Thursday, September 1, 2011
My goats must be entering puberty.
How else can I explain the sudden change from docile loving Fern, into the goat from Hell?
Monday morning while Wifey took care of the poultry, I took the goaty girls out for their usual golf cart ride and morning feeding. When they finished I put them in their day pen. Then I left to cut some tree branches for them and filled their water bucket. Done with the morning chores, I went back to the house to take my morning pills and get some breakfast.
I got as far as my pill container when suddenly I heard a commotion outside and the goaty girls calling for me. I rushed to the kitchen window and sure enough they were standing on the golf cart, looking at me.....and laughing !!! I swear to God, if goats could laugh, that was what they were doing !!!
So I went back outside to put them back in the pen and look for their escape route. While I walked the perimiter of the pen they stared out at me cooly and continued their laughter. I found only one possible weak spot at the bottom of the fence between two pine trees where they had made a dust bath and there was a tiny gap between the fence and ground. So I went to get a stake and hammer to secure it with. Before I got halfway to the work shed, Fern was on the back of the cart with me.!! I made a U turn and put her back in the pen, broke a couple of forked sticks, and pounded them into the ground, securing the bottom of the fence. I went back to the workshed, grabbed my large hammer, some stakes and wire, then turned around to see both goats watching me from the doorway!!
Now I was getting pisssed off...I grabbed a cheap fence post for an old flowerbed we had and some wire too...Dang goats aren't getting out again !!!! I got the goat girls back on the cart and headed for the pen. As I got close I could see that my previous idea of where they were getting out was dead wrong.
The fence from a tree to the gate was in ruin. The fencepost in between was bent to the ground and the staples holding the fence to the tree had pulled out. Some of the welds between the wires of the stock fence had broken. It looked like a bull ran through it, not something my little goats did. I was devistated....at first. Then I got MAD.
I went back to she tool shed for more supplies, a posthole digger, 8 ft. cedar post, cement and LONGER fence staples. (I should have added a chain-saw to the list.) Hours later, after chopping though uncountable tree roots, saying many choice words and cussing my goats out under my breath, I finally got the post in the ground and cemented in. Now it was time to tackle the fence, which had shrunk since getting pulled away from the tree. When I had originally put up the fence just a few weeks ago, it was loose and a little floppy, now I needed to stretch it 2 inches to reach the tree. I am sure somewhere there is an engineer who can explain the reason for this phenominon, but not me. So I grabbed a cheap ratcheting tie down strap, passed it through the fence and around the tree and started tightening it....the 1 inch strap broke. Okay, that one had sat in the back of my truck for a while, but I had a new one. Find it and try again. The thin metal ratchet stop bent and it released the pressure. (Have I ever told you about my great-great-great Uncle Murphy? He's the guy they named all of those Laws after, and the proginator of our Black Irish Luck.) Anyway I tied the two straps together to make one and finally got the fence stapled to the tree and then the new post. Now to track down them dang goats.
I found them browsing around the grape trees. What....you have never seen a grape tree??? We have this Concord Grape vine that is impossible to kill. I have tried digging it out, burning it out and even salted the ground. It thrived on a Weed Killer diet one summer years ago. I even built a chicken run around it for a few years until it pulled the fence down.Why kill it you ask? Because we hardly ever get a grape from it. Whatever the beetles don't eat in the spring, the birds eat in the fall. And the vines love to climb trees and completly cover them, when this happens it becomes a grape tree. Once they pulled down a 30-40 ft. maple. Anyhow the goats were feasting on tree, grape and raspberry leaves. Oh yeah, the raspberry plants must have a symbiotic relationship with the grape vines and where one grows so does the other, bigger and better than anywhere else. I just dare anyone to try and plant either one anywhere else on this five acre sand lot and try to get it to grow, ain't gonna happen, I know, I have tried for years. WHAT....oh yeah...the goats !!
Okay, so I get the goats back into the pen, pick up my implements of construction and head for the tool shed and a well deserved rest. I got 40 ft. before Fern ran past me......
Now you can ask anyone who really knows me, I have a great deal of patience. Most of the time, anyway. But thoughts of my shotgun and blood on the ground flashed through my head accompanied, with the sound of goat laughter.....
I shook it off. Returned Miss Fern to her crying sibling in the pen, and BACKED away this time. I wanted to see how she was getting out.... I didn't have to wait long. She went to the back of the pen and ran towards the front and leapt up, got her front feet about 2/3 rd's of the way up the fence, replaced them with her hind feet, and sailed over the five foot tall fence !!!!!!!!
I sat amazed and dumbfounded....
Fern: "Did you see me dad? Huh. Huh. Did you see what I can do?
Me: "Yes Ferny-Fern, you are such a smart goaty girl."
Fern: "Thanks for tightening up the fence, it adds more spring to my jump."
Me: "Yes dear-heart, I noticed how high you flew over the fence. Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?"
Fern: (more goat laughter) "Ha, I could do that all day long, it was fun. You really worry to much you know."
Me: "Yes I am sure it was. It's all fun and games until somebody breaks a leg. Let's go get your sister before she cry's herself sick."
Fern: "Peaches is NOT my sister!!"
Me: "I know, but she thinks she is. Let's not tell her any different."
Fern: "This is going to cost you ya know."
Me: "Oh, I sort of figured it would."
I put the girls in the Pallet Palace for the night, went into the house, told Wifey about the situation, finally took my medication and took a nap.
Ever since, the goats have been re-assigned to the dog pen. It's the same height as their pen, but so far neither has escaped it.
Now I have to figure out a way to goat proof their pen. Any ideas?