Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sunshine, All Day!

Morning dawned clear and bright, chilly enough to stoke the wood fire.
Jim was anxious to continue work tidying fallen trees and wash-outs along the creek bank, so I prepared a hearty breakfast. 
 Dishes washed and kitchen given a quick once over, I collected several clean glass jars to deliver down the lane to neighbor, B.
Her goats are producing more milk than the young ones need and she has run short of containers.

The three female barn cats have all produced kittens since the weekend. The calico and white 'sisters' have hidden their babies, but the tabby with marmalade colored patches has hers in a straw-lined bin in the alley of the stable. 
I had to use the flash to take photos, so not the clearest.
A beautiful dark tabby with white socks, an orange one with a white face splotch and a muted calico.
So tiny and squirmy!

I had intended walking directly home--but it is hard to by-pass the goat pasture without stopping.
I stepped over the low electric fence that surrounds the 'play pen' for the youngest kids and knelt on the green grass.
The babies had been fed moments before and their tummies bulged with their 
breakfast of warmed milk. 
The pen is on an east-facing slope of the side yard and has a large plastic bin propped on its side as a shelter.
The goatlets bounced around me wanting attention.  After a few minutes two of them curled up in the shelter for a nap, two more nibbled at the grass.  The smallest, a black doe with a roan frosting around her eyes, climbed into my lap, nibbled at my sleeve,  Sliding off, she skittered around to my side, braced her hooves against my shoulder and decided to chew my hair, lick my ears.
Perhaps half an hour passed, sitting with the sun warm on my back, stroking the goats, enjoying their friendliness and the feel of their clean sleek bodies as they crowded close.

I took my time ambling back up the lane, stopping to watch a chickadee bouncing about in the hedgerow.  I could hear the fluting sweet voice of a cardinal and finally located a female perched at the top of a sweet gum tree.
I paused later in the day in nearly the same place, amazed at a medley of bird song, beginning to suspect that it was coming from a mockingbird. 
A flash of grey and white swooped from the hedge to perch at the top of an oak across the brook.

Mockingbirds loved our dooryard at the Gradyville farm, and I missed their presence here last season.
Our surrounding wooded ridges aren't their favorite habitat, but I hope a few will stay with us and nest in the hedgerow or the roadside trees.
 I continued up the lane aware of a mourning dove calling somewhere on the side hill and the hammering of an unseen woodpecker or flicker.

Several of the iris hastily thrust into the rough patch of ground last summer have budded.
I can't think how I shall deal with the weedy growth which has taken over in this area.
I had hopes it could become a productive garden spot.
Once the trees leaf out it is too shady for berries or veg production.

My twice-transplanted clematis is finally thriving.
This one spent a transitory season in a large pot, was poked into the ground for a summer at the Bedford stone house--where it sulked, then yet another summer in a container and finally into the ground late last autumn. 
I think I transplanted some four-o'clocks in front of it, but apparently the upearthings of the cats for their own nefarious purposes, or even some injudicious digging I may have done must have 
dislodged them.

The cats take turns appearing to keep me company for a bit before wandering off again.
Bobby has designs on a butterfly innocently flitting about.

Creeping phlox carpets an area below the side porch walk.
Dandelions seed in and the ubiquitous wild onion pokes up slender green threads in the tightly packed plants.

The rugosas by the side porch walk are showing their first buds.

One of the yellow violas put in about 10 days ago between showers.
Walking to the creek this afternoon I noted that tiny wild violas tangle among the violets and the rank weeds which border the corn ground.

The season of dogwood and redbud is brief--when the blooms fade the slender trees melt almost anonymously into the surrounding woods.

These leggy pale blue flowers grow in wide swaths anywhere that is moist and shady.
I know that I identified them last season--the name is forgotten.
Time to locate the wildflower guide book and keep it on my desk.

The dogs seem to forget from one day to the next that I am not a threat to their charges.
They kept close watch on me as I puttered about the dooryard.
Often as I walk along the lane I am accompanied on the other side of the fence by a retinue of curious nannies and exuberantly barking dogs.

Willis doesn't like to be greeted with barking!
He refuses to relinquish ownership of the lane, preferring to park himself well within sight of the canines, but out of reach.
Jim has mowed the grassy verge on either side of the lane--reducing the weed clumps which provided camouflage for a tweedy cat.

I went out again after an early supper to plant my lilies in the corner where the wooden garden fence meets the railroad ties which form the retaining wall. 
Two pholx plants [Laura] joined the phlox established last year.
I'm debating where to locate four dianthus plants.

I must go out to coax Bobby and Nellie inside for the night.
Nellie is usually agreeable about this drill--Bobby dashes off into the dark at the split second when I reach for him.
The fire has gone out and it doesn't seem practical to make it up again this near bedtime.
Clouds are predicted for tomorrow--a new fire will be welcome.


  1. Delicious kittens, especially the ginger one. I LOVE gingers! I love the sound of you playing with the goatlings. My smallholder friend Dawn has 4 and they are magical little creatures. Sadly 3 are boys so have a Frozen Future . . .

    I love hearing about your wild birds, and especially the wild flowers. Interesting to see yellow wild Violas. Here they are purple paling to the centre with a dash of yellow in the centre. They grow at Pembrey burrows amongst the Dunes.

    1. Jennie: I fear I've been confusing about the violas--the yellow ones are nursery transplants. the wild ones--which I've not seen anywhere before have the traditional pale violet 'faces'-and each blossom is a bit smaller than the nail on my little finger. I must try for a photo--they grow amongst weeds in a tangle.
      Like you, I don't enjoy considering the 'fate' of hte buck goatlings--although B. is able to send some on as eventual 'studs'--excellent bloodlines.

  2. Spring is such an exciting time of year, we have four Hebridean black lambs gambolling in the field across the road but the weather is terrible, rain a lot of the time. I have inherited some phlox plants, always wanted to grow them, this garden needs filling up!

    1. Thelma; Looking at a garden early in spring I often forget that by summer's end many of the plants will be crowding one another. Phlox is a wonderful late summer bloomer here.
      Even in unpleasant weather baby animals are a joy to watch. If persistent rain and cold come on our neighboring goats are moved back inside the stable.

  3. What a great post! I can feel the sun's warmth, feel the pleasantness of being with baby goats and seeing the little newborn kittens. Having your older feline helpers is always a treat to see and read about too. Your gardens are waking up and will soon be giving you lots to enjoy.

    Have a great day today ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I must remind myself that our feline household doesn't need to increase. I have the best of two worlds--enjoying baby goats and kittens without the responsibility.
      I do wish my feline 'helpers' weren't determined to use every bit of dug over earth as a latrine!

  4. There's nothing like sunshine for making everything feel and smell better. I envy you the half hour with the baby goats.

    1. Janet; We are loving the sunshine--and within 6 weeks we no doubt will whine that it is too hot and humid!
      The baby goats are enchanting!

  5. kittens!! squeeeeaaalll!! adorable!

    Leanne xx

    1. Leanne; I was hoping you would see the kittens--and maybe become "inspired."