Hiking the Quebradas

The weather is cooling off, the monsoons have stopped and my work load has greatly decreased. Finally, the dogs and I are back to hiking the Quebradas.

This morning was Bug’s turn. Unlike Fix, who rarely leaves my side, Bug spends her time following scents and investigating her surroundings. She rarely gets more than 20 to 30 feet away, but the heavy cover means that she is often not visible even at close distances. However, if I stop moving for more than a few seconds, she reappears looking for me in short order.

We descended into an arroyo this morning and made our way through the “river bed” created by flash floods.

[This is not a place you want to be during rainy season since flash floods can occur even if the rain is falling miles away.]

The longer monsoon season this summer resulted in proliferation of vegetation, which provides a lot of hiding places for various types of insects, reptiles, mammals and birds. As we were proceeding up the arroyo, I kept hearing a rustling – Bug didn’t seem to be concerned or interested in investigating but I was getting a little nervous. As I kept checking my surroundings I saw the following

It took a few seconds for my brain to register what it was. As I snapped a photo with my phone, all of a sudden I realized that there were a lot more cows in the brush. As two cows and a calf broke cover, Bug suddenly perked up and she seemed to think that the whole reason we had come out this morning was to move cows. She was disappointed when I told her to leave the cows and I moved off.

When we finally came to an area that I could easily climb out of the arroyo we worked our way back to the road and headed home.

And – for a friend in California – one last photo from this morning.

Yes Virginia, there is snow in June

I was gone all day yesterday and got back just before dark. On the way out to the barn the winds were blowing cotton from the trees. You may have to enlarge the picture to really see the amount of cotton in the air, but it was considerable.

Fail . . . again

I was intending to get out early yesterday morning and take Bug out for a quick hike. However, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with a Charley horse. While painful, I can usually walk a calf cramp out in about 30 minutes. By noon, while the pain was mostly gone, the knot was still present. As of this morning, I still have a knot. Somehow, hiking out away from cell phone coverage isn’t really appealing right now.

However, I did get the dogs out for a photoshoot on the property yesterday.

Fear of Heights?
Bug showing off her climbing skills

New Year’s Resolution fail

One of my New Year’s Resolution was to take the dogs out hiking 2-3 times a week. Most resolutions last a least a couple of weeks but this one never even got off the ground – it was too cold, too windy, I was too busy, etc. Almost six months into 2021 I finally managed to get Fix out for a short hike. We went out after chores and did about 2 miles total. Definitely will have to go out before chores if we manage to make this a habit as I intended as it is already pushing 80 degrees by 8 am.

Not an auspicious beginning

I had been gradually moving the geraniums out of the sunroom and onto the deck, hoping that there would not be another freeze. Instead of a freeze, yesterday afternoon I got hail.

On a more positive note, the geraniums had done very well indoors over the winter. Well enough that there wasn’t enough room to squeeze behind the table that I work on to keep the geraniums trimmed back and I wasn’t able to water on a regular basis.

Last spring, when things were really depressing, I did something I never do – bought some plants at the grocery store. The grocery store had some blooming Kalanchoe in different colors and I splurged and bought one of each color (four in total). After I brought them home and did some research, it appeared that once the blooms died off, to get the plants to bloom again would require moving to a dark closet. What happened was that after I moved the geraniums inside, the Kalanchoe got relegated to either under the cinderblock / plank shelf I used for the geraniums or squeezed between geraniums on the shelf. When I ran out of room, I placed the last one on the corner of the table. It was the only one that received regular watering (every other week or so) through the winter. Once I had moved the geraniums outside, I discovered that three out of the four Kalanchoe had bloomed. The two under the shelves have a lot of blossoms, the one squeezed between the geraniums has a single bloom and the one on the corner of the table has none. Evidently, little to no water and limited sun is enough to force blooms.

I also promised myself some hanging plants this spring. I planted some zinnia seeds in some “window” planters that I set on the railing inside the gazebo and I now have a lot of geraniums – some still blooming – on the lower deck at the edges of the gazebo to limit the sun (last year on the upper deck in full sun was too much for most of the geraniums). This year is supposed to be extremely dry and I didn’t even bother with planting a garden, but hopefully I’ll have one little corner of blooms to provide cheer.

