Monday, January 31, 2011

Salsa and Imbri Go To School

I got to work early this morning and hustled to get as much done as possible.  Being the end of the month, I felt badly about having to leave early, as some of the month-end work was going to go to my co-worker, who has enough going already.  I made it as easy as possible, knowing I would do the same for her.

First, drive home.  When I arrived, I backed the truck in and got the items from the house I would need:  milk bucket, sanitizer, paper towels, grain, a jar of milk, and soap samples for the class.  I grabbed my gloves and messed around with the wood pile, finding a more substantial piece of plywood to use as a ramp for the goats to get into the back of the pickup.  Even though we'd cleaned out the back, there was still plenty of damp alfalfa and mud to muck things up, so the gloves were a must.

I went into the goat pen and put leashes on all the big girls, intending to find a way to lead them out while leaving the youngest goats inside, and somehow do this without getting tangled up.  Normally eager to get out of the gate, probably because of the odd scheduling of my appearance, the goats scattered.  I eventually got leashes on Imbri, Salsa and Lily and headed to the gate.  Moonshine decided that he wanted to be first out, but he wasn't GOING out, the stinker.  I realized that I would have to put a lead on the youngest and tie them to the shelter so they didn't escape.  Easy, right?


When I came back in with their dual lead, both the little goats scattered and ran helter skelter away from me.  Moonshine, being the more loveable of the two, eventually came to me.  Then it was a matter of following Luna around, cursing at her, with Mooney by my side.  I owe Salsa a thank you for helping eventually to corner her.  While Luna had previously scampered by me when I cornered her, this time she couldn't get by me, and wouldn't dare try to pass Salsa, who was sure to charge at her.

"Babies" secured, I put the leashes of all the does around my wrist and led them to the truck.  They wouldn't go up the ramp.  Salsa and Lily were too busy trying to ram into Imbri.  I figured if I put Imbri in first, the others would come up after her, so up went Imbri.  Salsa followed.  Lily wouldn't walk up the ramp, but walked around the side of it.  So what happens next?  Salsa decides to charge back down the ramp to fight with Lily.  Imbri follows.  Then I can't get ANY of them into the truck!  It's warm outside, and I'm starting to sweat and lose my breath, and I'm tired of ducking and turning to make sure the leashes don't completely wrap around me.  I decide that the solution will have to be to leave Lily behind.  As I'm opening the gate, Imbri gets loose and runs into the pen.  I put Lily back in, and then Salsa.  Then have to chase Imbri.  Eventually, I grab her leash, and lead her and Salsa BACK out to the truck.  This time, both of them go up the ramp and mostly stay in as I try to push the ramp into the truck bed and close the back.  They start head butting each other, but at least they are in.

Grumbling to myself and worried about time, I hop into the truck, take a swig of coffee, and head down the driveway.  Halfway down, I remember that Mooney and Luna are still tied to the shelter, and I didn't turn the electric fence on.  Turn around, go back up, take care of business.  Imbri and Salsa start head butting each other in the back of the pickup again (they had stopped when the truck started moving).

Back down the driveway, and we wind through the back roads to avoid freeway speeds for the goats.  After falling once when a yellow light flashed so briefly (stupid light) and I had to brake quickly, Salsa settled in and laid down next to the cab of the truck.  Shorter, sturdier Imbri stood in the center, and sometimes walked to look out the back window.

I called the school to let them know I'd arrived, as I circled the parking lot for a relatively close spot.  Becca came out to the truck as I started to unload the goats.  Imbri jumped out right away.  I had to tug on Salsa to get her to get out of the truck.  All those strange cars and smells on that big black asphalt ground!  Becca's wonderful principal met us at the truck and helped bring the goats to the lawn in front of the school.  She really enjoyed seeing and petting them.

Becca's Ag teacher and the rest of the students from class came out.  They circled around us and I asked if they knew what breeds these goats were.  I was surprised that one student actually guessed Salsa's breed - half at a time.  His first guess was LaMancha, and when I told him he was partly right, he got Saanen.  Another student knew that Imbri is a Nigerian Dwarf, but then let it slip that Becca had previously told him.  The students seemed to enjoy the back and forth Q and A, and they had some good questions to ask.  Another teacher joined us - this was becoming a popular lesson.  The girls especially enjoyed feeding the goats grain, though unfortunately Salsa wasn't cooperative enough to allow some of them to try milking.  Some of the girls I was talking to giggled when I said teats.

At the end of our time, I gave the teacher a jar of milk so the students could see how similar/different it might be from cow's milk (they look the same to me).  They couldn't taste it, because it's not pasteurized, but I'll bring some pasteurized milk for the class later.  They cut the soap bars up for the students that wanted to take some home.  I'll send some cajeta and apple slices for Thursday's class.  Eating while being around goats is not a good idea, so we'll separate those activities.

Becca had the same teacher for her next class, and she said it was okay for Becca to leave after Ag class so I didn't have to wait an hour for her to get out of school.  We got both goats into the truck, and then Imbri  jumped out before the tailgate was closed.  I had already put the ramp up, so Becca and I lifted her round little body and put her inside.  The drive home was uneventful, and even though they were home, it took a while for the girls to come to the end of the truck to get out.  They seemed happy to be back with their herd mates.

All in all, not a bad afternoon.  I sure am pooped after all the goat chasing earlier.  Time for chores, dinner and REST.

1 comment:

  1. My goodness Laura, I'm tired just reading that!!! They sure gave you a run for your money, I'm glad they are supplying you with milk, it's like a payment for their "catch me if you can" game today!

    What a wonderful treat for Becca's class, that's the type of school function that is educational and fun. A real win win for everyone...well maybe a bit of an exception for a certain someone who spent a lot of time running around her truck and catching them.