|A mirror appeared in the stables...|
|Licky is looking for the other goat.|
School year gradually ends in June, as various district finish on different dates. Our virtual school ended in middle of the month, a week later than the district into which we fall by address. Other schools in the county ended right with end of May, and summer camps ramped up from the first week of June — albeit just with a few smallest children. I can't stop being fascinated by them; first graders love to pet and carry chickens and feed the goaties. Sometimes we have to defend our animals from these enthusiastic kids, but if they have capable counselors (which seems to be the case this year), it works out well.
Toni, owner of the goat stables, had organized a barbecue on a Saturday at the opening of the summer break, and Lisa and I attended for a bit of chat. First Toni offered Lisa a job of CIT (counselor in training) for Fridays, when the camps do tie-dye and natural obstacle course, and right after that Lisa got cornered by Jen, who needed another CIT for Mondays through Thursdays in her arts sessions. In the end we were leaving with the feeling that staying longer might mean she would get a third job offer. Lisa was glad and flattered, and I was too. It is a common practice that parents pay for their kids' summer camp like everybody else, but kids aged thirteen or more may, after their regular camp stay, do CIT "for free", or get some token payment. But since Lisa is known by the camp people, she got a straight offer, which put her in the camp that she likes, and we don't have to ruin our budget. She still has to work for it, helping with children much younger than herself, be it with arts projects or with riding on horse-back, which is part of the summer camp experience.
|Before start, Ned with Big Lisa on the left.|
|Ned in (*???*).|
It would seem that my goaties cope better with the summer camp this year. Also, I only have two, without baby goats, and I sometimes add Toni's Sheila or Brownie into my little herd. There are fewer incidents of a goat head-butting a child — I don't know, if it's because the goats are more relaxed, or in the better case by camp oversight (so the kids harass the goats less). The horned goat, Hazel, became much more civilized over previous half-year, but I am afraid that part of her attitude is caused by her age. She suffers arthritis and there are days when she obviously has trouble walking, despite her joint shots and medication. I still claim credit for taking her out with me and rest of the herd out to graze, and for her ceasing to be so territorial in her pen, and then desperately running away. She has learned that she'd get a chance to walk every day, and check out meadows and slopes in the stables; then she quietly goes back home to lie down and ruminate.
One day, for some reason, a large mirror appeared near a barn. Goaties got curious, they went to look what got added to their herd. It was interesting that they relatively quickly figured out that it's not a strange goat — they smelled their reflection, tried to push it with their head, but when it did not react like a goat, they went to check out the space behind the mirror; in the end the abandoned it and went to graze. I had never have any doubt that my goats were geniuses, but such a display of intelligence surprised even me.
|Ned on a see-saw.|
|Alternate Cody is a beau.|
Paradoxically, Ned's spookiest scare was a mailbox. American mail receptacle is standardized into a shape of a small tunnel, with a drop-front flap, through which a postman inserts — and the owner removes — letters and newspapers. When we practiced mail collection, our mailbox got mad and opened its flap on Ned all by itself at an unexpected moment. To convince my horse that the thing is not going to eat him, cost me subsequently a lot of effort.
Big Lisa — a pony club mom, who takes care of Ned on Saturdays, and who is new with horses — rode the race on Ned. There were in fact only two riders in her category (adults) — Lisa with Ned and Melanie with a new mustang. It's interesting that they gathered the same number of points in the end — a newbie on an experienced horse, and a seasoned rider on a beginner horse.
Craig came to get Ned back in mid June. He said that Ned won't want to go with him, and I did not believe him. But Ned really flattened his ears back on Crag and when leaving, he neighed in the trailer, and he apparently did not like going. But when a week later Monique (my Sunday helper) went up to the pack station, Ned kept turning his back to her and imperiously marched away across his pasture to his horsey buddies. Given that Ned is now firmly counted among senior horses, he does not get to work too much, and I really think he does better in the mountains.
|Pas de Deux.|
|Friends came to check out a sample lesson (Noemi).|
Those unfortunate competitions in Woodside, about which I wrote in my previous journal, had a repercussion in the club taking the lame Perch from all events for the rest of the season, to gain time in which to figure out what was wrong with him. Perch got replaced by Cody for the team, but Cody is a relative novice and is more "bouncy" than a half-percheron Perch. Cody can't keep his tempo for long (a team set is five minutes long), and in combination with said bouncing, it did not look promising for team, and thus the coaches came up with an idea that instead in a full team, girls would form pas de deux — doubles. Lisa was not too eager for it, and since the team has seven members, I announced to her coach that Lisa was OK with being odd out — because she was already doing a double with adult Kate. Alas, Ava's injury got complicated and she would not have enough time to practice by the time of regionals, hence at least on the horse, Lisa would substitute for her.
In the end the club did not go to another competition in Petaluma by the end of June, for the head coach went to check out the situation and declared that they did not make it safe enough (surface for vaulting should be much softer than regular arena sand) and that she would not send her horses and vaulters there. Instead, the club had organized games for members and information afternoon for their parents.
It turned out a stressful afternoon for us, for Lisa had her regular practice (three hours) followed by two hours of demos. We figured Lisa might not last with her iffy back, and brought her to the practice after one o'clock and a proper lunch. While at it, last hour of Lisa's practice was turned into sample hour free for future interested parties, and our friend Blanka brought Eliška and Noemi — at least I had somebody to chat with during the long afternoon.
|The whole team had fun with practicing acrobatic elements on the ground.|
|Barrel allows doubles to dare figures, which would be too complicated on a horse.|
During one trip up to the stables, air conditioning turned off in my Subaru, followed by the temperature gauge climbing up. I finished the ride, let the car cool down, and drove back home without a problem. We had all fluids in the car checked and replenished, but the problem repeated. We tried replacing the thermostat and in the end we had no other choice but to declare, it was the head gasket, which we had suspected, but hoped, it would not be. Meanwhile Sid and his colleague Petr figured out that our Schrödinger's bus most likely would not start because of a faulty starter. Our mechanic Daniel further advised that such cars can be started with a hammer — and indeed — while Subaru was in the shop, Daniel replaced the bus's starter, which improved the number of our functional cars to two. Still we likely face an upcoming purchase of some other vehicle — the old bus has almost three hundred thousand miles, and Subaru over two hundred thousand, and they are both metallic seniors.