Hibernation

I am in full-on hibernation mode.
The goats have been dry for several weeks, so chores are a minimum. I’m back in the house by 4:30.
What a gift winter days and evenings are!
I’ve taken up knitting again, and perhaps just maybe I’ll finish that sweater I started for Brad 17 years ago (that would be BG, Before Goats). Mostly I’m knitting in an attempt to keep myself awake after supper. Otherwise, I’d be asleep on the couch by 7 p.m.
On snowy days, and unlike last winter, we’ve had at least one a week since Christmas, we watch movies. The first blizzard, we watched 9 movies in three days. We’ve toned that down a bit to a couple a week.
I’m working my way through my pile of books that has been accumulating for a couple of years. I’ve read three since Christmas, not counting reviewing my bread books.
I’m baking bread again, furiously trying out new recipes to fit into the busy summer schedule. Our neighbor who plows our driveway is the happy recipient of much of this effort!
I’ve cancelled several of my winter cheesemaking classes, so Fix-It Guy can get some much needed repairs and renovations done in the dairy. It’s been too cold this week to get much done, which means more couch time!

ll be lucky if I can fit out the door, come kidding season. I better start my spring training… Kidding should start in six short weeks and then winter hibernation will be over.

Apologies

Apologies to my readers, if in fact I have any, for not posting for so long. Suffice to say that it has been one hellacious winter, and I haven’t wanted to write about any of it.
However, we seem to be enjoying an early and warm spring, so things are starting to look up.
I will try to find something hopeful or funny to write about soon.

Colorless

The monochromatic landscape of winter: gray skies, dirty snow, brown dead trees, leaves, grass. Black and white and brown goats, gray shingled house. Black, white, gray and dirty cars. Where are the colors?

I lust for a two-tone, candy-colored car. I miss the jewell-colored macs. So I had to go buy a pink shirt. Is this why Valentine’s Day is in the middle of February?

Year End Accounting: Taking Inventory

It’s not what you think. 2007 was the Year of the Goat-Inflicted Injury.
Feb: Got knocked down by the goats onto frozen nanny berries, which are like marbles, bruised my knee. It’s still sore.
Mar: Sprain my thumb catching kids during round up for the Easter meat auction. It’s still sore.
Apr: Reduced mobility in my bucket shoulder. It’s still sore.
June: Rip open my leg on fencing while rounding up escaped goats, in the dark, in a thunderstorm. Nice scar.
July: Get front teeth knocked in catching kids during the next meat goat round up. Emergency trip to the dentist. Not covered by insurance. Months of dentist visits to fix. They’re still sore.
Dec: Lay open the back of my hand during goat round up for expensive health check required by the state. Another unfunded state mandate. No trip to the emergency room, can’t afford the time. Lovely scar.
Jan: Buck gets ugly on me, and knocks me down. I whack him upside the head with a shovel, and he just shakes it off and shows off by ripping a board off the wall of the barn. I hope he’s still sore as he boards the meat truck.
Notice a trend here?
Resolved for 2008: No more goat roundups. All cull animals go at one week of age, or in the bucket of a tractor. No more expensive vet visits to test for diseases that don’t exist in Maine. My body can’t afford it.

Full Hibernation Mode

Well, I am in full hibernation mode. With the short days, long nights, deep snow and cold driving me inside, all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch movies… I am only milking a handful of goats, so chores don’t take that long (unless I have to shovel yet more snow). Evening chores are done before it starts to get dark. All the signals tell me it’s time to go to bed, so I have a hard time staying awake past supper.
My sister tells me she can always tell when I’m getting enough sleep, because I start to get new ideas. New cheese flavors and types dance in my head. I find myself tinkering in the kitchen planning new product lines for summer. I truly believe I have time to bake bread and pick up the house.
All too soon, it will be kidding time, when I go from 0 to 60 MPH in about ten days. I have lots to do before then: a full scrub down of the dairy, winter repairs, a new hoop house for the kids. And oh my god, the taxes and financial aid apps for Fiona. Christmas books to read. Web pages to update.
This is the irony of winter. Not enough time.

Snowmobile Hell


It’s been such a snowy and early winter that the snowmobilers must be living on their snowmobiles. Many trails go through our neighborhood, and this year, they are also using the roads. It sounds like a heavy industrial park around here. It drives me nuts. I want to go outside and hear nothing but the snow falling. I don’t want to hear the roar and snarl of those damned snowmobiles.
In contrast, Brad’s iceboat customers have been strangley quiet. Usually he starts getting the calls to get their sails repaired as soon as the first ice is safe. This year the snow came before the ice, and it’ s not looking good for good skating or iceboating ice. Somehow, iceboating and skatesailing appeal to my sense of winter sports much more than snowmobiling. Probably because it’s quiet.

Classic New England Seasons


We enjoyed the most perfect snow day this week. We had no where we had to go; it was a snow day from school, and we’d planned a down day to recover from our weekend holiday sale. The snow was picture-perfect – fluffy and light. We stayed inside all day and just watched it fall, baked bread and ate the whole loaf hot from the oven with homemade butter. Then I made an apple pie for supper.

We continue to get light snowfalls to renew the snow cover. It really is classic winter weather, and fine with me for Christmas.

On reflection, I realized that this fall’s weather was the most beautiful in years, following a summer of perfect weather. I now expect a perfect spring. I just wish it wasn’t four months away…