The daylight is growing shorter. The air is getting colder. Snow flurries herald the winter solstice. Firewood is being chopped, stacked & burnt. The farm had an odorous, musky scent. Sounds of blubbering & bawling were heard constantly day & night. Less & less milk daily.
What does this all mean?
Things are winding down here at The Two Nickels Farm. We are done with breeding season, I think. We managed to get 12 does bred to 5 different bucks. We are expecting kids the end of March through the end of April. The Girls are looking forward to their time of not doing a whole bunch of nothing but growing kids. I'm looking forward to giving my hands a break from milking. I'm not looking forward to not having fresh milk to do as I please with.
I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of the kids that I'm anticipating this spring. I get giddy thinking about all the little balls of bouncing cuteness. Think I'm exaggerating? Georgie says there is nothing cuter than a baby Lamancha kid. The boy knows what he's talking about. He cried the first time he witnessed a goat birthing. It's a beautiful thing.
In the meantime, I'm helping the Girls pace themselves to dry off. I'm monitoring their conditions. Are they snotty, coughing, eating, chewing their cud, walking or alert (other than sleeping)? How do their feet look? Do they need trimmed now or later? I check the inside of the lower eyelids to see if they are anemic to see if the possibly need wormed. I just play mother hen to my Girls to try to keep them in tip-top condition for the upcoming deliveries.
To keep myself from fretting over the goats too much, I still have other areas of the farm to tend to. The gardens need to be put to bed for the winter. Weeds & dead plants need to be removed & chucked into the compost pile. A top dressing of compost & manure needs to be applied to give nourishment to the tired earth that gave what it had to produce healthy vegetables for us to consume.
Let's not forget that while we remember what the garden reared, we need to look to the future of what we may try to coax out of the gardens. That means seed catalogs!! Oh how I love thumbing through the pages of the
various seed companies inventories. I could spend hours ogling the different varieties of heirloom species. It takes me back to the time when food wasn't massed produced to sell at a grocery store. The heirloom varieties were grown for their flavor not trans-portability. We can talk about that another day!
As for the upcoming months of cold & darkness, we will wind down & recoup the energy that was used up in last 9 months. 3 months of scaled-back chores, reading, learning, planning, observing & waiting. The best part of being stuck in the house during the long evenings? The house might, just might, get thoroughly cleaned! Maybe....