to wander out and eat where they pleased. They always stayed out in the field and thankfully never strayed into our gardens. Midnight was always like her shadow, never far from his mom. Since she passed away he has bonded with our pony Caddy and hates to be away from him. The last two Autumns we thought he would not make it through the winter. Last Fall Midnight was so thin, Dean dug a hole just in case. I had even made an appointment to euthanize him but cancelled a week later. Midnight just seemed to have too much of a will to live, even though i could see his arthritis was progressing. I bought him some goat grain trying to get him to gain some weight. He reluctantly ate it for a week. Since I knew he loved sweet potatoes, I would bake him some, mix in a joint supplement and pulverized grain and made treat balls for him. I am happy to report Midnight seems to be walking better and hopefully in less pain. So far he loves his treats, but doesn’t seem to be gaining any weight. I am hoping he will continuing to enjoy his treats. I have grown rather fond of him and he is putting up with. us!
Even before the official date of Spring, the birds that are year round residents start singing their Spring songs. I always love hearing them signaling not to give up hope, Spring will surely come.
The Spring flowering bulbs begin their growth in fits and starts with every tease of warm weather we get in late winter. But many times they are rewarded with frigid cold temperatures and even ice or snow.
Growing up in rural NJ, we always said the first Robin was a sure sign of Spring. My mother- in- law, who grew up in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, always said the red winged blackbird were the first sign of Spring. Now living in upstate NY, it is not really Spring until our cute little round Juncos leave for Canada. The other day I thought, hmm I haven’t seen any Juncos lately. A few hours later I saw one and another a little later, and now the warmer than usual weather is gone and the cold temps are back.
I enjoy the beauty and renewal of a fresh snowfall, even though I have to shovel a bit, mostly because I choose to have animals out in the barn to feed. Dean’s job however, he doesn’t actually enjoy. He takes on snow blowing our 800′ long driveway, on our 20+ year old tractor. It doesn’t sound too bad except he usually gets all the snow blown back on him. It can take him hours depending on how much it has snowed. He ends up looking like a tall thin frosty the snowman and he probably feels that cold too.
Now the grandkids come from a whole different perspective. What is not to love about snow when you’re a kid? Do you remember? Our daughter is homeschooling so they don’t actually get a snow day from schoolwork. But they still manage to get up here to relish the newly fallen snow. They know when the snow is great for sledding or making snowmen or snow forts. They love our longer north facing hill, we love it too since we get to watch them from our window. We watch and pray they don’t get hurt. Anyway, if there is no snow for a while the hill gets icy and fast, really fast. The kids were not happy when Papa told them it was too dangerous to sled today. But being the smart kids that they are, they found they could sled on the lawn and had a blast. And then it is always time for hot chocolate.
Dean had 2 surgeries over the summer to replace his shoulders that have been bothering him for decades, yes he should have done it years ago ( I think that’s a guy thing ). Anyway he is recovering nicely but not yet fully recovered. He didn’t think he should be cutting firewood so he ordered firewood for the winter, but was not looking forward to the work of stacking it. The wood comes in a dump truck and is dumped in a big pile by the back door.
Our daughter, Nell had planned to come help me wrap soap but we weren’t sure how we would occupy the kids while we were working in the soap shop. The wood was delivered the same day Nell planned to help me. The kids all happily volunteered to help Papa stack firewood, while mom and I worked. Miss Number Eight helped with the soap wrapping until she thought hers sibs were having all this fun with Papa without her. So then she took turns between helping us to wrap soap and helping with the firewood.
Dean was amazed and thrilled that the job was finished so quickly. All the kids helped with great attitudes, did a good job and even had fun.
I knew we would be working outside all day so I thought it was safe to let the chickens have a little free range time. While Dean was working outside, I was working in the soap shop. I heard a commotion outside and went to check on the chickens and realized the we had lost our rooster to the fox. Our new livestock guardian dog was still not quite 5 months old and would not really deter predators until she was much older. For some reason, I didn’t think the fox would be back that day. Boy was I wrong, the next time I heard a ruckus I realized 2 more birds were gone. This time I herded all the remaining girls into the safety of the coop. I feel horrible that I let my chickens down, especially the rooster. He wasn’t friendly but he never bothered anyone, which is what I want in a rooster.
I soon started looking to replace our rooster and my daughter in law found one that needed rehoming from a family in the suburbs. We are still working on integrating him into the flock. We hope he will fit in even though he is twice the size of our chickens.