Xmas in May

After a highly unusual lack of snow in March and April

the white stuff began to fall on the morning of May 7;
most of it melted as soon as it hit the ground
but as the day went on the snow began to accumulate
providing an eerie glow by late afternoon.
The next morning looked quite Christmassy
(and more typical of spring in northern Minnesota)
but the snow vanished quickly
and was completely gone by the bright sunrise on May 9.
May is the best time to walk in our woods
before the grass and ferns get too tall and the mosquitoes start to swarm.
Flowers are still blossoming
and new critters arrive every week, including web worms.
Although gophers have displaced them around the house and barn, chipmunks still scurry through the woods.
Last week we saw a black bear in the meadow next to our place, perhaps the same one who left a calling card in our woods near one of the more luxuriant raspberry patches, as if to claim the spot for herself.
Apple trees are blossoming on the south lawn
and the pair of geese we've been watching finally brought their babies out of hiding.
They patrol the pond regularly
and so far have kept all five goslings safe from coyotes, snapping turtles, and a persistent gray fox who has been patrolling the area regularly.
We've seen the fox run off with a number of gophers (or "thirteen-lined ground squirrels," as friend Larry Weber calls them)
but we're in no danger of running out of the little buggers.
Swallows are nesting in the bluebird boxes
and orioles have returned to brighten up the front yard.
The goats are enjoying the heck out of a large pallet that friend/neighbor Tom donated to their outside area.
The goal of the game is to knock everybody else off the platform.
Fearless Crema takes on aunt Dodger, who outweighs her by a hundred pounds.
The littles are learning to jump up onto the spools
for another version of Queen of the Mountain
punctuated by refueling visits to Mom.  (The three of them still haven't come to terms with the fact that Alba has only two teats -- they still all crowd under at the same time).
They're doing their best to devastate the raspberry bushes by the house
and look for ways to get at the protected trees.
Even before it's completely fenced in
they're enjoying their new expanded browsing area in the south meadow
with its wealth of grasses, trees and brush.
(Dream always takes time out for a good scratching session.)
Even the smallest trees are a special treat.
It's been fun to watch the babies grow up so strong and healthy.  We're enjoying these last weeks with them.  Loki (above)
and his sister Dancer will be moving together to a farm in Bayfield on May 21.
and Crema will be moving together to Moose Lake before long.
We'll especially miss Crema, the friendliest of Alba's babies.