Oh the Goats

oh the goatsWhat can I say except “Oh the goats”. So here is today’s story. Each story is usually unique. And this one goes like this.

It was time to move the animals to another piece of pasture. We have the pasture divided into lots of smaller paddocks. So Scott bravely goes out to move the animals around. It’s fairly early in the morning on August 1st and not quite so hot yet. Meanwhile I go off to town to the bank and the grocery store and other errands.

the boysThe animals needed to be moved quite a bit for the next part of our grazing plan. I was going to be gone for quite some time so Scott ventured out on his own. In the front field, which is divided into 4 paddocks, were the “boys”. The bull and his two companion steers, the ram and his 2 companion ram lambs, and the 5 cashmere bucks make up this group. They got moved across the road to paddock number 5. Not much problem there.

normande herdThe next move entailed moving the 5 ewes, 3 ewe lambs, 5 cows, 5 heifers and of course the 10 goat does and their 9 kids Oh yeah, I almost forgot the donkeys. Johnny rebel and his two ladies, Sweet Pea and very pregnant Daisy. They were all moving to the front where the boys just vacated. This particular group of animals was located in the field that reaches nearly the highest point on the property. It’s pretty steep. And it is also way, way in the back of the property.

So Scott bravely goes out and rounds them all up and starts them moving to their new pasture. He finds there are 3 kids missing. So he diligently looks for the missing kids. Well, we’ve lost lots of kids this year and they had been grazing in the pasture where we lost the most kids during the winter. So perhaps a predator got them. After walking the entire field, Scott moves on and gets the rest of the animals settled into their new place.

3 kidsBut, oh the goats, Scott goes back to paddock number 13 or 14 or something like that, t’s way in the back, and he looks for the kids just one last time. Low and behold, there they are. These three are the tiniest ones. Two silver ones and one white one. They are so small that they can just jump through the fence. The fence squares are about 6″ wide and 4″ tall. That’s plenty of room for a 2-week old kid to get through. So of course they did just jumped through. Not before running around in figure 8s and such for a little while, but they eventually went into the next paddock. At that point Scott surrendered to their superior agility.

I arrive home some time later and cook brunch for the two of us. While sitting at the table eating said brunch, Scott is regaling me with the details of the tale. And then we begin to plan our next move. The only conclusion is to take at least some of the goats all the way back to the pasture in the back and catch them up with the kids. It is the only hope of ever getting said kids all the way to the front field. So we proceed with that plan.

the sheepI’m going to leave out quite a few of the details here. We walked a lot and we got the does and kids hooked back up with the three lost kids and moved them all the way back to the front field again. We really walked a lot. We set out at about 2:30 and now it was over 90 degrees outside. I returned home tired and sweaty at 4:00 with Scott arriving only 5 or so minutes later. Do you have any idea how far you can walk in an hour and a half? Even at 2 miles per hour that would be at least three miles. Up and down hills, through the woods and the weeds, in the heat. I got my exercise today. And please remember that Scott had already traversed this same path once earlier. He clocked double the miles that I did.

And at the end there is still one piece to be completed. While returning the does and kids to the back pasture, the sheep decided to tag along. We weren’t too concerned as they are fairly easy to move. However, when we got all of the goat does and kids out of the high pasture, the sheep were nowhere to be seen. Scott had just walked the entire perimeter of that paddock to round up one stray doe and her kid. He had not seen any of the sheep.

goatkid1“Well”, we said. “Perhaps they returned as far as they could toward the front field.” We had left most of the return path open. So we proceeded to move the does and kids up the travel lane back to the front. This part is always easy because Scott set up those really useful travel lanes. When we arrived — you guessed it. No sheep. The sheep were nowhere to be found. That means they are somewhere back up in the way back and high field. We decided that they could take care of themselves and if we opened the gate up again, they would eventually return to the water in the creekbed.

Time enough to catch them up tomorrow. Oh the goats. I’m tired but happy that the kids are back with the does.

Hope your life is going well.


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