Winter At Last

Our balmy autumn seemed to last forever. We enjoyed the third warmest November on record. After a belated Thanksgiving feast for friends on Nov. 28, Larry Weber led us on a nature tour through our land and that of neighbors Tom & Gretchen.
Stops included inspection of the badger tunnels proliferating in the sandy meadows.
It was a real treat to be out so late without snowshoes or heavy coats.
Goats enjoyed the extended fall, too.
Prima was visiting for a rendezvous with Majority
but she was more interested in butting Dodger and Dreamy through the fence.
Mr. T enjoys the smackdown.
Alas, the unusual weather couldn't continue forever.
The snow finally arrived,
along with sub-zero temperatures and wind-chills down to 40 below.
We finally had to turn off the outside taps and switch to heated water buckets for the goats.
Alba: "What's that rat doing in our water?"
Dodger: "The backstroke."
The goats stay inside on the coldest, windiest days but enjoy getting out when it warms up a bit.
Pan, here to keep Desi company, enjoys an enormous snow cone
followed by some raspberry bushes.
Desi continues to challenge Dodger.
Mr. T comes out on even the coldest days,
and wonders why the does aren't there to meet him in the usual corner.
Niblet likes to peek out the door
but most of him usually stays inside.
Julius is still hanging on but has lost all his insulation to renal disease; he's mostly skin and bones. To stay warm, he follows the sunlight
and snuggles up to his overly padded brother. It's a real challenge to get Julius to eat and Bubba to stop eating.
Why even clothes clean from the washer and drier are covered with cat hair.
Colorful dawns add an incentive to get out and feed/water/milk the goats first thing each day,
and one frigid sunset featured an unusual pillar of light.
For the gift-giving season, Barb made over 250 bars of goats' milk soap,
and could have sold many more, given the demand this year.
Here she inserts Caroline's new seasonal earrings
before the Christmas party at Diamond Willow,
which featured music and lots of great food.
Mr. T joins Bill O'Reilly and the Farmers in wishing everyone Happy Holidays!
(Digital cap courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio's Dale Connelly.)