Monthly Archives: January 2014

It’s Starting to feel a bit like Imbolc!!!!

If you don’t know what Imbolc is, well I will explain it a bit.  Imbolc is February 2nd, it is also known as Candlemass or even Groundhog day.  It is kind of the first welcome of spring.  You might see some winter flowers bloom and there is this feel to the air.  Really you can FEEL this sense of hope and growing.  Imbolc actually means, “In the belly”.  A lot of sheep, and in our case goats, are pregnant!! And you can tell now!!  So you  know that soon, oh so soon, there will be babies abound, and MILK!!!  Like I said, it is holiday of hope and the returning of warmth.  Of course, winter is still here, and storms can be severe.  Still, underneath all that, it still feels differently.

So we survived the Arctic Vortex.  It wasn’t fun, but here, this showed up on one of the pages I follow…
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
-Haruki Murakami
I have been through many storms in my life, literal and figuratively.  There really is something about it.  Especially if you KNOW before it starts up that you are about to be tested.  With this storm, there was so much hype.  Really, it seems like the weather has been causing a lot of hype lately.  And not that it shouldn’t, we are seeing a whole lot of crazy things happen.   We live very close to the weather.  I’m not sure if there is a way to describe it other than to say, when you must go outside to check on living things that may die in the weather, you live close to the weather.  When you live in a structure that does not keep the temperature at a regular 70 degrees without you having to do anything but push a button, you live close to the weather.

Anyway, we knew the storm was coming.  We knew it was going to be bad.  We prepared as best we could.  The animals got a lot of hay, we bedded them down with straw and we waited.  Some of us wait better than others.  In fact, everyone waits better than I.  It is mostly funny, I can laugh about it now, that I worry to the point of going without sleep.  Then once it is all over, I find that all that worry and pain, and lack of sleep were not worth it.  As it so happens, this storm was much the same.  We survived, and the animals did well.  In fact, to look out at them throughout the day, you would not believe it was so cold.  They were out, digging in the snow, drinking water and having a gay time.  This is our second year without a real barn.  Last year we saw a pretty mild winter.  This year, it has been quite cold.  However, I am not sure, except for those couple of days of real cold, I would have put them in a barn.  And truly after seeing how they acted, I am not sure they should have been in a barn.  They were fine, more than fine, really.  And they survived, and so did we.  Oh there are still times when I wish we had a barn, but I am starting to feel that our practice of movable shelters is much better since we do not have to worry about breaking pest cycles.  No where in nature do animals sleep in the same place their whole life.  There is reason for it.

So, the cold stopped, and now we have seen almost record breaking cold, and record breaking heat.  We have seen droughts and floods, high winds and oppressive humidity.  We rock.  We survive and carry on.  We come out of the storm tempered, stronger and more sure of our abilities.  We come out not the same person.  As much as I do not like storms, figuratively, I like that we experience them.

What else has been happening???  Well, Conner has been escaping a lot.  This dog!!  He wants to go romping, I understand, but we have no way of keeping him to our land, so it makes it really hard.  When it is snowy, or icy, Natalie has a hard time running with him.  A few days went by and Conner decided to take matters into his own paws.  Once it was the day after the super cold.  It was still very cold.  After a half hour of the girls and I trying to convince Conner to come back inside, we gave up.  It was still dangerous to be outside for a long period of time.  We walked back to the house and Conner followed us, like, “Okay guys, play time is over.  Yeah, let’s go back inside!”  We all almost cried then.  If we had known he would follow us back inside???  We would have went back much sooner.
Another time he went to our neighbors.  Layla was able to tell our neighbor then that their cat has been hanging out at our house.  He informed her that their cat had died.  So now, the cat that we thought was Jack?  Maybe not Jack.  So we will probably try to get him and neuter him.  We changed his name, it was hard to call him Jack and well there is Jack Jack also…  So his name is now Elmer.  Elmer and Esme  sitting in a tree.  Chasing mice and playing in the snow…   Though I do have to say that it is totally freaky if that is not our neighbor’s cat.  I mean, how many black cats with a white spot on their chest do you see?

There has also been not great news on the animal front.  Hattie was doing not well at all before the cold snap, and after we realized she was not going to get better.  So we put her down.  We also took samples from her body and are sending them to the lab.  Though Jack had a hard time trying to get that done yesterday.  Seems the post office doesn’t think you should be able to send those things.  Too bad people do all the time.  He is going to try again today.  I am hoping they let him this time, because well, we need answers.  Given the neurological symptoms we saw I am thinking it was listeria again.  However, just because it looks the same doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been something else.  We want to make sure we know what we are dealing with.  In general, while taking the samples, everything looked right on and healthy, except for her brain which had lesions.

