The goats are bred and back in their pen with Monday the ram lamb. Their fate is pretty blissful. Kidding will be around March 9th and last that week and while no part of me is nervous about Bonita, Francis is a new mom and might need help. I hope Yesheva is back from North Carolina by then as her midwifery might be needed! Monday seems to be growing by the pounds and will make a great table lamb or new breeding ram here at CAF. Since he is only related to one of six ewes it's not out of the question here. Might involve penning away his mother to avoid the line breeding but that is an issue for next fall, not this one. Atlas should return in December or so to revisit his old stomping grounds and serve the flock. I'll have to pen up Joe and Sal to make sure the job gets done right, but that's not hard to do. Just walk into a pen with apples and grain and those boys will follow me anywhere.
Just as Meg Paska warned me during her bee workshop this past year, my hive did swarm and took the queen with her. The bees didn't make it and I never found the swarm so I'll start with a new hive in the spring. Anyone out there who wants to barter a hive for what I can offer, email me. At least I don't have to worry about wintering them over, one less thing to fuss about in a snowstorm.
The horse barn still isn't walled up for winter, and I'm not sure how far along it will get. Right now I just can't get the finances together so I may just get some long boards from Home Depot to reinforce it and some plywood to make a wind break. It won't be pretty as planned but it will suffice.
The piglets have stopped escaping and remain together in their new deluxe pig pen. Between their pig ration in a bag and their main diet of scraps from the house both Lunchbox and Thermos have grown and have grown to trust me. They let me pet them now, specially Lunchbox. In the morning I go into the pen to serve up breakfast and they are always spooning in clean hay together, snoring. I feel like I invaded their personal space but they care little when last night's roasted chicken drippings and some cracked eggs coat their grain. All if forgiven in food.
Jazz is still healing up, but so much better than he was this summer. His skin and hair are all fresh and clean and growing back fuller than ever. His eyes have gone uncloudy and his energy level is high too. He can walk a full mile with his tail in the air. Annie hasn't changed this the day I met her.
Boghadair is a firecracker. Hoo! As I write he is playing with my pant legs and then leaping over Jazz's back to run circles around the kitchen before shooting across the farmhouse to go upstairs. All the dogs tolerate him and his fox clever ways. He's litter box trained, eating like a horse, and so fun to snuggle (until he bites you). I love the little guy. And with winter's call bringing in the mice I am thrilled to have him on board. I caught four mice just last night.... ugh.
Jasper and Merlin are getting all excited for next weekend's Farmer's horse workshop. I think this will be my favorite of the year, not just because this was my Year of the Horse, but because the people who are coming are not equestrians, but dreamers. Folks of all ages and without experience who just feel passionate about the possibility of a horse on their farms (future or present). There will be a young couple who run a CSA and are on the fence about tractors or a team of work horses. There are young couples in their late twenties and thirties who are just drawn to riding and carting. There are people who have owned horses for years, and people who have loved them from afar. And we're all meeting here next Saturday to learn together, work together, and spend a day on two farms with four beautiful horses and their gear. And it all wraps up with a cookout and warm cider by a campfire where I will read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as it will be just a few days before Halloween! And what could be more fitting than a farming horse workshop in New York in October than that?