For Veteran’s Day the Treasure Seekers of San Diego County (a club that Bob and I belong to) put on an event in Julian. It was a metal detecting contest and a gold panning contest. As members began to gather at the farm across the street from the Julian Mining Company, the first thing that we noticed was that it was very…ummm…brisk! For us Southern Californians the mid-50’s-with-a-breeze was a tad chillier than a crisp fall day. (Read…COLD!) Luckily, Bob, The ‘Bug and I brought enough warm clothes and gloves that we just snuggled in and listened to everyone comment on how much colder it was than they expected. Personally, I LOVE cold weather. Especially when I had a brand new winter jacket that I finally get to try out that I bought in Yellowstone last summer (at a great price). It is a great jacket. Comfy, warm, hooded.
Here you see some of or club members lined up to begin the contest. There were over 1500 coins “planted” in that field. Knowing that not every one of them will be found, I wonder if the farm will get an interesting crop of money trees in the spring?
They hunted for over an hour. Three contests rolled up into one hunt. The one that finds the most painted coins wins a prize. For each token found you get to pick a prize. And of course, you get to keep the coins you find.
While the hunters were hunting, Our Li’l RoseBug made a new Little Friend. Two peas in a pod, they seemed to be! The ‘Bug asked her where she lived, and the little girl said “Temecula”. ‘Bug exclaims “Wow! How did you get here from so far away?” Little Friend rolls her eyes and says “Uhhh, we took the FREEWAY!” Yup. Two peas in a pod! And they had a fantastic time playing together, exploring the farm, sharing Little Friend’s fresh edamame (I love her mom already!) and grapes.
I explored too.
sunflower seeds pattern perfection
fall perspective perfection
After the prizes were awarded from the metal detecting contest they went right into the panning contest. They put three gold nuggets in a pan and add two scoops of sand. The contestants are timed, one at a time, as to how long it takes them to separate the gold nuggets from the sand and put the nuggets in the judge’s hand. Bob had a very respectable time of 15 seconds and some change. Here is a video of Bob panning.
Meanwhile, back to the girls… While the hunters where hunting I volunteered to take The ‘Bug and her new Little Friend up to see the dried sunflower that I had noticed (and photographed) back at the entrance to the farm. The kids enjoyed exploring that area, experiencing the dried sunflower, Indian Corn, cornucopia and pumpkins. I noticed two porta-potties and suggested to the girls that they use them before we went back down to the metal detecting contest..
The girls giggled and squealed in disgust and jumped in and out of each porta-potty, testing and comparing the various levels of “It’s STINKY!” (they were actually very clean). Suddenly Little Friend discovers a small pen of miniature goats behind the porta-potty. They were delighted with them (as was I, I love goats), and they were soon leaning over the picket fence trying to pet them. After much oohing and ahhing I finally convinced the girls that we needed to go back down to the contest area. Ten minutes after we were back at the contest site, The ‘Bug comes to me and says “I need to go to the bathroom.” and her little friend grins big and says “And I want to go with her!” My well-tuned mommy instincts translated that into “We want to go play with the goats.” To which I said “No.” The ‘Bug faked a poddy dance and swore she had to go really bad, but she has a history of using this precise excuse regularly when she is bored or trying to get out of something, or, in this case, to try to get into something. When I told her “No.” a second time she suddenly forgot the potty dance and ran happily off to play with Little Friend.
The contest was finally over and Bob counted his loot. He did well, but he didn’t get the most, so he didn’t win any prizes. We headed up to the middle of the farm where everyone had set their chairs. I asked Bob to watch the girls, specifically ours, so I could go to the porta-potty. The moment I told the girls that Bob was watching them, and I was out of sight, they ran up to their new unsuspecting victim and asked him if they could go to the bathroom. The way he was sitting he had his back to the bathroom and the goats, couldn’t see what they were doing, but, true to typical Dad form, says “Okay.” Sigh…
innocent looking little creature
Sure enough when I came out of the porta-potty the girls were at the goat pen, leaning over the pickets, giggling and trying to pet the goats. I walked down to where Bob was and he said “I told the girls they could go to the bathroom.”
