News from Vermont # 349 “Glee’s Babies”

News from Vermont # 349 My Good Goats

Nov. 12, 2015
Hello again Maple People,

Call me baaaaad but I love my goats right up until I hate ’em. I hate ’em when they do their Houdini act and reappear in Betsy’s geraniums or even worse, embark on a “shopping spree” in our store. That’s what the first part of my summer was like. Then I got smart, bought some tighter woven wire, and used it to make a smaller pen. Ever since then, what they lack in freedom, they gain in grain, and my love. Yup, those little rascals have me figured out. They know my car…heck, they know my routine. Every morning when I drive to the back part of our business and they see that gold-colored Sienna, they start their goat shouting, running in circles, and butting each other. And if you think it’s all about me, well, I have a thousand acre goatery in mid-Manhattan to sell you…it’s all about the grain! And this ol’ pushover has been way too generous…they’re getting wicked fat!

Rome VanOrman_ old family friend and lover of goats

Mid-summer, those two had to accept a roommate. One of Tommy’s cows gave birth to a female calf and something immediately went wrong with the mother-daughter relationship. The calf, a bit premature and leaking in a troublesome way from her umbilical cord, needed some critical TLC; enter Tommy’s friend Cliff and our employee Glee. Those two took on the task of surrogate mothering with Job-like dedication even after Dr. Tom Stuwe said the calf’s odds were not good. Now, after six weeks, Cliff and Glee are still sharing late night and early morning “nursery” shifts. Blue (Glee named the calf for the color of her umbilical cord antiseptic) is strikingly bigger and has added hay to her diet of bottled milk replacement. She’s looking like a survivor.

Tommy and I remain interested in Blue’s progress and check in with Cliff and Glee often. A while ago, Cliff told me a funny “goat” story. It seems his dad always kept goats back where Cliff grew up in Colorado. One time, the goats got out and immediately paid the next door neighbor a house call. Like goats have done at our store, they entered an open door as nonchalantly as a teenage child, went into the master bedroom, and pooped on the floor. Cliff said the neighbor took it in stride and even saved the brown pellets for a upcoming neighborhood gift exchange. “She wrapped ’em up in a nice box” he said, “and as the joke present went from person to person, it became the hit of the day”. He went on to say, however, that the 87-year-old grandpa, missing the point entirely, put the “chocolates” in his mouth and ate quite a few before someone took them away!

Glee greeting Blue…

As winter approaches, a shelter has been built for the three pen mates out of miscellaneous tarps and cardboard boxes. Frosty mornings these days, I find my goats are a bit sluggish to respond to my grain offerings. The three, two goats and a calf, spend their nights in the shelter snuggling with each other. My grain eventually brings them out, though, and when they emerge, one of them usually has a “Mohawk” effect on its back caused by Blue’s suckling…poor little duffer, after all she’s been through, is still searching for her mama.

Glee, determined to give Blue the best of chances has, with her boyfriend Jim, built a winter pen in a friend’s barn. Blue will soon be leaving Morse Farm for her new quarters but Glee wants to take all three. She said to date, Jim says “no goats” but bets are on that he’ll lose. After all, with farm animals there’s warmth in snuggling numbers. In the meantime, I take great “warmth” in knowing my goats are still on the right side of the fence.

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