Happier stuff, and an anniversary

Thanks to everyone who emailed, commented, and phoned us after we lost Ceili. It really helped in a tough time. She led a long, happy, adventurous life, leaving her mark on more than half of the States and spending her last year in this paradise we now inhabit, so as my own selfish “miss my dog” feelings fade there’s mostly just happy memories and funny stories.

On Feb 4th, we completed our first trip around the sun here. Even though it was cold, it was exciting seeing the land exactly as we found it last year and knowing what’s to come.

I know we haven’t been posting much. Even here, where the ground never freezes and the locals think 3″ of snow is a major event, things slow down in the winter, but now we’re being teased by 60 degree days and the appearance of flowers, and it’s time to get outside and get busy.

The garden will be expanded; we aim to be producing most of our own food within the next couple of years, and greenhouse experiments have me convinced that we can start seeds in there very soon now.

But even bigger news – we’ve been talking about dairy goats for a long time, and we’re finally about to act on that. In a month or two we expect to bring home a pair of does, probably a cross of Nigerian Dwarf and Oberhasli, and in a year or less we hope to be making our own cheese, butter, etc. There’s a nice fenced area with shade and a hose waiting, and among this year’s seed order will be alfalfa and oats, to be used both as cover crops and to provide some of the goat’s feed. Goat-house construction and fence reinforcement will be the big weekend projects now.

Our visit to a neighbor’s goat farm last weekend was very exciting; beautiful animals with TONS of personality and intelligence. Some nuzzle you and want to be scritched just like dogs, some are more introverted, and all are fun to watch.

One happy surprise: the females don’t just smell less than the males, they really don’t have any objectionable odor at all (neither do the males, most of the time, but when they start feeling romantic they urinate on their heads and chests, much like the way Jersey boys use cologne, except less stinky and without the terrible dance music)

The birds are singing, the satellite service isn’t constantly blanking out from thick cloud cover, we’re running around in T-shirts, and the mud in the fields is no longer at a life-threatening depth. Posts should be picking up (Teri has a backlog due to some trouble with the combination of Macintosh-wordpress-satellite), and we have big plans not only for our land and lives, but for this blog.

Stay tuned, and we’ll try to make sure that the pretty pictures and happy posts outnumber the obituaries.

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