Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In which I abandon my readers once again, and head for the hills

Sorry, dear Readers.

It's the end of the summer, and therefore it's time for the Annual Big-Nosed Women's Tour.

It's true.

You've probably already noticed that Fiddle and I share a prominent proboscis.

Our friend Sky is of Hungarian descent, and so her beak is appropriately stately.

Sky's mare Cricket is a Standardbred -- a cousin of Fiddle's! -- and thus, is equipped with a significant sniffer.

Together, the four of us are Big-Nosed Women, and we like to run away from civilization every once in a while.

Last year, our plan was to head into the mountains...but alas, the trailhead we planned to use was FOUR FEET under the snow IN AUGUST.

So, we tried Plan B.

Alas, the Plan B trailhead wasn't snowed was on fire. Not only that, the Forest Service was staging helicopters out of the meadow where we planned to camp.

Plan C?

Plan C was the ocean beaches at the Oregon Coast. Not a strenuous batch of trails, but it was pretty...and there were no men or small-nosed persons around to interfere with our vacation....

...although it did RAIN. In August.

Not the well-loved and celebrated end-of-summer rains that made the Swampland sing again last week, oh no. We had a proper 2-day gullywashing, frogstrangling thunder-and-lightning blowout. Argh.

We went anyhow. It was wet. It was cold.

And then....the sky cleared, and the trails dried, and there was the ocean!

This year, we'll take an extra BNW: Little Scout, just a puppy last year, is finally old enough to go with us. I think we'll make her carry the marshmallows. She has a big nose, but is still not a very Big Person.
See you in a week!

Life is good!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In which Haiku Farm adds a couple more KIDS to the farm family!

Introducing the latest additions to the family:

Lupin Goat Gruff, and Dobbie Goat Gruff!

Maddie and I went over to Yakima last weekend to fetch them. Our friend Ryan got them for us from his neighbor, who raises dairy goats.

We used an apple box as a travel-crate for the goats.

Ryan petted them both before he strapped down the plywood lid on the crate.

Lupin has white ears. He is smaller than Dobbie, and loves to eat.

Dobbie has dark ears. He is bossier than Lupin, and loves to explore new things.

These are young Nubian goats. They were born this year, so they aren't done growing. Most Nubians grow to about 30" at the shoulder, and weigh about 150 lbs. These goats are wethers (castrated males) so they may not be within the official breed standard. Nubians are a dairy breed that are also used for meat...but our goats will only be used as weed-eaters.

Nubians are stereotyped as loud and obnoxious bleaters, but when we did a little more research, we discovered that the breed is just very vocal about their needs; if they have food, water, shelter and companionship, they are quiet. Like baby humans, if they want something, the whole neighborhood will hear about it.

They are both VERY friendly! Whenever they hear the back door open, they call to us to come down and pet them. They like to have their heads scratched, especially their horn-knobs. They were "dis-budded" i.e. de-horned, at 2 weeks old, so they don't have horns.

Those long floppy ears are so soft.

They like to climb on things. I wish I'd gotten a picture of Dobbie when he hopped into the wheelbarrow!

The plan is that they will eventually join the horses in the pasture, to eat the blackberry vines and keep the horses company. We will introduce them slowly, because Hana is very dubious about these little fellows, and we don't want anybody to get hurt.

The horses like to watch the goats eat. I'm not sure if they want the goat hay for themselves, or if they are just trying to figure out what these bleating little creatures are all about.

Mimsy isn't sure about these goats. She thought they would be fun to chase...until she came close to them and learned that they are actually bigger than her. Mostly she just watches them from the far side of the fence. (Luna stays away from most of the Larger Animals, so she can be closer to the couch and the cat. She isn't much of a farm dog, but we love her anyhow.)

We've all been reading books about taking care of goats. It's still hard for Willy to read English, but I couldn't find any library books about goats that are written in Korean, so we figure it's good practice to read about goats in English.

Aren't they cute? Life is good!