Friday, September 18, 2009

In which we explore the neighborhood, and do a little bushwacking

Across the street from our house is a mountain, and somewhere on it are some old logging roads and trails. I am determined to find them.
Today seemed like a good day to start exploring, so I saddled up Fiddle and headed down the road to look for trail access points.

Hana promised to wait patiently.

Hana has finally accepted that, sometimes, Fiddle and I leave. So far we've always come back to her, and in the meantime, she has her goat-ish entourage. She really does enjoy their company.

About a mile from the house is access to overhead powerlines. There's a gate across the road, but some freethinker had cut a little path next to the gate. Wide enough for a horse? Yes, just barely.
Then, up the powerline road!

The powerline road runs about 1,000 yards above the regular road, and from the higher vantage point I can see the hills on the other side of our valley.
Hmmm, looks like they've done some logging over there. The little "divot" in the hill at the center of the photo shows where a bunch of trees aren't.

I don't particularly like the practice of clearcut logging, but there's no denying that where there are logging trucks, there are ROADS, and where there are logging roads, I can ride. I will definitely explore that area at a later date.
The utility company has done a lot of work here recently.

Several of the poles are new, and there were tracks from numerous heavy trucks and bulldozers on the road. They'd gravelled over a swampy bit, and sprayed the side of the road with some kind of defoliant...

We made steady, happy progress eastward on the powerline road until we came to an Obstacle.

Not only is the gate locked, but also, the pasture contains some Unfriendly Types.

Well, if you can't go through it, and you can't go over it, and you can't go under it, there's always the option to go around it. So that's what we did.

Ummm, a little of that chemical defoliant would have been handy. Instead, I cut down blackberry vines with my trusty clippers, and stomped them down with my feet. Fiddle is very good about waiting patiently for me to create a trail. She contributes to the effort by eating everything she can reach from where she was "tied".

There isn't a tree handy to where I wanted to park her, so I looped the line over a particularly sturdy blackberry branch and told her stand and wait, which she did. Gooooooooood girl!
My bypass trail had clearly been used by people in the past. I found lots of beer cans under all those blackberry branches--paper trash might blow into the woods, but beer cans tend to stay where people throw them. I've often thought that we should use them for trail markers, since even the elk won't eat them.

Tacky to look at, true, but plentiful and indestructible.

I bushwacked a goodly stretch of a bypass trail before I decided to give up for the day.
Note to self: next time, wear jeans...and maybe cast-iron gloves....
I'll be back, though. I want to see those trails!

When I got home, I gave Fiddle a bath. She was thrilled.

Okay, not really. I wish I'd gotten a photo of her dustbath, it was quite spectacular. Hana was just glad to have her friend back in the pasture again.

The goats were glad to see ME...and did I happen to bring them any apples? Why yes, I did bring apples. Hana and Fiddle eat apples in a bite or two, but the goats turn them into applesauce with their delicate nibbles. Someday their heads will be bigger, so they can take bigger bites. I'm pretty sure they're looking forward to that.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In which I comment on the cuteness (and dumbness!) of our little goats

Certainly, our goats are adorable. They are funny, and silly, and far more amusing than anything that network television could ever dream up.
Jim likes to pretend that Dobbie is a motorcycle, and uses his ears as accelerators. Vroooom! Vrooom! (it doesn't make the goats go any faster).

Hana regards the goats as her entourage. Wherever she goes, they follow her, skipping along in her shadow.

If anyone goes into the pasture to pet the goats, Hana is right there to help...and to collect some petting for herself.

Hana likes these goats...which is convenient, because keeping Hana company was one of the reasons we got goats in the first place.

Jim read several books about goatkeeping before Lupin and Dobbie arrived at our farm, and so he is careful to check their feet regularly. They are now very well-trained to pick up their feet nicely when he asks them to do it.

They are also pretty good at giving kisses!

One of the (many) funny things about goats is that their foolish behavior inspires foolish behavior from anybody who meets them.
The goats are insanely fond of buckets. They go crazy whenever they see a bucket, and will follow a bucket--even an empty bucket--forever.
...and, of course, they look especially silly when they run.
During the day, they like to snuggle up next to the pasture gate to take their naps. The gate gets warm in the sun, I guess.
Even on hot days, they penguin-pile beside the gate for hours of peaceful snoozing.
A few days ago, Dobbie was fast asleep and rolled over under the gate. When he woke up, he was out of the pasture and in the back yard, and he couldn't figure out how to get back into the pasture with his friends.
I'm sure the entire valley heard him hollering his distress!
Fortunately, I was home that day and pushed him back under the gate.
Dobbie and Lupin are usually close together. It's hard to take pictures of them where they don't appear to be a single two-headed goat.
I can hear people asking the Big Question: DO THEY EAT BLACKBERRY VINES?!?!?!!!!
YESSSSSSSS! They love to eat blackberry vines. Apparently, goats lack the ability to discern "bitterness" in food, so they happily suck down blackberry leaves and vine that animals with a proper sense of taste avoid.

Hooray for Dobbie Goat Gruff and Lupin Goat Gruff, the Clown Princes of Haiku Farm!