October here in Western Mass is when the temperatures drop and the air is crisp suggesting the possibility of snow, unpredictable when it will strike like the whims of a precocious toddler. All of a sudden we feel an urgency to get the winter tents that provide sheltered exercise space for our goats up. We have 2 tents: one for the does and one for the bucks. They are arched enclosures 20ft long, 12ft high and 10 ft wide. Setting them up is not difficult, but more than what Paul, Monique and I alone can handle. Community to the rescue! Thankfully for the third year now we have put out the email call for help, and help arrived in the form of everyone.
Since we set the tents up only once a year, once the job is done the details are forgotten until the next October. So there always seems to be some significant head scratching, animated discussion and general confusion at the start as we all seem to remember differently exactly how these tents go together. But our spirits were high and everyone was in good humor despite the wind (there is always wind on the day we choose to do this!) whipping the covers around as we try to pull them over the structure and get the anchors in place. 3 hours later, the job was done and the goats were happily hanging out under their winter shelters. This year I am especially grateful. After the tents were up many of our kind neighbors stayed to help us run extension cords and set up heated water buckets, shovel wood chips and install fresh bedding and tend to all the other little goat related details for the long winter undoubtedly ahead.