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Thursday, December 31 2009

There is a certain "learning curve" that comes with goats. Raising no other kind of livestock quite prepares one for the trials, tribulations, and comedy that comes with goats. Good fencing is a must, but good humor is even more important. I first started raising goats in the years BBC (Before Border Collie) and BOH (Before Other Half). We've come a long way since then, but some things never change. Here is just one of those early days:

No day should start without caffeine:

Wake up at 7 AM. Realize that David, (most trusted handyman that I borrow from his wife, Sandy!) will be over at 9 AM to help me put up new goat fencing and I still need to go to Home Depot. Start to go feed the horses. Note chicken is loose in back yard. Chicken trespassing is a capital offense punishable by death on this Homestead, and so I had to put the dogs up so I could get the chicken in. Chicken is not at all cooperative. Finally get Ice (who looks like a black wolf to livestock)

Pretty quickly Black Wolf gets Chicken to go where she belongs. Get garbage out. Feed animals. Note that goats are where they should be. My mother lives in a small house on my property. Move goats into Mom's back yard where she can watch them.The only area in that yard not entirely goat-proof is a pipe gate. Plan to tack fencing on top of pipe later today. Mom is in her back yard so she is keeping eye on goats. Fine.

Really, really, REALLY need some caffeine. Realize I'm totally out of Starbucks mocha frappuccinos. Will get frapps on way to Home Depot. Get in truck. No gas. Take a deep breath.  Will get gas when I stop for frappuccinos. Go to Exxon. Rush to door to get frappuccino. Door is locked. Sign says "Be back in 5 minutes." Look at handgun in car and wonder how much jail time I would get. Decide to pump gas instead. See clerk return. Go get frappuccinos. Get back in truck and slurp up caffeine like an addict snorting coke. Feel better.

Head to Home Depot. Can't find cart. Can't find wire. Finally steal cart from display. Find field fencing. Can't get cart close enough to rolls of fencing because of machinery left in aisle. Have to roll wire to cart. Pay for wire. Try to unload wire into truck. Wire is stuck in cart. Cuss. Look around to see who is watching me have a childish temper tantrum. No one. Cuss some more. Kick the cart. Wire comes free. (hmmm.. violence 'can' be a good thing.)

Arrive home at 9:10 AM....Ten minutes late. (spent 10 minutes chasin' freakin' chicken this morning!) David is already there. Inform David that I haven't had enough caffeine, it's been a bad morning, and I'm just a bitch. He seems okay with that. (Sandy has trained him well.)

We spend all morning putting up fortress to keep my beasts inside their prison. Break for lunch. Goats are where they should be. Return from lunch to finish up. Goats have gone walk-about. David tacks up fencing on top of pipe gate while I retrieve goats. Since I do not have a bucket of feed, the goats are less than enthusiastic about returning home. Wish for BB gun to shoot goats. Push goats toward opened gate. Watch them by-pass opened gate. Wish for handgun instead of BB gun. After much cussing, get goats back in yard. David finishes their gate. They should be secure. Woo hoo! David and I head for back pasture to tear down an old fence.

Mom yells that goats are out again. WHAT!!!!! They got down on their knees and crawled under David's new & improved goat-gate. (Seriously consider shooting goats now.) Decide that goats need to understand that there is a severe penalty for jail breaks. Go get Ice, The Black Wolf.

Black Wolf is happy to help herd (read: terrorize) goats. Black Wolf enters pasture. Goats stand at attention like gazelle staring at a cheetah. Black Wolf slowly meanders in their direction. Goats scream "WOLF! WOLF! WOLF!" and run like hell to get back where they belong. Yeeeeesssss.... I pat myself and the Black Wolf on the back. This method has definite possibilities. Decide that goats need to clearly understand that they are not safe from Black Wolf until they are in the barn. So I have Black Wolf move them to the barn. Goats trot to barn quickly. Yep... I was liking this a lot! Too much perhaps. The goats make it to barn porch. Nope, that's not good enough for a grumpy woman who started the day with no caffeine. I wanted them in a stall. (should have stopped while I was ahead.)

I ask Black Wolf to move them into the stall. Goats panic and two of them run right over us and take off at a dead run for the north forty. Black Wolf immediately overtakes smaller one and pulls him down. He is certain that he is a dead goat and yells to his companion. His companion runs faster and leaves him. (Companion didn't have to outrun the dog... just his little buddy) I yell at Black Wolf and she drops goat who is now firmly convinced that Satan has him. (Satan has pointy ears and a fluffy tail.) Goat races around corner of pumphouse to follow his companion through goat-proof gate. I hear only a thunk of wire. My mother reported that from her angle, she saw goat slide under the wire. In order to accomplish this feat at that speed, the goat must rival the talent of any professional baseball player who slides into home plate. The goats are now split. Those left in the stall are beside themselves with horror at what has happened to their companions who ran over the dog, so in true goat-like fashion, they decide that they must leave the safety of the barn, to re-join their companions.

I shake my head at the utter stupidity of it as they attempt to sneak past Black Wolf to get to their buddies who are huddled against the fence line in terror. Wolf and I back off so the herd can get back together. Then we step toward them. They race through a non-goat-proof fence toward the barn. Ahhh... progress. I put Wolf on a stay and open goats' stall door. They stare at us like gazelles. I motion Wolf forward. Goats bolt toward barn, into stall, and into the goat prison.

Hmmmmm . . . The predator/prey relationship at work. Black Wolf watches a lot of Animal Planet on television. The goats apparently need no such tutorial.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 12:16 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
I suppose naming a little black goatie Marie Laveau wasn't the smartest thing I have ever done. She grew up to be the world's most EVIL pygmy. She has driven grown men to tears. She is an escape artist of the first water. Personally, I think she has the power of teleportation. I need a *Black Wolf*......LOL Thanks for such an entertaining read.
Posted by Diane I. on 12/31/2009 - 12:41 AM
I think the "Power of Teleportation" must be a requirement for being a goat! Having a "Black Wolf" certainly helps!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 12/31/2009 - 09:09 AM

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