LOCAL VIEW —Spring To Retreat—

Lazy Goats IMG_2221

Do not tell the Animal  Rights people my goats have been ruthlessly stricken by spring-fever and sloth, (so obvious in the above picture). Activists will not understand my goats are merely lazy, and instead activists will assume my goats must be dying, for everybody (and especially my neighbors) knows goats are never happy unless they are up to mischief. Even Christian scripture mentions “separating the sheep from the goats.” Sheep are good guys, and goats are baaaaa–d.

But my goats are different. These are not sick goats. These are laid-back, serene, spiritual, Buddhist goats. If any Animal Rights activist dares to impugn the character of my goodly goats by suggesting they are sickly, it will only prove activists are racists, and are not inclusive,  and are too narrow-minded to accept the possibility of Buddhist goats.

My goats are not so narrow minded. They can be Buddhist in this picture, and then convert to a pagan worship of Thor, Odin and other Viking gods, in the twinkling of an eye. They are strong believers in “diversity”, are open-minded, and are the epitome of impiety.

The amazing thing about this picture is to compare it to only a year ago. This picture was taken on March 31, and last year I could still (very carefully) walk atop the ice of the farm pond (nine feet deep) on April first. A year ago the land was still mostly snow-covered, except on south-facing slopes.

The one thing this picture fails to convey is the roaring wind. A few days ago the gales were northwest,  roaring due to a departing storm, but today the trees swayed and brown leaves swirled across the pasture in the mild, southwest gales of an advancing storm.20160331 satsfc

The above map doesn’t really hint at the dramatic change coming to New England, over the next week. It looks like the  small storm to our west will pass to our north. But, behind that storm, its northerly back-side winds are forecast to basically drag down the North Pole, (if the computer models are right). Deprived of its cold, the North Pole will be 25 degrees above normal, but we down here will be twenty-five degrees below normal.

Hopefully the models are getting carried away. At times they seem to be on drugs. Check out this Dr. Ryan Maue map from Joe Bastardi’s blog at the Weatherbell site, showing the fantasized situation in the upper atmosphere (500 mb),  a week from this Friday. April Blast eps_z500a_noram_33(42)

Allow me to interpret this map for you:  “Yikes!”

I’m not sure the frost will reach Florida, but Georgia Peaches are at risk, and Virginia’s peach crop may be completely ruined; frozen in the bloom. In fact, if the above map is right, New Hampshire may grow more peaches than Virginia this year, for ours haven’t budded out yet, and therefore we have no blooms to be spoiled.

(No store-bought peach can compare to one picked ripe from a tree, for store-bought peaches are picked hard and green and are artificially made to look ripe on the surface. For years we in New England endured inferior peaches. Then finally botanists bred a runty tree that could survive in the north. It’s peaches can’t compare to southern peaches, but they sure are a lot better than store-bought peaches. This year the land-of-Dixie people, even as far south as the mountains of Georgia, may have to buy peaches in stores (if they can find any at all), as we, up north, pluck them mouth-wateringly fresh from our runty trees. What irony!)

Yet I can’t become completely smug, because the computer models are not saying we damn Yankees will merely get a few hard frosts. We could get buried in snow. Check out this Maue-Map Joseph D’Aleo posted on his Weatherbell blog:

April Blast ecmwf_tsnow_neng_41(5)

Allow me to interpret this map for you:  Do you remember those gentle goats this post started with?  Guess what?  Over a foot of snow means they will no longer be Buddhists. They will be pissed off and crabby, and nag me with “Nahhh! Nahhh!” (It doesn’t matter if I explain I’m not in charge of the weather; like Global Warming Alarmists they say it’s all my fault.)

Are you wiser than a goat?  Will you allow a mere foot-and-a-half of snow to plunge you into abject despair, where you doubt the existence of God, and call the amazing beauty of Spring a complete lie which only babies believe exists, like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus?

With great deference and a humble and downcast eye, I meekly suggest the answer is, “yes.” If the computer models are right, and the mercy of the Almighty does not make computer models look silly and stupid, then, yes, the people in the northeast of the USA will make goats look like sheep, compared to humans, because the people’s mortal tempers will be so utterly bitter, nasty and foul.

O heed me, ye young puppies! For my hair is white with many winters! And I have seen these hard times before! Be ye not surprised when kissing lips snarl teeth, and your gray and gentle grandmother whips out a sword.

But hang in there, ye young puppies!  An April blizzard is but a passing shadow. Nightmares are not pleasant, but dawns do come. (But not until May.)

I’m tired of seeing the long years pass
And gleaning, from ordeals, tidbits of thought
That cannot be knowledge, for I’m made an ass
Each time I behave all the ways that I ought.