So yeah.  Things are moving along here.  Sometimes they are great, sometimes they are hard.  Such is life.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on brah
La la how the life goes on

New Year and HIbernation

I actually can’t remember the last time we stayed up to cheer in the new year.  To me it seems totally backasswards to have the new year now.  It is the freaking dead of winter.  I understand wanting to have parties and have something to celebrate now, but still, dead of winter doesn’t go with a new year for me.  Why isn’t the new year in spring?

 

Anyway, like I said we don’t really celebrate new years.   However, we do celebrate each month.  Okay maybe it is more like we acknowledge each new month.  See, when I was little, okay maybe still also, I was very superstitious.  One of those superstitions is to say “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit” first thing before saying anything else when you wake up on the first day of the month.  I always thought it was for good luck, but after looking it up with the girls, we found that if you do this you will get a present before the month is up.  I actually don’t like that, so we all decided it was just for good luck.  This morning I hopped out of bed and turned off the alarm.  Now on a normal morning I have to call the girls repeatedly before they turn their light on and start getting dressed.  It seems that Jack’s unable to get out of bed in the morning genes are dominant.  This morning though before I could say a peep I hear, “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit”  “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit”  “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit”  Jack joined in also.  I think we could all use some good luck this month.  What could it hurt?

 

Not much is going on.  I guess there is good in that.  Really, nothing “good” can really happen in the winter.  There are no good happenings.  If anything does happen, it is most likely bad.  No news at this point is good news.  Pretty much the only thing I want to hear when the girls come in from chores is that nothing has changed.  Everyone should be bred, of course not the cows though grrrrr.   No one should be birthing until it warms up.  Everyone should be eating, pooping and peeing. That is all I ask for this time of year.  The animals are doing well.  Even with the insane cold we are getting no one is really even in the shelters.  Of course their hay, water and now their alfalfa is all in separate corners of the pasture with their shelters in the middle.  So they have to travel.  We are getting a good manure spread all around the field.  Which means come spring it will be a nice field.  I hope to only maybe mob graze it once mid summer and let it rest until next year.  Of course, if somehow a farm fairy visited and we could put in a new pond complete with water distribution to all our paddocks, then we would be able to graze year round and not have to worry about having them in a winter paddock.  Still, at this moment we do not have that.  Right now I am just glad that we have a frost free waterer that they can drink out of now.  The weather has been crazy cold.  I just kept myself from crying this morning has I saw our expected high on Monday is 0.  Yes, 0.  Our low is -7.  I could deal with that almost if we were going to get above 0, but we aren’t.  This winter has me insanely down.  I am about at my end of dealing with this cold.  

 

Which leads me to hibernation.  Of course this whole post is kind of about that.  Not much happens in winter.  What does happen is usually in those in between days where it might get to almost 32 outside where we all rush outside to get ready for the next storm or cold snap.  Yesterday consisted of getting alfalfa to the stock and pigs.  Jack got some big square bales of alfalfa.  We don’t have a tractor.  So we get to move these things by hand.  You can’t move a big square bale, they are something like 1000 pounds.  So leaf by leaf I handed them to Jack for him to put away nicely. A leaf still is really heavy.  My arms hurt today.  That was yesterdays excitement. Truly that is enough excitement to last me until February. Though I am sure they will all run out of alfalfa before then.  

The only news that is cute, funny, or at least not insanely boring is that a neighbors cat is courting Esme.  His name happens to be Jack.  Jack could almost be Esme’s twin.   He is mostly black, with just a little bit of white at his neck.  He is fluffier and his eyes are more yellow, instead of Esme’s green.  He comes to our door and meows loudly until someone lets Esme out.  Really, a cat comes and asks our cat to come out to play with him.  Then they run off to play at catching mice.  I don’t mind mostly because I know they are both killers and they are doing their best to cut down on the mouse population around here. I feel I should mention that Esme is spayed.  So any courting will not result in a litter of kittens thank the goddess

So I really hate having another blog post that basically says, not much is happening here, but that is what this is.  Nothing is happening and we are all fine with that.  The sun should start giving us more time to get things done, and hopefully one day our highs will start to regularly stay above freezing.  And that is when my mood will start to improve.  I am not cut out for winters like this.