our first week with the goats

We are so attached to these goats already. And I know they are farm animals and not pets, but honestly, how do you tell your head and your heart not to get attached? It just happens. And we are all attached.

Our first week went smoothly except for the ten minutes that did not go smoothly at all. And those ten minutes are what I want to write about now.

We got our goats to help us with our grove maintenance. We want them to feast in our grove. We want to be able to walk through our woods again. We want to have an Oak Savannah again, and our goats are our plan. Which means we might have been a little eager to get them out and into the grove first thing. Thankfully Rory had spent the morning building a fence from the barn to the cabin. And thankfully the previous owners had goats back in the day so that there is a fence surrounding the grove, though we have cut openings in it for various projects and parts are down due to branches or trees that have fallen down. 

Rory wanted to get the goats to the smaller pen he had created out of electric fence, and had made leashes for the goats to walk them there. Well. Goats aren't super big into being walked. Or dragged. Or pulled. And at some point the knots came undone and Rory calmly stood with two concerned goats, not sure what this strange man wanted them to do next. The big kids and I were sitting in lawn chairs on the other side of the electric fence waiting to watch the show. Hattie was thankfully napping. (Hattie is awesome like that.) 
So Rory picked up the baby goat, knowing the mama would follow. He got the baby in the electric fenced area, but the mama circled on his wrong side, panicked because she was separated from her baby and charged the electric fence. 

And that was right about when we knew we were in deep, deep trouble. 

The Mama was zapped by that fence, by two lines, and bucked up and went bananas. At this point in the story I need you to add in your own audio track of two goats bleating their hearts out, a human-like noisy cry, incessant, and worried, "maaaaaaaaaaa! maaaaaaaaaaa!" I grabbed the kids and got them safely in the barn while Ivar sobbed, "Oh no! We lost our goats already! We'll never have goats again!" Rory spoke fast, "get me another rope." And all the while the two goats were running pell mell around our grove. 

At the same time our neighbor's dogs started barking, adding to the chaos. I kept waiting for the goats to head to the neighbors or for the dogs to come to us, but they never did. Rory got the goats to head towards the cabin and they came right up to the fence he had just erected that morning, where I stood on the other side. And then they turned towards the back side of the barn and my heart sunk. They were heading for the opening that was blocked only by electric fence...something they clearly had no regard for. One good run and they'd be in our field where they'd really be free. 

So they ran around the barn on the back side and I took off to catch them before they made it to the open field. And as I ran I thought, "Sweet Jesus! Make me bold so I can jump on that goat!" 

That was for real my plan. I was going to jump on the mama and go for a ride. I knew she had to be caught or we'd be chasing goats for the rest of our lives. Also noteworthy is that I only call Jesus 'Sweet' in moments of serious peril. I have a short list when my mouth has said Sweet Jesus! And every time it has been completely reverent, with all sincerity asking Sweet Jesus for some Sweet Supernatural help. Like right away. I said it when I watched Rory drop from the roof in front of the kitchen window when he was cleaning out the gutters and came upon a wasp nest. And I said it when our old barn came down. And now I said it again while gearing up to jump on a goat.

I came around the corner of the barn and watched in horror as they ran right towards me. I got myself ready but at the very last second, they turned right into their pen. Praise Sweet Jesus! Rory was on the other corner and I climbed through the electric fence (which must have been grounded and not on...we think the mama goat broke the circuit, lucky me, because I was just going to "run through it real quick" so I could get the door closed behind them. Ha!) 

We closed the door and stood in the pen with our two goats. I got the kids and went back in the house and then I got the giggles and laughed about it all night long. I told Rory the Good Shepherd could not have taught us more lessons in a shorter amount of time. It was actually quite the productive educational experience and there are about 14 mistakes that we will never make again. 
So we've spent the last few days building up trust with our goats again, and thankfully they seem to be rather forgiving.  The electric fence is now right next to the physical wire fence, their first open space is right outside the door to their pen so they can walk in and out as they please, they have been given actual dog collars and next up we will be mending the fence around the entire grove.

Truthfully, if you omit those ten minutes of intense goat school, it has been going great and we are glad to have mammals in our barn. The past few days they have been fed each morning and evening, but other than that, they're pretty low-key. And good thing because Rory's honey bees come tomorrow morning. Wouldn't want to sit still around here...

3 comments:

Emily said...

The adventures on The Grovestead. . . never ending. I laughed and panicked while reading this. Miss you much Becca!

Nancy Holte said...

Oh thank you! I really needed this laugh today! And, I'm thinking you two need to go to Kenya. There are goats everywhere there, most notably along side the very busy highways. They seem to control them with sticks but I have no idea how. Herd mentality, I suppose.

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

I love this so much! LOLOLOLOL! <3