{ kids at the farm } Part One.

alOha ; )

   Fasten your seat belts, pack away your breakables & pop your ear drums because the Winnie's about to head down south for a life-changing adventure & one step closer to our dreams ; ) This post is slightly dated (I wrote that last line two months ago, and it was more than slightly dated then..), this is mostly because we've been enjoying the reverberations of this trip obsessively and gratuitously for the past few months, and also because life has been a little high maintenance. We've traveled thousands of miles on biz and through pages of ill-timed adventures with cars that weren't ours, trailers falling apart at 70 miles per hour, breakdowns, jet lags, late night calls to the parents & midnight hitch hiking on 18 wheels .. but we'll get back to that later.

   For now - let's set sail on our anniversary adventure (we're celebrating six lovely years since our wedding on 7/7/7), and we're dying to show you the gift(s) we bought ourselves ; ) 

   Juwels says we ate this apple on the morning of the trip, but I don't remember ... I most likely gobbled it down with one hand while I tightened an oil plug or radiator hose on the ol' Winnie with the other. I tend to get very serious and a bit jittery before our travels, and don't normally loosen up until we've hit the open road.

   "Look - it's like you and me !!" she probably said.


   And if I may digress for just another moment: look at this awesome bug !!! Never seen anything like it. Our part of the forest has some birds and bugs that make you think you're in the jungle ... Free candle to the first person who comments with the correct name of this little bugger ; ) 

   (this is best read in a robotic/ alien voice) "Extending the nose probe vacuum tube... glug, glug, glug .. filling orange beard with banana sugar resin ... wild eyebrows, filling with crystallized vitamins, A, B & Z. Spiralizing yellow nana-goo into nano-particles to be burned up in flight .." or at least that's the way I'd like to imagine his digestion works ; ) 

   Where were we ? ... Engine purring (well, growling) and bugs on the windshield. The trip has begun .. but we're still not sure where we'll shift into park along the way. Juwels has a spot in mind, but it's in never-never going to get there before dark Land, so I'm trying to nudge her into the idea of pulling off a little closer  ... 

Nobody tail gating us - just the way I like it !!

   We've shed all but one of our skylight covers over the past 5 years (flying-saucer-style on the highway, smashed by hail, and dissinagrated back to the year 1975). We've been holding out on replacing them because we want to install some large, big screen, star-cloud-and-moon-gazing ones in the future.

   As of now, we just have temporary covers that are held down by bricks while we're parked and stowed away before driving. So the wind of doing 55 down mountain roads has a tendency to animate everything inside: curtains, couch cover, sailing dust bunnies on broom sticks. It's a fun ride and everything feels invigorated when we're done with a good sprint through the pines ; ) 

   We talked about possible camps over the sound of the engine, and I thought of an area that we’d seen on previous trips, a thick wooded area where the road humped and dipped a lot, where the trees varied a bit more from the solid Ponderosa Pines in our neck of the woods, but as I mentioned, it would be past dark by then, and one thing that I’d learned on other travels was that it was always best to make camp before dark … set progress aside and bunk down. All sorts of trouble (adventures?) could be had after dark, like, say, when you awoke to find out that you were actually camping on some crazy rancher's hay field .. ha ha ha.

   With that in mind, and as the sun started to disappear, I saw a pull off for a lake we’d sailed before. I pumped the breaks and started down the bumpy dirt road. Most of the dirt roads in the area are pretty well kept (mostly because people rarely take their machines down them, but this one had that wash board effect going, and the Winnie was making so much noise that I thought the windows were all going to shatter.. . slower and slower we drove, and the noise got a little more bearable. I saw a piece of the window framing fall off and disappear into the dust cloud at our tail, and next I saw a big tree, a very big & majestic tree with a fire pit and a roundabout drive, and we pulled off for the night.

   There were two other camps in the area. A small dog barked, and then a woman’s voice came in, a voice like a singer in a gold rush brothel, and the dog stopped (smart dog). 

   It was still and quiet, and we dragged the bed up onto the roof and hung our shirts and socks and pants on an overhanging branch. We laid on top of the down comforter, and felt the cooling weather on our skin and watched the sky changing colors behind a large dead tree. Birds came and sang and went from it’s silhouetted branches, and then the green fairy bugs with glowing wings fluttered about, and tried to crash into the golden wax pool of our candle, so we blew it out.

