Sunday, January 31, 2010

Middy gets a pal

As soon as we unloaded Middy in the dark and carefully kept her separate from the sheep for her first night at Stop Sign Farm, it was immediately apparent that one should never be the lone goat in a flock of sheep.

So, we called our Rent-a-Ruminant pal Tammy to see if she had any four-legged mouths to feed that she might not mind letting us borrow during this, her slow season. Voila, 2 days later, Middy was introduced to her new companion Megan.

Megan is an angora goat who's missed a shearing and has been low goat in the Rent-a-Ruminant pecking order for almost a year so she lo
oks a little worse for wear right now. But, she seems to be finding her way among this motley crew. She looks so much like our Icelandics that they were at first quite confused - she knew they weren't goats, but they were not at all sure she wasn't a new ewe. Middy found her right away, however, so all in all, mission accomplished.

I'm off to same pal Tammy's place down the road to purchase her old stanchion - ewes, lambs, goats, kids, and a milking stand. I guess w
e're almost ready to start making cheese!

Soon, soon...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Welcome Middy!

Onward and upward here on Stop Sign Farm. It's a new year and time to embark on a long-discussed but as-yet-untried adventure: goats. The addition of goats is a fairly natural extension of our sheep efforts. We chose the sheep breed Icelandics partially for their excellent milk; goats offer even better dairy prospects.

Thus, Middy. Middy, short for Midnight, is a Kinder goat, a new breed developed here in Washington state. Kinders are a cross between a Nubian goat (prolific milk producers) and pygmy goats, smaller in size and with great, gentle personalities.

MIddy comes to us from the mainland, a suburb of Seattle, and is two years old and due to kid in May. It's common for goats to have twins or even triplets, so we're looking forward to a couple of sweet kids frolicking among our lambs and at long last making some fantastic goat and sheep cheese this Spring!

Middy photo courtesy of Dylan Grace-Wells!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Other PNW City

As the new year dawned cold and grey, we met up with our Seattle pals in the museum district of Tacoma. Tacoma alost never makes the Top Ten lists in the glossy magazines, it never sees the boom times that rocket its neighbor and send home values and salaries soaring. It's not America's Greenest City or the setting for romantic comedies.

But, quietly, slowly, steadily, Tacoma has grown up into a true urban jewel. It's not flashy and brilliant in the ways that Seattle is, but its
homes are still affordable, its parks are breathtaking and well used, its shoreline is easily accessed by its residents, and its downtown is quirky, a little sleepy, and increasingly filled with museums and other public spaces that are simply world class.

Who can fail to adore a pedestrian bridge filled with Dale Chihuly glass? What's not to love about an entire swath of bricked downtown redeveloped by the University of Washington into an integrated urban campus? And our plan to drop in at the history museum to see the annual model train show turned into an entire awe-filled afternoon, learnin
g about Washington's past and present.

Mostly I just feel incredibly lucky to live on a small farm in a rural paradise so close to not just one, but two, vibrant and lively Puget Sound cities. But more and more, when I feel the need for a little civilization and faces I don't see every day, I head south instead of east and enjoy the mellow urbanness of the Other PNW city.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's January!

It's finally Twenty-Ten and everyone I know couldn't be happier about that. Our regular Vashon winter weather has finally arrived along with my personal January tradition of starting out the year with a weird injury. This time, I woke up with a swollen achilles tendon and heard cries of warning from friends and family. So, between staying off my tendon and nursing a persistent cold, I'm taking today off.

Five acres of soggy mess means that I have a lot of furry company up here on the second floor. Jessie, Buster, and Karona have apparently agreed on a temporary cease-fire in favor of flaking out and providing background music of kitty sno
res and the occasional doggy dream bark.

The rooster crows from beneath the truck and the sheep wisely spend this morning huddled in their stalls. And that wondrous wet stuff lies in ever-widening puddles as far as the eye can see.

Happy New Year.