Hello again Maple People,
Our new tenants appeared recently one day riding in the back of a Jeep station wagon. I had signed the contract, so to speak, with a verbal "OK, I'll take 'em next summer" way back in January…easy thing to do when you think winter'll never end. Well, it did, and the woman, Sherry, called one day and said "they're ready". OK, just so you know, I'm talking about two Nigerian Dwarf goats, cute as buttons but needing a goat-tight enclosure that wasn't ready.
Our old enclosure had sat uninhabited since our elderly goat, Otis, died two years ago. Otis was famous for pulling a container of grain up via a pulley system to a her platform eight feet off the ground. The platform, and the entire goat pen sat in relative disrepair. When I got the word from Sherry, I went there with tools and boards, and came away satisfied that Otis' old home would contain our new tenants.
They stayed contained for about a week before the "Houdini" effect kicked in. Goats, as you might have heard, are notorious escape artists and, try as I may, with added boards, woven wire, and lots of cuss words, I could not keep them in. One recent, things came to a head when Betsy and I witnessed them going off the eight foot high platform to goat freedom…"My God", she exclaimed, "I just saw a flying goat!" I was so frustrated that I impulsively went to my computer and advertised them on Front Page Forum: "Two goats complete with grain, minerals, goat medication…all free".
The next day I got minor interest in my ad but had spent a sleepless night before, reassessing my situation…"maybe I'll give it one more try", I thought. "After all, they're awful cute!". I went and bought an expensive roll of extra high woven wire and spent the day building a smaller, platformless goat area which, unfortunately, gives them less room to roam but keeps them in. They've been contained now for about a month. I go there two times a day, feed them hay, grain, and some of their favorite treats like banana peels and Sumac leaves (contrary to popular belief, goats don't eat tin cans but do savor all sorts of other strange things.).
This talk of goats reminds me of Mr. Rome VanOrman from up in Maple Corner. Rome, a bachelor, became widely known for his family of goats. A visit to his place always brought, not only chuckles about his eccentricities, but a complete understanding that at the VanOrman residence, goats "ruled the roost". One time when my dad went there for a visit, Rome invited him into his parlor to sit for a spell. As conversation went on, Dad suddenly realized there was some leakage coming through the ceiling and ending up right in his lap. Rome stopped what he was saying, his eyes rising up to the source of the problem, and then back down to my father's wet pants…"Gol dern it!", he said in his high-pitched Vermont twang…"guess them goats'r upstayahs in th'bedroom again pissin' right through th'flooah boards". My dad, no doubt, just brushed it off with a "no problem Rome" but when he returned home, he was grinning from ear to ear with another "Rome" story to tell.
Our two goats are still in as I write but I do worry about the "Houdini" affect kicking in at a moment's notice. Lots of folks are coming up to see them and I'm so glad nobody took them off my hands. I've even grown quite attached to the little rascals but do have my limits…if the gol derned things ever show up in my bedroom, they'll be once again, free for the taking!
Don't let anyone get your goat today!
ps: Remember www.morsefarm.com for all your Vermont products needs!