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The last few days

Posted by joeabbott on December 29, 2016

I started blogging near-daily while on vacation to help me track what I did on the various days … and here it is, Thursday, and I have a lot of “missing time” to account for!


On Monday I did nothing. I lived and breathed and ate, so hardly “nothing”, and yet … nothing.

OK, I’m reminded that we ran a few chores: we wanted to go to the Sunbreak Café this day (see Wednesday day for more details) but it was closed on Mondays, so we did the next best thing: Legendary Donuts. While they don’t have delicious steamed and fried baby red potatoes, they got a salted caramel pretzel donut that is something else. Delish.

After that, we ran to a local Wal-Mart to peruse their holiday sales items: 50% off on all decorations. Suzy waded into the (surprisingly sparse) masses, while I sat in fear clutching the handle to the cart. We not only managed to get some replacement animals for our lighted display that appears to want to burn out faster than we can repair them, but she got an extra item or two … a little teaser for 11 months from now when we put them up!

Other than that, I believe I may have played some video games, may have done a little reading, and mostly just hung out … but essentially, nothing. It was glorious.


On Tuesday I helped Suzy at the Puget Sound Goat Rescue (PSGR), an endeavor that continues to take more and more of her time, and happily at that. It’s a good place to volunteer and helps a small slice of this world that can use a little help. On our last visit I asked Barbara, the operation director, what she planned on doing in the next few months as she’d had great success in bringing her charges back to health and homing many of them; take some time off, she replied. And then, on Christmas day, she was called to rescue two baby goats that were born in the slaughter house and she figured, “if you’re heading there, make it worth the trip”. The trip is about 6 miles one way … and, to make it worth her while, she rescued something like 16 goats.

She doesn’t take all goats, but will walk through the pens and selects any goat that had obviously been a pet that someone turned in because they no longer chose to take care of it. These animals are friendly, well-adjusted, and would do well as someone else’s pet and shouldn’t be a “meat animal”. I’m amazed at this woman’s quiet strength and resolve: taking on 16 new animals when you planned on some downtime is impressive. And, being on the slaughter house floor, these animals invariably contract just about every social disease imaginable and require extra care to rehabilitate. On top of the trauma from the experience as well as being deprived food, water, and generally reasonable living conditions.

Anyhow, this post took an unexpected turn … apologies for that detour.

But four hours of my Tuesday was spent helping Barbara and her charges. I brought my chainsaw and spent a solid hour and then some trimming up some lower branches on a cedar tree; the roomie, sheltered understory will be a perfect refuge for goats as they walk about. It was fun bringing the downed branches back to the compost\burn pile, as the goats thought it an awfully tasty snack. I was constantly jerked to a stop as some hoofed animal or other would step on the branch to slow down my progress so they could enjoy a little nibble before it got to the pile.

Goats aren’t known to go for cedar but it must have been something a browsing animal deeply understood … greens from a branch were natural, compared to hay from a feeder. It was so popular, I saw Barbara later bringing one of the branches to another of her pens in which some segregated goats were spending some time. And, before we left, it had been nibbled and dragged around by the two boys in that space.

After trimming up the cedar I then set that spinning blade to a Japanese maple of some variety. The PSGR has a couple locations and Barbara announced she was spending some time\money on tidying up this location. Many of the adoptions occur at “Baby Goat Central”, which is a beautiful facility. And, while the place Suzy and I volunteer at the “rehabilitation location”, it’s fine: it’s just the barns are a little older, the fences not quite as straight, and there’s a bit more muck and weed than you’d have at a public facing facility. I note this because, as we looked at the line for a new fence that was being installed, the Japanese maple had a number of large branches directly in the path.

So I took them out.

By this time my saw was becoming dull and I had to decide on whether to spend time sharpening it or just keep bearing down and finish up with a dull blade. I went for the latter but will need to pay the piper … or sharpen that blade … before I use it next.

After this, I helped Barbara cut some of the tags out of the goats’ ears. These are markers they get along the path and don’t always have the right infection-fighting medicine to keep from being a problem. While, I’m told, removing the tags isn’t necessarily painful, the goat remembers that tag going in and isn’t going to let you easily mess with it. We got a couple goats pretty easily but our last goat had a harder time … I cut the tag close to the post and wasn’t able to easily pry it up so it could slip through the hole. It took us three tries but we finally removed it. Barbara says I did fine … and yet I felt terrible for not doing better and at that point thought we should adopt that goat as way of apology for the pain I caused it.

Anyhow, after that, I helped with hauling hay and bags of wood pellets (used to absorb urine in the barns) while Suzy did a bit of mucking things out. We took a small break to share some carrots with the goats and generally give them some “people time” but headed home as the rain started to intensify. At home we made a big pot of bean soup with some ham from our Christmas Eve dinner and enjoyed that after a looooong shower.


Wednesday was another “play day”, but rather than spend it in front of a monitor, we headed out for dim sum and a movie. A year or so back, we gave one of my in-laws a gift card that split between a restaurant and a movie … I think it was a 50th b-day and there were gift cards for $25 at the restaurant and $25 at a movie. They either thought it was a great idea or just re-gifted us the exact same thing because, on my last birthday, I got the exact same thing. Now, I take no umbrage at this turn and the weekend of my birthday we went out to eat and this weekend we took in a movie.

Dim sum was enjoyable, we got all our favorites without over-ordering … just the right amount. And, as we were early for the showing of Rogue One, we spent a quick 45 minutes walking about the various shops in the area and burning off our recent meal and ready for another snack: popcorn.

I always get popcorn at movies (we go rather infrequently) and always adore what I see. I would be hard-pressed to imagine me panning a movie. Maybe Hollywood knows how to appeal to my type of viewer, or maybe I can’t come to grips with disparaging something I’d pay that much to see, but I can’t recall a movie I’ve disliked. Yes, some are certainly more memorable than others but, as with Rogue One, I enjoy the spectacle of spaceships and explosions, of obvious villains and dashing\pretty heroes, and all of it supporting a story I can follow. Good stuff.

On returning home we did a few petty chores … the sort of activity you’re up for after sitting for 2+ hours. We then parted for our various pursuits and met up for another meal of soup at around 7PM. For those who think two days of soup is one too many, you’re missing out. Something about spending a day in the fridge getting nice and thick, the low simmer of a second heating, about how well it all tastes on a rainy day  … yum!

Today … Thursday

Today I slept in … I think I’m finally getting into the swing of vacation; just in time for getting back to work next week. I slept until 8:15AM and it felt great. But, I remembered we’d made a date for going to a favorite breakfast haunt of ours (Sunbreak Café in Kent) and hurried up to find Suzy ready.

I’m getting used to her driving us everywhere … as is our habit when we don’t need to haul something in my truck. But, while she drove us south, I caught up on my “Bing points” and lazily woke up. But, at the Sunbreak, we got our “usuals” (which is in quotes because, while they are the usual things we get, we so infrequently go to the Sunbreak, it felt odd not to include the quotes): Suzy had an omelet with cheese and spinach and I got the eggs Benedict. And both orders were so big, we got the to-go boxes because we always take home about half the food that comes to the table.

On the drive back, we picked up some pine bedding for our chickens … they didn’t need it but we were in the area. Once we got home, we did a few chores, let the cats out to run off a little madness, Suzy headed to the potting shed to propagate a few more starts and I headed upstairs to type this up.

And now the skies have quietly opened on us and I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon sending out thank you notes and further cleaning the mess that’s my home office.  A very fine day for continuing a slow pace and enjoying life away from the office desk.


And that’s it … three rather lazy days and each of them a gem. My thanks for you looking in.


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