My New (Free!) Cold Frame

My garden is about ready to be put to bed for the season. Some beautiful zinnias remain.

The only vegetables left are the Brussel sprouts

and the turnips.

They’re cold-hardy vegetables and can handle the hard frosts we’ve been seeing in the morning. I’d planned on leaving the second  crop of carrots in a few weeks more, too, but was surprised today, to find them wilted, so I decided to harvest them. However, when I went to pull them up there was nothing but tops! No wonder they were looking so sad. They’d been eaten by an unknown burrowing animal. I even found the tunnel holes in the raised bed. Too big for chipmunks. I’m guessing that a relative of Bugs Bunny did the damage. I fed the tops to the goats, who were happy to get the greens.

I’m ready to take a break from gardening, and was all set to clean up and leave things until spring, but then I found three double-paned glass doors at the town dump. I couldn’t resist. I tidied up a raised bed, planted carrots, lettuce and turnips,

watered, and covered them up with the doors. Voila! Instant cold frame. All I have to do is add a board at the end to keep the cold wind from blowing in.

In a couple of weeks, the trees will be bare, I’ll be wearing a winter coat, and there will be green sprouts in the garden. It’s a nice thought. I hope they’ll be ready to harvest before the furry thief discovers them.

A Bountiful Harvest

It’s been a bountiful year for acorns. They bounce off of my car, they drop on my head, they scrunch underfoot. The goats know where the oak tree is and where the acorns roll.

Pip munches.

Goats have small mouths. Unlike horses, they can’t open wide and grab a big treat. An acorn just barely fits. However, Caper has figured out how to bite, crunch and swallow.

Notice that the boys are dragging leashes. I don’t like them to eat too many acorns, I’m afraid that the diet  is too rich for the wethers (wethers are neutered boy goats, and they are prone to bloat from overeating and to getting urinary calculi.) I use the leashes to lead drag them away from the acorns, and also keep them from my rose bushes. The boys say that they’d be happy to do the pruning. But I don’t think they’ve read any gardening manuals. I tell them that roses aren’t supposed to be trimmed down to the ground, but shouting “no, no, No” doesn’t have an effect on my hard-working goats. Leashes are a necessity.

Tillie Lays an Egg Giveaway

I was coerced asked nicely by the lovely Suzanne at the Chickens in the Road site to provide a book for a blog giveaway. You have until Sunday, Oct. 31, to enter. No, you don’t have to be in costume, but if you do dress up (for the giveaway, or for Halloween) I’d love to hear about it! This is the first year that I will not be helping a son make a costume. Teenaged boys don’t dress up. I’ll have a passel of thirteen-year olds in the basement watching as many Alien movies as they can in an evening. The teenager who can drive is avoiding the younger kids, and going off to a friend’s house where they’ll also watch movies. I’ve been told that it’ll be mortifying if I wear a costume, and although it’s part of the parents’ contract to embarrass your children, I’ve promised not to. Sigh. I will, however, leave my husband at home and spend some time on the porch of our little town’s one and only store, watching the festivities. (There’s a lot of dark streets and  long scary driveways, so the little children go to the town center to trick or treat. Even the police station gives out candy.) I might even put on my google-eyed alien headband.

Meanwhile, do get over to Suzanne’s blog. I can’t wait to hear where Tillie Lays an Egg ends up!

End of Fall Color

My grandfather was a trucker. He told me of driving trucks with solid rubber tires, of hauling logs on roads in Maine, when he’d shift with both hands and steer with his knees, and of doing long-distance runs to Canada with an auto-transport truck (with my mother and grandmother enjoying the ride from the top car!) He always said that the most dangerous conditions weren’t ice or snow, but wet leaves. They’re treacherously slippery and you can’t see the edge of the road.

But, I love it when the leaves come down and narrow my already narrow street. When it  rains, the tree trunks darken, providing a background that intensifies the remaining colors. Don’t worry, Pop Pop Charlie. I’m driving slowly and enjoying the ride.

Goat Bliss

Of the two goat boys, Pip has always been the affectionate one. He likes to give sniffy air kisses. He likes to sit on my lap. He’s happy to spend time near me. Caper has been the indifferent one. He has better things to do – like eat. He’s like the child who doesn’t want hugs. But that’s all changed.

There’s an epidemic of ticks. It’s worrisome, because ticks are vectors for lyme disease, which is potentially crippling. The goats forage in knee-high grass which is prime tick territory. When a tick latches on, they rub themselves raw trying to get it off.

I’ve been checking them over for ticks, and in the process have been scratching their scabs, itching their itches, and removing the nasty bugs. The boys are grateful.

Caper has been especially enjoying the attention. It’s finally dawned in his goat brain that I’m not an annoying person keeping him from his dinner, but that I have an  important purpose, and that letting me do my job feels really good. Caper is now following me around. I’m surprised that he’s not head-butting and goaty pushy, but he’s acting the gentleman. He snuffles, he leans, he shows me an itchy shoulder. I scratch and rub. He smiles. Goat bliss.