   After a while more, stars becoming brighter, and despite the idea that we could very easily fall asleep right then in there .. we decided to climb back down the ladder and make dinner. Juwels went down first, and I stayed up on the roof and peered down at her through the lidless skylight like a boy on the top bunk.

   The heat from the oven came through the skylight onto my smiling face as she preheated the oven and greased the pans for buckwheat corn bread. After the third mosquito had sampled my blood, I tucked the pillows under the comforter to protect them from the dew, walked barefoot through the camp, scratched a love note to juwels on a rock with a piece of coal from the fire pit, and then headed in so I could offer my conversation and taste testing services.

   The corn bread came out in hot series – corncob shaped and delicious. We scored them with a knife down the center, inserted long pads of creamy goat butter and drizzled honey. The tea was hot, asparagus - chopped and frying in the pan, and the rice was seasoned and fluffy. It was a delicious night of candlelight, good food and music, and we went to bed without doing the dishes.

   Sometime shortly after we’d fallen asleep up there on the roof, I woke up and realized that it was raining. Not hard, but constant, light, sprinkles. We both laid there without moving, and then juwels, feeling the rain too, said, “It’s raining.” It felt nice, as soft as it was. “Should we move everything inside before it starts pouring?” she asked.

   I could see patches of stars between the patches of clouds, and the moon was bright, and I said, mostly out of laziness and warm contentment, that I thought it would stop soon. (she's been through this with me before, pulling a tarp over our heads and laughing over the sound of buckets of rain as we held out on that little bed in the past.)

   She yawned and agreed, and I pulled the covers up under my chin, with the pleasant feeling of tiny rain drops on my brow, and fell asleep smiling, and not thinking about it any more. And when I awoke, still smiling, it was morning. We were damp but not soaked, and I loved the idea that it sprinkled on our naked bed for an untold period of the night while we peacefully slept. 

   I awoke first - always do - and saw that juwels had almost wriggled herself off the bed and extended her rapunzel-like sheets down for any furry bunny or squirl who might want to climb up and snuggle.

   She's the night watch guard. She normally stays on the ledge beside the crow's nest but begged juwels to take her onto the top bunk with us .. or at least that's what I was told when juwels handed her up through the skylight to me. 

While juwels made porridge, I stacked rocks and wandered around the camp, picking up heart-shaped rocks and bullet casings. The temperature was perfect, and I could have stayed another night ;)

Knock-Knock, our neighbor & partial umbrella ; ) 

Leftovers - just as good for breakfast starters ; ) 

   This melon practically rode on the dash the rest of the day's drive. We were always spoon feeding each other as we drove deeper and deeper.

The day was beautiful and the drive was seamless (for once ; )

   We were honored to watch these beautiful elk slowly saunter through the water, drinking in this fine morning. There would be many more hooved creatures in our future that day ; ) 

Thinking of getting this raven tattooed on my wrist.

   Cleaning yesterday's bugs off the windshield ... which was an interesting reality for me the night before: we'd just arrived at the camp, relieved that we'd found such a spot and smitten with the tall tree who'd keep us under its wing for the night, and as I walked around the front of the Winnie, peeking in through the grill at the steaming radiator, I saw all these identical bugs smashed on the Winnie's nose and lights and windshield. They had long tube-like bodies, like brittle worms with wings, and the lower half of their little bodies had crushed against the machine, gluing them to the Winnie while the other part of their bodies stayed alive, unharmed, and they all just stuck there, watching me and slowly moving their wings, doomed.

   I try to have compassion for all living things ... had to liberated a beautiful black and white striped dragon fly from his head the other day when I'd found him half crushed on the grill of the truck down in the canyon, but there were too many bugs here, all still alive ... collateral damage of the voyage I suppose, but an odd and bitter byproduct of man's travel no less.

