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So much is going on, I don’t know where to start.

We’ve had eight baby goats in the past seven days. Three of them needed to be inside near the stove for a time, because they were too cold and wouldn’t have made it otherwise.

It’s amazing to watch a cold, nearly lifeless newborn warm up, and after two or three hours lift its head and get on with life.

By the next day it is walking and drinking milk from its mother. After another day or two it is frolicking with its sibling and cousins.

Bunny Goat, Hazel Goat, Luna Goat and Star Goat each birthed a pair.

Hazel’s two little billys had to stay inside for two days before they joined the herd. Now Star’s two are in the house. The one that was cold still seems to have some question about nursing. So, he is taking a lot of watching.

I don’t want to interfere too much, because generally nature will take its course.

I remember with Hazel, who was a third-man-out triplet, we had to feed her with a dropper for a while before she could figure out the bottle. She was the only goat we’ve had to bottle feed, as far as I recall.

We bottle fed all of the oxen when they were calves, because they left their original farms before being weaned.

On the other side of the living room wall, out in the garden, some other young ones have been developing.

Two fawns, each several months old, and their mother are still coming every evening to the garden to feast on winter squash.

Back when it wasn’t winter and I was harvesting squashes, I found we had a whole load that weren’t ripe. It was a dreary late summer, and my conclusion was that there wasn’t enough light or warmth for them to ripen.

That may be, but now that I see the squashes, mostly big, flattish eating pumpkins, being gnawed on by the deer people, I see a lot of what appears to be ripe pumpkin — bright orange flesh and tasty looking.

Well, those are some lucky deer.

I have some other big frozen squashes in a pile that I cut up with the wood splitter and feed to the goats.

Our own kids, now really adults, both came home for Thanksgiving. I drove to and from Colchester, Vermont, twice picking up the boy unit.

Each time, the weather was actually worse in Vermont than it was here. Luckily, I had plenty of windshield wiper fluid to help deal with the snow and the salt spray kicked up by the big trucks on routes 7 and 22A.

Now it seems like months ago that the whole family was together. I think it was just last week, though.

It also seems like it’s been winter for months, although it probably hasn’t been.

Fortunately, the snow is not so deep that I can’t get into the woods with the little tractor to cut down trees that are suited for stove wood. Some of the maples in the sugar bush have died. I’m not sure why.

I want to get them down and out of the bush in hopes that whatever did them doesn’t spread.

It’s a busy time for this slow time of year.

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Forrest Hartley lives in Hadley. You can leave him a message at new_americangothic@yahoo.com.

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