What a strange El Niño autumn in our neighborhood (and many other parts of the country)!
Along with the browns and yellows we're used to in November
grass stayed green for most of the month.
The goats enjoyed their extended time to play in the meadow -- especially on the big spools provided by friends Andrea and Jeff.
November was the fourth-warmest on record up here, the National Weather Service reports, and September-October-November was the third-warmest fall since records have been kept starting in 1870.
By the end of November the pond was still not frozen over.
We didn't get a real snow until December 1st.
There's always something magical about that first fall:
although the magic DOES diminish with every bout of snow-shoveling.
That initial half foot quickly vanished with the continuing unusually warm temperatures --
which reached a balmy 45 on December 9th --
and the goats were free to resume their meandering and tree-trimming.
Then another few inches fell on December 16th
giving Korma pause on the way back from milking
and more seasonal temperatures kept it around, providing a white Christmas.
Dustin climbed into his igloo next to the heating vent
for a long winter's nap
while a considerably less pampered feral Momma Kitty
headed back to her colder (but dry) hideout on top of the hay bales.
Breeding season has come to an end
but Mojo apparently didn't get the memo;
he still hangs out at the fence looking for a date
with a forlorn look (and pee cologne) on his face.
Milking season is also coming to a close, while other routines (such as hoof-trimming) continue
made more pleasant in the colder weather by a space heater for the milking shed
and rechargeable warmers for the milker's hands.
December 20th was Phlebotomy Day
with friends Kärin & Dr. Brian assisting and wielding a mean needle and syringe.
Blood test results came back on December 24th and made for a wonderful Christmas present:
all 7 of the girls are pregnant, and the entire herd (including Mojo & Amigo) remains CAE and Johne's negative.
In other good news, as a result of DHIR (milk test) and re-enrollment in Linear Appraisal, Cheeky & Eclipse have earned Superior Genetics designation (which has only exacerbated their smug attitude).
Santa's busiest elf spent the holiday season making batch after batch of
her popular goats' milk caramels
(and protecting them under mesh from those damned Asian Lady Beetles).
The goats join Dustin and us in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas
and Happy 2016!