Cool, dry, green

It has seemed an unusually cold and dry spring so far.
The only moisture in the air seems the morning fog off the near-freezing ponds.

It was so cold that we fired up the furnace again on May 27.
Bubba and Julius, who usually stay far away from each other except during the winter, have been forced to cozy together for warmth.
The fields have greened up nicely, though, despite the weather.
The woods are full of marsh marigolds
delicate little flowers
and fiddleheads on the ferns.
New growth amid deer bones and dry leaves.
Fresh burrows are proliferating in the meadows
and the apple trees are blossoming
including the ancient one in back of the house
Lilacs, long past their prime in most places,
are finally open here.
The goats are doing their best
to keep all the greenery in check.
Majority is lord of the manor, much of which he tries to consume.
Artful and Tammy Waynette still gallop everywhere they go
with occasional rest periods when they join Barb in a chair
and indulge their taste for clothing.
Now that one of the stump piles
has been buried in the west field
the goats enjoy playing on the bare hillock
which is now their arena for chases
and especially for combat.
Majority and Niblet like to tussle on their stump piles, too,
but they'd just as soon sit back and watch the chick fights.
Meanwhile, Dreamy the Octogoat is getting ready to deliver on or around June 14.
She doesn't spend much time on her feet these days, preferring to watch the more svelt and active goats from her favorite nest site near a door.


Early May

Some additional sad news to report:
Little Heldig was doing well enough by one week old to accompany his Mom outside.
While never as robust and energetic as his cousins Artful and Tammy Waynette,
he was getting spunkier
and enjoyed his daily romps in the grass.
By his second week he was gaining normal weight and developing his own personality.
He liked to butt against people as if trying to knock them over
and he loved to chew on fingers
as Janet discovered.
Pants legs were a taste treat, too.
After his second week, though, Heldig suddenly weakened so much that he could stand for only a few moments at a time.
Then he was no longer able to drink from Alba. Barb tried various medications and kept him alive by feeding him milk through a tube snaked into his stomach.
The vet who examined him found that he was no longer developing any muscle. Something in his system had shut down; he couldn't support his own weight and was starting to have trouble breathing.
On the vet's recommendation, Heldig was euthanized toward the end of his third week. He will be examined by the University of Minnesota Vet School to determine the exact nature of his problem and to see if Alba can safely be bred again next year.
We miss him a lot.
On a brighter note, Artie and Tammy are doing fine.
The little hellions love to climb the hay bales in their barn
even under the disapproving stare of aunt Dream.
Tammy waits impatiently to get outdoors
where the dynamic duo sees what more trouble they can get into.
Niblet and Majority have moved to the former chicken coop
and current gentleman's club
where they're enjoying the spacious indoors facility
(note the heavy fencing meant to bear T's increasing weight)
and they especially like their extensive outdoors area
which includes a pile of stumps to play on and nibble.
They're getting along extremely well together easing our fears of what might happen when they were separated from the does and living in their own dorm.
T enjoys a rest in the shade.
Niblet tries to debark a willow tree while out for his daily walk
and then hops up onto Barb's lap, convinced that he's still a 16-pound baby instead of a 130-pound hunk of wetherhood.
Though she's not due until June 14, Dream is huge.
She may turn out to be the Octomom of the goat world.
Other critters are making our spring exciting, too, including a phoebe on the other stump pile
and bufflehead ducks on the pond.
With the soil warming, Barb fired up old Earthquake
and prepares the gardens for a bumper crop.