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Wednesday, June 13 2012



Sunday, while Other Half and I were waiting for Peter to fix the air conditioner in my car, we watched his neighbor wash his giant Hummer. It gleamed black and shiny in the sunlight. Frankly the truck looked clean to me before he washed it, but then, that's just me.

As I watched the man waste an extraordinary amount of water while washing a clean truck, I wondered how many livestock troughs could be filled with that water. Other Half was thinking along other lines when he sighed and said,

"Is this what people in subdivisions do with their time?"

We often reflect upon such things when our chaotic lives are pulling us from both ends. Which brings us to Oscar's Big Adventure yesterday:

I have said before, and I'll say again, the most innocent of goats is a demonic force of its own. Goats make you appreciate sheep.  (Read: Goats v Sheep )

Oscar has figured a way out of the sheep/goat pen. I didn't worry too much about this at first simply because I seriously doubted he would leave the rest of the flock. After all, why leave the security of other goats and sheep to strike out on uncharted territory like Lewis & Clark?

Apparently only a goat can answer such a question.

Normally I turn the goats, sheep, and horses into the yard to mow for several hours before I go to work. They expect this. Things tend to turn ugly when it doesn't happen. Now here is the paradox: I KNOW this rule!  Why then, do I feel that when I'm rushed and don't HAVE TIME to turn the stock into the yard, I will have the time to deal with whatever drama they smite me with because I DIDN'T turn them into the yard?  I'm just sayin'. . .  I need to put more thought into that.

Suffice it to say that we got busy yesterday morning and informed the stock they would have to WAIT until later to get out of their goat pen. Enter Oscar. To be more accurate: Exit Oscar.

After 3 hours of running around town doing errands, we return home. I have 40 minutes to get in the shower and get ready to leave for work. We divide chores. I tend dogs while Other Half heads to the barn.  A few minutes later, he informs me that Oscar is gone.

"Something got him" he said gravely.

I refused to believe this. There was no body. No body. No crime. (This little rule has failed me regarding the disappearence of chickens and geese though.) I stubbornly began searching the pasture. I saw buzzards, but they were high and I doubted they were after Oscar. I went to the ranch next door and asked Kindly Rancher's Wife if she had seen my baby goat.

"No, but if you see a loose cow in MY yard, it's a bottle-baby calf."

Got it. She agreed to poke around her place in search of Oscar while I hiked to the Well-manicured-Better Homes & Garden house next door. Logic would say that a missing goat would be found there.

I fully expected to find Oscar in their yard eating expensive roses. He was not. So I trespassed and entered their pasture which is adjacent to ours. An aging Arabian nickered at me, but no goat. While tromping through their pasture, with the hot sun beating down on me, I thought about how many times I was late to work because of some livestock drama. I brushed a bead of sweat out of my eyes and focused on a mirage in the distance. Were those goats?

Veering toward the mirage, slowly the fuzzy image of several goats materialized on the farm NEXT door to the Better Homes & Garden House. The closer I got the more one of those goats looked like Oscar!  I didn't ponder too long on how a 6 month old goat got 1/4 mile away from home.  Once I arrived at my destination, Oscar waved at me.

Somehow he had managed to find himself with a bachelor group of billy goats. Alrightie then!  I phoned Other Half to inform him that I had located the missing member of the Lewis & Clark expedition and then proceeded to attempt to locate a farmer. No luck. No one home but goats. It appeared that this nice farmer had seen a bumbling baby goat and plopped him over the fence with his goats before something ate him. How nice.

Other Half soon joined me and we roped Oscar who had somehow managed to lose his coonskin cap somewhere along the 1/4 mile journey from our house to the frat house. Then I sat him in my lap as we tooled down the highway on the mule. The people across the street from the goat frat house watched us steal Oscar but didn't comment on it.  I made mental note that these must be misplaced city folk.  Steal livestock on OUR end of the road, and Kindly Rancher WILL stop you and not be kind.  

Since we didn't have time to find and fix the escape route, we tossed Oscar in a dog run. He immediately began to smash himself against the bars in an earnest attempt to break his own neck.  This is something else goats and sheep do to give your hairdresser more experience in coloring gray hair.

It was apparent that Oscar needed a babysitter . . . .

