Frost, Flowers and the Next Phase

I mentioned in an earlier post about the threat of frost up here in the northeast and sure enough we got caught. The Friday before Memorial Day weekend was cool and blustery with temps only in the high 50’s and 25mph gusts of wind. Although, when we woke up on Saturday morning the temps were in the low 40’s, sometime during the night the temperatures were cold enough to freeze the water in our hose and kill off about half of our vegetables.

The wind continued on Saturday with only slightly warmer temperatures. While it kept the bugs at bay, it made it difficult to get things done. We are in an official draught at this time. Add the wind and even when we tried to water our gardens, the dry air sapped up any moisture.

True to the nature of New Hampshire, by Monday, the temps were in the 80’s and the wind had finally died down to a moderate breeze. That’s when all the honeysuckle bloomed. The smell was amazing and we enjoyed it on the hour long ride to Dennis’ parents’ house and back. Honeysuckle blooms wild all along the roadsides and has the most amazing sweet smell.

At Dennis’ parents’ house, his mom had us dig up some Lily-of-the-valley she has growing along the side of the driveway. It, too, smelled wonderful. Lilacs are also in bloom and by the time we got home Monday afternoon, we had Lily-of-the-valley and lilacs all over the house and it smelled just like spring!

The chicken coop is almost complete and enclosed enough for the girls to finally make it out. Silly little things finally had access to lots of room and fresh grass and all they wanted to do was huddle in the corner together. Frustrated, both Dennis and I chased them outside where they finally realized there was more to life. Still they didn’t wonder far, which is just as well since there is a cooper hawk nesting in the woods nearby. I strung string back and forth along the fencing hoping to discourage her from thinking our little chicks would make a nice afternoon snack.

We moved the sheep pasture again to give them fresh grass and keep the pasture rotation thing going. The grass in the field is getting high and Dennis was worried the sheep would get lost out there. Turns out they kind of like it. It’s cooler down in the shady grass. I really think we need to get another fence and double the size of their grazing area. That way we don’t have to move the fence as often.

Once the coop is finished, both Jacob (the ram) and Mighty Quinn (the buck) will be housed on one side with a covered outdoor area and a more permanent pasture. Then it’s on to the next phase, which will be building another small outdoor area for Jack and Stella with sturdy fencing and shed. Right now the goats only go out when we are around. Even though it is electric, those two have no problem slipping through the moveable fencing when we put them out with the sheep. They are so attached to Dennis and I that they want to be around us all the time. It doesn’t stop them from running off, but when they do it is usually back to the other place they feel safe…the barn.

It’s also time to start weaning Stella and Jack. Over the next couple of weeks, their bottle consumption will decrease and we hope they will start to supplement more with grass and hay. We have only recently seen them drink water from the bucket. Since Quinn is a few weeks behind, he’ll still get his bottle three times per day, which may make it difficult to wean the other two.

Gracie, our deaf kitty, hurt her foot again. This is the second time she’s done this and we aren’t sure how she is doing it. Her rear footpad is swollen and she refused to leave Dennis’ dresser to eat, drink or use “the facilities.”

We put peroxide on it for two days, hoping that would help as we can’t see anything wrong other than it is swollen. Today, she finally made it downstairs long enough to eat a few bites and drink some water. She still favors it and we’ll have to keep an eye on it and bring her to the vet if it doesn’t get better soon.

There are lots of things going on over the next few weeks and we’re still hoping to have friends and family over for cookouts and such. Need to get that goat fencing up soon though as Stella has figured out she can jump high enough to get on the patio table. She’s pretty springy.


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