Archive for January, 2014

Today’s morning was to be devoted to getting the middle son back to college.  Orono is a little less than a two hour drive from our house.  FH dropped youngest son off at work at seven a.m. Then came back home to load the car for the trip.  FH, myself and middle son left home, car loaded with clean laundry, groceries, a box of bonsai plants, and another filled with kumbucha, kefir and other fermented wonders.

Our road was a bit slick.  It is tree lined so the sun has limited opportunity to melt any snow or ice.  The icy ruts were throwing the car around but we are used to that.  We proceeded to the Interstate.  The Interstate that was a bit more slick.  The speed was reduced from 65 to 45; not that anyone seemed to be paying any mind to that.  The sun was out, temps were almost in the 40’s, surely the ice was melted.  Yeah, no.  FH, mind you he drove milk tanker during the Ice Storm of ’98 when no one else was on the roads, was cursing and creeping along.  The road was covered with black ice.   We saw three or four cars off in the median at various intervals.  There was one 20 mile stretch that was so ice rutted that it made our road seem like dry hot top.  Remember this is the Interstate.  I have honestly never seen it like that.  We finally made it and dropped the boy off with all of this stuff and promptly headed South.  On the way back, we saw four semi trucks in the ditches laying on their sides.  Two of them were heading in the opposite direction.  There were two others that were off the road but still upright.  We made it home just in time to pick up the youngest from work.

We decided to clean out the goats and chickens in the sun and warmth.  FH took the chicken house to clean. Youngest and I worked on the goat pen.  He had to deal with Miss Olive our Nubian bitch in charge.  She does not really like anyone other than me and FH.  She gets all up in the youngest’s face and challenges him. She will rear up and grunt at him.  I laugh.  Youngest swears.  Olive continues to torment.  We pitch dirty bedding.

Much to Olive’s chagrin the girls were cleaned out and their dirty hay was thrown to the pigs.  Sorry that I am not a camera toter, so I could have snapped a few pictures, because those pigs were in Nirvana.  They were rooting and laying in that dirty hay like they were digging for gold.  They would lay down, stretch all out and just wiggle and snort.

Since we had the pens all cleaned out I decided to rearrange the milking area in the barn.  I like to rearrange things, a lot.

So one boy is back to school, the animals are all cleaned out, the milking area is rearranged and everyone is happy.  FH is especially happy.  If I rearrange the barn things then he does not have to turn the light on in the bedroom to make sure the bed is where it was when he awoke.

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The weather has been crazy this winter.  We had an ice storm a few weeks ago. The temperature dropped and the rain fell and froze on everything. There were power outages, many power outages.  We have two generators.  One to connect a multitude of extension cords to in order to keep the freezers and refrigerators cold and a second to power the well pump in the barnyard to water the animals.  We burn wood to heat our house so there are never any worries there.   As I had posted earlier it was cold, booger freezing cold and it was beautiful.

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The Grape Arbor

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My tractor

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Climbing Hydrangea

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Not a hog in sight,all snuggled in their hay filled house.

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Too cold to haul poop.

      This morning it was raining and freezing and the roads were treacherous.  By this afternoon the rain had stopped and it was 50 glorious degrees. So today we basked in the warmth. The warmth that uncovered all of the ice storm tree breakage on the lawns and made paths to any animal area a potential tail bone breaking fall.  But it was glorious!

      Overnight the mercury is once again going to plunge.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a cold 19° with gusty winds.

     I wonder, what next…

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It has been cold, terribly cold.  The snow squeaks under foot.  Your nostrils freeze together. It is booger freezing cold.

Anyone who has entered the goat barn and left the door open longer than it takes to get their butt through has heard me scream at them to shut the damn thing.  But, the girls are warm with their layers of hay.  James is snuggly in his little barn.  The pigs have grown very thick hairy coats and their house is filled to the brim with hay.  Their area actually steams when they are all pig piled in, ready for bed.  The eggs are freezing in the nests, so middle son (home for holiday break from college) is gathering frequently during the day.

Coffee is not cutting it when temps are 30° with the wind chill.  I am thinking this might be what I need before heading out to the barn…

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     Just kidding!

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  Well, 2013 is gone.  I could get all reminiscent and that sort of stuff, but that is not my style.  I am going to relive this past year in lessons learned.

     1. Never underestimate the jumping ability of a horny goat.

     2. Trust your gut.

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     3. Milking a first time freshening doe is a sport in and of itself.

     4. Potatoes do grow in hay, so do snakes.

     5. Birth is amazing, death sucks…unless it is potato bug or Japanese beetle then reverse it.

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     6. Tomato horn worms “glow” under a black light.

     7.  Old tractors always need new parts.

     8. Never plant your squash in a garden that slopes to the goat pasture.

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     9. Pigs do not see well in the dark and will follow a flashlight beam.

    10. Without my family’s help and support none of this would be possible.

May all your lessons in the next year be good.

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