Go to the ant, thou sluggard

 The morning glory in the front yard looks a little straggly – maybe because it is chewed on regularly by marauding goats, but also because it gets too much sun and is planted in exhausted soil.
 Doing much better is its cousin on the east side of the house
 with its vari-colored flowers.
 Also flourishing is MeadowWild Farm doyenne Cheeky
 who last month earned a Superior Genetics designation from the American Dairy Goat Association
 indicating that she is in the top 15% (85th percentile ranking or higher) of her breed according to the Production/Type Index (PTI) ranking.
 She modestly continues to go about her daily business without lording it over her less superior herd mates.
 Part of that business, of course, is keeping bushes and trees trimmed around the farm.
 The girls enjoy their regular browse-fests, especially now that the hot, humid weather has moved south. 
 Korma has gradually integrated herself into the herd;
 when bullied, she hops into a feeder for refuge -- and pees in the bullies' hay.
 Dustin monitors outdoor activities from his east window cushion
 and is selecting the turkey he wants for Thanksgiving.

Well before fall arrived MeadowWild Farm was in ant mode, storing up provisions in summer for the long, cold months ahead.
 Because the local alfalfa hay crop was decimated last winter
 Barb and friend Farmer Mike of the Large Hands drove a 24-foot flatbed trailer 200 miles down to the Zuidema Farm in Blomkest, MN, and loaded 9.6 tons of gorgeous high protein alfalfa hay.
But on the way back through what Mike swears are the 34 stoplights of St. Cloud, the Ford F-250 overheated.  They had to pull over for 45 minutes and then travel to Mora on a warm day with the heater blasting to blow hot air away from the engine.
They did finally arrive back north, though,
and the next day Mike skillfully unloaded the huge bales
delivering half to the pole barn
under the watchful gaze of the hungry girls.
He then slid the remaining bales into the milking shed.
If Earl (in Sammy Kershaw's "Queen Of My Double-Wide Trailer") is "the Charlie Daniels of the torque wrench"
Mike is the Charlie Daniels of the tractor.
The new hay received a five-star rating from a tough set of culinary critics.
Shortly thereafter a mountain of mixed small bales arrived from a wonderful farm in nearby Mahtowa
and was stacked in the pole barn by hard-working young farmers
while an even younger future farmer munched on an apple and watched.
MeadowWild Farm is now well hayed well into next summer.
On Sept 6 the Farmers joined 178,532 of their closest friends
at the Minnesota State Fair.
Barb stayed in the Goat Building
cheering on friends Brian and Kärin McCann
at the Alpine Goat Show.
Steve toured the Midway
Art Building (favorite piece: a Keith Richards scarecrow)
Eco-Experience Pavilion (with its 25-foot tall plastic “Bagnado”)
and, of course, the Swine Barn

all the while becoming increasingly agoraphobic.
Mostly, though, he concentrated on haute cuisine
and stayed hydrated on the muggy fairgrounds with delicacies such as Caramel Apple Pi Beer
Mini-Donut Beer
and Maple Bacon Brown Beer.

Sept 15 was Linear Appraisal day, hosted by Brian and Kärin at their farm in Milaca.
"The ADGA linear appraisal system evaluates individual type traits that affect structural and functional durability in order to take full advantage of the potential for genetic improvement through selection."
That morning Barb hitched up the trailer she had reserved at Widdes in Esko
only to have the pickup die on her.  Apparently the battery had failed.
The nice people at Widdes ordered a new battery from nearby Cloquet and installed it for her
but the battery warning light remained on.  Fortunately, the truck held up till Barb could drive it to our neighbor Leonard,
a mechanic who regularly does maintenance and repairs for us.  The saintly Leonard dropped what he was working on and diagnosed the problem
not as the dreaded engine snakes that we feared
but as a faulty alternator.  Leonard had a new one delivered from Moose Lake, slapped it in the F-150, and had us on the road in 45 minutes, saving the day.
Korma, Ahni & Xiu rode in back of the pickup
while Cheeky, her girls and Eclipse traveled in the trailer.
The appraisal was an enjoyable and enlightening all-afternoon affair.
All of the MeadowWild Farm girls did well.  Tzarina was judged "very close to Exceptional" with a high Very Good Overall rating
while Eclipse (Best Senior Doe of Show at the Carlton County Fair) received the highest  ratings:  Very Good (in General Appearance and Mammary) and Excellent (in Dairy Strength and Body).