Spring: the Hair Raising, Aromatic, Pud Kind of Season

 

Spring is on its way, or at least that’s what I’m hoping (insert my little plea to Mother Nature). It’s the time of year when the  weather finally starts to warm up and things begin to thaw. That means it’s time for mud, lots and lots of mud. Well, I call it mud but in truth it’s probably a lovely mix of poop and mud, or as I like to affectionately call it, pud. For my peace of mind as it ends up all over me and everything else I try to think of it as just good old, fashion and clean mud.

This is also the time of year when things begin to stink again. No truly! When everything is frozen manure doesn’t have much of a smell. During the driest part of summer everything is shriveled up like a mummy so there’s also not a lot of smell, but spring……well, it’s downright aromatic. Of course with the return of all the smells we will also have the return of the flies, insects and other creepy crawlies. From now till the return of the first hard frost it’ll be important to keep your mouth closed while working outside if you don’t want to enjoy an unintentional high protein bug snack. I always forget this early in the season but somehow I remember after a few ‘snacks’.

And finally, it’s shedding season. You can’t walk anywhere on the farm without getting covered in someone’s cast off hair. For us winter may mean hatchet season but spring is heart attack season. I’m forever finding clumps of hair on the ground and thinking I’ve come across some dead animal. My heart jumps in my throat as my mind races to identify which animal it is by the hair color and then I realize it’s only  part of that animal. The hair pile left behind is usually rather massive, it’s almost like someone unzipped and took off their outer wear and staged it on the ground for me to find. I swear they do it just to see my reaction. Great, I can see that I’ve become cheap entertainment for my animals.

Hmmmm, when list it all out like this I’m not quite sure why I look forward to the season so much….. but I do. Probably because for me, spring means hope and an awakening of the earth. There is hope for warmer, sunny days, where the air kisses your skin rather than assault it, when there’s the smell of fresh cut grass mingled with windflowers, the sound of fat, lazy bumblebees working hard to pollinate my garden and lots of time to play outside. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face, maybe that’s why I look forward to spring every year. ❤

Her Flame Burned Briefly but Brightly

I really didn’t want to write this blog. In fact I argued with myself and tried to justify why I didn’t need to put all this out there, but in the end, I had to face the fact I promised myself this page would always be honest. I promised to include it all,  the good, the bad and the ugly.

ursa kid 2This year has been a challenging one right off the bat. We didn’t keep good records on our breeding dates for the goats….mostly because we didn’t set up ‘dates’, instead we just put the does in with the buck and let nature take its course, which is not the best idea. This isn’t something we have ever done before and now I know why I usually keep such meticulous records.

So here we are in spring wondering when we should start planning for kidding season. When do we do the pre-kidding vaccinations and supplement injections? When do we set up the kidding area and separate the pregnant doe? And of course when do we try to schedule time off work to be here in case they need us?

We had some idea on dates for one doe and she was the only one to kid so far. Everything went well and we thought we were on our way to a smooth kidding season. These things lull you into a false sense of security, something I won’t fall for again. A few days ago Hubs called me while he was out doing chores (this is never a good thing in case you were wondering. Good news can usually wait till he gets back inside, it’s only bad news that requires an immediate phone call). Anyway, he called to tell me that one of the babies had died. The littlest girl, who we called Cottontail, had crawled into the warming box at some point, went to sleep and didn’t wake up. We were totally baffled since she had been fine earlier in the morning, no signs of any problems so the only thing we can figure is that she had some kind of trauma, possible being head butted or stepped on, went to her favorite place (the warming box) and fell asleep for the last time.

It can be incredibly hard to lose a baby, or an older pet, for that matter. With babies you see the loss of potential, things that they never had a chance to experience, so much life lost; with older animals you’ve had a chance to get to know them and cherish their personalities. Either way just sucks. Life in general isn’t easy, nor is it fair, this is a lesson most of us learn at some point. Life on the farm just gives you a up close and personal look all that life has to offer, both the good and the bad, on a very regular basis.

Rest in peace Cottontail. Your flame only burned briefly, but it burned brightly.