Monday, September 13, 2010

Goats Running Amuck

As usual, last night I began the evening chore routine by chopping carrots and a banana for Salsa, a treat that she enjoys (none of the other goats will eat them).  After I was done, I started out the door to begin setting up food and fresh water and bedding in the barn, and Becca went out the back door, saying, “Mom, I’m going outside.”  Okay.

After putting the fresh cut fruit and veggies and milk bucket, etc. at the milk stand, I headed to the grain shed, and was surprised to see Becca on her way to the barn with grain and hay.  Cool.  She was getting a head start!  When I started to the barn to help, she shooed me away.  “No, Mom, I can do it.”  Um, okay.  She won’t let me help with the barn, so I’ll do the chickens - okay with her?  Yes.

By the time I was done feeding and putting fresh water in for the chickens, tucking them into the coop, it was time to get the bucklings from their pen.  Becca was on her way to the gate, putting my gloves on.  Let me back up a little to note that we now don gloves when handling the bucklings.  Their “lovely” aroma is hard to get rid of, so we take as many precautions as possible to avoid smelling like buck.  As I approached the pen, she asked me to go away, because she wanted to do it herself.  “Are you sure?”  She’d never done this part by herself before, and it can be tricky.  Yes, she was sure.  Go away, basically.

I went to the faucet to turn off the water for the night, keeping a close eye on what she was doing.  Smooth as silk, she had the leashes on them, and started walking them down the driveway toward the barn, both acting like proper little gentlemen.  Smelly gentlemen, but with manners, nonetheless.  Even Ebony was behaving himself, not trying to jump on the back of his brother and attempt unspeakable acts.

She said that I could do the milking, so I waited on the deck for her to get the rest of the goats out and set Salsa up on the milk stand.  She put the hobble on, cleaned her for me, and then walked up to me with a smile and the sanitizer spray bottle in her hands.  She said, “Hold out your hands.”  I did, and she sprayed my hands and said I could get up.  I was laughing so hard.

I figured that episode was an interesting one-time modification in our routine; however, Becca wanted to repeat it tonight.  She insisted on handling the bucklings again herself.  This time, she walked them to about 50 feet from the barn, and decided to remove their leashes so they would - presumably - run into the barn on their own.  It didn’t work out that way.  The leashes came off, and they wandered off to the side to nibble on weeds.  When I approached she said, “No, Mom, let me handle it,” and swung the leashes around, which usually puts enough pressure on goats for them to move away - toward the barn.  But these are young bucklings, and they went the OTHER direction - at a mad run.  There was no way I could catch either one as they rushed by me, and I turned around and started running after them, cowboy boots pounding on the gravel.  I shouted, “Keep them away from the does!” as I saw them head that direction.

Fortunately, they ran around the back of the house instead, and I heard them clip clopping their way across the deck.  As Becca rounded the far side of the house, they ran back toward me, doing their little deer/bunny hops and kicking up their heels.  I was able to grab collars, and Becca put the leashes back on.  She was somewhat upset that I’d caught them, when she wanted to do it herself, so I let her handle getting them back to the barn on her own, staying far away.

Becca wanted to get the rest of the goats out, so I set up the milk stand and waited for Salsa to come.  And waited.  I took a look at the goat pen, and Becca had let all the goats out but Imbri, but they weren’t coming my direction, just wandering about.  When Becca started to shoo them my direction, they did what the bucklings had done, and it was a mad dash around the house - this time four goats instead of two.  I got Salsa to come to me, and loaded her onto the milk stand, while Becca chased goats up and down the driveway and around the house.  She caught Lily, and was walking her down the driveway.  Lily started choking herself by pulling against her collar, and I saw Becca stop and lean over her, stroking Lily's sides gently to calm her down.  They walked calmly out of sight, and I turned my attention to Salsa again, while thinking that Becca is a “good goat mama.”  Then I heard galloping hooves, and looked up to see Lily dashing by like she was running for the roses.  I bent my head down and laughed quietly, but really hard.  As Becca walked by, she said “Stop laughing!”  I looked at her over Salsa's back, and she had the biggest grin on her face, which made both of us laugh even harder.

Becca got a good workout, chasing those three remaining goats around until they finally went into the barn, and I was very entertained, watching them running headlong up and down the driveway with her in hot pursuit.  After all the goats had disappeared with her around the corner, there was quiet, the barn door closing, and then a scream.  It didn’t sound like she was scared, but I wasn’t sure, so I yelled, “Are you okay?” while getting ready to get up and help if needed.  She rounded the corner and said, “Yeah, that was just a yell of VICTORY!  You should try it sometime, Mom.  It’s very freeing.”

A friend has often told me that we should have a web cam here, to catch some of our crazy adventures.  As I tucked the last goat in for the evening, I thought, “This was a night for the web cam.”  Maybe some day.  Or maybe some of these things are best left to the imagination.