Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Snowy Goats

This winter has been one of the snowiest in recent years. It's certainly been the snowiest winter Jim or I have ever been through! I don't know how much snow we've gotten here at The Green Half Acre, but I do know that Anchorage is close to setting a record, with almost 10 feet of snow so far.

Having this much snow during our first winter with the goats has been sort of a trial-by-fire for keeping livestock during Alaska's cold season.

Earlier this week, we woke up to the results of an overnight heavy snowfall. Looking out over our balcony rail, this is how the "farm" looked.
We keep paths dug out around the property, from the house to the chicken coop and the goat barn via the lakefront in a big circle; from the front porch to our neighbor's house; and from the coop/barn to the driveway. The paths were flanked by snow banks varying between two and a half feet tall and about four feet tall. They were almost half gone that morning and we had to dig our way out to the animals.

Molly's dogloo is starting to look like a real igloo! Poor princess.
Herd queen Zipper is NOT pleased with a new 8 inches of snow overnight.
Molly trudged through the snow to her gate and waited to be let out.
Pretty little snowy face!
Jim has been digging diligently and has freed the goat yard gate so that we can open it.
He's got a flake of hay to give the girls. Fresh snow is falling fast.
Inside the barn, it's relatively warm and cozy. The girls have their breakfast of hay and are happily munching. Molly prefers to eat from inside the manger, where she is less jostled by the big girls.
Our neighbor Brad brought his snow blower over to help us clear out the paths to the animals. We sure are glad for his help! Zipper and Chloe are nervous about the noise the blower makes and wait in the corner until the blower is further away again before going back to their food.
Molly, however, is not concerned by it.
While the girls have been eating, Jim's been shoveling out the paddock so that the girls have less snow to wade through. Molly is much happier now. No more chest-deep snow!
Zipper discovered a week or so ago that the livestock feed is stored in the chicken coop, and she bolts out the gate whenever she can, and tries to get to the goodies.
We're trying to break her of that habit, especially since she taught Chloe to do it, too.
One advantage of Zipper's escapades during the winter is that we can let her and Chloe out for a walk around the yard a bit. After all, where is she going to go? The banks of snow make pretty effective pens, and the allure of animal crackers will always get her to come back to her pen.
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The following morning, another foot of snow had fallen, and we had to do all that shoveling all over again. Later in the day, the snow from the barn and the coop roofs slid off and nearly filled the space between the buildings all the way to the top of the fence.

The chicken coop door had to be dug out before we could open it and get to the feed. There are three steps up to get into the coop, and you can tell by the previous photos how much snow had filled in the paths. The chickens themselves, bless their little hearts, have largely spent the winter underneath the coop, where it's warmer than you'd expect, and they have the most non-snowy room to walk around. The underneath space is open on all sides during the summer, but this year, it's more like a walk-out basement.
Knee-deep goats. Again. Not to worry, though, shoveling is a way of life for us by now and pretty soon the girls had free space to play.
The snow bank out our back door is now close to six feet deep. The banks flanking the front steps are five feet deep.
We know the snow isn't finished for this winter yet, but we would like for it to let up sooner rather than later. We're running out of places to put the stuff!

4 comments:

  1. Have you thought of putting it in the freezer ?

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  2. I love the pictures and your comments....very informative. Shoveling snow is very good exercise but, at my age, I prefer Curves! Thanks for your web page! !

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    1. Thanks, Phyllis! I don't blame you one bit. ;^)

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