And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!

An early December thaw melted the late November snow, making for pleasant walking by Sandy Lake
and allowing the last walks in the back woods before they fill up with snow.
The ladies took advantage of the unusual weather
to meander in back of the house
devastate the trees and bushes one final time
and sniff the back of the truck (we don't know what that is all about).
Feral kitty enjoyed some serious mousing
before the rodents retreat to tunnels under the snow.
By mid-month we looked more seasonal
with snow on the ground again and frost in the trees.
Barb created and lit up a Christmas tree in the front yard
while Mother Nature lit up the east on cold winter mornings.
TJ's Country Corner in downtown Mahtowa sponsored their first annual Christ Kindl Market 
where friend Mike of the Large Hands sold chickens the size of turkeys
and friend Gretchen sold her award-winning knit goods, and the Farmers completed much of their Christmas shopping.
Santa's busiest elf
completed her marathon soap making
and wrapping
in time for delivery to her many customers.
She also finally unveiled her aged cheeses
(which turned out fabulous!)
and treated the members of her CSA to a nice slice.
On Christmas day the girls enjoyed an outing on the shoveled driveway
running madly up and down
butting heads
biting ears
and acting uppity.
Feral kitty looks on in disgust; that explains, she thinks, those lumps of coal in the goat barn this morning.
Because Mohammad can't get to the mountain on account of the snow
the mountain came to Mohammed in the form of tree branches
which Barb attached to panels in the goat barn
so that the girls (who are part termite) can munch away.

As 2012 draws to a close baby Cajeta joins Rabbie Burns in singing,"And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp! and surely I'll be mine!"
and in wishing all followers of the blog a happy new year.


No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -- November!

"No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees," as Thomas Hood wrote.
And no snow for most of the month
but then ten inches fell toward the end, ushering in winter at last.
The pond iced over
and then slipped beneath the blanket 
that will probably last until some time in March.
Vigilant Cat keeps an eye out for any kind of color
which these days comes from the neighbors' barn
and frosty sunrises.
Like the other residents of MeadowWild Farm, the propane furnace was getting old and creaky.  It decided to quit at the start of the month rather than face another endless winter
and was replaced by a more efficient model.
The annual Orphans' Thanksgiving Feast featured friends, celebration of the recent election results, and way too much food. 
After some harrowing deliveries last spring, Barb vowed to breed only two of the goats this year.  So why is Cheeky preggers
AND Momo
AND Cajeta (with her fat, furry winter face)
AND Arabica (though she may turn out to be a "freemartin" -- or infertile doe who picked up male hormones in the womb from her twin brothers)
AND Juju
AND Kona?
Because come spring you can't get enough cute baby goats.  (These are Kona's triplets from last March; it's not called March Madness for nothing!)
Rounding out the barn this winter are the two unpregnant retirees: Alba (who still gives milk -- when she feels like it)
and her mom, the grande dame Dreamy (who doesn't give milk anymore).
At most farms, these two would long ago have gone off to "Freezer Camp."  At MeadowWild, they eat bon bons all day, watch soap operas on their widescreen TV, and surf the AARP website.
Besides catering to her goats, Santa's busiest elf attends to her aging cheeses
and turns out batch after batch of goat milk soaps
working frantically to keep up with the many orders she has received for pre-Christmas delivery.
Among this year's selections is a gift basket of guest-size mini soaps.
Steve continues to clean poopy dog kennels on Sunday mornings at Friends of Animals,
edit the FOA newsletter, and write begging letters,
 and download to his Kindle more free books than the actuarial tables show he will ever be able to read.