Welcome home, Mojo!

Like Fitzgerald’s Benjamin Button, November developed backwards
starting off with wintry snow cover and record low temperatures well below zero on the 9th and 10th (30 degrees below normal)
but then warming to springlike mid-40s (and even up to 53) at the end of the month
(some 20 degrees above normal) and melting the snow.
The cold spell prompted a changeover to heated water buckets
and we’re treating Momma Kitty to a heated bowl this year so she doesn’t have to slurp quickly before her water freezes.
Alas, Pepé Le Pew is taking advantage of Momma’s refectory, helping himself to the Meow Mix, fresh goats’ milk and warm water. 
We thought the freezing snap would encourage Pepé to occupy one of the many burrows he has gouged in our front lawn
(skunks don’t hibernate but do enter a state of torpor during the winter;  it turns out that they remain active if food and water are available).
We considered live-trapping Pepé and releasing him in the neighbors’ woods, but he’s way too likely to fumigate the hay bales he’s hiding behind now.
He and Momma Kitty have arranged a peaceful coexistence in which they stay out of each other’s way and take turns at the buffet table.
The month’s big news at MeadowWild was the homecoming of Mojo after his extended working vacation at the McCann Farm.
Because this is still breeding season, he received a feisty welcome home from Chilly, who wasn’t sure that he wanted to share buck duties.
Though separated by strong panels, the two butted heads and Mojo’s scur broke off, leaving him a bloody mess
that looked more gruesome than it actually turned out to be.
Garam was happy to be back with Mojo, who is considerably more gentle with him than Chill tends to be.
During breeding season Chill is anything but.  (His full name is LysansToChill, but his license is suspended in the fall.)  He’s a spitting, snorting, blubbering, stomping, goaterwauling bundle of libido.
He enjoyed his stay with the younger girls a lot more than they did (see their #MeToo tweets)
and took full advantage when a cute doe visited (the daughter of Mojo and former MeadowWild favorite Momo).
Although testosterone levels are still high in the gentlemen’s areas, the ladies are now all settled – at least we trust and hope they are.  Upcoming blood tests will determine for sure who is pregnant.
Santa’s Busiest Elf ™ is working overtime to fill goats’ milk soap orders from her growing list of customers 

and get ready for TJ’s ChristKindl Market on Dec 2.

Meanwhile, Dustin continues to colonize territory that doesn't belong to him.  When not occupying the kitchen counters, he makes himself at home on the office chair

or parks himself before the computer on the stand-up desk, assuming that he's more interesting to look at than anything on the monitor.

We bought him a PlayDot laser toy to chase

to encourage more physical activity as he enters his “senior” years.

Was Dustin grateful?
No he was not.  
He mostly ignores the red dot, though he will occasionally follow it with his eyes as he lounges in his cozy bed near the heating vent.
The goats were much more appreciative as they dove into their Thanksgiving dinner.

They join the Farmers and this turkey in deep gratitude for all the privileges and blessings of life at MeadowWild.


Treats and Tricks

 Treat: unusually warm days well into late October
 with gorgeous autumn colors
 and a full Hunter's Moon on the 5th. 
 Treat: pleasant final bike rides of the season
 up and down the Munger Trail.
 Trick: an invasion of critters out to enjoy the warm weather, too --
who swarmed the outside of the house and then invited themselves in
and Pepé Le Pew, who visited the barn every night to overturn Momma Kitty's Meow Mix, water and milk bowls
 and this prickly fellow, who was checking out the Gentlemen's Club at dusk one late afternoon (Steve almost stepped on him in the dark).
 We harvested four buckets of apples, which were sheltered on the north side of the house waiting to be processed (the fruit cellar was still too warm for storing things);
 on the first two nights deer nibbled a bit at the top layer (when they weren't pigging out on our neighbors' punkins).
 When we went out on the third morning to bring apples in for dehydrating, we discovered that three of the buckets were completely empty, probably courtesy of a bear or bears.
 Treats: Barb's yummy cheeses from end-of-the-season milk
 and batch after batch of goats' milk soaps
 now curing ahead of the holidays
 (and available for order at http://meadowwildfarm.com/goats-milk-soaps.html).
 Treat:  Chilly finally got up off of his Barcalounger 
 and began showing an interest in the ladies.
 Romantic encounters went well
 with only Bindhi (on the left) remaining to participate.
 During breeding season Garam keeps a respectful distance away from the hormonally addled Chill.
Treat: after the garish early fall, the more subtle and subdued colors of autumn
as gorgeous in their own quiet way
-- and delicious, too, according to the gentlemen out ranging in their meadow.
Trick: nine inches of heavy wet snow on Oct 27
which suddenly ended our protracted summer and left us without power for over an hour.
The first snow of the year is always worth watching;
days like this won't seem as fun come late March.
At least we could sit back and watch.  The poor crew of Northern Harvest Farm, which keeps us supplied with primo veggies, were out harvesting carrots in the blizzard.  
(photo courtesy of Rick Dalen)
And the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was sliding around the streets of Duluth in whiteout conditions (Duluth News Tribune).
Treat: sometimes it's just fun to get out and play in the snow.
Treat: snoozing away a wintry day in front of the heat register
while Momma Kitty sits out in the snow waiting for a mouse to pass by.
We asked Dustin if he might want to invite Momma Kitty in to share his luxurious sheltered life.
“La la la I can’t hear you,” Dustin said;  “I’m listening to the sweet roar of the furnace.” 
Treat: putting away the mower and trimmer for the year.
Trick: getting out the shovels
and electric snow-thrower.
Treat: breathtaking sunrises and sunsets
at this time of year.
Treat: re-posting the Halloween costumes that the fabulously talented and entertaining Dale Connelly provided for the MeadowWild herd several years ago.
This year Dustin goes trick-or-treating dressed as Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies) -- because he's so good at catching flies.  He joins us in wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!