Spring Time Cleanup

I finally found a local tree guy and he came out a few weeks ago to look at the trees in most urgent need of being trimmed and give me a quote. Then it was just a matter of waiting for his schedule to clear and hope that the winds weren’t too bad. Yesterday he showed up to start the trimming. While he originally thought he wasn’t going to be able to get the entire job finished, he did actually get all four trees trimmed.

Two trees had branches overhanging the drive. My back was no longer happy about me having to drag huge branches off the drive to await a friend with a chainsaw so I was really anxious to get those trees trimmed up. Here he is working on the second tree.

The third tree had a very low hanging branch directly over the path I traverse daily behind the house.

Here it is after it was trimmed (there is a small pile of firewood which the crew kindly cut for me – the smaller debris was put through the chipper.)

And finally, the fourth cottonwood was next to the pumphouse. I forgot to take the before photo but this one shows the pile of branches taken off the tree.

And last, the photo after the debris was cut into firewood or put through the chipper.

I was very pleasantly surprised that they actually raked up the area. I can highly recommend this guy if anyone local is looking for someone to trim their trees.

Still Winter

This winter has been incredibly dry. A very short, very cold spell was replaced with above average temperatures during the day where for the last few weeks although it froze overnight, temperatures during the day hit the 50s – and more recently the 70s. So it was a shock when I got up Wednesday morning and found snow on the ground. And not just a sprinkling. It continued to snow lightly until after noon. I thought about taking a photo of the snow on the mountains but it remained gray and gloomy so I gave it up as a bad job. Today however, the sun was out and the temperatures were back into the high 50s. It was amazing to me the difference of just one day in the amount of snow on the mountains. Yesterday, the entire mountains were covered in snow – today there were large areas with no snow visible.

Weekend Update

Saturday, when I separated the does from the kids in the morning it was with the intent to begin weaning the kids. Two kids – the black buckling out of Spice and white doeling out of Anise were picked up by the new owners Saturday afternoon. I duly milked the does in the evening but did not return them to the pen with the kids and the kids let me know of their dissatisfaction loudly and for a prolonged period of time. The kids were still screaming Sunday morning when I got up. The screaming was intermittent all afternoon, triggered by me checking on things or one of the does moving around in the main pen. Harking back to my childhood, listening to the kids, I was reminded of the phrase “I’ll give you something to cry about” so I gathered my equipment and went out and banded the remaining buckling. Needless to say, he was not happy about the experience and did indeed scream more.

In two milkings Sunday (morning and evening) Spice gave me a total of 4.7 lbs of milk; Nutmeg’s total was 3.6 lbs of milk; and Anise, on her first freshening, gave me 2.95 lbs of milk. For reference, a quart of milk is approximately 2 lbs, so a gallon is approximately 8 lbs. Sunday’s overall total was 11.25 lbs.

It does appear that my breeding program, focused on milk production, is on target.

Addendum: Since I forgot to take photos Sunday, I did remember to take photos of Spice and Nutmeg this morning. Alas, by the time I got Anise on the milkstand I totally forgot to take a picture of her udder. I milked after dark this evening so that ruled out any photos tonight. I’ll try to remember to take an udder pic of Anise tomorrow.

Nutmeg
Spice

In looking at these, I understand why some people shave their goats. I have to admit the udder pics of show goats are much more attractive. It doesn’t help that the does are shedding their coats and, like dogs, it doesn’t matter how much you brush, at this time of year they always look unkempt.

Drum Roll, please. . . the results are in

I’m having internet problems so photos will have to wait until later.

Results of the 2021 naming contest are: 10 votes were cast with the exception of Kid #3 who only received 9 votes ????

Kid #2 received 4 votes for Pepper (Marjorie submitted the winning name)

Kid #3 received 3 votes for Machi (and she’s on a roll, Marjorie submitted this name as well)

Kid #5 tied with 4 votes for Cassia and 4 votes for Fennel (names were submitted by Rosemary and Spooky respectively)

Kid #6 received 3 votes for Vega (submitted by two people: Cheri and Rosemary)

Kid #7 provided another tie with 3 votes for Juniper (submitted by Spooky) and 3 votes for Lyra (submitted by Rainah Myers)

I’ll take new photographs this weekend – the kids are 8 weeks and will be weaned starting this morning. Two will be picked up today and once I make my final decision on which two doelings I am keeping, hopefully the other two will have new homes very shortly.