We’ve been having torrential rain for three days without a break. Snow piles are melting. Ice is disappearing into what are now raging rivers. School was delayed several hours, and the children living on North Road were given an excused absence. The bus can’t reach them. The wind is gusting. In short, it’s a mess out there.

Goats do not like to get wet. They’re bored. Chickens don’t like the wet either. They’re cooped up inside, annoyed with each other. The dogs are sulking. But, the Beast is swimming in her now much enlarged pond. At least she’s happy.

On The Road

I’m leaving first thing tomorrow morning on a road trip to the Adirondacks. I’ve got a 300 mile drive. The weather won’t be great – it’ll be raining, but that’s better than snow in the mountains. Despite the lack of sun, I’m looking forward to the trip. My best friend, who I met at UNH when we were both working towards a BS in Animal Science, lives in the southern end of the Adirondacks. I’ll get to spend the night at her home. Melissa lives in a house that she built herself (really built, as in did the hard work with hammers and power tools, etc). I can’t wait to put my feet up and have a long conversation.

The next day, I’ll be giving a talk at The Wild Center. Check out their web site. I love nature centers. And nature centers with otters? The best! I’ve never been that far north in New York State, but I’ve heard it’s one of those places that gets into people’s hearts.

On the way home, I’ll be stopping here. Good thing I won’t have a chicken in the car with me. I’ve been to the King Arthur store before, and I always tend to get carried away. Without the chicken crate, I’ll have room for all of those interesting flours, and five types of chocolate chips! I have the $10 from this week’s egg sales in my wallet. I’m thinking I’ll use it to splurge on baked goods at the King Arthur cafe. Then again, I might find something on my drive tomorrow. You never know with a road trip.

The Real Sign of Spring

I vowed that I wouldn’t write a cliched post about spring. No photos of an emerging crocus or apple blossom here! Well, spring is here, and I couldn’t do such an overworked topic, even if I wanted to. The mornings still sparkle from a hard frost,


and there’s nary a crocus in sight.

But, there is incontrovertible proof that spring has arrived. This:

eggs for sale

This week I collected enough eggs to sell 3 dozen! It makes me happy to think that my neighbors are enjoying the good eggs from my flock. I also admit to like having the bills that my customers leave in the jar. There’s something about “egg money.” It’s only a few dollars but it makes me feel rich. I can only imagine how a farm wife felt about the money she brought in from her own flock. Often, it was the only money that she had. Even more importantly, it was her money. In an economy where there was little cash, and the main farm income came in seasonally, with long gaps between earnings, having that saved away jar of egg money was often, literally, a life saver.

My egg money goes in my wallet. I’m having coffee with a friend later this week. When I spend $4.00 for a latte, I’ll thank the girls. It’ll make the coffee that much more special.

Spring Clean Up

snow on the ground

Although there’s still old snow in the shady areas, most of the yard and animal pens are looking end-of-winterish. There’s mud. There’s manure to rake up and dog messes that hid in the snow all winter that I need to pick up. Not a very attractive description – but, with the sun out and the weather in the 50’s, there’s a hit of green, which makes it beautiful.

It was a perfect day for a clean-up. While I mucked out the goats’ stalls and raked their yard, the hens had an outing. Here are Lulu and Buffy multi-tasking. They’re dust bathing and pecking for bugs at the same time.

spring baths

Candy had a romp in the goats’ yard, and had a snack on mint shoots.

Candy eating mint

Meanwhile, the goats got in the way. They also got in the compost pile where I was dumping their old bedding. Hay that they had rejected in their stall, becomes appealing when it is somewhere they’re not usually allowed.

Pip in compost pile

After giving the goats all new shavings and fluffing their hay, I did a spring cleaning in the HenCam coop. Cobwebs were brushed off the ceiling, the floor swept, even behind the food bins, and a messy catch-all shelf was cleared off and dusted. When I started sneezing and couldn’t stop, I decided that I’d done enough.

After showering and putting on animal hair and dust-free clothes, I decided to check my email. Just to take one more look at my hard work, I clicked on goatcam. What a sweet picture. There were Pip and Caper, lying down in their clean bedding, chewing their cuds. Then Caper tried to stand up. But, somehow, he was under the water bucket. He stood up anyway. The bucket tipped and the water poured out. I saw his ears swivel. What’s that water noise? I saw him thinking. Oh. My bed is soggy. The goatmaid should keep this place nicer. He carefully made his way out of the stall.

Back I went to the barn. I sopped up the two gallons of water with a towel. I shoveled wet bedding. I put new shavings down. Good-night boys, I said. Thank-you, they said. Can we have a bedtime snack?

I am off to the shower, again.

Scooter Keeps Up

Scooter on a hike

Three years ago, I decided that Lily needed a dog companion, one that she could rough-house with and challenge to tug-of-war games. On, I located a twenty-four pound corgi-mix who had just found her way into foster care and had whelped a litter of pups. I went to see. I was sure that the boy pup was just what I had in mind – a corgi-terrier -a tough mid-sized farm dog. I was wrong. Dad must have been a chihuahua. Scooter maxed out at 10 1/2 pounds.

I’ve never been a toy dog lover. I’ve no desire to dress up a dog, or baby a shivery, nervous, twitchy little thing. I think he’s relieved. He does shiver, and likes to sleep in sunny spots, but Scooter hates, hates, hates, to wear coats. He does not want to be carried around. Although he doesn’t play tug-of-war with Lily, he does bite her toes and makes her chase him.

Today we went for a walk in the woods. It was icy and muddy, but Scooter kept up. He leapt raging rivulets of water! He waded belly-deep through cold mud! He sniffed smells that needed sniffing and he left his mark on every three-inch high mound of turf. Scooter says he might be little, but he’s no toy.

This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his creature comforts at home. Even the big dogs get to curl up and rest.

Scooter at rest