The snowstorm ended early on Saturday night and Sunday dawned clear and warm with a few inches of dazzling powder to make everything fresh–except the road. The dirt road we take to Beulah was pure mud. But at least it was no longer icy and the visibility was good. So we loaded up Finn and Sputnik and splashed our way back over for the highlight of our Christmas season–the annual Beulah Yule Log Festival.
As a safety precaution and as a fun way to celebrate the festive season, Phil and I wrapped our boys’ horns in candy-cane stripes. Now that they know what we’re up to, they’ve both gotten very patient and good about this procedure.
The event started off with readings, blessings, and Christmas carols. There was a special “Blessing for the Animals” which particularly warmed my heart. There was a perfect place for goats to hang out during this more solemn part of the festival. There is a substantial rock outcropping near the side entrance to the pavilion, and this year it was covered in evergreen boughs, so Finn and Sputnik were able to entertain themselves by climbing and nibbling until the Hunt began.
After the service, the hunt for the Yule Log began! With a bugle fanfare, the Huntsmen, all dressed in festive green shoulder capes, led us to the general vicinity of the Yule Log, told us the boundaries within which it was hidden, and let us go! Finn and Sputnik took off like hound dogs, plunging into the woods with Phil and I dragging at the end of their leads. But as usual, and despite their overwhelming confidence, goats seem to be no good at Yule Log hunting. They ended up leading us far out of bounds.
But we had a lot of fun playing with the boundary line. I tried to get them to jump it in unison, but that only happened once–naturally it was before Phil had the camera ready. It was a pretty high obstacle, so it was really fun to watch them sail gracefully over it.
It was about this time that we heard someone cry “Haleub!” This is “Beulah” spelled backwards, and it marks the discovery of the Yule Log. We hastened down the hill toward the excitement as a Huntsman sounded a bugle to gather the scattered crowd back together.
After the log was dragged back, it was sawn in two and one half was put on the Yule fire and the other half will be saved to start next year’s fire. And then there was wassail and cookies! We had to tie the goats up while we got the cookies because I was afraid that if we took them with us down the line there might not be any left for the folks behind us. They were very unhappy with this arrangement and Finn kept trying to climb over the fence. But there were many cookies left over after everyone had been served, so I was able to snag a generous handful for them. Ginger cookies were a particular favorite. There were also folks in the crowd who shared cookies as well, so between all of us I think the goats got their fair share of Christmas cheer.