The babysitter was less than enthusiastic about her arrangements, but it settled the goat down enough that I got to escape myself and race to work, grateful for the peace and quiet of just one drama at a time. I can only run one death at a time at work. If another one drops, it's someone else's problem, quite unlike the farm, where ALL dramas are my problem.

On my way to work, I put a note on the farmer's door and thanked him for taking care of my baby goat. I left my name and number. (This is very important to the story!)

Other Half made a prison for Oscar in the goat pen and I found him sleeping when I returned from work. All seemed well. Until 8 AM this morning:

 My phone rings. Strange number. Pick it up to find Irate Woman accusing me of stealing her goat.  Do what?  As I listen to her I am thankful that I had publicly posted pics of Oscar on blog and Facebook prior to my alleged goat theft.  Am also thankful that Other Half is good friends with most of the deputies in this area. They know he is a lot of things, but not a Goat Thief.  He might participate in the HANGING of a goat thief, but he is not a goat thief.  With this in mind, I am able to cheerfully explain to her that yes, indeed, I DID take a baby goat from her boyfriend's pasture, but it was my baby goat.

She is angry, but listens politely to my story of Oscar's big adventure. I describe him in detail, his breed, where we got him, and why we got him. Her terse, clipped tone, calms down. As a goat owner herself, she can most certainly see the logic in this story. 

Every story has two sides; she then shares her side of the story:

She has about 40 goats on a farm about 20 miles away. Something was killing goats and her Big White Dogs had not yet been able to address the problem, so she moved some of her stock to her boyfriend's farm for safe keeping. He was not really on intimate terms with his new charges and so didn't know exactly WHAT he had in his back yard. He comes home to find my note on his door. Since he has not put a baby goat in the back yard, and he can't remember how MANY young goats were there to begin with, he contacts Girlfriend and tells her that someone (who left a name and number) must have taken a goat from his yard. You see where this is going?

The good thing is that I was awake enough to realize her mistake in believing I was a goat thief and she had goats long enough to realize that the fabled "Oscar" probably did exist. It also didn't hurt to let her know that Oscar lived at the house with the POLICE truck parked in the front yard.  That's when she had an "ah ha!" and remembered that she had once captured and returned our loose paint horse.


Thankfully this adventure didn't escalate to a Hatfields & McCoys situation. We exchanged phone numbers in the event of future escapes and all was well.

When I turned the little beast out in the yard today, I thought again about what people in subdivisions do with their time. Something tells me they probably don't wake up to phone calls from people accusing them of stealing goats. It's just a thought . . .

And one more question: if THEY didn't put Oscar in their goat pen, who did?


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Could Oscar have broken "into" the pen with the bachelor billies?!
Posted by Clairesmum on 06/13/2012 - 06:49 PM
Love the story about Oscar's escape and your site!
Posted by Frugal Table on 06/14/2012 - 12:08 PM
It's "possible" that Oscar broke in, but if Oscar could break in, the bacherlors could break out and since they were still there, I'm thinking someone tossed Oscar over the fence.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 06/14/2012 - 03:33 PM
Do people put any kind of ear tag, tatoo, brand or other identification mark on goats? Glad Oscar made it back home safely and no feud was started.
Posted by Sharon on 06/14/2012 - 09:52 PM
Yes, people often ear tag goats. I used to, but the tags tend to get caught in fences and tear their ears. Also, Lily tended to snap at the tags and tear their ears while working them. After a crop of goats with torn ears, I quit tagging them. I do photograph them enough that if I find the goat, I can prove ownership. Most of the time stolen goats aren't even found. (That's why you need nasty dogs around your property.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 06/15/2012 - 10:44 AM
Thanks for the info. I realize now how lucky a goat Oscar is to be home.
Posted by Sharon on 06/15/2012 - 10:13 PM
Earmarks???? as in crop, latch, crop-latch, penny, half penny, slope, slit.... and not the political kind....
Posted by Eric on 06/15/2012 - 10:42 PM
LOL! Let's see ... the good part of this story is that it was your dear hubby who chose Oscar ;-) The bad part is ... gee, Oscar's only lived with you a short time and he's creating time-wasting adventures already. What more mischief will he get up to in the future? No wonder you claim that goats are trouble <snicker>.
Posted by Terri's Pal on 06/19/2012 - 01:20 AM

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