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Goat Broker

“Hey Janet, do you want a goat?” 

This is not the most unusual question I’ve received from friends, so I asked, “Is it male or female?” 

“I don’t know. A man just stopped by here and asked if we wanted a goat. But we don’t do goats. I told him that I knew a goat lady though.”

I laughed and asked, “is it a pygmy or dwarf? Daddy’s looking for a new billy, but it needs to be miniature.”

“No, but the man’s name is Billy.”

At that moment I lost it and burst out laughing. She texted me the phone number for “Billy the Goat Man” and I left a message, “Hi, this is Janet, a friend gave me your number about a goat. Please give me a call.” 

A few hours later, Billy returned my call, “This is Billy, you called about my goat?” 

I replied, “Yes sir, is it a male or a female? And is it a pygmy?”

He said, “well, it’s a medium-sized brown ram goat.”  

At this moment, I stopped myself from explaining that rams are sheep. Instead, I said, “well, if it comes to our place, he will be neutered and live a nice long life.”

He asked, “you gonna eat him?”

Shocked, I replied, “no sir, we don’t eat goats, they’re livestock and pasture control.” 

“Oh, well, ain’t that what you do? You raise goats, sell them, kill them and eat them? I ain’t never tasted goat before, and I wanted to see what it tasted like.” 

I said, “that’s what some people do, but I don’t eat goat. Are you looking to sell your goat for meat?” 

He said, “I ain’t wanting to sell him. He ain’t much trouble. I wanted to see if you were gonna eat him.”

At this point, I stood looking at the phone in my hand, on the steps of the church, and I replied,  “tell ya what, I’ll ask a few folks and see if I can find someone looking to eat a goat. And I’ll get back with you.”

He thanked me and hung up. I shook my head in disbelief.  I actually had a discussion about a goat, with someone not concerned about making sure that their little precious horned-animal would go to a nice farm and live out its days in a pasture. 

I finished at the meeting and headed home to cut cane for the goats and to finish chores. Sure enough,  I found someone interested in a goat-roast. 

I called her that night, “Sobrina, do you a goat?” She replied, “A goat? Well, we were talking the other day about a goat roast.” 

I said, “well, Billy wants to know how it tastes, so will you promise me that you’ll share your goat with him?” 

She replied,  “His name is Billy?!” 

“Yes. Promise me.”

 Apparently, this type of wheeling and dealing is not as common as it used to be. But the way that I see it, if I can help Billy to find a short-term home for his goat and it gives him an opportunity to share a meal of goat meat that he raised, then that’s the way it is. She’s calling him tomorrow. Billy may get his wish.

On Saturday, we picked up a pygmy goat named Steve; a small male who can grow into buckhood and live out his days as a stud in a pasture full of nanny goats at Daddy’s. 

I guess this makes me a goat broker. Bringing people together, one gruff at a time.

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Betty White Escapes

Breaking News: 

Famed goat, Betty White, escaped from the pasture today. Standing just on the other side of the electric fence, in the dark, Betty White was located where her 8 goat friends and two donkeys pondered how she made it across three strands of electrified fencing. 

Three feral barn cats, Soot, Tink and Peter Pan, watched from the barn as the farmer and #farmher tried multiple attempts to lure Betty White to the gate so she could join her 4-legged companions.

She was so quick. She jumped over a rope used as a fake fence, ate a bowl of grain and 3 apple treats. Betty White, a 9 month old alpine boer mix goat, weighing roughly 60 pounds and proudly flicking her pointy horns, finally fell to capture as Jim, the farmer, grabbed her trying to

flee once again. Holding tightly to her horns, the farmher fashioned a harness around her neck and nose only to discover that the dog collars were too large for Betty White’s demur neck. Jim held tightly to the screaming goat in the dark, hoisted her and gently walked her through the gate where she was greeted by her herd. Ten minutes passed before Betty White acknowledged the capture claiming she didn’t know how she ended up on the other side of the fence. Dazed, she refused to join the others in a midnight snack of grass and water. Just wait til Sunday,  it’s time for another round of shots. She’s going to be really ticked!!

