It's been the driest start to a winter season in almost 50 years.
Our area has received only 4.3 inches of snow -- 18 inches below average -- and most of that melted on unusually warm days.
Spring Lake is frozen and one intrepid fisherperson has a hut out on the ice,
but it just doesn't seem very Christmassy yet about a week away from the 25th.
The Farmers are mostly concerned about next year's clover hay crop, which could suffer in a drought.
The Weather Service, though, is still predicting above average snows in this La Nina year. And the last time the area had an even slower start to winter (3 inches of snow through Dec 11 in 1962), the later months made up with 45.4 inches the rest of the season.
We hope the snow and "well below normal temperatures" (also still predicted) don't wait till March, when oodles of cute goat babies are due to arrive.
JuJu (here trying to extricate herself from the hammock) is finally weaned, bred and incubating one or more Topper offspring.
She still likes to hang out with her mom -- and eat what little snow remains.
Alba also traveled to Kettle River for a romantic interlude with
the devilishly handsome Topper
as the local herd cheered from the sidelines.
It was a chance to catch up with Alba's daughter Crema and granddaughter Carmella
along with other daughter Rosa and her girls.
With her fuzzy face, Lily is ready for the real cold if it ever gets here.
Kara-Kahl Awe Baby is the latest addition to the Split Rock Farm family.
Mr. T recently entertained some does visiting from Washburn, Wisconsin:
The girls seemed to enjoy their stay, but didn't show much interest in Mr. T.
They were much more excited about eating his hay.
Sunlight was especially coy; she showed no signs of estrus until the morning she was due to leave.
Having been successfully bred (we hope), they hopped into the Goatmobile
for the trip back to Cheeseweaselstan.
Mr. T still hasn't adjusted to the end of breeding season; he keeps checking out the ladies' pasture in hopes of more visitors.
A local church wanted to "borrow" some of the girls for a living Nativity scene, but Barb declined. They would be too vulnerable to well meaning but overly rambunctious children
In non-goat animal activity, Steve continues to put his English degrees to good use by cleaning poopy dog kennels Sunday mornings at Friends of Animals Humane Society.
He also edits the shelter's newsletter
and wrote the holiday appeal letter.
Barb made over 400 bars of soap for the holiday gift-giving season.
On Dec 15 she packed up her Duluth soap orders
and took in her last delivery of milk, cheese and yogurt for her Duluth customers (who also got a complimentary baggy of delicious goat milk fudge). After another delivery or two to customers in Cloquet, she will be done for this year's milking season -- and resting up for a very busy spring, with all five does set to produce babies and rivers of milk in 2012.
Christmas lights give the Farm a festive seasonal air, despite the paucity of snow.
Bubba and the goats join the Farmers in wishing everyone a happy holiday season and wonderful new year.