Wednesday, July 30, 2014

wiped-out wednesday

guess what?
My helper came again today.

I wish I had taken a "before" picture of the Very Raised Bed
(hereafter known as the VRB).
Over the past week, I have carried many, many trugs
of mucky hay from the barn to the VRB,
and spread it into a beautiful, thick layer.

Now covered by a layer of saplings and branches:

It may not look impressive compared to
the heavy layer we built last Wednesday,
but here's what you can't see:
after I pointed out the area to "harvest" from,
my helper picked up and carried every stick
and arranged them for (we hope) maximum stability.

He also carried 500 pounds of oats from my car to the barn.

I like this helper!

Meanwhile, while he was doing all this work,
I waltzed around my gardens like The Queen of the May,
snapping pictures of daylilies:

and singing: La-la-la-la-la-la-la....


Okay, not really.
Really, I spent the day cleaning the barn and
working on a sturdy divider and gate.
I can't post an "after" picture, because I ran out of hardware
and didn't want to make a special trip.
(Spent a couple of hours in the car yesterday,
and am not in a hurry to do it again.)
But here is what it looked like when I had taken down
the original, temporary divider,
and started building the new, more permanent, one.
That upright post is one edge of the gateway.

Experimental Project Alert!
I made one section of the new dividing wall
into a little hay feeder.

The goats are eating a LOT of hay now,
and that's fine, but they are also wasting a LOT.
Every trough arrangement has been claimed by the kids within minutes,
as a lovely, edible bed.
And THAT would be fine, too,
except goats tend to wake up, stretch, and...pee.
Wherever they happen to be.
Like, in the hay.

So I've made a tall, narrow "hay wall,"
using 4' high, 4"-square, woven wire fencing.
It's only 4 inches deep - the width of the roughcut
framing of the dividing wall and gate -
so the goats won't get into trouble
trying to cram their heads through the fencing
to get to more hay.

I hope.

Here's a view from the top:

And here's the arrival of the Review Committee:

While I was sitting on that bench with my camera,
Dara, LeShodu's son, noticed that I was sitting.
An empty lap means only one thing to Dara:

Full disclosure: when goat breeders talk about behavior issues,
I have always taken the line,
"If it won't be cute when they're 60 pounds,
it isn't something I'll encourage when they're adorable babies."

Erm. Yeah.

Thing is, I've never seen kids as gentle as Azalea and Dara.
(If they weren't also playful and rowdy, I'd be worried!) 
Even when she was tiny, Azalea, Lily's daughter,
instead of jumping on me the way all baby kids do,
would slowly raise herself up on her hind legs and balance
until I picked her up.

Now, when she's too heavy for me to pick up,
Azalea will sometimes come and lean her shoulder against me
and just stand quietly for a minute or so.
It's very unusual behavior.

And Dara!
Most babies, from a couple of days old, will leap up on a person in a chair.
Then they will then jump right down again.
(This is a perfect example of the kind of thing I don't encourage.)

But Dara does not want to jump right down.
Dara wants to lean back, quietly chew his cud, and doze.

I have witnesses.
They couldn't believe it either.

I usually end up putting him down
because I cannot sit for long periods of time.

Today, when I was sitting on that bench with my camera, legs bent,
Dara hopped up, observed that my lap was apparently broken,
and gently squirmed his way under my arm and across my legs anyway.

What would you do?
I took a picture.
This goat is 9 weeks old.
Now you are all witnesses.

Because I feel confident this behavior will be self-limiting -
that one day, Dara will suddenly decide,
"gosh, this is no longer a comfortable position,"
and that will be the end of the Amazing Lapgoat -
I am ignoring my own "rule" about discouraging any behavior
that won't be cute in a yearling.

"Don't worry. One day I will be a Grown Up Goat,
and this will all just be a memory
that makes you smile."

And now, all that waltzing and singing
has really worn me out.
Time for evening chores, then an early night!