August was very dry, with clouds
and morning mists
but not much rain. As a result, the gardens have been fairly disappointing.
The apple tree, however, is loaded
and ripening. We prepare for our annual contest with the birds to see who gets the best apples.

The grapes continue to flourish
and are ripening apace.
We'll probably have to battle the raccoons for those.
Dave, Brigitte and Janet came up for a visit
and a trip with Caroline to the Carlton County Fair, where, despite the parched gardens,
Barb's garlic and red onions won blue ribbons
and her white onions came in 4th.
Of course, her goat's milk soap won a blue ribbon, also.
Steve's photo from last autumn received a blue, with two other entries getting a red and a white
and friend Tom's ale came in first.
Barb took advantage of the house guests by making them weed and pick her blueberry patch. Here she ensures that they do a good job.
Steve exercised his masochistic side by reading the whole of Ayn Rand's atrocious The Fountainhead for discussion at the Cloquet Library Reading Club.
The goats enjoyed the warm, sunny August days, hanging out in their back area
keeping an eye out on the chickens
and scaling Mount Compost.
Niblet continues to deforest the area
and Dodger attempts to liberate the chickens by opening their pen.
Dream developed conjunctivitis, probably from a wasp sting while she was browsing in the raspberry bushes. She's recovering nicely now due to the ministrations of Dr. Doolittle (Barb), who has been giving her penicillin shots with a huge needle and squirting medicine in her eyes three times each day.
Some of the young chickens have developed enough personality or peculiarity to earn names. Above is Kiwi, who never grew a tail.
Honk has a distinctive voice and a tendency to peck at shins.

Speedy likes to hang out with Honk.
Zelda is golden with lace-like markings.
The five Buff Orpingtons (or Twerpingtons, for short) are the other golden girls. They refuse to go into the coop at night, choosing to roost instead on the outside window sills. We have to push them inside for their own safety.
The biggest of the Twerps here shows off her impressive drumsticks.
Now that hawks have begun migrating, Barb strung protective netting over the chicken pen to prevent a repeat of last year's tragedy.
The dry weather has brought back hordes of grasshoppers. The chickens immediately snatch up any that venture into their pen. An insect net is on order so that we can add some extra protein to the chickens' diet.



The goats continue to enjoy their walks two or three times every day.

Niblet stops for refueling along the way.

Much of the time is spent munching on the landscape.

Dodger submerged in fresh food.

And checking for fan mail.

Back in the outdoor pen, a continuing game of "King of the Mountain."

Then a nap in the hay.

The geese showed up a few more times.

The three surviving goslings seem to be thriving, but then the whole family vanished again.

An uneasy truce is holding between the older and younger domestic fowl.

Some of the oldsters were particularly unwelcoming to the young 'uns.

But as the newbies grow bigger and bolder, the coop and yard remain relatively peaceful.

The rest of the critters carry on with their routines -- the red squirrels going through a small fortune in corn each day . . .

and the cats napping.

The farmers enjoy no such leisure, working over several days to remove old straw from the goat barn . . .

and the chicken coop.

Grant Wood would be proud.

The meadows were gorgeous before haying.

Neighbors Tom & Gretchen maintain a huge, weed-free, orderly, magnificent potato patch.

Barb's gardens reflect a different philosophy ("Why can't we all just get along with a few weeds?"), but the produce is coming along nicely.

The grapes especially look good and may be her best bet for a blue ribbon at the upcoming Carlton County Fair.

Spiders are hard at work in the goat barn.

Barb hard at work (in hazmat gear) on another batch of goat's milk soap.

An unusual double rainbow after one morning shower.

Caroline in Vikings colors beneath her Vikings-colored hanging basket.