You heard it here first…think Spring! Looking outside with the mountain of snow piled up, who would believe the first day of Spring – Mar 20 – is right around the corner!? Tell-tale signs: soon we’ll switch the clocks to ‘daylight savings’ that is, spring ahead Mar 14, pussywillows are ‘pushing out’ catkins – it’s true! I’ve marked the calendar with sheep and goat ‘due dates’ for planning purposes, scheduled the sheep for shearing, AND… I’ve mucked out the goat stall.
This year I decided to try leaving a heat pack in the stall for the goats. That’s a barnyard management decision to continually layer clean straw on top of ‘soiled’ straw/bedding. The thought being that as the straw/manure decomposes, it gives off heat to warm the animals during the winter months. But, the past few blizzardy days, the goats barely wandered outside, a bit of a thaw over the weekend – and the fact that I’m a clean freak – a little squishy stall underfoot and I decided to muck out (about a good 12-inches or so) the whole area NOW before it got WARM-er and before any noticeable ammonia smells. Now that’s a workout! What wonderful compost for the veggie garden. We added lime and some livestock clay-type absorbent to neutralize the ammonia before we put down fresh new straw…nice and clean, but not for long!
Had to buy more ‘grass’ hay this weekend…we’ve been running low on grass hay – perhaps I’ve been a little too generous this winter? I try to ration the alfalfa hay for the ‘girls’ during lactation, especially since we have a couple of wethers in the barnyard menagerie now. The castrated males are prone to potential urinary blockages (urinary calculi) from the higher quality feed (increased calcium vs phosphorus ratio).
I guess you could say we’ve got a jump-start on spring cleaning too. We’re slowing making progress de-cluttering, cleaning, and doing a bit of prep-work prior to painting our bedroom. It’s a slow go with always something taking us off course. But, we bought the paint on sale at ACE – every penny helps!
I did manage to bake a batch of probably one of my favorites – Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe:
1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, 1 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1-1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp, baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1-1/2 cups raisins, 1/2 cup coconut.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat first 6 ingredients until light & fluffy. Gradually add flour, salt, soda, powder & cinnamon. Stir-in oats, raisins and coconut. Place spoonful on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes until golden.
Now, enjoy an oatmeal raisin cookie as you pour-over seed catalogs and plan your garden! Don’t forget to cut a few branches from your spring blooming ornamental shrubs to force indoors and enjoy a breath of Spring all the sooner!