Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Presenting the 2017 MPP

Meels isn't a head of state or a household name. She's never scored a touchdown or starred in a commercial. She hasn't won a medal or even a ribbon at the fair. She has a registration certificate (with the American Dairy Goat Association) but no sponsors, no diploma, no tiara, no autobiography on the New York Times bestseller list. 

But--drum roll and simultaneous cymbal clash please--Meels has just been named the 2017 MPP (Most Productive Person) of our outfit. The judges chose her over several outstanding bovine candidates because she has so much to show for her hard work.

Meels has earned every bite of her hay, oats, branches, and occasional treat of popcorn, crackers, or Cheerios.

She raised three kids this summer: Waylon, Seeley, and Willie...

...each of whom are now raising two-legged kids.

Hubby milked Meels from August to December. Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat milk is sweet, thick, and creamy. It makes great butter, coffee creamer, and puppy food supplement. 

Two freezers bulge with frozen goat milk (some is Jubilee's but most is Meels') which I use to make soap. I'm just a novice soapmaker, but by the time I've used all that milk, I should be much better!

Three generations snuggle in their shed. Meels is flanked by two of her daughters; her granddaughter is in the rear.


"For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure." ~Philippians 2:13 Amplified Bible

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Kind of a Manger Scene

It's Christmas Eve, and I have yet to think up a fun and farmy Christmas picture for you! Sorry about that. In past years, I've dressed the poor goaties in ugly holiday sweaters or Santa hats. Once I bribed the horses to pose by a wreath, which couldn't have looked any more contrived. 

I did manage to grab a few shots of some locals eating breakfast in the snow. I wanted to take more, but my fingers were beginning to freeze without my beloved wool mittens. (These were taken yesterday. When we went out to do morning chores today, the thermometer read -17°F. I kept my mittens on.)

Sugar and Solomon have a dry barn but rarely spend time in it.

Ariel's mama, the late Blueberry, detested cold and snow. Ariel doesn't seem to mind it.

Apricot and Daffodil eat more breakfast (and lunch and supper) than the other weanling heifers. Obviously.


"Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world." C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 16, 2017


December looks like December at last. Snow started falling this morning and, according to forecast, won't stop until tomorrow. Too much snow and we'll have to start feeding hay to the cows, but a little white stuff sure is pretty!

I'm not certain how much Princess is excited for this, her thirteenth winter.

It's Ellie's first winter and second snow. She played until she was sopping wet but still didn't want to come indoors.

The horses bucked, reared, and raced around in the snow but were happy to eat their supper inside the barn.


"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December,
A magical thing,
And sweet to remember:
'We are nearer to spring
Than we were in September.'"
     ~Oliver Herford, "Hope," in The Century Magazine, January 1914

Friday, December 8, 2017

In the Wide-Open

What Wyoming lacks in trees and population, it more than makes up for in sky.

On our run, Hubby and I scanned the hills for wild horses--only saw tracks this time--but the dogs hunted for antelope and rabbits.

Ellie's grown a lot, but the big country made her look tiny. (Hmm, I probably should have posed for a photo here.)

From this hill, we could see the Big Horn, Absaroka, Owl Creek, and Bridger mountain ranges. 


"Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. " ~Matthew 6:22 The Message

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Under New Management

We used to have Nigerian dwarf dairy goats, but Ellie has appropriated them for herself. Yes, we still feed, water, bed, move, milk, and clean up after our little herd, but only under Ellie's extremely-close supervision. The goats aren't that thrilled with their new shepherd. She runs a tighter ship than did the previous administration. 


"I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun." ~Katharine Hepburn

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ellie's First Hike

The dogs and I were finally able to drag Hubby away from his Sunday afternoon football games to go for a hike. (Truthfully, I would've stayed home to watch the Seattle Seahawks except that they weren't playing on our network. Hubby said that we're not close enough to Seattle, so we usually get the Denver Broncos games instead. I suggested that we move slightly west.) Remarkable weather, amazing terrain, and joyful dogs made him almost forget about wild card teams and playoff standings.


