Critters, firewood and frost

We had our first really good frost this morning. There was a thin layer of ice on the entire home pond.

It was an absolutely beautiful morning though. 

Norman wasn't overly thrilled because he knows what's coming. He's not built for cold weather, he prefers Arizona. He hasn't been feeling well for the past couple of days, but thankfully last night we fixed his problem. He's had some digestive issues that I've been working on fixing. Either what I was doing helped, or hearing me say I was calling the Doctor tomorrow did him in. One or the other. Either way, his digestive issues have resolved themselves and he's happy again, despite the cold.

After I had my fill of coffee, I headed up for the barn. Kevin was waiting for our mechanic who was coming to check on our woodsplitter. When we left the farm the end of May, a tree fell down from inside the goat yard into our wood yard, crushing the fence and hitting our woodsplitter. We had our mechanic fix it while we were away and because we've been preoccupied with other chores, we never tested it when we came home... until Sunday when we were going to start splitting wood... and it wouldn't even start. 

The ducks were still asleep, but they woke up when they heard me coming... 

whoa it's kinda bright out here isn't it?

My water buckets froze for the first time this season. The poor ducks ran straight for the water and were quacking up a storm at me because it was frozen, they were hitting it with their beaks and everything. There was nearly a riot but I quickly got the ice out and brought fresh water to them and eased the building tensions. 

Barnaby was in a lovely mood today. Just lovely. He jumped the fence to get in a full on fight with my Saanen buck, Buckwheat. It was a nasty fight and it's even worse when your mom comes yelling at you and dragging you away to your pen to sit and think about your bad behavior. I tried to make it as embarrassing as possible for them as the girls and neutered boys all lined up to laugh at them. 

Everyone else was quite enjoying the cool but sunny morning. 

Biscuit says... Oh man, she's got that camera again... 

I can see you! You better not be publishing unflattering photos of me!

Oh come on Biscuit, just because you are stuffing your face it doesn't make it unflattering, it's really quite cute... 

After we got the woodsplitter looked at, and kind of fixed, we headed over to the wood yard to start splitting. The main goat yard fence goes right along the wood yard so the critters in that yard can see us from there. 

They were all happily cleaning up any tasty leaves they could find... 

While Kevin messed with the half fixed woodsplitter. It starts now, but it doesn't run anything like it used to. It stalls with a load, doesn't start easily.... So it still needs more work... but at least we got it running to use this afternoon, so we could get some work done. 

Oh wait... Sammy is coming.

What are you guys doing?

I better come check this out... I might be missing something...

Oh, you'd like to scratch me would you?

I suppose I can allow that, ya... right there, move down a little... 

This was some of the hickory we brought in to split... 

and this was more of it... 

After a few hours we got almost all of it split. Tomorrow we'll finish the rest. The biggest pile is not ready to burn, but it will be ready to use later in the winter, so we'll stack it up properly and let it dry for a couple more months. The second pile we worked on burns well, so it's given us wood to get through right now.

Tomorrow we'll haul in some ash logs. Ash is our best wood to burn, it's easy to cut, easy to split, and it also burns green in a pinch.... so we always have some on reserve. Cherry is one of my favorites, not for heat, but for decoration... it burns in all kinds of pretty colors, blues, greens... 

We heat our house exclusively with wood. We use about 4 cords of wood a year, plus more for maple syrup in the spring. We cut wood all winter just to keep us busy - most people have all their wood ready to go at one time, but we don't do that. We always have enough reserve to get us through if we get bad storms, or one of us, or heaven forbid both of us get sick... but we like to have the work in winter to keep us active and out in the bush. 

After we finished splitting we had to fix our porch, it was having a hard time coping with the weight of our full wood box, so we jacked it up and put a post under it. Then we put some wood in our wood box. It cooled off considerably once the sun was gone, but it was still a lovely calm November evening. 

I have wonderful news to share about our friend Torn Ear. His leg is healing very well. He CAN run! And he's not limping on it. It will be a hindrance but clearly not as much of one as we first thought. When we saw him first, that wound was very fresh. 

A few of you asked me after my last post about Torn Ear if we feed the deer, and the answer is yes we do, in winter only. We feed to help them through the winter and we also put salt blocks out for them which are for deer specifically so full of helpful minerals.

After we put our tools away at the house, we decided to take a ride out to our rock point, on our big creek to see what was going on out there. 

It was beautiful with the sun setting. 

We found two porcupines in one tree and we saw two others in different spots. They are on the move now that it's getting colder. 

It was so calm and quite in the forest, it was quite tranquil. It feels like such an in between time, in between the colors and the leaves of fall and the snow and ice of winter. 

We saw a few ducks at the creek, and a beaver. 

There was a little bit of ice on the creek. 

You know what they say... Pink sky at night, sailors delight. We should have a nice day for working again tomorrow. 

We actually appreciate the cooler weather for working, we never split wood in the summer or early fall like a lot of people do. It's too hot, and there are just too many bugs. November is the best time for logging and splitting wood. It's a chore I look forward to every year, but it is exhausting, no question about that. My body would rather I didn't put it through this, but I remind it constantly without the work, it would freeze. Now that, is motivation.

The stove is chugging along tonight, burning some of the hickory we split. The hickory was all beaver kill and came from a swamp. We've hauled about 20 logs out of there so far. 

It's nice and toasty warm in here tonight... maybe a little too warm since the Prairie dogs are lying on top of their blankets, instead of underneath them... 

But they love the heat, and so does Norman.... he's pretending the living room is Arizona right now. All he's missing is his grapefruit tree. 


Primitive Stars said…
Evening.beautiful frosty all the animals you have......such a joy to see........hope the little dog is o.k..........blessings Francine.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
great photos. i love the prairie dogs, they are so cute. good news about torn ear too! is this the calm before the storm? is the snow headed your way?
Golly, I didn't even know porcupines could climb. I guess I always thought they just waddled around on the ground.

Ya'll are 2 of the busiest folks I know.

Lucky deer, goats, ducks, prairie dogs, dogs....pony...I'm sure I'm leaving somebody out.
Nana-Bob said…
I am so glad you share your life and pictures with all of us! We appreciate it so much. (I think I can safely speak for others, lol) I so enjoy your photo captions too. Thank you!
Kelly said…
Your pictures are beautiful! You have a little piece of heaven,we don't have hickory wood where I live,I can just imagine how lovely it must smell burning:) I enjoy reading your blog very much

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