Extended Autumn

 We've been enjoying an unusually prolonged fall.
 Seasonal colors began to appear in mid-September
 and then peaked in October
 making for gorgeous walks around the Farm
 down Red Oak Lane
 and Spring Lake Road
 to the lake
 and back again.
The prolonged mild weather also made for pleasant walks
 through nearby Jay Cooke State Park. 
By November the landscape had turned more monochromatic
 but still spectacular
 especially in the early morning light. 
 We got our first real snow on Nov. 10th
 but it was a mere dusting compared with 
the 1940 Armistice Day blizzard (Nov 11-12), which killed 49 people in Minnesota,
[Minnesota Historical Society photo]
or the 1991 Halloween blizzard (Oct 31-Nov 3), which trapped us in our Duluth house for several days.
[Bob King/Duluth News-Tribune]
 This year's first snow was gone two days later when Barb headed down to St. Paul for the Minnesota Dairy Goat Association conference in 50-degree weather. 
 But the woolly bears are still predicting a harsh winter for us
 as is the National Weather Service.
 Bubba isn't quite sure he's ready yet for winter, especially since the matted fur was shaved off his haunches and tummy and hasn't entirely grown back.
 The goats are prepared, however.  Barb installed new barn doors that will let them out into the pasture when they want but that can be closed against wind and snow.
 With night-time temperatures falling below freezing, we've switched to heated water buckets.
 The main bucket is accessible via openings for goat heads
 but the plug is now well protected after culprit(s) unknown chewed through the electrical cords down to the bare wires.  Fortunately Barb discovered and repaired the damage before anyone could fry herself.
 The girls enjoy getting out while the yard is still snow-free
 grabbing the last leaves off of trees
 and nibbling away at the grape vines and raspberry bushes.
 Autumn is breeding season, and Mr. T has made himself especially attractive to the ladies
 by peeing regularly on his own beard and forelegs.
 He spends a lot of his time looking moonily into the girls' pen.  So far he's had romantic trysts with 
 and Dream -- who looks pregnant even when she's not.
 As soon as Alba is in the mood, she will go visit
the handsome and debonair Topper at friend Laura's Split Rock Farm.
 JuJu will visit Mr. T when she's ready.
 JuJu is currently being weaned, so she stays in her own pen.  But mom Lassi likes to hang out nearby.
 When Mr. T is not entertaining the ladies
 he lavishes his affections
 on a very patient and long-suffering Niblet.
 Santa's busiest elf (aka Barb) has been piling up the curing racks
 with varieties of her famous goat milk soaps
much in demand for Christmas gifts.

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