Reporting live from the pasture after a full day at the office and commuting home in traffic, Janet (aka the farmher of the story). This post pre-empted the previously scheduled post “Goat Broker” which has now been rescheduled to next week. 

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Quick Trick Goat Stack

One of my favorite books is “Fox in Sox” by Dr. Seuss.  I love the tweetle beetles battling with paddles in puddles. It seems that life on the farm is often a series of sticks and clocks; I have yet to see pig bands. 

Last week, I turned to see Queen Lillian, the youngest baby goat, standing on top of Pete the miniature donkey’s back. Last night, after milking Faith Hill, the younger goats started racing around the pasture and bouncing off the barn like a ninja fighter.  They love climbing and pushing each other off of the places where they climb. Queen Lillian (daughter of our goat named Julie Andrews and twin sister to Mary Poppins) jumped on Pete’s back again. This time, I caught it on video. 

I

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Crazy Chicken, I’m Bleeding!

“Get out of my henhouse you crazy chicken! I’m bleeding!”

I screamed at the chicken after she pecked my leg and drew blood. 

“You can’t hatch these eggs, they’re not all yours!” 

The Dominique hen’s neck feathers stood out from her neck like a dragon as she squawked loudly.  I grabbed a piece of metal and said, “Flog me again and I’ll chop your head off! You’ll be chicken dumplings for my vegetarian husband! Get out!”

She flew toward me and ran into the flat square of metal that I held as a shield, then ran out of the henhouse. I was mad. I just wanted to gather eggs. 

I stomped back to the house and sprayed the first thing I could find on my bleeding thigh.  It turned purplish-blue…”what the?!” I turned the bottle to read, “Blue-Kote…veterinary germicide fungicide spray for wounds.” Well, if it’s good enough for the goats, it’s good enough for me. 

The blue will wear off my hands and thigh in a few days.

 Crazy chicken. 

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Millstone 4-H Camp and My Walk Through a Memory

For ten weeks during the summer of 1989, I lived and breathed 4-H Camp as a staff member. The summer ended abruptly with the news of my mother’s fatal car accident. I was coming home the next day. I was in shock, and I left my fellow staffers and my summer home a different person. 

Today, I traveled back to Millstone 4-H Camp for a staff reunion. Uncertain of what I would find, I drove over 2 hours to arrive in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Stepping out of the car, the smell of fallen pine needles and the sound of the wind blowing through the pine trees, transported me back 27 years. 

Weather-worn buildings appeared exactly the same, except for the addition of air conditioning in the cabins, staff house and dining hall kitchen. No longer do the cooks have to fight squirrels and possums through the screened windows that have have been replaced with energy -efficient double panes.

Dining Hall
Inside the dining hall

In the oldest running camp of North Carolina, an interactive history of 4-H is memorialized in the new learning center and museum. Complete with auditorium and a 6 foot tall stained-glass window, I silently padded through the space which represents my three generations of pledging “My head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living”.. 

Stained glass tribute
New garden

As I walked through the sandy camp, I reflected on how would my life be different if…and then I saw the barn where I kept a sheep and a goat that summer so that I could teach campers about farm animals. I thought, “did I feed them everyday?” Well, I must have because they were healthy when Daddy and Mama came to pick them up the week prior to my departure at the end of camp. 

Most of my memories from that summer are of the barn area and less of the lake. My photo album from that summer is filled with pictures of my fellow staffers in the Recreation Hall, of skits and singing silly camp songs. 

Recreation Hall

Along the wall in the staff house, photos of camp counselors from years past offer gentle reminders of the souls who called that house a home. 

Staff house living room

And then I saw it, a wooden “Millstone 89” sign and our names. I didn’t cry, but I gingerly touched the board and my own name. 

Seeing the names of those whom I called my family for that summer, I could hear their laughter in the silent hallway. I walked to my old room, empty, yet the same. 

