racing into autumn

We have been keeping extremely busy around here since the Harvest Festival. The Festival itself was, as always, a lovely day spent in the excellent company of friends old and new. Many farm tours were had, many people met the goats, much good food was eaten, and as ever, the pie contest was a dazzling success. We always enjoy this day, which is our unoffical community-birthday party, a great deal, and this year was no exception.

Shortly after the Harvest Festival, three new interns (through wwoof and workaway) arrived on the farm, and we have been getting projects done at a dead run ever since! It’s a delight to have so many excited and engaged young people around the place and tackling our substantial summer backlog of projects.

One very notable project is the completion of our new hay barn! We’ve got goats now, so we need a place to store hay, and that place is not the inside of the existing barn, which is set up as a workshop. So Rev designed and built a long high narrow hay barn on the south side of the main barn – near the goat pen, easy to access from it, but outside of it, and a good dry spot from the weather.

this photo does not do the hay barn justice. neither does this one, but it’s more fun:

We fixed the gate that day, so they couldn’t repeat this particular stunt!

Using plans provided by my colleage Jen of Seed Broadcast, we have also built a field shelter for the goats out of all repurposed material.

It is tall enough for full-grown goats to walk under, and sturdy enough for them to walk on top of it (an important characteristic in anything that is going to be near a goat!). The frame is made of old hoop-house pieces that we had laying around, and have never once used in the garden, and some spare pro-panel roofing that was left over from another project. The three goats we currently have will all fit under it, as well. We’ll probably add another shelter if we ever expand the herd. Meanwhile, this will keep them dry in the rain in the pasture, since goats really hate being wet. They are secretly just cats with horns – which July evidenced the other day by squishing through a hole not more than 12″ wide – the goat himself being substantially wider than that, and also about 3′ tall – but he fit anyway through this small, ground-level hole he had made in the fence! This after weeks of mystery escapes multiple times every day. The field is basically goat paradise, but it’s no good; any fence is there to be crossed! Two interns and I were busy adding a couple feet of height to the west side of the field, on the premise that he was jumping out over there, when the goat dropped to his knees, oozed through the hole, and popped up on the other side happily crunching elm leaves, right in front of us. Cats with horns, I tell you.

Another of the many projects that’s gotten done in the last month is a complete rebuild of the outhouse. It was in a location that no longer quite made sense – a relic of an older configuration of our property paths, which have changed quite a bit in 12 years. It had also begun to develop a distinct list. So this summer, three of our stalwart volunteers took it apart, and then Rev rebuilt it, square to the new path, with a better foundation, more space, and an improved metal roof!

This week’s major building project is also headed up by volunteers – a second intern housing dome out back. The one we have is quite popular with interns who will be camping out, and really it’s very comfortable fancy-camping digs. We have parts donated some years ago by our friend Dave, so we are now setting up a second housing dome beside the first one. It’s still under construction, but as of this afternoon, it was looking very dome-like!

We’ll get a foundation under it and a tarp over it, and add a door like we did with the other intern dome, for easy ingress.

and because I can’t go two months without a substanive post and then not give you a gratuitious kitty picture, here’s Arisilde in repose.