Saturday, August 17, 2013

Missoula & the Last Forage

Stopped in Missoula, MT to stretch our legs and found some local arts & culture. Cool little town.

Last forage in Montana at Lolo National Forest. Another successul endeavor surrounded by beautiful scenery. 

Goodwin posed for this one:
Idaho came and went, and we spent our last night on the road at Starlite motel in Pasco, Washington. Ate some delicious Thai food at a cute little place called Rice&Noodles before resting up for the final segment of driving: following the Columbia river toward Portland, next stop Molalla!

Thursday: Montana

Woke up to a new day at the Dude Rancher in Billings, Montana. The Dude abides! Goat foraging at a rest area just outside the city, mindful of the sign that read "rattlesnakes have been observed in this area"...I guess Minerva is staying in the truck for this one!

Check out our MacGyver-esque goat herding contraption:
Product placement: Kandinsky prefers a sweetened passion iced tea, Rodin likes a quad latte, Goodwin takes a hot chocolate, Wyeth gets a soy chai latte,  and a double espresso for Caravaggio
We got back on the road headed for the continental divide and decided that Montana was our favorite state to drive through. Such beautiful landscapes the whole way through the mountains

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wednesday: South Dakota

Our first night in a motel spent in Chamberlain, South Dakota on the banks of the Missouri River. First stop, the Derby Coffee Shop in town, where in addition to excellent lattes and frappes, we picked up some 1919 Root Beer on tap and an Amish linament that has expanded our ability to drive Johno (my truck)  comfortably.We stopped at a rest area just 26miles west of Chamberlain to forage the boys on prairie grass. The usual tether craziness ensued but they are brilliant animals and are already adapting to our road life. Even though this also includes Rodin maintaining a singular obstinacy about getting back in the truck, even when the other four have dutifully jumped in on their own. Deirdre and I have had to physically man-handle him in, horns first, of course. No doubt he's thinking he should be riding up front in the cab with us...all according to caprine hierarchy!

After the morning foraging shenanigans, we decided to take the day off from blogging and have some fun. Next stop, THE BADLANDS and the Oglala Lakota Reservation.

Check out the gift we received at the end of our visit....this was the Bellwethers favorite part of our side trip!

Then, time and driving caught up with us again, after a lovely dinner at an Irish pub in Rapid City, SD, Deirdre did a miraculous late night drive into Montana that included traversing Custer Forest, a couple Cheyenne a section of road construction in the middle of nowhere with 2way traffic in about 1 1/2 width of lane. Very dark, remote and more than a little creepy! But she pulled us through! And the Big Sky did not disappoint. We watched the half moon set and pulled over to absorb the Milky Way..the stars going right down to the horizon.

Urban Foraging & New Friends

Started the day with a visit to an awesome urban outpost for sustainable living in Madison. We were invited to forage the boys at Sue Hessel's 3/4 acre urban lot that has a lot going on: food forest building, vegetable growing, starts hoop house, applying for urban agzoning status, and more. The goats were much obliged, diving into many new invasive species, including some that had set seeds already. We departed in the afternoon with 5 full-bellied goats and a couple of wonderful sandwiches for ourselves, wishing we could have stayed longer . Big thanks to Sue for sharing her place and vision with us. Deirdre did a video interview, look for it to be posted soon. In the meantime, enjoy this visually delicious,  lush greenery as much as the goats did!

Hidden Treasure in Suburban Sprawl

We arrived in Madison, WI on Monday evening and were greeted by friendly faces and a beautiful woodland oasis amidst large housing developments that seemed to take up most of the neighborhood. The goats were eager to explore and were not disappointed by what they found to munch on, including plenty of buckthorn, honeysuckle, and other delicious goodies. As the goats chowed down and I struggled to weave in and out of tangled leashes and horns, Yvonne conducted an educational program on the bellwethers and sustainable weed control, the invasive species they are known to eat, on the care and housing of small goat herds, and the use and process of mohair fiber. We were very grateful that Karen, who owns the property, invited us and our fibrous boys to stay the night. Thanks Karen!

Photo cred: Karen 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bellwethers' Breakfast in Ohio

We were very lucky to find possibly the most goat-friendly rest stop, located just east of Toledo, to spend our first night on the road. In the morning we found a nice little patch of green for the goats to have their breakfast (see video: before hitting the road for the day. As the goats grazed, a man on a lawnmower drove by on the other side of the fence. "Can you have them mow that side for me?" He yelled, jokingly. If only he knew the legitimacy of that request!

A few minutes later, a turnpike plaza employee came by to offer us some fresh water for the animals, which we happily accepted. It's those small kindnesses that make travelling a bit more manageable. Thanks Ohio!

Who's Who in Our Portable Family

The Bellwethers:
Wyeth, Caravaggio, Rodin, Kandinsky, and Goodwin

The Support Team:



The "driving force"
Yvonne (aka mom, aka the goat herder)

Deirdre (me)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 1: a marginal success

Our cross-country adventure started in typical fashion: early morning goat escape & subsequent wrangling, my first experience sitting in the back of the pickup with 5 rowdy goats (and certainly not my last), and a lovely visit with the Friends of the Wissahickon at Fairmount Park to send us off. We made it as far as Ohio, just east of Toledo, before stopping to sleep. All passengers, both furry and human, have been adapting well to life on the road. Although I think mine and mama's 8-hour joni mitchell singalong was less than entertaining to some...