This past week has been a busy and fun week for me.
Although it has been snowing and blowing all week long, the signs of spring being on its way are showing up here on the farm. There are no signs of daffodils and dandelions popping up on the lawn, but what is happening now is early proof that they will be coming along in a couple of months.
The first of this past week, the initial clutch of bantam eggs hatched in the incubator. I did not think this was going to happen, as we had a short power outage earlier from the winter ice storm, and the temperature had dropped to almost the freezing point when I discovered the mishap, but by that time the power was back on.
The fertility of the first eggs, this early in the season, only runs about 50 percent, and because of the chill, about half the chicks had died in the eggs; nevertheless, I did get 10 beautiful little gaffers, of three different colours and four different species, scampering around their little heated enclosure. The next clutch will be chipping their eggs in another week’s time.
Meanwhile, I’m not kidding you, folks! Out in the big barn, not wanting to be outdone by the paltry poultry, the Boer goats have started their kidding season. Twins were the first to show up, and two days later a single arrived on the scene. It always amazes me how quickly they are born and how fast they are in getting up on their feet.
Usually within ten minutes they are walking around on wobbly legs, and within the hour, having mastered that, they start snooping around and discover the back end of mom, where they start to nurse. Having filled their little tummies, they are not long in finding the comforts of the heat lamp. This we supply for them only when the temperature drops well below freezing.
While watching all this, I am not alone. On the railing around the enclosure, next to my leaning elbows, I have company. On one side is perched Stephen, our barn cat, who considers himself as ambassador to the region. On the other side, standing upright on her hind legs, with her front paws resting on the railing beside me, is Foxy, our large house dog, who is forever by my side when I am out and about.
Both are jealous of the new arrivals and seeking attention, so I am kept busy.
As a matter of fact I have picked up multi-tasking; I pet the purring cat with one hand and my face licking dog with the other, while at the same time giving verbal complimentary comments to the new mothers.
Both cat and dog think I am congratulating them.
Looking over the rest of the flock, numbering now in the high 20s, I can see quite a number of extended tummies. I can tell that there are many more to come, so I will be busier still. And judging by the smug look on the chin of Oliver, our king-of-the-castle buck goat, he is the one that has been keeping score. At my age, though I have a goatee the same as he, I won’t argue that point with him.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, we are past mid-winter, and whether Wiarton Willy, the groundhog of note, sees his shadow or not, each day is one day closer to spring.
Take care, ’cause we care.