Lake Mary is one of the best and most enjoyed bicycle roads in the US .. nice bike lanes that run the length, hills and slopes, and just look at the scenery ; )

Shot from the toilet ; )

My gypsy mamma and her wagon ; )

You know I had to do a few flying squirrel jumps onto this baked balloon of a couch ; )

couch surfing ; ) 

   At last .. we arrived - the Fossil Creek Creamery! We'd visited this place a few times before, either before or after a hike to our favorite waterfall & cliff jump. We originally met the owners, John and Joyce, at the local farmer's market. They're great people, funny, sincere, and hard working. 

   Yes, we'd been there before, to ogle at the goats, their little antics of climbing on things and head butting, but we'd never been there with the intention of bringing a furry family member home with us. (For the record, juwels was the one who wanted a goat, originally. I've seen pictures of her at 4 or 5 years old, with her tiny arms wrapped around the furry back of a grinning goat, wanting one so bad, and here she was again, so who was I do deny her a childhood dream come true? 

   I'd had my run ins with goats as a kid. I liked their mischievous way of doing things: eating road maps and dollar bills from the hands and back pockets of onlookers, running wild, climbing .. they reminded me of me at the time, but we weren't the livestock-owning kind of family. Juwels, on the other hand, grew up on 10 forested acres, with chickens, bunnies, a huge garden .. peacocks (true story) and eye ball pecking ducks (yowza).. so this was just the next step for her.

   The place was empty when we showed up on that sleepy Monday morning. As the Winnie grumbled along the lose gravel road, and I peered ahead to navigate a parking spot, I saw a few curious goat heads pop through the slats of a gate and look in our direction.

   The first pen we passed was the full grown momma's quarters ; ) They were all sweet as can be, and would later come by name when the owner called them over to introduced us to the ladies who bore our babies ; )

I believe this was ezzie's momma ; ) She's got a left horn like lil ezzie ..

 And to think .. we could have gotten our goats for free if we'd just brought along the neighbor's kids! 

   Curds (top) and whey (bottom). Cheese making! I was told that a hog farmer comes along to get the whey for his squealers ; ) They also make fudge and soap ! We were taking notes on everything we saw, thinking about the future of cottage industries on our breaks between the beeswax ; ) 

   Showing up: Our little babies are sitting right in this herd .. I know a lot of you have seen them on Face Book already (we were actually trying to keep them secret until this blog came out .. ha ha ha, we just couldn't!), but see if you can pick them out. They're actually sitting right next to each other (we'd pick them hours later after everyone had scattered in all directions, so it was cool to spot them together in this first pic when we were back at the hive ..)

   The creamery is a home based business, and the founders of this goat-opia were away at the house on the hill, and we just let ourselves into the pen of baby goats. Looking at them all (maybe 50 strong) sent juwels into a squealing frenzy ; ) I was still a little in disbelief. Originally the plan was that we were going to get -a- goat, and that she would live in the pen with lily the horse, keep her company. John had told us that horses and goats were compatible, and that even though they normally only tried to sell them in pairs (so they'd have a buddy) he'd let us try just one with the understanding that we could always get another if she wasn't happy.

   But when we talked to his partner and wife, she furrowed her brow and said that they only went out in pairs, and that a single goat would be sad and needy and possibly drive everyone involved crazy, so I wasn't sure what they'd decide, if we'd get a goat or not .. we had only asked our landlord if we could get -a- goat, not two, but ....   

   They liked doing this, nibbling on my peter pan tassels .. this is an Alpine Goat, they have the Shrek ears .. little cones, and in my opinion, look a little like monkeys. I think this breed is super cute, too. They're supposed to be more well behaved .. so we went with the trouble-making Nubians ; )

Onward, monkey !! 
    These ones are about a year old, so this is the size our babes will be next season. Chia's a little runt though, so she'll be smaller.

   We stared bonding with babies as soon as we stepped in ... this one ? .. this one ??? I let juwels pick (I'd be happy in any case), and after an hour or so of scratching behind ears, fending off nibbles, and falling in love over and over, we found out that any goat wearing a collar, wasn't up for grabs ?????  This little honey was in the running, but then - collar ; (

A pile of Alpines, being good little girls and nestling under the shade of the barn.

