Sometimes spring comes a leeetle early when the farmers are a combination of adventurous and inexperienced. It’s been two weeks since our boys were doing the afternoon chores on a -25 degree day and grabbed two soaking wet newborn kid goats to be dried and warmed inside. This is not supposed to happen, but the only way to prevent midwinter births is to keep the daddy away from the mommies until December. So while we were having our family week at the cottage last August, guess what was happening back at the ranch! Now here we have Mr. and Mrs. Farmer playing midwife in the kitchen and in come the boys with another little goat. Triplets in January! Thankfully, the timing was perfect so that the kids did not get chilled before we found them; the mother accepted them, even though we needed to keep them inside most of the time to keep them from freezing; and all of them were vigorous in spite of being triplets. After about a week of round-the-clock feedings and trips back and forth to the barn, they have all successfully ended up outside full time with Bess, the good little mama.

The other premature sign of spring is entirely of our own doing. We bought an incubator in December and got impatient to try it out, knowing full well that any success in hatching would be followed by weeks of indoor chick rearing. This morning, we heard the first sound of life from the incubator after three weeks of carefully monitoring temperatures and humidity and turning the eggs twice a day and hoping for the best. All day today, each family member (even the one year old) has been making constant trips over to the incubator table to peek in and see what is going on in there. So far, there are five chicks tumbling around and fluffing up. Several more eggs have pipped (little holes pecked from the inside), so we are anticipating a few more in the morning. Quick, set up the chick table and the heat lamp in the basement. Find the feeding and watering dishes. We’re farming indoors again!