Jack Frost nipping at your nose

 The MeadowWild goat barn hasn't been the same since Nov 18 when its resident imp
 Eclipse moved to her wonderful new home at Echolight Hobby Farm in the UP of Michigan.
 Her new goat mom Kirsten reports that Clipper is doing well -- and remains as bossy as she ever was.  (Photo courtesy of Kirsten.)
 A summer rainstorm followed the Goatmobile across northern Wisconsin
 and it was thundering in Saxon Harbor
 when Eclipse jumped into Kirsten's truck for the ride to Michigan.
 The Goatmobile then returned to Minnesota later that afternoon in a winter snowstorm, following a welcome plow for miles along Highway 2.  By midnight 6 inches of snow had accumulated back home.
It didn't last long, given this year's strange weather.
We enjoyed an unusual high of 47 degrees on the 28th

 and November turned out to be the second warmest on record.
By the middle of December the landscape looked more seasonal
 and temperatures dived closer to what we're used to at this time of year.
 We hit a low of -26 on Dec 18
 but the roller coaster continues, with a high of 41 on Dec 22.  Today is Christmas Eve, and the Blackhoof River still hasn't frozen over yet.
 No doubt four years of Trump administration environmental policy will make our local climate warmer and more consistent. 
 We've enjoyed some spectacular sunrises lately.
 Back in the barn, lab tests indicate that all the ladies are expecting:
 and Reenie
 who also recently earned her Second Generation Milk Star.
 Congratulations are in order to seasoned breeder Mojo
 (still a little hormonally addled these days)
 and rookie phenomenon LysanstoChill.
 Among the other local critters, muskrats dredge up some salad from the pond to enjoy on the thin ice
 Momma Kitty keeps watch on the barn action from her Buddha perch on Mount Haystack
 and Dustin hums the Kliban song as he bags an occasional treat to supplement his store-bought food.
 Always well mannered, he served this one up himself on the best china.
 When not terrorizing rodentdom, he can be found in his igloo next to the heating vent.
 MeadowWild's Domestic Goddess has been particularly busy of late.
 Her goat cheese tart recipe was featured on the Better Whey blog at cheesemaking.com
 and she crafted thousands of goats' milk and cream caramels
 and hundreds of goats' milk soap bars for the holiday gift season
 mailing them around the country from her living room workshop
 and offering them for sale at TJ's ChristKindl market.  They will be featured in lots of Christmas stockings tomorrow morning.
 The Farmers join Mr. and Mrs. Santagoat in wishing happy holidays to all
and a wonderful new year!


Endless Autumn

The National Weather Service is still predicting a colder and snowier than usual La NiƱa winter for us
but this autumn has certainly been untypically longer and warmer.
Fall colors were a treat
even down to the front yard bushes
and now we're enjoying the muted yellows and browns of what friend Larry Weber calls "Aut-Win."
The red oak at the end of Red Oak Lane
has finally shed all but a few of its leaves
but the extended warm weather and lack of snow or even hard frosts
has kept the grass green past the middle of November
and Ahni finds it even greener on the other side of the fence.
The goats take advantage of the extended mild spell
to play in areas usually buried under snow by this time
and bike paths have remained invitingly accessible.
Always cheery Steve taught a course for the FDLTCC College for Seniors program about facing death.
Friend Hilary visited and spoiled Mojo shamelessly with lots of attention -- even though that beard is sopping with goat cologne splashed on for the breeding season.
A few days later the Big Guy made a gruesome appearance.
Did he join WWE Superstars and overdo it with the fake blood capsules?
Or is he auditioning for a goat version of Carrie?
Actually, he broke a scur loose (probably butting heads with Chilly) and bled like the proverbial stuck pig.
And because it's breeding season he was in no mood to stand still for a face scrubbing
so the blood dried to a rich black lacquer finish.
A few days later the scur fell off and he was back to his usual handsome self.
The boys have had a touchy relationship during this hormonally stormy period; Chilly is quick enough to dart out of the way when Mojo starts bellowing and thrashing.
We're pretty sure all the ladies have settled
although we're keeping an eye on Kuiper to be sure.  In a few weeks blood tests will confirm the "bundles of joy" slated for this spring.
Breeding season makes the girls excitable and unpredictable, too.  Chana inadvertently gave Barb a bloody lip during a feeding.
Deer continue to hang around at all hours
even during the firearm hunting season
(the does must know it's bucks only this year)
and turkeys continue to strut boldly even a few days away from Thanksgiving.
What is Dustin staring at so intently through the front window?
It's not a deer or turkey but something lounging on the picnic table -- 
feral Momma Kitty
who is growing a fluffy coat for the winter and already making herself at home on top of the hay bales.
MeadowWild Farm enjoyed rare visitors on Halloween (depleting the stock of "fun-sized" candy bars that Steve usually hoards for himself)
and the Farmers visited historic and stately Blackhoof Town Hall on Election Day.
Viewing conditions were perfect for the Supermoon on Nov 14
(an unusually balmy 50 degrees)
but winter is bound to arrive some day, so Barb constructed a heavy new door to keep the Gentleman's Club dry and toasty.
The heated water buckets are in place
and room for the Yaris finally cleared in the garage.
Santa's busiest elf has been crafting batch after batch of goats' milk soap
and over 400 bars are curing on racks ahead of the holiday season.
Dustin stirred himself enough to move from his favorite summer napping spot
to his collection of cozy winter beds
strategically located near heating vents.
He knows that our endless autumn is about to end
with the first snow of the year.
(A Facebook posting pokes fun at uncertain forecasts up here and our tendency to hype every coming precipitation as the next MegaStorm or Snowzilla.)
We hope that the worst of the storm holds off today until we can deliver Eclipse safely to her wonderful new home at Echolight Hobby Farm in the UP of Michigan.
The Farmers join these two turkeys in wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!