They all come around like this - it's like an orphanage. "pick meeee!!"They'll just walk up and press the crown of their head against your chest and nuzzle, so sweet ; )

Juwels calls this the Snoopy .. head back, ears out. Ezzie does this a lot too ; )

Amber vision - welcome to my word ; )

Love her little stick, "Hey, daddy-o"

"I know I may not be a baby ... but aren't I cute?"

'Did somebody say my name ??? Oh, wait ... I don't have a name yet ; )' 

Juwels was in heaven ; )

   Juwels liked this girl, with the bubba gump mouth, but I wasn't quite sold ... plus, later we'd see her collar. Did you know that goats don't have top teeth in the front? You can really tell with this one, looks like she's lost her dentures.

I liked her - long ears and lots of spunk !!

   So when the time came, we picked this little girl (right) and she was to be named Lucia Maria (named after my Italian momma from a goat farming family in southern Italy) now all we had to do is convince Joyce to let us sneak her home with us.

   We talked, and still she advised on a pair .. hell, we would have liked to take a dozen and start our own creamery, but this was a day dream for us .. . Our friend and worker bee, Angie, who owns Lily and the pen beside her house thought we'd be back with one, too .. but in the end, after hearing about how they snuggle like swans, necks interlaced, we just had to get two. Had to ; ) 

   "I'll explain when we get back," I told juwels who'd been looking at me for a call on the subject. 

"Let's just get two." 

    The little lady above - who'd be named Ezmerelda (my pick ; ) had been burying her little head in juwels' belly while we talked to Joyce. She had a collar, which meant she was supposed to stay on the farm, but in the end, Joyce said she could let her come home with us if we'd take two ; ) Ezzie !!!!!!

   Look at chia - papa's little shadow, she always walks beside me (I think she knows she's a bit of a runt, and needs to stay near the head Billy Goat for protection) and ezzie .. mama's little rascal, tugging at the leash and wanting to get into something. And me? The expression of - well, there's no turning back now.. ha ha ha. Mind you, we've never really had a pet together - baaa aaaaa !!

Goats: "Okay .. these people are going to be all right ; )" 

   Many of the other goats popped their heads through the gates when we were walking off, bidding them farewell. Our little girls didn't look back. Maybe they knew they were headed for a spoiled life of love, open grasslands, and snuggle city. .  ; )

   Picking our babes was the hardest decision to make, but in the end, ezzie picked us, and chia was too sweet not to bring back to our honey hive ; )

   Looking at these pictures three months later, I can't believe they were such little piglets ; ) Look at chia's little stumpy legs!

   Winnie's like, "you ain't bringing those in here, are you ??"

   ezzie sang most of the ride back to Flag, and chia sat in still mediation. Back home, this would flip 180 degrees. chia was noisy as all getOut .. ha ha ha. But we loved it.

   Oh, wait .. before we left, we had to check out the long necks. The Lama ladies act as the night watch guards - they love to chase coyotes off the property + the farm offers lama tours where people get to walk with these ladies as guides and pack animals ; )

   Just as we were leaving, Joyce asked us to come look at their yurt. She wanted to know if we thought somebody might want to come out on a partial live/ work trade. Milking goats, making cheese, and living in this beautiful little ranch town. Um, yes !! I think I could find a willing party (we would have loved to do something like that back when, but we've since built our own eden and we're grounded to the spot ; ) I think we've got a couple who's going to nest in there, but we'll keep you all posted. There might be a month open this winter ...  

Going 55 down forested roads, and this is how juwels decided to ride.

We're home !!

Come on, Chi-Chi ; ) 

 Welcome to the Hive little babies !!!

They explored every nook and cranny, and taste tested the local plants and weeds.

So glad we got two !!! Highly recommend ; )

Dogs? No... Then what ?? I don't know ..  let's keep an eye on them.

Knock, knock ... Hey, it's nice up here ; )

Now why do you suppose they hid our (delicious) food all the way up here ????

Um .... guys ??

Can I help you ?

These little girls are dangerously addicted to chicken feed.
yum. yum. yum.

sorry ladies ... that's not your dinner ... it's Alfalfa time !! 

They are best lil snugglers : )

And I'm already seeing a resemblance.

Um ... I think it's going to rain out there, can I come hang with you guys?
ma ?? pa ??

