Out of the sauna, into the freezer

The "winter that wasn't" continues 
 with very little snow 
and record high temperatures on Dec 26, Jan 5 (52 degrees!), Jan 6, 9 and 10.
There's still a little snow in sheltered areas
such as the state woodland area close to the Farm
but the stream that flows through it, which would be frozen in a normal winter, is burbling along ice-free.
The mild weather makes for pleasant walks down Red Oak Lane
past the moldering farm on Pioneer Road
Blackhoof's impressive town hall on County Road 5
the bright barn 
and the crazy fisherpeople on Spring Lake.
But Paradise Road
seems less than heavenly without a blanket of fluffy cloudlike snow.
The goats continue to enjoy their unusual freedom to wander
noshing on the raspberry canes and other goodies around the house
and on sunflower seeds Barb puts out for them on the picnic table.
Lassi's coloration allows her to blend into the landscape.  If wolves attack, they'll never find her.
She's keeping watch to see if more snow will ever arrive.
The feral kitty continues to police the Farm.
The field mice and voles that usually hide beneath the snow are easy pickings.
With so much defenseless prey available, she leaves the mink squirrels in the front yard alone.
The mild winter has been a blessing for Niblet, too, because during breeding season Mr. T would not allow him to stay in the Gentlemen's Club.
T tried to monopolize all the grain and hay feeders, leaving poor Nibby to fend for himself.
We thought it was just a matter of hormones, but then we discovered that T has been reading Ayn Rand and watching Fox News.  He's convinced himself that he's a one-percenter deserving of all the wealth, while Nibby is a ninety-nine-percenter who should just quit whining.
Now that breeding season is over, T has mellowed a bit, but Nibby is still wary of him.
Nibby continues to tolerate T's vagaries, as T boots him out of the Club one minute and then snuggles with him the next.
Due to the lack of snow (we're on track for the driest January ever), Cloquet's Winterfest has been cancelled, as has the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.
(photo by Brad Putney)
The Beargrease cutest puppy contest is still on, though;
Juju is thinking of entering herself, assuming that she's so cute, no one will notice she's not a puppy.
According to the StarTribune, "If this exceptionally warm winter passes without an extended hard freeze, spring could bring an explosion of black-legged ticks, those tiny pests that transmit Lyme disease."
We did finally get a few days of below-zero weather; on Jan 17 the temperature dipped down to minus 17, with a high of only 1 degree.  Barb put coats on Kona and Lassi, the two shiverers,
who promptly managed to wriggle out of them.
Alba kept warm by basking in the sun
while Juju got by with her own cozy coat and high energy level.
Barb's decision not to lend goats to a living Nativity (see Dec blog entry) proved to be wise.  Curly, the goat who fled a Fergus Falls Nativity scene on Dec 24
Because septic systems are apt to freeze up without an insulating layer of snow
the Farmers covered the septic tank and pipe from the house with waste hay, which the goats are always happy to provide.
 With the free time she has during this interval of no milking, Barb has revised her business web site
and offers news about and photos of the goats on Facebook.  Go to MeadowWild Farm Alpine Goats and hit "Like" to receive updates.

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