Running Errands Goat-O-Rama Style!

I took Sputnik for a drive around the golf course today. Canon National Bank sits at the edge of the golf course and I had to deposit a check, so what better way to get to the bank than by goat cart? Unfortunately, they don’t have a hitching post or a parking spot for goats. Shame on them! So I tied Sputnik to a lamp post out front. He was very patient while I went in. Someone in a pickup truck pulled into the bank parking lot and sat there for a while just to stare at the goats tied out front.

Soakin’ up the rays

Our goats were lounging hard core this afternoon!

Sputnik was particularly “down and out”.

As Petunia has started nearing the end of her (interminable) pregnancy, she has started taking her sleep very seriously. Look at that belly oozing out on either side! Meanwhile, Coral had command of the boulder.

Jezebel preferred to nap away from the crowd.

The Yoke Broke?? What a Joke!!

Phil and I went for a lovely drive today, but it ended with a small catastrophe in which no one was injured but a lesson was learned. It was a beautiful day and the sun felt nice.

As soon as I lowered the tailgate on the truck to load Finn and Sputnik, Coral leaped in and told me plainly that she wanted to come with us!

Pretty baby! Of course I let her come!

I love the sunlight glinting off those horns.

“Where did the boys go, Coral?”

She spent most of the drive right here by Finn’s flank.

When we were almost finished with our drive, I took the goats down a little side road with a narrow sidewalk up a hill. They did great, but on the way back down the hill our yoke broke! The wagon tongue hit the pavement and the wagon overtook the boys and whacked them in the hindquarters. However, their solid training foundation saved the day and they stopped immediately when I pulled the reins and said “Whoa!”. Had they spooked and bolted it could have been a terrible wreck. I got out and unhitched them and drove them back to the truck while Phil pulled the wagon. I made a new yoke last week because I wasn’t entirely happy with the first one I made. Unfortunately, the wooden rod was too narrow for the size of the holes I drilled for the ring. Furthermore, horse yokes always have a metal piece to bind the wood around the ring and keep it from splitting. My next yoke will be designed with a sleeve of steel pipe in the spot where the ring attaches. Lesson learned! But I’m very proud of how well Finn and Sputnik obeyed in the face of such a major spook.

Christmas is OVER!

We threw out our Christmas tree the other night. The goats had a hey-day with it the next morning morning and by noon it was completely denuded–needles, bark, and many of the smaller branches were GONE. Phil said, “Well, the goats have thoroughly put this Christmas six feet under!”

This is what our once-beautiful tree looked like a couple hours after the goats got it:

In other news, Petunia is growing larger by the day. She had a secret fling sometime last summer and I don’t know who the dad was and I don’t have a breeding date. Her belly is blowing up like a balloon but she still isn’t making an udder. She’s been “large and in charge” for about a month now and she’s almost knocked me down with her belly a few times when we go for walks. I’ve felt a few kicks in the last week or so. Every time I think she can’t possibly get much bigger, she gets bigger.

So we’re taking bets! How many kids are in there and when will she have them?

I’m going to say three kids. Last Monday I made a wild guess that she would deliver on January 12, but as of today I’m thinking I’ll probably lose that bet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’m wrong about three kids. I would prefer she had just two!

Here are a couple of photos. I had trouble capturing the enormity of her girth. She looks significantly bigger in real life.

Hiking with Sputnik and a Friend

It was a gorgeous day today. So far this winter we have not had any winter, and today was t-shirt weather. Phil was working so I loaded up Sputnik and we headed out for a short hike this afternoon around the Colorado City Metro District area, which is a large open space made up of parcels that were sold in a land scam back in the 1970’s. The land didn’t have water so most of the lots reverted back to the town when the owners eventually stopped paying taxes on it. It makes for a lot of nice hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-roading trails in our area.

I decided to swing by my friend Jordan’s house and pick up her two-year-old pack wether named Geronimo. Geronimo is an Alpine/LaMancha cross with a wonderful personality. He has had very little handling because Jordan has been away at college, yet he is friendly and solid with almost no skittishness or aggression in his attitude. Since two years old is when sweet wethers often change rather suddenly, I offered to take Geronimo out from time to time to help him remember his manners. I decided to try our spare Sopris pack on him. He wore a dog pack last June at the Rendezvous, but I don’t believe he has carried a saddle since. He was a tiny bit skittish of it at first, but once I let him sniff it he soon stood still and let me fasten it on.

Sputnik was indignant. He thought he should be the one carrying the saddle and he let me know by bashing Geronimo when my back was turned. I put a stop to that and we set off on our walk.

It was a wonderful time. Sputnik was on high alert because of the new goat. His tail stayed up at full mast the whole time, but aside from the brief butting incident during saddling, he left Geronimo alone and didn’t hassle him.

It was a good experience for Geronimo and I think he’s going to make a wonderful packgoat when he grows up.

The Response

I just got a sweet letter yesterday from the lady we bought Cuzco from all those years ago. I have sent her “Cuzco” letters at Christmas for many years now, giving her updates and photos, and telling her of our adventures with the wonderful $25 “bargain goat” we bought from her. This year I was sad to report that Cuzco went to rest last spring. I’ve never heard back from this lady in all the years I’ve written to her. I only hoped I was still sending my letters to the right person! But finally this year she wrote back. She says she has loved getting Cuzco’s Christmas letters over the years and has kept them all. She has been dreading the day she’d get the last one, but she’s glad Cuzco had such a long, happy life. She still has a few dairy goats left that are descended from the ones she had when we bought Cuzco, but most of the goats they raise now are meat goats. It was nice to hear back after all these years of writing to her.

Mountain Hiking in Late December??

