The Goat Days of Summer

 The goat days (formerly “dog days”) of summer are here
 with their hazy mornings and hot afternoons
 Goat Mom heads off early to milk
 and treat the girls to pretzels.
 And what could be more refreshing on a hot day than a Leinie's Summer Shandy?
[photo courtesy of friend Laura]
 Monarch was the last of this year's kids 
 to depart for a new farm.
We're delighted that the young bucks all found good homes.
 No one had to be sent to "Freezer Camp."
 Garam is still with us
 and right at home with the Big Guys
 Chilly (about 190 pounds)
 and Mojo (215 pounds)
 whose tap dancing finally destroyed the old truck topper.
 Barb crafted a new one, reinforced with heavy planking.
 Chilly cautiously checked it out 
 (while Mojo watched from his nest in the grass)
 and finally reached the summit.  All 3 boys now enjoy rough-housing together on top.
 Dustin (who refuses to acknowledge the "goat days of summer" and considers every day "Dustin Day")
goes from window to window tracking the action
and then moves from one nap spot to the next.
He has taken over the new porch nook
 as a favorite retreat. 
 He still won't touch the catnip that was nurtured so carefully for his benefit.
 Geese are raising goslings on Spring Lake and Sandy Lake
 turtles come up from the lakes and pond to deposit eggs in our sandy soil
 and deer (with their teenagers) continue to waltz through the yard at all hours. 
 Some visitors are less welcome than others.  Although flies have not seemed as numerous as in previous years, they are certainly back
 so the "welcome strips" are out.
 And it’s that time of year when the barn and Gentlemen’s Club resemble Dracula’s Castle,
festooned in spider webs.
 Anything that stays still for more than a few minutes becomes the anchor for a new web.
 Each time we carry in the hay, grain and water, we come out tangled in broken webs and brushing off desiccated fly and moth parts.
Hours later back in the house, tiny spiders rappel down silken threads attached to our hair or glasses.
 Friend and neighbor Larry Weber 
 who literally wrote the book on spiders
insists they are harmless (indeed beneficial)
 but we’ve seen too many 1950s creature-feature horror movies to doubt that
 they "must eat you to live!"
 Perhaps even more abundant – and obnoxious – than spiders are the Franklin's Ground Squirrels who have reached biblical proportions again this year, tunneling up the lawn and overrunning the goat barn.
Image result for the 10 plagues of egypt
Had they constituted the first Egyptian plague, Pharaoh would have surrendered immediately.
 We’re trying out new marketing lures to get people to come trap and remove them:
 “They make tasty tidbits on the BBQ grill."
 "What’s left can be fashioned into toasty mukluks.”
 A couple of Australian Death Adders were sunning themselves in front of our garage
 (or perhaps they were Northern Red-bellied Snakes – we’ll have to ask Larry)
 but even they won't chase the squirrels away.
Even less welcome than the flies and squirrels are the ticks.  They also seem not as abundant as in past summers

but it could be that our aging eyes just don’t see the smaller, more dangerous deer or black-legged ticks. 
 At least one found Barb and sent her to the clinic for anaplasmosis treatment.
 It’s that busiest time of year in our usually placid rural retreat.
The weather is perfect for visits to Jay Cooke State Park & the Munger Bike Trail.  
 The Free Range Film Festival took place over the weekend in our neighbors’ barn
 TJ’s big 40th Anniversary Celebration is Aug 4
 Linear Appraisal on Aug 12
 and the Carlton County Fair from Aug 17-20
 which functions as a training camp before the State Fair at the end of the month.  Steve works out on minidonuts and pronto pups to get in shape for that Big League event. 
 Because there are limits to the amount of sugar and saturated fat he can scarf down in one day, he has to plan meticulously for the items he can indulge in (putting more effort into this research than he ever did for his academic dissertation, articles or books).
 Currently toward the top of this year’s list, an Elvis-inspired item:
Memphis Totchos -- Sliced bananas and sautéed bacon over tater tots, topped with peanut sauce.
Also in August: Barb travels to Ohio to pick up A Borealis, half-sister to Kuiper Belt.  More on that adventure in our next posting.