Ute and I drove up to Lake County this past weekend to retrieve our lovely goats. We went up a day early to spend some time with our friend Tina in Santa Rosa and to give the Disgruntled Farmhand some space because frankly, we don't want to find out what happens when you push a person past disgruntled. I'm sure it's ugly.
What a gorgeous weekend it was with the sun beaming full glory and not a cloud in the sky to diminish its radiance. We took a lovely afternoon stroll through the Luther Burbank Gardens in downtown Santa Rosa. Spring was in the air with all of Burbank's assortment of flowers and veggies in full bloom. For those of you not in the know, Mr. Burbank was the creator of many a splendid varieties of plants, including the ubiquitous Russet Burbank potato of french fry fame. I would hold this against dear Luther, since his potato has probably been the main force in driving out a vast number of potato varieties. But how was he to know that when deep fried, his bulbous starchy creation would become the closest thing to heaven for anyone under the age of 18, while simultaneously being a major contributing factor to our current obesity crisis in the U.S.? Who could have predicted that the Russet Burbank would become the equilvilant to a nutritional hydrogen bomb, as the repercussions would only begin to reverberate in a distant future (Burbank died in 1926)? But I forgive Luther for all of his blind transgressions solely for the invention of the plumcot, a glorious fruit with all the tastiness of an apricot combined with the crisper, juicier texture of the plum. Let's face it, where the Divine fell short, Luther Burbank took over.
Next we headed off to Sebastapool's Rose and Thorn. Trust me when I tell you that you've never been to a shop quite like this one. The store itself is loaded with more tchotchkes than a Hindu temple, but the main attraction is the animal yard where over 50 chickens and several dwarf goats, all named after famous movie stars, roam the grounds. It's an enticing stop for a picnic replete with country charm; they've got tables and everything. They even offer up the property for getting hitched, as long as you don't mind some feathery, furry bridesmaids and groomsmen clucking and bleating throughout the proceedings. Here's some of the exotic farm friends:
We left Santa Rosa early Sunday, but not before Tina sent us off with a mini library of gardening and homesteading books from the collection of Celeste West, a radical librarian who edited the desktop published Revolting Librarians and wrote a handful of books on lesbian polyfidelity. Since the gardening books I inherited are such gems and Celeste such an interesting character, I think I will save description for a later post. Stay tuned.
When we arrived at Oops Ranch for our girls, we were greeted by Mary Jane, who could pass as the twin of the mean lunch lady, Alice, on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, except for the fact that Mary Jane is a NICE lady. She regaled us with entertaining, albeit troublesome, tales of Ethel and Lucy's exploits. Apparently, Ethel reigned queen over the young does, always getting to eat first and teaching the youngins' all kinds of mischievous tricks, such as how to jump through the nine inch space near the top of the gate. Yes, that's my naughty, naughty goat. Meanwhile, Lucy slogged through her stay with the rest of the herd somewhere near the bottom of the totem pole. She lost a bit of weight with all the competition, while Ethel has clearly packed on some pounds. But Lucy got her job done with incredible efficiency, breeding with the buck several times the day after we dropped her off! She's my good girl.
While getting the lowdown on the girls' vacation, Mary Jane's husband Mel sauntered over to try and convince us that we needed a mini cow. Though a tempting offer from this gentleman who has probably done more than his fair share of time in a Santa Claus suit, we had to pass it up given that this doe-eyed boy might grow to 300 pounds. If you have at least an acre, you might want to think about taking him in (I can provide contact info). He looks a little wild in this pic, but he's really a sweetie.
He was terribly difficult to resist. But even more of a lure was his jealous pal Buddy who began to make the most obnoxious choking noises in a ploy to get a scratch around the ears. Poor thing. He sounded like he got one of his treat biscuits trapped in his throat and was trying to push it out through his nose. I had no idea the lengths a donkey would go to for a bit of attention. It was kind of charming, if not a little frightening.
All of us girls made it home safe and sound. To our utter amazement, we returned to a brand new/old set of stairs in the backyard made with recycled cinder blocks, a car so clean you could eat off the floor, and a spotless house. We love our Disgruntled Farmhand and suspect that maybe he's not THAT disgruntled after all.