So after breakfast, I roll my bike into his garage, expecting a bike stand . . . or something. He produces a rope. A rope which he wraps around my seat and throws over the garage door track so that he can lift my back wheel off the ground. As he was doing this I thought, Yeeeaaahhh, no good can come from this. But he cooked us breakfast! So what could I do but watch. (While in the background Melissa had her arms thrown in the air mouthing, NOOOOOOOO!)
He gets on the ground, cheek level to the floor, looks at my cassette and proclaims, “Looks good to me!” Thank God! So he fills our tires with air (and his brother gives us another hand pump so that we can slowly drain the air out of our tires at a later date with that one -- and great! more weight to carry!) and off we go (as my bike shifts on its own down the driveway, me sitting atop, waving good-bye).
And then we rode through hills. Lots and lots of hills. Hills that we had to push our bike up. Hills that were terrifying on the way down. (Are you all tired of hearing about hills? I’m afraid my next blog post will be titled HILLS. Contain a few paragraphs with only one word repeated over and over, “hills”. And will be signed, Love, Hills.)
Then we arrived in Walnut Grove, Missouri -- the home of our first WWOOFing farm!
So here we are, at Harmony Hill. A goat farm in the-middle-of-know-where Missouri (well, actually it is in the middle of big giant hills even though everyone for miles around says it is flat past Houston, Missouri or even Elizabethtown, Illinois, or that there are “rolling hills” or that it is as “flat as Kansas” -- they are all wrong). It’s owned by Jennifer and Duane Keys, who raise Boer goats, along with a farm full of three huge great white pyrenees guard dogs, four other playful dogs, chickens, cats and vegetable and herb gardens on 10 acres. I’m in Heaven here.
Jennifer is a “goat lady”. A self-proclaimed and awesome goat lady. When Melissa and I rolled our bikes up to Harmony Hill, she was in the pasture, with her goats. Immediately she began introducing us to “the ladies”. She pointed to one and said, “that’s Etsu. Come here, Etsu.” She just hithered a goat. I had my doubts. I’ve never been around goats and thought to myself, there is no way that goat is coming over here. And then it stood up, and waltzed it’s way over to Jennifer. All these goats know there names! They are smart and extremely lovable, too.
We got to the goat farm late in the day so all we got to try our hand at was milking the goats. And let me tell you -- it is hard! I’ve seen it on TV a lot and I’ve always thought it looked easy even though everyone fumbled with it. I’d yell at the television, “do it like this!” and feverishly move my hands up and down while tapping my thumbs on my closed fingers. So not the case. It was weird. And felt odd. And I missed the bucket by about 50 inches. And the goats, um, teats felt really tacky. Actually, it was a lot of odd. But they know their names! So I can handle the oddness.
I’ve only been here a couple of hours, but I already love it here. So I’m writing to tell you that the bike tour is over. I’m relocating my bike and myself to Harmony Hill, Walnut Grove, Missouri, population 41 . . . goats.