The winter is coming, though the mild sunny days make that difficult to believe in. This is my favorite time of year to drive down the mountain. The eleveation drops a thousand feet between us and town, and that makes for different micro-climates on the way down, which equates to the trees changing at different times. While all of our leaves are gone, some of the trees at the base of the mountain are only half changed from their summer green, so the leaf change, that lovely time when the sun streams through the bright gold leaves that shower down on you as you pass by, lingers for weeks on end. It's my favorite time for a drive... everything feels quixotic and the world is suddenly perfect. The tiny cabins puffing sweet smelling woodsmoke and the neighbors out chopping and stacking wood combine to make me nearly delirious. The flannels and chambray shirts aren't fashion, they're uniform, and the evenings that bring that smell of winter which clings to your clothes and follows a person in the door is too perfect. It's impossible to not be caught up in it.
Our goats are all fine. The laceration is healing nicely, and the two does are a-ok. Zeppelin is free to run and chase coyotes from 5pm to 7am every night while the goats are put up for the night, and then retires to a 50 foot line to prevent chasing while he does what most LGDs do all day: sleep.
The goat farming community of the homesteading forums that I frequent has been experimenting with a gelled mineral supplement called Replamin that has been bringing dramatic health effects, even amongst goats that are pampered pets. Finding the correct balance of minerals and vitamins for goats can be a tricky process of learning your soil makeup, grazing plants available, and many other things, as well as how all those things interact with each other. Too much iron in your soil and you could have to give more frequent or higher mineral supplement doses. Too little selenium in your soil can cause death. Too much selenium in your feed in an area with high soil selenium and again, death. Getting into goat raising was a scary step when reading about everything from copper boluses to Bo-Se shots. But the homesteading community has been an amazing help in the simplifying of a very complicated process. So, in hopes of avoiding copper boluses, shots, deficiencies and overdosing we are joining the Replamin bandwagon and began with it last week. We can already see differences in the malnourished and mineral deprived doe we adopted. Her horribly coarse, dull, red hair is becoming shiny, softer, and black like the two healthy goats we adopted first. It's a relief to see such a rapid change.
Our barn conversion is slow going, but it is going. The floor is watersealed, the walls are bleached and treated against mold. The old shelving has been dismantled to open up what will be the chicken coop area. We have collected many good condition shipping pallets that will become the frames of the stalls. The homesteading community (again) has helped in the choosing of the best interior wall materials. Hopefully we will be purchasing the lumber that will become the new front wall, doors and windows of the barn this week. If it were up to us we would use reclaimed wood for this with an eye toward recycling, reduction of waste, better use of finances, not adding to the production of chemically treated, environment tainting building materials, etc., but being renters this is not up to us, so we will have to purchase new materials for this and are in a holding pattern while we wait to be able to afford it all while we save for winter hay storage.
There was progress this week though. The trip to Albuquerque for the new tire was successful and the trailer made it off the mountain (with it's load full of logs) the next day.
Jeff found the immediate problem with the truck engine the day after that and was able to repair it, so the engine is running smoothly again. The truck is going to need more involved work that will put it out of commission for a while though, so getting that second vehicle is becoming a priority. When I accidentally left the keys in the car last week and killed the battery we learned just how vulnerable we are living way out here with only one vehicle. So, the major fuel savings and the security of a back up vehicle are bumping that up to the top of the list. It's a huge expense at a time when we seem to be drowning in huge expenses, but I have a feeling that it will work out. The goat trauma meltdown seems to have cleared up all of the fears and doubts I had been carrying around and I am feeling a bit more like myself... that que sera sera, sunshine up my bum, every thing that happens happens for the best self, hey let's donate everything to charity and tour the country self... that can deal with life in a calm and hopeful way.
I have a ton of pictures, but I'm having a ridiculously hard time getting them out to the world. My MacBook spontaneously deleted all of my Adobe programs, including the ones I use for resizing and managing all my photos. My card reader stopped reading the camera card, and I never make it far on Jeff's work machine because his is really too slow to run the programs and for some reason his desk chair is absolute murder on my back. I wind up running out of time or back support by the time I locate all the photos I want to use. Soon Jeff will have the time to reinstall my Mac, but for now you'll have to make due with my descriptions and assertions that the goats are seriously cute ;)
Speaking of computers, I think I am going to take a couple months off from having a computer this winter. It's good timing since it really needs to be completely reinstalled and also needs to have the monitor glass replaced, but mostly I believe it's a distraction from things that I believe are more valuable ways to spend my time. When I get free time I tend to plop down with my laptop and thus never seem to have time for my creative endeavors or even my books. The hormone disruption of staring at a backlit, blue light screen after dark is not a real win either. ;-p
That means that if I wanted to check my email and write posts I will have to do it on either Jeff's work machine or the Dell laptop, and (as a loooong time Mac user) I absolutely despise using PCs, so I tend to do what I need to do then get off the computer, which just feels healthier to me.
Have you ever taken a computer break? This would leave me with no digital media, no movies, no nothing. I both dread the idea and long for it.
Thank you for the kind comments and emails after that overload meltdown. It means so much to me.