There’s something that changes this time of year in the goat barn. I felt it strongly early this morning, doing chores. It was 4 degrees outside, the sun hadn’t come up yet, the moon and Jupiter were still very visible. And the baby goats were busily growing inside their moms. I could almost feel it.
There’s just two months, well, seven weeks, to birthing season. That means that we are just drying off all the goats that were bred in October. They need two months to put all their energy into growing healthy babies. And they sort of radiate “baby growing time”. They are round, warm and very fuzzy. They like to lie around a lot. They are enthusiastic hay eaters. They aren’t quite as sprightly as they used to be so there’s less banging of heads and running around. They come up and nuzzle a lot.
I can already sense what things will feel and look like come March. The does will start looking like wheelbarrows with heads, no offense girls. We’ll start checking morning, noon, night and midnight for relaxed tendons, discharges, pawing – all signs of imminent birth.
But for now, it’s slow and peaceful. Chores only take about 45 minutes instead of an hour and a half. We are only milking 12 goats (the ones that are being bred now for delivery in the summer). We are making cheese only once a week instead of three times. Caramel takes much longer to make because of the change in milk chemistry but we are only doing that once or twice a week.
I take the goats out for snow romps as often as possible. There’s really nothing more fun than taking 40 goats out into chest deep snow in the woods. They eagerly chaw on twigs, bark, dry ragweed and asters. They really like the snow.
We’re all slowing down a bit, waiting for the next chapter.