Long before goat Yoga came along, I always wanted goats. I often threatened to sell out and become a goat farmer. When I met my husband Ed, I thought that dream might come true when we purchased 15 acres of land in the country.
“Now we can get goats” I said happily.
“GOATS? Do you have any idea how much trouble goats are?” exclaims Ed.
“Don’t care, still want ‘em.” I said, stubbornly.
Well, I had to wait about five years to find out how much trouble goats really are.
I caught Ed in a weak moment. I was at the feed store in Bonner Springs and spotted a woman with a truck load of baby goats. I was in goat …er…Hog Heaven. Quickly, I called him up.
“Honey, I’m at the feed store and guess what! They have baby goats for sale!”
To my amazement, he said, “Okay, you can get a couple of goats.” I think he thought I would give up when I didn’t have a way to haul them home.
That didn’t stop me. I picked out two adorable baby pygmies, paid my 100 dollars and loaded them in the back seat of my 1993 Toyota pickup truck and booked it for home.
My youngest son lived with us at the time and when I pulled up to the house, he came out to meet me.
I called “Hey, can you help me unload the truck?” He came over and about fell over backwards when he saw what I had in the backseat.
We carried them to their temporary home in a hog run in the back pasture. I say temporary because it wasn’t long before they were jumping out and running around the pastures with the horses and eating my flowers and well, you get the idea.
“I told you they were trouble,” Ed said smugly. But somehow the one we named Darnell wormed his way into his heart and would follow him around like a dog when he was outside.
“I never thought I’d become a goat herder” he grumbled but he enjoyed Darnell and all his antics. Like the day he put Darnell back in his pen and stood guard, determined that goat would not pull one over on him.
It was a goat to man standoff. Darnell moves to the left, Ed moves with him. Darnell moves to the right, Ed moves again, arms outstretched ready to catch him. Darnell fakes it to the left and as Ed starts to move, he flies over Ed’s right shoulder and took off running.
“Fire up the grill, honey,” Ed said grimly, “we’re having goat for dinner.”
I had to endure this abuse for quite some time until Ed finally accepted the goats with just a little bit of grumbling.
I remember the day I came home from work on a 105-degree day. Darnell had his head stuck through the fence and couldn’t get it back out due to his horns. I put on a wide brimmed straw hat to keep the sun off my head and headed to the rescue. I climbed in the pen, straddled his back, grabbed his horns and tried to maneuver his head out. In the meantime, Earl climbs on my back and proceeds to gnaw happily on my straw hat.
Here I am doing the rhumba with two goats, sandwiched between them in the broiling heat. Too bad no one was filming it, I am sure I would have won first prize on America’s Funniest Home videos. Since I wasn’t having any luck getting Darnell’s head free, I shook Earl off and ran to call my neighbor. He came down with wire cutters and got him free for me. We had to change the fence because despite how smart that goat was, he managed to get his head stuck several times.
Our horse Blondie absolutely adored those goats. They were her babies. She would lean into the hog run, lick their heads and nuzzle them. When we gave up trying to contain them, they were always by her side in the pasture.
One night we were watching TV when we heard a horrible screaming going on outside. Ed ran out to find a couple of coyotes who thought Earl and Darnell looked like a mighty tasty dinner. Blondie was
kicking and screaming and fighting them off. Thankfully Ed was able to chase the coyotes off and a spare horse stall became their home each night.
Our neighbor’s cows like to come over in our pasture. One day the entire herd had torn down the fence and were lounging around under the shade trees. Ed and I were down there trying to get them back across the fence and Darnell couldn’t stand it. He had to provoke the bull. And when Mister Bull charges, where did Darnell go to hide? Behind his mother, of course, who happened to be wearing a red t-shirt.
Fortunately, I threw up my arms and hollered and the bull dodged me.
Actually, the bull and I ended up good friends. We had an apple tree and I would hand feed him apples over the fence. Then he was like a big puppy dog, drooling with begging eyes. Oh yes, I was his best friend then. I was feeding him one day and here comes Ed.
He said “Honey, that bull has had enough apples, quit feeding him.” The bull looks at Ed, threw back his head and let out a mighty howling roar.
He got another apple.
Once Darnell managed to get tangled up in a herd of running horses and ended up with a broken leg. Ed had to load him and Earl both into the pickup and drive him to town to the vet. Several hundred dollars later he was doped up, leg in a cast and headed for home with Ed to recoup. Ed stopped at a convenience store to buy a drink and of course, a former co worker came up to the truck to say hi. He looks in and sees that Ed is carting around two goats, one of them looking drunk and the other just looking plain goofy. He had some quick explaining to do as to why he was loitering around town with a couple of goats.
I would have been proud to introduce my goats to a former coworker but that’s just me.
Sadly, the second time Darnell got caught up in the horses, he got kicked in the head and ended up being put down. But in the meantime, we had acquired another goat named Mingo. And that my friends, is another story.