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.

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