Adventures With Goats.
I’m here farm watching for my friend Sara. Part of my job in keeping the goats happy and safe is to feed them and make sure I shut and lock all the gates behind me so they don’t go free range all over the front range. This I have done to perfection. Except the time yesterday when I didn’t. It’s not that I didn’t lock the gate, it’s that they rushed me when I was opening the gate and there’s not much my puny arms or stern voice can do to keep back an onslaught of goat.
Being in the middle of a bunch of rowdy goats reminded me of the time when I went to a Flogging Molly concert with my friend Amber a few years ago. We got there, she taught me how to do a double shot of whiskey first thing (before the lines start), go to the bathroom (before the lines start), go back and have another shot of whiskey (so we don’t have to lose our place in the show to get any more later), and then find the best place to see the band. One minute there was calm and order, the next minute everyone was skanking all around us. Skanking being a type of dance where you kick your legs, flail your arms, and catapult yourself into the person beside you. Violently. Amber, a wee little lass maybe all of 5’3″ and OG California riot grrrl, managed to protect me from anything more serious than a fat lip. It’s a little blurry on account of all the whiskey, but I’m pretty sure I tried to kiss her…so she also protected herself from me. I was new to drinking and hadn’t yet learned that just because whiskey makes you FEEL like making out with everyone, you shouldn’t ACTUALLY make out with everyone. I learned a lot that night.
Anyway, these goats. Being in the middle of them was like that night. They weren’t trying to make out with me, but one of them did stand up and bite my ear pretty hard. I couldn’t hold them back, and half of them ran out of the gate before I could stop them. I managed to shut it before they all got out. Echo, their protector llama who usually watches guard while sitting in the pen, got up to see what all the ruckus was. He ambled over, assessed the situation, and then looked at me with his judgey eyes.
“Lady,” his eyes said to me, “I don’t know who you are, but this never happens when the cute blond woman comes in here. Not only are you in way over your head, but now you’ve involved me because those are my charges and how am I supposed to watch them now that they’re running away?”
Echo’s solution was to take matters into his own hands and try to get out of the pen.
Sara, who gave me detailed instructions on how to handle a goat rebellion like this, told me to get alfalfa nuggets and clang them around in a can. “The goats will come running!” she said. So I rushed to get the alfalfa nuggets before anything escalated. I managed to get them, get back to the gate, open the gate and shake the can. The goats did, indeed, come running. They knocked me back in their effort to get to the alfalfa. I held the can over my head until I could get them all through the gate before they ate it all, but goats like to rear up on their hind legs which puts them at eye level. They also like to shove with their front legs which feels like…terrifying. As I was trying to control that situation, Echo rushed out of the gate to get to the goats. Now the goats were inside so I threw the alfalfa can over my head and shut the gate door.
Now I had a new problem.
Most of the goats were on the right side of the fence. Echo was not. I’ve never handled a llama before. Sara said he wouldn’t spit if I didn’t annoy him, but I haven’t read the book “How To Annoy A Llama” so to be safe I assume everything I do annoys him. His eyes confirm this.
I had to get Echo into the enclosure. I had to get the other goats away from the gate or they’d rush out again.
I got more alfalfa nuggets in a container and went to the other side of the pen. I rattled it around and watched the goats skank their way rapidly towards me. I flung it on the ground and, as they were preoccupied with eating it up, I ran to the gate and opened it. I gently put my arm around Echo while saying, “Please don’t spit on me. I’m not trying to be annoying, I’m just trying to get you on the other side of the fence where your friends are…”
He gave me the benefit of the doubt and humored me by sauntering back in.
All’s well that ends well.
Goats and llama, happy and safe!
Echo’s eyes said to me, “This never happens when the cute blond lady is around.”
I know, Echo, I know. She’ll be back soon!