   I wasn't prepared for how affectionate they were going to be, how cute .. and how quickly I'd be hopelessly attached. The idea of having them live up the hill with the horse went out the window before we'd even made it home. We wanted to see and hear them at all times (I'm watching Chia sniff the tail feathers of a chicken right now ; )

   They were very attached to us, too. Every time we'd step into the Hive, they'd scream .. not bahhh .. or bleat ... but scream. We'd have to keep coming to the window and saying, "I'm right here.. It's okay." 

They loVe these leaves ..
had to trim them back though cause they're mildly toxic.

Day 2 or 3 .. ezzie learned the in's and out's of this place real quick.

Snuggle city ; )

   This is the nap blanket, and when we bring it out onto the deck, no matter what they're doing, they'll get up and come over to snuggle ; )

   Looks like they just ate (ezzie's looking mighty plump - they hollow out and plump up daily as they eat and digest.) Ezzie's painted stripe has blended a bit as she's growing, but it still stands up mohawk straight when they're rough housing ; ) It's super cute !!

There little hooves are hard lined on the outside edge, but in the center they have a rubbery pad.

   We originally thought we'd need to train them on leashes, then, gradually, teach them to walk by our sides in the woods. This was not the case, from day one they wouldn't leave our side. We walk them in the forest (or as they call it "the walk through buffet) and they're the best little hiking companions.

   With us being the alpha animals, they stick close: if we stop, they stop .. when we run, they follow. Many times we all lie in the forest and nap, and when we're picking mushrooms, they browse the bushes and weeds. We're the happiest family ; )

    Early morning family portrait - 10,000 feet up Mount Humfrey's. It's funny to pass people and see that exact moment when they realize that they were mistaken in thinking those small fury creatures were dogs. "Those are Goats !!" They'll say to us. "Yep - they're our guides." Or people will come up to us as we're all sleeping on the rocks in the sun, and they'll say, "Are those your goats?" ha ha ha. I always say yes, but I'd love to pretend that they're wild orphaned goats who just wandered out of the woods for comfort. 

   Thanks for waiting for this one - and reading along ; ) There's much more to come (I've decided to save the first night + all beginning observations on life with goats for a second installment considering this blog is 6 feet long, and I've lost one draft of it already ..)  .. oh, and if you're not on our face book, there's lots of goat/ life updates there (some of our friends who have boycotted face book forever, have opened generic accounts with only us as a friend, so they can keep up with us there, too. We do post there a lot, so ... ; )

   Oh - and we're now on Instagram !! <---- Link ; ) 


 p&j    ...   c&e 

***** I know most of you have seen this video, but there's new people headed to our blog everyday, so I wanted to post our bio video - w/ chia and ezzie below. You won't be able to see it if your viewing this on your email, so click on over to our blog and hit play ; )  *****

... and just for fun, our screaming goats ; )


  1. Replies
    1. Joy !! It appears that you're right ; ) msg us you address, and we'll send you a surprise candle !!



  2. Wonderful read and adventure - Now you know why I love my life, my goats and the adventures we share together - Blessings and Goat Kisses

  3. I love when I see an email that says (winnebago diaries) you both make my day. Love your new babies

  4. i'm so glad you added the photo of baby juwels! I second the above post, my heart leaps when I see a new posting on das bloggen.

  5. It was great to read about your trip to adopt Ezzie and Chia. Love the photos.

  6. What a wonderful story! It is at times hilarious and heartwarming all at once. The screaming goat video is hilarious :) Poor little Ezzie can't get her head back through. haha!

  7. Reading this blog is always a highlight to my day. Thanks for all the pictures too! I'm a sucker for artsy pictures. ;)

  8. Love reading your blog, your girls are adorable! Love all the pics!

  9. Thanks for all the sweet comments - we just got back from an early morning walk in the forest ; ) We sat in a sunny spot and sipped our tea, and the girls snacked on a little of this and that ; )

    loVe !!

  10. I enjoyed your post and adventures. Everybody sound like had a lot of fun. I know it's really fun to camp and outdoor activities are always fun as you can explore a lot of things. I'm looking forward to your next adventure trip.