I now believe what the weather forecasters have been nattering about when reporting the weather, hour after hour, day after day. It seems that this past February’s temperatures have dropped lower than any during the last 80 years of record keeping in this area. So if the letters appear to be chattering between the lines as you read this week’s thoughts, it could well be my cold fingers tapping the keyboard, in duet timing with my chattering teeth.
Though we have had water pails and drinking troughs freeze on the surface during the night in previous years, we have never had them freeze solid as they have on several occasions this winter. The creatures that we have housed within at the moment are all adults, having developed beautiful thick winter coats, they seem to be enjoying themselves in the extra layers of hay and straw bedding. They’re just happy to be out of the cold, blasting wind, rain and snow.
In addition to listening to the contented grunting communications of Bobby, Betty and Wilma, the big black heritage Berkshire hogs, the happy cackle of the multitude of cross-bred laying hens, and the bickering bleating of the entire Boer goat herd, I get to listen to Mike and Mollie, our two barn cats, purring, like tiny muffled motors, as I stroke each of them from head to tail.
This is all being done while Foxy, our large, lovable house dog, my constant companion, nuzzles my nearest elbow in jealousy.
And, too, I get to congratulate Archie, our one and only handsome, hand-tamed, mixed heritage, resident bantam rooster, who crows his whereabouts when we call his name. He often struts over to be stroked a time or two, obviously proud that his idle wandering presence encourages the hens to earn their keep by laying one egg each in the morning of each and every day.
From across the alley, in solitary confinement at this time of year, can be heard the quiet plaintive bleating of Oliver, our chunky, anxious, good-looking Boer goat buck. He obviously wants to get back with his harem. I can’t really blame him for that, but like any father at baby-birthing time, he can be more of a headache than a helper. Nevertheless, a scratch on an ear or rub on the neck seems to satisfy his loneliness.
But if looks are not deceiving, I strongly suspect that in the next few weeks, he’ll be handing out large Cuban cigars, in both twin and triple numbers. Our goat population (with no apologies to Tim Horton) is due to double/double within a very short lapse of time.
With all kidding aside (no pun intended), within less than three days, the newly born kids, like corks shot from a wine bottle, will be bouncing off their enclosure walls.
Fun times are ahead for me and for them. There is nothing nicer than walking through a well-stocked barn and listening to their contented conversations.
Take care, ’cause we care.