If you’ve been following my blog for awhile you know that I used to milk Mona – and Bessie was but a babe when I first met her. They are both in the book and Mona graces the cover. That picture of me milking looking all crazed and irritated with wrinkle lines on my forehead? Those wrinkle lines were well deserved because Mona is one tough cookie and my goal there was to get the picture taken before she laid down on the milk stand. So Mona and I go way back.
It was my intent at my little house in the city to buy Mona and Bessie because my friend who owned them needed to sell them. Mona was loud and upset her neighbor and that upset my friend. I realized I couldn’t have Mona at my house upsetting MY neighbors and once I had fallen in love with goats there was no looking back for me. So move I did but unfortunately the house transaction did not go through before Mona and Bessie needed to leave so they went to live with another family on the Peninsula.
I was heartbroken, and so was my friend but life went on. Shortly after we moved here my friend emailed me that Mary was in Greenwood distressing neighbors there so I went and rescued her. And then I went and got another goat briefly to keep Mary company but that goat was not so friendly and she and my son had an altercation so she went back to her former owner and I got Mary’s little wether Starr to keep her company.
Then I got an email that Val (who is Bessie’s sister) and Bell’s were living in Yakima and the lady needed to get rid of them by the weekend so I drove over to Yakima and brought them back. Suddenly no goats had become two goats and two goats had become four goats. Now four goats have become six goats. The goats seem to be increasing in numbers around here nearly as fast as the rabbits. Just wait until spring when each goat has two babies…
It’s been freezing here at night lately, and I’ve had some stern talks with myself when the alarm goes off in the morning. The waters are frozen solid and need to be thawed which entails bringing each one inside the house and running it under warm water. It’s quite a distance from the rabbitry and the poultry yard to the house with an armful of ice blocks. Today the fog never lifted so I could just make out the first ring of trees of the surrounding forest, and the tops of the tallest ones in the cloud cover. It’s quite amazing to live in a place where it can sometimes feel as if you are the only one around.
The chickens mainly stand around with their heads sucked into their bodies like turtles, trying to stay warm.
What was a box of fuzzy day old chicks a matter of weeks ago have become half-grown birds. In the cold they huddle together under the heat lamp, not growing or eating much. Which is why most people don’t start meat birds in October. But this is my year of epic mistakes and experiments. Sooner or later something is bound to be a wild success. I just haven’t hit it right yet.
One other epic failure. While I was in Spokane, my hastily made hoop houses blew over in the wind and the ducks found the winter brassica starts that I got from Cascadian Edibles. All the cabbage and broccoli that was going to be our winter and early spring meals nibbled down to just the cover crop seeds I had scattered.
All the well made plans I had for getting the orchard and garden done this fall, waylayed by kitten-induced bursitis. I’m still hopeful I’ll get the orchard in before Christmas. The garden will just have to wait. In the meantime I’ve got some soft goat ears to nuzzle.