Auld Lang Syne

 December of 2013 was the 3rd snowiest on record;
 We "enjoyed" 40 inches of snow by the end of the month.
 By contrast, this year's December has been pretty wimpy.
 It looks more like mid-May at MeadowWild Farm than the middle of winter.
 Roads are clear
 fields are bare
 and streams have been flowing for most of the month.
 But crazy people still hang out in ice houses on Spring Lake,
and temperatures have turned more seasonal now that the month is ending.
 This morning Dustin awoke to -9 with a -30 windchill.
He was torn between his two favorite activities: blocking a view of the computer monitor or taking the rays in the east study window.
 He fell asleep trying to make up his mind
 before finally moving to his cushion in the window.
 Santa's busiest elf spent the month making soap
 gift baskets
 goats' milk caramels
and decorated jars of cajeta.
 Hers was the busiest table at the Christkindl Market in downtown Mahtowa.
 Friends Mike & Joyce stopped by
 as did Janaki, Annie and their new baby Truman.
 Last year's market started out at -26 and warmed up to zero.  This year was considerably more comfortable.  The bonfire was pleasant but not necessary
 and Santa was sweating in his outfit with the wood stove radiating behind him.
 Santa Goat made a Christmas appearance at MeadowWild Farm.
 Eclipse insisted on celebrating Festivus, too.
 She especially enjoys the Airing of Grievances
 but gets a forgiving head scritch, anyway.
 The boys were happy to move from the Gentlemen's Club to their own section of the pole barn
 although Amigo was secretly hoping that Mojo would be left behind.
 The Big Guy can now keep an eye on the ladies all the time
 and try to lure them over with his suave slobbering.
 They have lost interest in him, though, now that they're all expecting.
The blood tests also revealed that the entire herd remains free of CAE and Johne's Disease.
 Eclipse is due on March 8
 Cheeky on March 9
 Momo on March 29
 and Chandra on March 30, rounding out what we hope will be a month filled with healthy and cute baby goats.
This year's baby Amigo joins us in wishing everyone a happy new year!


Winter no matter what the calendar says

 It's Thanksgiving, and MeadowWild Farm's biggest turkey 
-- Momo -- joins us in wishing everyone a happy holiday.
 The girls are enjoying their Thanksgiving buffet.
 Arabica and Dream check to see if the others are getting more stuffing
 while Eclipse considers sneaking out for some early Black Friday shopping.
 Winter may not begin officially for another month yet
 but we got our first substantial snowfall on Nov 10
which allowed the deer to record their travels through the back yard. 
 Mojo wonders why none of the girls are meeting him at the fence like they used to.
 Chandra isn't so sure she wants to walk through this stuff to the milking shed.
 We reconciled ourselves to 5 months of pretty much the same view out the upstairs windows
  but then a few warm days reduced the snow cover considerably.
 The warmth didn't last, however, and we've been "enjoying" wintry temperatures -- like this morning's 10 below zero.
Because the girls seem now to have settled
 Mojo tries to stay warm by nuzzling a less than enthusiastic Amigo.
Dustin is personally outraged by the frigid temperatures
 and settles down for a long winter's nap in front of a heating vent. 
 "Wake me up in April."
 Feral Momma Kitty doesn't have the luxury of furnace vents, so Barb constructed a shelter for her: a fluffy pillow inside a styrofoam cooler inside a tote, with straw insulation between the walls.
 Of course she ignores the cozy condo and glares at us from the top of the hay bale mountain.
 Some cute visiting Nubian babies stayed warm by having a red-hot iron applied to their foreheads, as Barb helped a friend with the dehorning.
At the MDGA fall conference this month, Barb's submissions to the dairy foods competition did very well, winning first place in all three of the categories that she entered:
Fresh Cheeses (her Quick Smoked Mozzarella)
Aged Cheeses (her Ricotta Salata)
and Desserts & Appetizers (her Quark Käsekuchen).
 In addition, her Feta Bulgarian Style won a 2nd place
 and her Carmelized Leek Quark Spread won a 3rd place.
 Fall preserving continued at MeadowWild Farm, including collards 
 that were blanched and frozen
 while the remaining apples were dehydrated
 and Barb was out after the snow storm smoking more mozzarellas.
 She's been especially busy making and curing soap in anticipation of the Christmas gift season
 and the annual Christkindl Market at TJ's Country Corner on Dec 6.  
(We're hoping for warmer weather than last year's below-zero day, during which Barb and friend Laura survived only due to some timely Peppermint Schnapps.) 
 We conclude with a gorgeous sunrise that Barb captured on Nov 19 as she went out to milk
 and a portrait of Brian and Kärin's cute Electra
who is incubating some fabulous Mojo kids.