house & snow
(Standing in the does large pen looking south towards the house.)

We received approx. 8 inches of snow between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning out here at Marmalade Hollow.

Sunday was fun. The newness brought lots of outdoor time. The goats literally stood at the opening of the barn yelling at me. If goats knew how to curse (and perhaps they do), their words would be freely flowing. Monday morning brought misery. My human kids were overjoyed of course. Who wouldn’t be as this is the first time in their young lives they’ve had any real snow outside their front door? I trucked hot water out to the goats at least 4 times between morning and evening feeding. I do chores after my daughter goes off to school. I get my 4 year old situated and suit up myself.

I could install a deicer for both does and bucks but I choose to truck hot water. For one, I get to see them throughout the day and I enjoy seeing them. For two, they really appreciate the warm water! I have two 5 gallon hardware store buckets I fill up in the tub and head on out. I break all the ice out of the water troughs which takes little more than turning them over after pouring a bit of hot water on them except in the morning when it’s been in the single digits or negatives then it takes some breaking. Then I fill them with hot water, add a bucket of well water (at about 55 degrees) and it’s perfect drinking temperature. I have been doing this several times a day. The rest of the week should bring us above freezing temps though so hot water hauling should only be required in the AM though I’ll do it in the PM too just as a treat. They really like it.

Monday was pure hell trudging through the fluff. I fell at least once and slipped countless times. Tuesday and today (Wednesday) would seem as though life was rougher with the temps hovering around zero. My car says it’s 3 degrees. There’s no wind so I cannot imagine there’s a wind chill temp but one internet site is reading negative 3. Folks, I’m a California girl born and raised! I am not used to this cold weather. Granted, the last 4 years we spent in Northern California prepared me a little. But towards the end of this month in Northern Cal. things would start greening up there and it looked and almost felt like spring. My goaties are not used to this cold weather! I have been preparing myself, it’s not as if I am cold. I have good clothes and good boots but gee wiz. All the animals are well bedded down with straw. Which, by the way, we went and picked up 2 round bales last weekend.

The past 2 days have kept all the goats inside. They won’t venture into the snow. They look at it, they look at me and show me their back sides. They just aren’t having it. This morning poor PJ was so cold she didn’t want to get up, even to eat! That’s very unlike her. I made a goat blanket several years ago and this morning she was the lucky gal who got to wear it. I am sure she’s thankful. All of them for the past month or so now spend a lot of time at the front of the barn that faces south and bask in the sun when it’s out.

I know the barn will be a huge mess by the time this is all over. I have been doing a little clean up here and there of the front portion where they eat and hang out. Trudging through the snow with the wheelbarrow wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Saturday, if the temp holds above 40, I will muck everything out, let it sit for the day with the east door open to air and dry a little and reapply new straw.

Yesterday I took my portable feeders and hung them on the gate of the barn just so I could coax them out a little to show them the snow wasn’t going to kill them.

Goats in the snow

Goats in the snow 1

Today I did get the littler girls to venture a bit farther out but they’re still not sure about all of it.

We’ve got about 4 weeks left until our first babies are due. So very thankful I didn’t breed to kid in January! It’s not the set up, it’s the snow! I wouldn’t mind putting dams and kids in the attached garage but that bring its own miseries. My herd does not like to be separated. 

Lotsa deer tracks in the back yard and across the pastures which is to be expected. I see signs of deer in the pasture all the time. But across the back yard is amusing to me. Every morning they are in new places. Sometimes their tracks from the day before are covered by blowing wind.

snow trail
(On the East side of our house-this is the trail that leads to our neighbors place.)

PJ finishes up her 14 day round of antibiotics today. Poor girl, I’m tired of poking her and she’s tired of being poked I’m sure. She’ll be back in heat in about 7 more days, 3-4 weeks after that I’ll know if the antibiotics has worked. If so, great! It means she had some kind of infection preventing her from settling. If not, well, then it’s blood draw time to figure out if what’s going on mineral wise in her and we’ll wait until the late summer to get her to where she needs to be.  She’s looking good though. She’s been getting special treatment these past few days.

I will be mixing my own grain ration here shortly. I cannot get what I was getting in Ca. and that is a sweet COB (Corn Oats and Barley with some molasses to bind). All I can get here is a processed feed and I don’t like it very much at all. I made my first trip to the grain co op earlier this week. They gave me whole corn instead of cracked. I need cracked corn. We’ll keep the whole for the birds or deer as it’s not that expensive ($7 something for a 50# bag). But I did get a 25 lb. bag of BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) and already had a bag of whole oats. Hubby is going to pick up a bag of cracked corn and barley today hopefully and I can get the show on the road with my ration. It’ll be something to the tune of:

 5 part oats
2 parts cracked corn (more specifically for Prince and PJ as I feel they could use the extra weight)
2 parts Barley
1 part BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds)
Mixed with about  1/4 cup unsulfured molasses.

Since I’ll be doing this pretty often (every other day or so), I can add here and there for specific individuals and even add minerals for those who I do not feel are getting their share. It will make it easier to administer herbs as well. Most of my girls will not freely eat them. They have to be bound to the grains and drenching is not as easy and binding them.

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