This week eleven goats waited patiently in two horse stalls to be hauled to the livestock auction while another family of three cruised the pasture. We spent last week trying to catch them all and get them contained in one place eventually building a chute to guide them into the barn.
Three to go.
No wait. What’s that? Remember that big, mean brown goat that I managed to capture by the horns and guide into a stall? The one that I eventually let out because he was crying? I saw it walking down the fence row. Wait. And there’s another. And another. I stepped up to the window and saw one of the barn doors on the ground. Seven goats had escaped!
It was Thursday night. The auction was Friday night. We had work to do. I can not put down the details of the three hours, but I am sure that any divorce court judge would side with me if I filed for divorce over the goat herding debacle. However, after the long, humid evening, we had twelve goats locked in one horse stall. The two that still eluded us were the twins, Susan and Elizabeth. Their mother was with the other eleven, so we hoped they would come up to the barn on their own. It didn’t happen.
So Monday morning arrived and I was as ready as I could be to face my 7th graders. Of course, this morning was going to be tougher than usual considering the news I had to share. I waited for someone to ask about the baby goats, but no one did. I quietly announced that we had some “new kids on the block.” That’s when the questions started rolling out. I mentioned that we’d had two sets of twins, and I was going to show them a video. I heard one little girl whisper under her breath, “I only see two; where are the others?” I let them read the essay I had written about my experience that weekend. I think I cried four separate times as I talked to four different classes. It was a quiet day in my room.
We still had one pregnant goat left in the pasture. I tried not to let the loss of the two babies diminish my enthusiasm for the impending birth of Blackie’s offspring. Blackie had already had one baby while with us: Baby Brown. She had been a good mother, and the weather was getting warmer, so that was going to be good for the new babies and for me when I videoed her birth. Of course, I was “in town” when she gave birth on a Sunday afternoon. Could the goats had known my documentary plan?
A call from Greg revealed that Blackie had given birth to two healthy little girls. One of them was white with all the brown markings of a typical Boer goat, white body and brown head. The other goat was the brown of our Red Dirt Chronicles shirts. Really, that’s the only way I know to describe it, and she had a black stripe down her back and black feet. I tried to envision them as Greg described them. The babies were curled up together in the corner of the shed and already as big as small dogs. I guess their mom had not had time to warn them that I would be wanting to pick them up and hold them, so they were extremely trusting when I made my way to them to touch them and cuddle them one at a time.
We enjoyed watching our four new babies grow as the week turned into the weekend, and finally, Greg mentioned something about one of Blackie’s babies having the same “hangy downy things” as her mother. I had not really noticed the “wattles” on either side of Blackie’s neck or on her baby’s neck. I also did not know they were called “wattles” until I typed in a search for “what are the hangy downy things on either side of my goats neck.” One of the most reliable web sites revealed that wattles are common…. in DAIRY GOATS. Blackie is a dairy goat! Continue reading Meanwhile Back at The Ranch: It’s Not Always Blue Skies and Butterflies: Part Two→