Like December, January was unusually cold, with long Arctic periods in the minus 20s at night and below zero throughout the day. The goat barn thermometer seemed stuck at -20.
There were some gorgeous sunrises
and moonsets, but the temperatures didn't encourage lots of dawdling outside.
The chickens survived by gobblng down bag after bag of expensive feed and supplementing their diet with suet, for which Barb engineered a feeder.
The bolder birds ventured out every chance they got, onto waste hay from the goat barn.
Some didn't seem to mind the cold and snow at all
But one of the gold Araucanas camped out in a nesting box, refusing to leave until temperatures get more reasonable.
Perhaps out of cabin fever, some of the more aggressive hens have been plucking feathers out of their sisters at the base of the tail
leading to some unusual (and cold) tonsures.
Despite the cold, however, the 29 girls are averaging around 14 eggs each day.
Dodger and Niblet cozy together to stay warm
while Dream enjoys a brisk, vigorous brushing while she eats.
When it's too cold to go out, the goats romp in the barn; Alba's Alpine heritage shows in her love of mountaineering.
When the temperature permits, the goats enjoy their time outside
which includes a corncob treat. Here Dodger steals some from Barb's coat pocket
and shows off her own winter jacket.
Majority has adjusted nicely to his new home.
While at first he had to be encouraged to leave the barn
and was kept on a leash for his own safety
he now wanders freely with the others
and always returns after bursts of mad running around.
We hope that spring arrives soon with warmer weather -- and bundles of joy. Dodger is due (we think) on April 9
and Alba on April 18. The sire in both cases is a buck named Wayne, so one of the new does will be named Tammy Waynette.
Dream is due on June 14, if Majority has done his duty.
Anticipating some baby goats and an abundance of milk, cheese and soap to offer for sale in the spring, Barb created a website for potential customers. (It's not too early to think about stocking stuffers for Christmas 2009; how about a cute little doe or buck?)