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Column: Little fellers keep hobbies at bay

Column: Little fellers keep hobbies at bay

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I have too many irons in the fire right now.

The biggest one is the three little goats that I’m bottle feeding at least four times a day. After I feed them I can get out for a bit, because they fall into a big pile and sleep for about an hour.

Boy, would I like to see this snow melt and the ground thaw so I can put up a new yard and shed for the little fellers. Of course two of them are girls. Still they are little fellers while they scamper around the house.

The other goats need attention as well, other than just feed and water.

I spend time in the paddock keeping the little ones tame, and keeping up the morale of the older ones. Everyone wants attention, and each needs attention. Handling and grooming is the best way to keep on top of herd health and happiness.

Just before the bays in Lake George froze sufficiently for me to feel safe on the ice, John Bennett and I scoped out locations to see where I would go out. John wouldn’t go ice fishing if you paid him. I think he considers it foolish.

That was several weeks ago. The surprise outbreak of baby goats has kept me from fishing, even though I got an insulated pop-up fishing tent this year.

It’s not my habit to just catch an hour or so of fishing. If I’m going to make a production of getting out on the ice, I prefer to spend several hours.

I did get some fish anyway. My neighbor around the block, I would say about a mile away, stopped by with a plastic bag full of filleted perch he had just caught out on Lake George near Bolton.

It made the main course of at least three meals, and was gone in two days.

There is just no beating perch, just caught from the ice. It was an awfully nice gift, I must say.

At least I got a taste of one of the best things about winter here in the North Country.

And, that leads to the next nice taste of late winter—maple syrup. I can’t even believe it myself, but I didn’t set up my taps on first of March. I just didn’t get to it.

This weekend I’m pretty sure I’ll get the few in I’ll be using this year.

I certainly have enough wood for boiling syrup, but I’m cutting back on tapping this year, and on other things that take a lot of time.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure we have syrup from the last two years. I only taste it, because I don’t want to have to figure pure sugar into how much insulin I take, and I don’t want the sudden fuzzy headed feeling I would get if I did pour it on something.

I never thought I would have given up milkshakes or maple syrup when I was in my 40s. Of course, I never thought my pancreas would break down either, or that I would become one of big pharma’s cash cows, and leave behind piles of medical waste.

Weird things happen, though. Somehow we adjust.

Sometimes that means taking a few irons out of the fire.

Forrest Hartley lives in Hadley, N.Y. Leave a message at


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