I’ve whined and complained quite a bit about the mud, mud, mud mud in the back yard. When we set up the goat area initially, we used pine shavings in the barn and extended that out to the goat yard. The shavings quickly became a muddy boggy mess, though, so we took that up and have just gone through the wet and dry cycles. It only became a big issue recently. My “milking parlor” is a covered area against the house with a roof and a concrete floor and space for the milkstand, but the goats need to walk to it, and that was through the bog, which only will get worse as we have many more rainy months ahead.
As I mentioned, we were having to DRAG them by the leash to the stand. This wasn’t good for anyone, but they just hated to walk through that mud. And I started picturing babies belly-deep in it.
Quite fortunately, clicking links looking for something else entirely, I read a blog entry of a woman who lives not too far away and has backyard goats in suburbia. She has on her ground something I’d never ever heard of: hog fuel (link takes you to her blog post). I asked in her comment section where to find it, did she still like it, was it expensive . . . she was gracious and generous in sharing, and so the Patriarch rented a trailer and brought a trailer-load of hog fuel home. Gareth, Nigel and I were spreading it into the darkness and had excellent timing, because that night the temperature went into the 20s. I really shudder to imagine skating the pregnant goats across frozen mud.
This is such wonderful, amazing stuff. It smells delicious, like cedar, and entirely covers the mud. After weeks and months of needing to pick our way mincing step by mincing step, oh glorious day to walk confidently through the yard! And the goats are sooooo happy about this, as well. The last couple of days have been rain-free and they’ve been actually running around the yard.
Which thought brings me to a little NPR bit I heard the other day whilst stuck in a traffic jam, about some interesting research. It seems that no matter what our age, we think that we’ve pretty much stabilized in who we are. The twenty year old, the fifty year old, the seventy year old, we all think that. And it’s not true, not at any age. Strangely, we look back a decade and see how we have changed, but our belief is that that was the change that brought us to today, which is pretty much it. Done now. The author of the study said this:
"I have this deep sense that although I will physically age — I'll have even less hair than I do and probably a few more pounds — that by and large the core of me, my identity, my values, my personality, my deepest preferences, are not going to change from here on out," says Gilbert, who is 55.
I was ruminating on this thought as I enthused on and on about the hog fuel after it was laid. Couldn’t have seen that one coming.
If you’d like to read that whole bit at NPR, you can read it here.