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Goating through with only two

Today was a new type of day for me and Erin. When we arrived to the farm, we arrived to a ghost town. No other members of Team Echinacea present, Stuart was away, and Dwight and Jean were even out of town. The only other folks present were the goats. It was good to see at least someone was in town.

Unbeknownst to me and Erin, the goats were plotting escape. Last night, an extremely powerful storm swept through Solem Township (and most of Northern Minnesota). When Erin and I looked outside during the storm on Labor Day evening, rain appeared to be coming down in sheets. Needless to say, it was extremely windy. This left multiple escape points for goats to exit the paddock due to large dead trees and branches lowering the fence. Fortunately, Erin made a heroic decision to check if the fences had any debris, and when we saw that they were being dragged down by trees, we sprung into action.

This dead tree was a heavy one that was still partially rooted… Erin and I couldn’t move it off the fence so we had to saw it.

Our plan was simple… Erin distracted the goats with food on one side of the paddock while I went to work making sure dead tree parts were off the fence. However, while we were planning, Baby, tried to escape the fence at the section in the photo above. A while ago, Baby and I got into a bit of a tussle when I tried herding her back into the group by grabbing her and more or less dragging her back into the herd by force. While I was doing that, I tripped… Some observers said that Baby “gave me a full-out suplex” that day (that, of course, is just a rumor). Nonetheless, Erin was able to stop Baby in her tracks while she tried to escape. Erin out-muscled and out-smarted Baby to get her back into the paddock while I set up a temporary fence. Only later did I find out that Erin is the current WWE Champion.

In the end, Erin did a wonderful job distracting goats while I moved and sawed dead trees and branches. It is good to know that all the hours we spent training to herd goats finally paid off, and the two of us were able to do it alone.

The rest of the day, Erin and I went out to Staffenson Prairie Preserve and finished flowering demo, did seedling refinds at Nessman, and did some measuring in P1 (while hearing the goats bleat at us the whole time… we bleated back some, too). In the end, it was a good, productive day, and I look forward to the next few weeks of field work with this ultimate skeleton crew.

Staffenson… It’s a pretty place!
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