We’ve had almost no snow so far this winter, and the days have largely been in the 50’s so it’s perfect weather to be out. I’ve had Sox, Westin, and Lightning at my house for breeding purposes, but Westin and Lightning finished their job and needed to go back to their new home. Their owner came to get them today and before they took the boys, we all went out for a little hike and picnic lunch.

Sputnik got to carry the food and warm clothing because he loves carrying the pack. It makes him feel important. He’s gotten to where I no longer need to tie him up to saddle him and load the panniers. Today I didn’t even need to hold his halter while I hooked the britchen! I’m very happy with how well he’s come along despite his huge aversion to being touched, especially near the tail.

Finn has a halo circling each horn. I’m not sure he’s angelic enough to deserve this. Phil has taken to calling him “Grumpenstein” lately because he sulks and doesn’t want to take treats when we make him go out with us. He’s not as bad as last year, but I’m convinced that it’s a combination of not enough work and being in rut season, which he’s convinced he’s still part of. Finn hates leaving “his” girls at home with the bucks.

The camera seems to have caught me during an awkward moment when I was imitating the poor dope smoker we encountered at the trailhead. We’ve seen the old fellow walking around Rye lot lately and he’s done something strange at every encounter. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t drive or own a car. He’s always high as a kite and the cloud from his stinky joint had me choking as we made our way to the trail. We saw him again as we were driving home afterwards. He was still smoking, and he stepped into the road, held his jacket out like a cape, and did a bullfighter imitation in front of our truck. He seems fairly harmless, but I wonder how long it will take before someone accidentally runs over him.

Is Finn singing?

Little Lightning. What a cute baby! Tigerlily is expecting Lightning’s babies in April.

Westin is a very gung-ho little goat. He loaded himself into the truck today and he loves cookies.

Westin also loves scrub oak! He’s making a great lip here!

Beulah Yule Log – A Goat-O-Rama Tradition

As always, what an incredibly fun weekend!! Beulah really knows how to do Christmas up right, and we love being part of it!

The festivities started on Saturday night with the parade of lights. As usual there seem to be more people riding in the parade than watching it. This year we asked the folks leading the parade to please go at a walking pace because last year the fire trucks took off and left us running behind in pitch darkness. They did a great job not leaving Santa and his goat behind this year. In fact, the color guard led the parade on foot, so it went very smoothly. Unfortunately, we forgot the camera so there are no parade photos this year.

Phil dressed as Santa and drove his team and wagon all decked out in lights. I wore my elf hat and threw peppermint candy to the expectant crowds. The goats were very well behaved and we only had one small hiccup at the end when Phil turned to go down the last hill. Somehow the right rein on Sputnik’s bit came unhooked, so when Phil pulled on the reins to steady the team for the steep grade, only the left-hand reins engaged so the goats hooked a sharp turn and ran right off the road and almost hit the church. We pulled out of the parade to fix the equipment failure, but the folks who didn’t know what happened thought maybe our goats suddenly got religion!

Next day we headed back to Beulah for the Yule Log Festival. The goats are an expected part of the event now and people look forward to seeing them. Here we are next to last year’s Yule Log. Every year, a piece of the Yule Log is saved to start the Yule Fire next year. The tradition has been continued in Beulah for something like 65 years now.

As always, folks loved Finn and Sputnik. Sputnik preferred to be fed pine boughs rather than submit to petting, but Finn soaked up any and all attention.

This lovely lady had him falling asleep completely!

The kids were a lot of fun while we were at the lodge. They petted the goats and fed them fresh pine boughs

But once we started on our hunt for the Yule Log, Sputnik got a little testy. The kids especially were crowding in close and touching his flanks, which made him jump around and run into people in front of him. I had to ask the kids to give us space so he could calm down. He’s come a long way for a goat that didn’t used to let people touch anywhere on his body, but he’ll probably never be completely comfortable in a crowd.

This was the warmest year for the Yule Log hunt and we got hot as we searched through the woods. Phil and I were very close to finding it this year, and Phil is pretty sure he even looked right at it and maybe walked over it. But there were lots of logs in the woods, so it was easy to miss! Our goats were no help at all apparently!

But they made up for it by helping pull the Yule Log back to the lodge. It was far afield this year so they had their work cut out for them. The girl who found it got to ride it all the way back with her brother. What fun!

We even made it into the local news again this year!

In Memoriam

This is our first Christmas without Cuzco in over fifteen years. A friend gave me this little figurine last spring after we said goodbye. It’s been sitting on my desk ever since (except when it came with us to Lake City for the NAPgA Rendezvous in June). I decided he needed a place on our tree.

I kept the hood ornament from our Buick and have been hanging it on our tree for a few years now. Cuzco loved riding in that car, so I hung the hood ornament near his likeness.

It’s a baby goat house party!

We had a “baby goat in the house” party this afternoon! At lunch break, Phil came downstairs and told me he’d had a hard morning at work. I knew just the thing to perk him up. After cleaning her muddy feet, I invited Coral into the house!

Cute baby goat overload!!!

The first thing she noticed was the apples on the kitchen counter. Yum!

So how could we resist giving her one?

Oops… it rolled under the cabinet. Phil will fetch it.

Next she tried to eat the imitation jungle that adorns our Korean War bomb tail. Sorry Coral–no plastic for goats!

She was quite puzzled by our carpet. She kept sniffing and nibbling at it like she thought maybe it was grass, but she also knew there was something not quite right about it.

Next Coral asked if she could play with the X-Box Kinect.

Or go upstairs?

Or maybe downstairs to the basement?

Coral seemed very intrigued by the sound coming up the stairs from the blower on our wood stove.

“How about you come give me a hug!”

What an adorable little face! I couldn’t help falling in love with this baby goatie. I’m so glad we kept her!