New England is a great place to live, as long as you’re prepared for the weather. This is not always easy to achieve, though, as it could be cold, windy, raining, snowing, or sunny all in the space of 15 minutes. New England also has more than the usual four seasons. We have summer, spring, fall , and winter like everyone else, but we also have Mud Season (right now) and Black Fly Season(May and June). This weekend we had a Mud Season adventure.
Over the long weekend, long because we had a Snow Day on Friday–It was not an April Fool joke, either– Frank and I went to see our older daughter, who is an intern on a farm in Vermont. This is a goat farm, with lots and lots of dairy goats in their various enclosures, and about 20 kids (the goat kind) in with their mothers. It started out sunny, so we had jackets and boots for the mud. We made it to the farm after some adventures sliding, bouncing, and almost disappearing into the deep mud of about 4 miles of dirt roads to get there after we left the main road. This is the kind of place where driving on the right means nothing if the right side of the road is a mud bog. You go where you need to go and hope that no one comes the other way. Of course the Honda was plastered with mud, but that’s minor compared to the possibilities, which included getting stuck and having to be towed out. The minute we got there, the clouds came in, and it started to snow. It was only for a little while, and it didn’t really add to the foot or so of snow that was still left on the ground, so that was OK.
We admired all of the animals, saw the milking parlor, tasted the Goat’s Milk Caramel that they make (this stuff is DELICIOUS!!) and by the time we were back outside, it was sunny again. We spent another hour helping to feed the goats their hay, and bottle-feeding one of the tiny kids who wasn’t nursing well, and it was time for the afternoon milking. We all started to get the does into the enclosure for the milking parlor, leaving the kids in the barn by themselves. As soon as the moms were out of sight, the kids started their own indoor games, racing around the barn as if it was a racetrack, climbing up on the hay racks and overturned troughs, playing King of the Mountain, and generally blowing off steam. They were also climbing all over us, leaving tiny goat footprints all over our jackets and pants. They really are cute, but what a mess they can make!
By the time we left the farm at 5:00, we were cold and in real need of a change of clothes. Luckily my car has no carpet-it’s plastic floor covering throughout, and the seats are water-resistant. You can pretty much hose it out if necessary. This is good, because we were a mess. Being New Englanders, we carry around extra layers and extra shoes, and we know to take our shoes off when we go to someone’s house in the winter-forget about fancy dressing! After a nice dinner, a visit with Katie, and a cup or two of coffee, we were on our way back to Keene.
Why am I writing about all of this? Sometimes I feel like people think that I just sit and sew 24/7–I really do have a life, even if my activities are constrained by the school schedule and the demands of kiltmaking, which is really my second job. I love to get out to see the countryside, and I enjoy traveling. Just a little day trip (even in such strange weather) reminds me just how beautiful this part of the world is, and how much I love it here.