"The beauty of the world is Christ's tender smile coming to us through matter." ~Simone Weil

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Open Enrollment

I put our two senior citizen cows, Princess and Daisy Mae, in the small pasture behind the house where they can get better feed and shelter this winter. They're in good shape but, like other people around here, their joints are a bit creaky in the cold mornings. 

Princess, shown here, has celebrated 13 birthdays and raised 10 big, beautiful calves. Eight of those have been our top-selling steers; one was a heifer whose first calf this year was a genuine hunk. So, if Princess wants to graze the greenish grass in my back yard, she's more than welcome. She's earned it.


"There shall be an eternal summer in the grateful heart." ~Celia Thaxter

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Good-bye autumn. We'll miss you!

Here are a few September and October shots you may have missed, unless you get the Hayseed Files on Facebook. If you do, thanks so much! If you prefer books and nature to social media, hooray for you!

Quaking aspen between our house and barn.

Sugar's fuzzy winter face.

A last-minute pollen shopper.

It's like shopping with a toddler, complete with whining.

Camera-hog. (Taken before the winter fuzz grew in.)


"Our faith doesn't begin until our ability ends." ~Nicole Crank

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The "Fluffy" Ones

I almost forgot to show you how much the heifer calves have grown these past seven months. (See last month's 575 Pounds Later for then-and-now snapshots of some of the steers.) Here are five of our not-so-little darlings, all bundled up in their heavy winter coats. 

Tell the people that we're not fat, we're just fluffy, they told me. 

Roll your eyes if you want. I'm just relaying the message.







"The leading cause of death among fashion models is falling through street grates." ~Dave Barry

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Study in Contrasts

We went to bed in autumn but woke up in winter. It happens every year but still amazes me.

It's Ellie's first winter and Bodie's thirteenth.

The snow was pretty, wet, and pretty wet! Mud beneath the soggy snow made for slipping and sliding.

Ellie romped in the snow most of the day.

Quaking aspen, gorgeous in every season.

Bodie is gradually warming up to his new sister, but he thinks she gets way too much attention.

"Those who look to [the Lord] for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces." ~Psalm 34:5 NLT

Friday, October 27, 2017

On the Brink of Winter

Sugar's people have been trying to get in as many rides as they can before the snow flies. In Wyoming, snow is more likely to fly in the wind than fall gently to the ground. 

Neighboring towns and mountains have already had snow. To date, we've seen only a few stray snowflakes bouncing and spiraling horizontally, struggling against the gale to make landfall. (The sun came out later that day; the light rays reached us but the radiant heat blew away, probably to Nebraska.) 

Please comment below: I'd love to hear where you're from and what your winters are like! 


"When the storms of life come, if they come to me personally, to my family or to the world, I want to be strong enough to stand and be a strength to somebody else, be shelter for somebody else." ~Anne Graham Lotz

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Golden Girls

I think October's buttery sunbeams flatter nearly everyone, even goats. Ariel, Mindy, and Calico look expecially lovely when framed by honey-colored cottonwood leaves.


"Ah, Hope! what would life be, stripped of thy encouraging smiles, that teach us to look beyond the dark clouds of today, for the golden beams that are to gild the morrow." ~Susanna Moodie

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Evermore Joy Ye"

Ellie's deliriously happy around little kids. "She's so excited," one mom said, "she's practically wriggling herself inside out." 

Maybe it's because she's a bit tired of her fuddy-duddy parents. All day long, poor Ellie hears, No, you can't chew that! and, Let go of that! and, No chasing cats! and, Come on, Ellie. Time to go outside and go to the potty. 

But kids, like puppies, are all about the fun. 


"Evermore joy ye." ~1 Thessalonians 5:16 (Wycliffe Translation)