Last year Nougat had a really bad case of mastitis. Her udder is very poorly attatched, and one side was dragging on the ground even before Twilight Sparkle was born. She would not let me milk her or treat the infection – she just kicked the crap out of me and it ended up ruining her udder. She shouldn’t be bred again, and now that we have our little buck Night Hawk, we had to find a new home for her. And she was really mean, too. I was always worried about her hurting my children. Recently she put a hole in one of Mirin’s t-shirts with her horns. She pushed Rose around when Rose was trying to feed the goats peanut hay as a treat. She hurt Clothilde’s arm through the fence from knocking her with her horns. She was the queen and had a big attitude. They are going to live with a lady who has several acres of brush for them to eat, so I know they will be happy. For now we dropped them off with our friend Denise (who we got Night Hawk from. She used to be our post lady!).
Catching them was tough. Stripey doesn’t like us very much (he was never very friendly). We got Stripey first, because we knew he would be impossible to catch if he saw Nougat go in the dog kennel in the back of the truck. Ethan heaved him into the back of the truck while I worked the gate and door of the kennel. Night Hawk managed to get tangled in the fence and be a huge pain in the process. Nougat was easy to catch (she is very friendly – to grown-ups), but getting her up on the truck bed was very hard. She had to be got up in stages (she’s a rather curvy lady these days). Of course Stripey got out when we were trying to put her in. He dodged around us and leaped off the back of the truck. Ethan football tackled him, and he gave an unhappy bleat. We finally stuffed them both it. Even though it was a very large kennel with plenty of room for both of them, Nougat hogged more than half of it (that’s just the way she is. I know some people like that, too).
The children had all been left with my in-laws, so the drive to Denise’s house was very quiet. There was no one screaming and there were pauses in the conversation. It’s always kind of surprising when that happens.
When we got to Denise’s place, we found that she wasn’t home. She said she might have to make a run into town, so we parked in the shade and waited. All her dogs came over and barked fiercely at us (we also got our Pyrenees herd guard dog, Belle, from her). After awhile they got used to us and we wandered back to see how the piglets we had traded for Night Hawk were doing. At first a few of the ugliest goats (the LaManchas – I can’t help thinking they look like they have a birth defect with no ears like that) came forward. One was very friendly and kept trying to eat my toes! The Nubians came out after – Night Hawk’s mama was there. She was very friendly and insisted I scratch her back. His sister came over and nuzzled my knee. All kinds of weird little chickens ran out of a shed. There was a big rooster with no tail scratching alongside a bitchy-looking hen with ruffled feathers. She gave him a big peck on his butt and he jumped and squawked.
More and more goats came out of hiding places. A big dumb-looking goat was standing halfway out of a children’s playhouse. A fainting goat with two little twin kids (black with one white spot each) was there. She made a big fuss when the dogs ran by. A Dexter calf was there, moping around, and even a small cracker calf with a mean expression on his face popped out of somewhere. Ethan tried to scratch his back, but he wasn’t friendly at all.
As Ethan described it, it was like a cross between Noah’s Ark and a clown car. More and more animals showed up. Denise showed up, too. She had picked up a new piglet from her neighbor, so Ethan helped unload it.
We asked her about the cracker calf, and she told us a funny story. She said he had just been weaned off his bottle, but he still liked to go around and suck on things, even the “male parts” of her new dog, Baxter. The problem was, Baxter liked it. He would go over to the calf and lift his leg up.
There was a little goat hanging around the cracker calf. Denise said the goat had somehow bonded with the calf, and they were always together. Even if it was raining, the goat would be out in the field in the rain with the calf, not under the trees with the other goats (the cows don’t mind the rain).
We unloaded our goats into a little pen next to the buck run. There were some Jersey cows and four bucks in the adjacent paddock. Night Hawk’s daddy was there. I was pointing out how pretty he was, but as soon as Ethan looked the buck started doing his gross peeing-on-himself thing and we had to advert our eyes. Bucks are just like that. There was an ugly little fainting goat buck with the grossest, dingy-white beard that was yellow at the ends from pee. As soon as Nougat and Stripey were unloaded, all the bucks came over and stuck their tongues out at them (it’s a buck dominance thing). We said goodbye (it was about to rain) and left to do the rest of our chores (and get soaking wet).
The goat herd seems so small now! When I went to milk them yesterday, I kept looking behind me, feeling like some had gotten left behind. May is vying for queenship now. She’s been very aggressive to everyone, but surprisingly little April has given her the most trouble.