The whole voice of this blog changes depending on when I get to sit down and write. I had this blog post planned in my head, mostly talked through with my girls(the goaty ones) while milking. They very much agreed, this is the season of love. They are sure feeling it. Khonsu is feeling it. Blackie, while misdirected into thinking that goats is the way to go instead of his own species(cows) is still feeling it.
It is nice to see when everything is going to sleep rumenants are just getting started. Life is beginning while nature is slowing down. It is kind of like this tiny seed of hope that spring then summer will return. And with it lots of babies. While, as a pagan at least, I celebrate this at Imbolc, this is when it really starts to happen. There never really is a time when all is dying or lost. When life is dark. That really meshes with what I believe, there is never total darkness. I don’t believe in black and white, just shades of gray. While we are entering the dark time of year it makes total sense to see the hope and glimmer of new life. I do see how most people would not see it though. Get a bunch of randy goats and sheep and maybe it will help you get through the winter with thoughts of cute little animals in a few months…
That brought up I wanted to tell you all about our tv. Yes yes, I know. You didn’t realize that even though we live off grid that we still have tv. Every morning we all get a little screen time. We watch “All boys are stupid when all they can think about is sex” I find this show to be highly entertaining and so do all of my daughters. Of course playing at the same time is “Girls are also stupid when all they can think about is sex”. I think it is very educational. In case you do not understand my humour, let me describe an episode that played recently. Imriel, a very small shetland ram decided that he was not fond of Blackie a jersey bull sniffing HIS ladies behinds. He then proceeded to RAM Blackie senseless. To which Blackie bulled and pushed Imriel around the pasture until he was panting. There was also an astounding moment where Imriel was thrown over Blackies shoulders.
This is our entertainment. It is needed because putting up with some of the crazy things the animals do, well, we all need to laugh sometimes.
They are doing alright though. Handling the cold and wet like troopers. We are arranging their winter pasture scene and ordering hay and straw. I think it will be alright. We had an interesting evening tonight. We are trying to move the pigs to a better location. See, we want pasture pigs. We want pigs excited to see grass. We also want pigs that will follow a bucket. These little pigs aren’t so little anymore. They are more like 50 pound concentrated squirming little big crazy weights. All attempts to herd them to their new place went bad. Well, not bad, just they did not have the results we were looking for. So Jack, the pig whisperer and insanely fast man, sat quietly next to some feed, in this case apples and deer parts, and waited patiently until he could grab one. Really. Then Natalie or I dragged the crazy pig to the new pasture. I am not sure if words could express how not easy this was. Nope, there are no words. One day you should try to wrestle 3 month old pigs. Yeah, just try that. We caught all but one. We are hopeful that tomorrow all eight of the pigs that we did catch are still in their new pasture and that we can catch the last one. That is our hope.
It has been really cold the past few days. There hasn’t been much sun and the winter blahs are settling in. We didn’t have to deal with them much last year, it was pretty sunny throughout. So far we haven’t been so lucky. Our house does not heat up well without sunshine. Oh if the sun is shining we are nice and toasty in here. But without it we have a hard time getting to 60. The girls don’t really have much problem with this, they seem to be able to handle it much better than I can. But me? it is rough. We drink hot tea all day. Inside I am usually wearing three or four sweaters, two pairs of pants, a long wool skirt and two pairs of socks. Add to that one or two scarfs and my hat. The benefit of wearing clothes like this is that I can run outside for short bits of time, say to get firewood and not be cold. The downside, or reality is that it is because it is only about 20 degrees colder outside…
So it is a couple of days later. I have been writing this in bits because we have been so low power. The pigs have settled nicely. They share a fence with stock. It was part of our plans to let them in with stock, you know to learn how to graze… The little buggers beat us to it!! They can get through the gate and have been hanging out with all the goats and sheep and cows. They go and eat hay with them, they go down to the cattle waterer. So it is going well, so far.
We did get a tons of hay, straw and a little alfalfa delivered over the weekend. The great thing about living in community is that you can put the call out to everyone to see who might need some hay or straw and share delivery costs. Jack was borrowing someone’s bobcat and he delivered the big round bales to everyone. It took a good part of the day but we are now more ready for winter and so are our neighbors. It is a great feeling.
I have been hard at work sewing up thermal curtains for our windows. Given how cold and unsunny it has been I figured I would get to that this year. I have a little less than half done. I am hopeful that they will look alright and be mostly functional. I do not sew well. These are being hand sewn also. Oh so special looking but hopefully no one looks too closely.
Oh and due to the fact that everyone is being bred I have started to wean the goats. It makes me sad and leaves my mornings slightly empty, but I knew it was going to happen eventually. It is just a few months away that I will be starting up again. I hope I don’t totally lose my milking muscles.
I was talking to Jack about something and he thinks it is a good idea. I am not sure how many people will do this challenge, but I am curious. Remember, I do not like the cold. I should have had this challenge in the summer also, but dealing with the heat was not hard on me and challenging people to do the same, well it never occurred to me. SO!
My challenge is this, turn your thermostat down to 56 for three days. If you are brave turn it down to 40 at night, that is about what it is in here when we wake up. Or you can just turn it off. We don’t burn a fire at night at all. Our wood stove completely sucks and it totally inefficient not to mention being probably too small to heat our space…it is on the list of things to be replaced. Anyway, pick three days where you are going to be home all day. We don’t leave, unless it is going outside to do work. That does warm you by the way, if you are really chilled going outside and doing something or other helps a lot, as long as you don’t work so hard that you start to sweat… Anyway, so that is my challenge, turn down your heat. Wear more clothes, you will probably have to. Anyone? Anyone? Will you? Will you comment and tell me how it went for you?