Monthly Archives: June 2016

It’s Tigerlily Time!

It’s about time I posted some recent photos of our lovely Tigerlily! Her beautiful white coat has been looking pretty scroungy lately so I decided to give her a trim and a bath today. I clipped her with a 1/2″ blade so she would be stylishly short but not pink and naked. Then I gave her a bath. The poor little thing thought I was abusing her, but she got through it and looked very flashy for about half an hour before she rolled in the dust. We got some pictures before that. Wink

I hope her topline levels back out before the Harvest Show this fall. She was nice and level last year but her rump came up higher than her withers over the winter and her front end doesn’t seem to want to catch up, so now her rump is steep and she has a dip in her back that wasn’t there before. Other than that, I think she’s a gorgeous doe and will make some very fine babies. I hope she develops a nice udder!

I thought I’d have her stretch out a bit for the photo. She was far more enthusiastic than I anticipated.

“Dance, Tigerlily!’

And the other side, just for good measure. I love the black tips on her ears.

Tigerlily has a black beauty mark on her nose now. I wonder if her nose will eventually turn black?

The good, the bad, and the feisty.

Phil and I took the boys for their fourth drive today and it went very, very well. This was good because the boys’ third drive which we took on Sunday was not so amazing. The lesson that day was that Finn hates to stand still! Our plan on Sunday was to meet some friends at the golf course and they would walk around with us as we took turns driving the goats. But when they arrived their baby was asleep in the car and they didn’t want to wake her, so we stood around in the parking lot talking for an hour before we finally hitched up. Finn’s patience for standing around doing nothing lasts for approximately 15 minutes. After that he gets more and more restless and eventually becomes obnoxious and even downright rude.

When we finally hitched the boys up, Finn was completely on edge and it took a few tries for me to get in the wagon without him taking off. Once I got in I drove the team around the parking lot a couple of times to settle them before going on the road. When I said “Walk on,” Finn plunged ahead full steam. When I said “Whoa,” he would stop so abruptly that I almost wound up sitting on his rump. And any signal to turn resulted in a dramatic dive in the requested direction. Poor Sputnik got bumped and yanked every which way. But I am very pleased to say that he did not add to the mayhem and in fact remained surprisingly calm throughout the entire drive that day, which unfortunately did not improve much once we left the parking lot. Three times during our drive, Finn reared up and landed on top of Sputnik. Once he turned so sharply he tumped over the wagon. There was no permanent damage, but I was a little mad at him for behaving so badly. Still, I have to admit we really were pushing his buttons. Several times I had Phil walk ahead while I made the boys stop and stand still. Sometimes I made them pass Phil. Neither of them wanted to cooperate for these little “Red light, green light” exercises, but eventually we got through it and by the time we got back to the truck the boys were fairly well settled down. I thought Sputnik would be far more upset by Finn’s antics, but he took it all in stride. Even when Finn jumped on him he just stood there and waited for him to get off. I think Sputnik is going to wind up being the anchor of this team. He’s my “Steady Eddy” and is less perturbed by things like barking dogs, golf carts, and lawn mowers than Finn is. He’s lazier than Finn, but this means he has less motivation to misbehave. Misbehaving is work!

We didn’t have time to drive on Monday and I was a little afraid that the boys would have bad memories from Sunday’s drive and not want to cooperate, but they were both eager and willing today. Finn was a little fractious for the first five minutes or so and tried to insist on taking the loop to the right. I was planning to go right, but I made them go left instead just to let Finn know he couldn’t have his way. Once he settled down I turned the team around and we went the way Finn and I originally wanted to go. Phil and I practiced making the boys stand while the other of us walked ahead, and we made the boys trot past us–things that completely set them off on Sunday–but we had no trouble with them today. We took some videos and I can’t wait to get them edited and uploaded to the internet! I hope I have time this weekend! