8/30/14

August, Ants, Appraisal

 It's late August in NE Minnesota.
 The goats are in high cotton (metaphorically), or high grass and weeds (literally).
 A volunteer pumpkin vine is taking over the compost pile.
 
 Mornings are cool and foggy.
 
 
 Spider webs are everywhere;
 entering the buck barn, especially, involves battling the arachnids
 
 who usually win.
 MeadowWild Farm is in ant mode.  Grasshoppers may be playing
 but Barb is busy making new kinds of cheeses
 and a chocolate version of her famous cajeta
 and putting some of the current harvest away

 for the coming winter.
 
 Propane for the next arctic season is pre-bought
 
 and now that the second crop of hay is in 
 there are enough bales in the new shed
 the garage
 and the pole barn to keep goat tummies full until next summer.
 
 
 The girls are especially happy with the latest bales, which came from a farm in nearby Mahtowa.
We're ready for winter


 whether it's milder than usual, as the National Weather Service predicts,
 or "frigid and flaky," as the Farmers' Almanac prognosticates.
 
 
 Psychologically, we're soaking up as much green as possible
 
 against the coming long string of white months.
 
 Barb found this tiny green fella on grape leaf next to the house. 
 Some critters are less concerned about keeping the green for as long as possible.
 Skunks ripped up large patches of the front lawn in search of earthworms and grubs.
 
 Of course, there are other colors, too.
 Mojo and Amigo admire a volunteer hollyhock near the buck barn -- or are they eyeing it hungrily?
 Some colors seem a bit alarming, hinting that summer is on the way out.
 
 The big event in August was Linear Appraisal by an expert from the ADGA.
 According to The Goat Spot forum, “Linear Appraisal is a performance program offered by the ADGA. It is an evaluation program to help you understand what are weak and strong points in your goats, what needs to be improved overall in your herd, and it helps you to better understand conformational points in your goats. It also helps you to determine whether or not the bucks you are using in your herd are improving daughters over dams, or setting your breeding plans behind. It is an invaluable program.”
 
 (Photos courtesy of friend Laura.)
 Goats are rated on a number of different features and then given an overall score.
 
 Cheeky and Eclipse scored especially high
 as did young buck Mojo, which augers well for the upcoming breeding season.

Mojo’s mom, Regel Katan Farm Ab Caana, was recently named a Permanent Champion.  We're hoping Mojo's daughters will follow grandma's lead.
Fortunately, Linear Appraisal does not take deportment into account.  Mojo was "spirited" (shall we say) during the evaluation, and here he is (with his accomplice Amigo) destroying a bale of hay before our neighbor could take it away:
video
Also in August, MeadowWild Farm was awarded Animal Welfare Approved status after a process that included review of a lengthy application and careful inspection of the farm.

“Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) is a food label for meat and dairy products that come from farm animals raised to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. The program was founded in 2006 as a market-based solution to the growing consumer demand for meat, eggs and dairy products from animals treated with high welfare and managed with the environment in mind.”
Next up: official recognition of the goats' true status: spoiled rotten.
Speaking of spoiled rotten animals, we’ve begun to suspect that Dustin
is actually a cyborg cat.
In the 8 months he’s been with us, he hasn’t barfed once.  Bubba and Julius raised barfing to a high art, so we’re wondering just what kind of alien Dustin might be.
On August 31st the Farmers are off to the State Fair.
Barb will assist friend Brian at the Alpine dairy goat show
while Steve clogs his arteries with such delicacies as Breakfast-on-a-Stick
Jello Salad Ice Cream
Deep Fried Lobster-on-a-Stick
Bacon Brownies
and Beer Gelato.
To stay hydrated on the hot fair grounds, he will sample Grain Belt Blu (made with real blueberries -- a good source of antioxidants)
and swing by the MINNESOTA CRAFT BREWERS GUILD’S LAND OF 10,000 BEERS exhibit
for a flight or two
and then on to the Ball Park Cafe
for a Sweet Yamma Jamma (made from sweet potatoes)
and to Giggles' Campfire Grill for a Brash Cold Ass Honky.
For dessert, it's either Flat Earth's S'more Beer (a chocolate porter served in a chocolate/graham cracker rimmed glass)
or Lift Bridge's Mini Donut beer.
What the hell -- let's do both.
Barb will pick Steve up from a bench near the NE parking lot.