I said “I hope you realize that ‘going to the bathroom’ translates to ‘go play with the goats’.” He didn’t seem to care, so I just let it go and sat down next to him.
Soon Little Friend came running down the hill yelling “Help! Help! Its a ca-TAS-trophe! The goats escaped!” I noticed right off that The ‘Bug wasn’t running down the hill with her and my first thought was that she was probably the one to aid in the prison break. I choked down the “I told you so!” that rose in my throat as I trudged up the hill to see where the goats were. Another lady beat me up the hill, and was 50 yards away clapping her hands, trying to convince the little escapees to willingly trot back to their pen. I know goats well enough to know that isn’t going to happen, so I set about catching one. It took a few tries but I finally caught one by the leg and I picked the little potbellied goat up and carried it back to the pen. The ‘Bug was proudly cheering me on, impressed that I had caught the escapee. The Lady went around to the gate and opened it and went inside the pen to try to keep the other goats from going out the gate. She had found the escape route. It was a broken picket in the back near the porta-potties. (“Hmmmm…” I wondered. “Right where the girls were climbing earlier…”)
Cunning writer of the next Prison Break episode…
But I didn’t have time to wonder for long. I pushed the captured goat in through the gate and he laughed merrily at me as he made a bee-line and trotted right back out the hole in the fence. I thought the lady had fixed it. She indicated to me that she had, somehow, when she said she had put a bucket over the picket. I guess the goat didn’t get the memo. So I was back to chasing the original goat, who was of course wiser, now, to my intentions. The girls were very excited and no help at all as they squealed and giggled and ran hither and yon, as often as not encouraging the goats to run further away from the pen. I caught another cute little goat and again, shoved him in the gate thinking that surely the lady must’ve fixed the hole in the fence, otherwise why would she let me put another caught critter in the gate? Well, she hadn’t. How did I know? Because the Chinese Fire Drill continued as I wrangled another goat, put him in the gate that she was dutifully manning, and he bleated jeeringly at me as he ran to the back of the pen and pushed right past that still broken picket!
Now I will admit that by now I am not only getting tired, but I am getting annoyed. I let the goats frolic freely as I looked around for something to fix the fence myself. About that time another member of the club came up to me and I explained my plight and showed him the broken picket. He said “I have a piece of wire in my truck.”
“That would be PERFECT!”, I said.
Meanwhile, the girls are hopping around, squealing and giggling and yelling ideas here and there, quite taken in with the adventure of it all. The lady resumes her clapping to try, once again, to convince the goats to do the right thing. While she is clapping, she is telling the girls how she used to live on 356 acres and she had goats and donkeys and sheep and birds. “And the donkeys would let the goats out, and the goats would let the sheep out and the sheep would let the birds out!” The Lady should write children’s stories, because the girls were riveted. “And you girls were heroes today! You probably saved the goats’ lives by telling us they had escaped! They might’ve run into the street! You deserve merit badges for that!”
Well, I was rolling my eyes, as that was not exactly what I was thinking The ‘Bug deserved for her efforts in The Great Goat Escape. But The ‘Bug’s eyes got huge and she riveted on the lady’s phrase ‘deserve merit badges’. She peppered the lady for confirmation “What? What are merit badges? Can we have one? I want a merit badge!” Well, I figured the lady got herself into this mess, so I would let her dig herself out. So off she went with the girls and said “Let’s go talk to Chester.” (The President of the TSSDCo club) and I went back to fence repair and goat wrangling.
My friend came back with the wire and he fixed up the picket, good and tight, and working together as a team we were able to capture and securely pen the goats in pretty good time. About the time they were all safely penned up, I see The Lady and The ‘Bug walking up the hill with a HUGE pumpkin! “What?” I wondered…
The Lady said “I did’t have any merit badges, so I let each girl pick out a pumpkin instead.” Hmmm…I wonder of the farm owners were clued in to and on board with this compromise?
All said and done, as we drove home with a huge pumpkin in the trunk, I would have to say that Bob, The ‘Bug, Little Friend, The Lady and The Goats had a great time at
The Great Goat Wrangling and Metal Detecting Contest of Julian 2015.
I enjoyed the weather, the photography and the story making opportunity.