My old room

After stopping for a quick potty break, I headed back to the lake where children of former staffers splashed in the lake, paddled canoes and boards. The old path to the dam is not accessible, and the rifle range is now a public range managed by the wildlife commission. The swinging bridge was removed a few years ago after it was deemed unsafe. The lake seems smaller now  or maybe I’m just older. 

Time marches on, and for a moment I was a teenager again. As I dangled my feet in the water, a former staffer’s daughter lost her paddle board. So, I donned a life jacket and paddled a canoe to help retrieve it. Just like riding a bike, some skills come back quickly. As I stepped into that warm lake water, the icky-muck of the lake bottom squished on my toes. But a few minutes later, I glided easily through the water and retrieved a wayward board. I marveled at the water and at how I’ve turned out ok. 

Mr. L.R. Harrill was right, we do leave Millstone 4-H Camp different people. I am better for the experiences. Even though I only saw two people who vaguely remembered me, those ten weeks from 1989 are forever part of who I am today. 

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Chicks on Strike

“My girls are on strike” I replied to a coworker when they asked about eggs. M replied, “that’s ok. I just love seeing the smiling goat pictures.”

A guest in the meeting looked at me puzzled and asked, “goat? Is that slang?”  “Oh my apologies,  I own a farm…and the 98 degree heat has caused my chickens to slow egg production. Either that or there’s a pile of eggs somewhere in the pasture.” 

These are typical conversations at the office for me, but they must sound completely foreign to those who don’t know me. In fact, my doctor even said that it is simply odd to see me in person as a patient where I’m dressed professionally, but my Facebook posts center around life on the farm. Like the children’s song, “one of these things is not like the other…” I am often the anomaly of the group. That’s typical for me. 

Now, holding a basket of 12 eggs, I say to my 21 laying hens, “ladies, several of you have slacked off production. Please restart your services or we will be forced to rehome and replace you…with the exception of Henny-Penny.” That golden comet is probably 4 years old and lays a double -yolk egg once a month; but she’s friendly and she’s special. 

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Begging Goats

The good news is that my hand isn’t broken…just bruised in a little hand-to-goat-horn contact. As I wrapped my hand in an ice compress, I realized that teaching the goats to stand on their hind legs for treats wasn’t such a good idea after all. Now, when I walk into the pasture, they think I have treats and when I don’t give them out fast enough, Rita Rudner stands on her hind legs and puts her front hooves on my back. 

Yesterday, I pushed her away and she stood up again. I pused her again and my hand caught her horn instead of her shoulder. 

Goats head-butt each other at full speed,  and my attempts to brush her away did little to deter her advances. Rita Rudner is the same goat who smiles at us when prompted. It’s a strange little quirk that she started last week.  

My hand will feel better in a few days. 

It’s just another day on the farm. 

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Mía and the wonderful world of “Kitty Caps”

On Halloween night, a tail-less kitten landed in our recycling bin.  I took it to the vet a few days later and “Bob” was actually “Mía”.  Seems that I can tell you the gender of puppies, but not kittens. 

Mía was scheduled to be spayed in December and by then, she completed her mission of charming Jim and found a warm spot to sleep at night.

Our vet’s office staff fell in love with Mía, saying that she is One of the sweetest kittens they’ve ever met.  She awoke from anestesia purring and wanting attention.  Keeping her calm for 10 days post-op was a challenge.  Now, she is completely healed, running at full speed and is growing like a weed. 

Her claws have become like light saber razor blades.  We refuse to declaw her; she has great hunting potential and she must pull her own weight.  Until the spring, while she spends most time indoors, we must also protect our hands and the dogs’ sanity…so, we applied “Kitty Caps” the vinyl glue-on nail tips for her front paws.  Amazing product.  Paws down . 

image

She doesn’t mind them at all and can even climb trees with them in place. 

The dogs are happier because she’s not sticking them when she waves her paws at them.  And it’s funny to hear her tip-toeing through the house. 

Janet

Note: the above post is my own opinion and independent review of a product for which I have received no compensation.

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