The Goat (formerly Dog) Days of Summer

As did so many other places, Blackhoof experienced the hottest July on record.
Although it is barely mid-summer, the first migrating birds are already gone.
The bittersweet goat migration has also begun.  Lassi, Raita and ChouChou hopped aboard the Goatmobile for a rendezvous in Wisconsin with their new Goat Mom.
Heidi made friends by means of some sunflower seed treats
transferred the girls to a new Goatmobile
and headed off to their new home in Michigan, Summer Solstice Farms,
where the new Alpines aroused the curiosity of the resident Nigerians.
We miss Lassi and the sweet babies, but we're delighted that they are under such good care.
The girls are enjoying the swanky new goat barn that Heidi and Neal built themselves with logs from their own property.  (Photos from Summer Solstice Farms courtesy of Heidi.)
Back at MeadowWild Farm, Juju and Momo tried to beat the heat by snuggling together
while Cajeta continued to climb all over Alba.
If your normal body temperature is 101.5-103.5 degrees, nothing feels better on a really hot day than another warm body sprawled on top of you.
Barb takes the girls out regularly for walks in the cooler shade
where they trim the lush vegetation
and see how close they can get to the neighbors' garden before they're caught and returned home.
In this weather, milkweed (poisonous to goats -- so they love it) has been flourishing
but the hay crop has not.
Uneven weather patterns (too dry some weeks, too rainy to bind up other weeks) made for a poor first cutting -- but the nationwide drought has boosted the price of even inferior Minnesota hay.
Fortunately, the girls have an abundance of rich fresh browse in their large pasture
even if (now that bold Lassi has gone) they have to be coaxed into
going out to enjoy it.
Barb leads them out and then waits for the youngsters
to check in for a little attention.
A neighborly goat wonders if the swallow family is at home and craving visitors
while Niblet and Mr. T observe the action from afar.
The Butt-Heads continue to ram anyone or anything in their vicinity
while Taco and Burrito play King-of-the-Mountain;
Taco triumphs.
Barb's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) business is thriving; her customers enjoy plenty of fresh milk
and a variety of cheeses.
Her smoked scamorza is especially popular.  Even though the apple-wood smoke arrives cool to the grill, she has to shade the kettle from the harsh sun so that the cheese doesn't melt.
This little guy hopped out of the barn after kissing the goats.  Apparently he wasn't a prince under a spell after all, or maybe goat kisses just aren't magical enough to release him.
Cultural offerings abound at this time of the year.  When old friend Uncle Mikey visited from New Jersey, he and Steve journeyed to the Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield for a performance by the Dark Star Orchestra.
Far out, man!
The music was so loud that they could hear perfectly from the beer tent, where they indulged in a South Shore Brewery offering or two while their ears adjusted
and the next day toured the Apostle islands by boat.
Folk-singer Claudia Schmidt appeared at nearby Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, part of a summer music series organized by friend Tom
while in a barn a few miles from us
friends Janaki and Annie offer the annual Free Range Film Festival,
always a highlight of the summer.
Come the first week in August, it's the Highway 61 Folks Festival in nearby Mahtowa
and then in mid-August, the Carlton County Fair.  Stay tuned for details concerning the number of corn dogs and mini-donuts consumed.

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