My hopes are that apple, dangled on string,
Ahead of a donkey who trudges on
Too stupid to see he won’t reach the danged thing
Until, at long last, he’s at Marblehead’s dawn.

And then? He stubbornly digs in his heels.
I don’t blame the mule. I know how he feels.
I’ve bought advertisement’s dishonest appeals;
But even a sucker gets sick of ordeals.

You promised us Spring! We’ve only seen snows.
We’re sick of your thorns. We yearn for the Rose.

6 thoughts on “LOCAL VIEW —Spring To Retreat—

  1. April snow is nothing unusual in New England, but down here, April snow that lays is very rare. I cannot remember more than in inch down here in April in my lifetime, though they have happened in days of antiquity. But frost next week is a big concern.

    In fact May snow in your neck of the woods is not unheard of. Do you remember May 9, 1977 when there was a general snowstorm in southern New England? Or May 26, 1967 when there was accumulating snow in southern New Hampshire at relatively low elevations?

    • I remember the May 9, 1977 snow because all the leaves were already out, down in Massachusetts, and that added to the weight of the snow and the tree-damage was awful. I went back to my boyhood neighborhood and stood aghast to see all the much-loved trees of my childhood missing half their branches, or, in some cases, reduced to poles.

      I remember a more recent May snow that didn’t accumulate much, but it was during the town “fishing derby”, and I was a volunteer and had to stand out in the snow for hours. At the start everyone was making light of it and laughing, but wet, slushy flakes got old fairly quickly, and soon the drenched Dad’s were teaching their drenched sons bad words that only fishermen know.

      By May most of the winter coats are put away, and no one dresses appropriately in May snows, which increases the misery index. “There is no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing.”

      I hope your peach crop isn’t hurt too bad.

  2. Way off topic, but I am fascinated by goats. (I’ve never owned any.)

    Is that an electric fence? I’ve always heard goats are pretty smart. And, they can jump pretty high. So, if they are not content, they could easily jump out, right? One person I knew relayed that his goats would escape his fence anytime they wanted. They wouldn’t go far, and would come back by themselves. It was as if they wanted to send a message–“I’m smarter than you!”

    • I don’t think goats are really off topic, in this particular post. They are moody, and frolic when the weather is good, and are miserable when it is bad.

      Some goats are “leapers” and can get over a high fence, but not all develop this skill. They can’t be bothered. Mine tended to just push fences down, which is why I started using electric fences. They take a worse jolt than a cow will, and my electric fence is set higher.

      If you piss them off, by being late feeding them, they definitely will do things that they know will annoy you. My son had four baby pear trees with a five foot fence about them, well away from the goat’s area, and when I was late feeding them they jumped their fence and went all the way to that small fenced-in area, jumped that fence, and nibbled those saplings. There was plenty of other stuff to browse, but they knew that would get attention. (It was winter; the pear trees were just leafless sticks.)

      In the wild the alpha male leads the herd, but the alpha female tells him when it is time to move on. (Goats are browsers, as opposed to grazers like sheep, and they need variety.) When they’ve had enough goldenrod the alpha female will give the male a long, level stare, and he’ll jolt awake and move on to a patch of some other plant.

      As the human is in a sense becoming a part of the herd, I suppose I am the “alpha male”, but so far I haven’t really noticed them giving me a long, level stare, likely because I don’t hang around in one spot very long.

      They have great eyesight, and sometimes I’ll see the entire herd looking off at something, and only after considerable searching see a fox or woodchuck far away. Sometimes I never see what they were so focused on.

      They will come along on a hike like a dog. The good side is that they don’t rush off like a dog to chase a squirrel, and the bad side is that they won’t cross water or marshy ground.

      They know I mean business, and know the sound of my truck, and I sometimes see them running back to their pasture like guilty children, as I arrive. They just laugh at my wife, and don’t obey her in the slightest.

      I give them free range of the farm in the winter, and we get to work on the electric fences around now, because they’ll ruin a garden.

      They come along at times, when I take the small children on hikes, and I’ve never had any problem. They constantly test each other, but leave small humans alone. The only time there is any danger is when the goats are frisky and clonking heads with each other, and a kid accidentally is in the way. So I keep an eye out for such situations.

      The one exception to the respect between species was due to an older boy who teased them. The alpha female (who was dubbed “The Mean Queen”) would pick that boy out of a crowd, and sneak up on him, and he did get pinned up against a tree a couple of times. After that the boy and the goat had what I would call a guarded truce, with each warily eyeing the other.

      They are not as affectionate as cats or dogs, but occasionally one will push against you to have the base of their horns scratched. Beyond that they are more distant. The herd mentality must be different than the pack mentality. However they are absolutely miserable if left alone. A single goat is a sad thing, and I’ve heard of them leaping fences and breaking screen doors down to come into their owner’s houses.

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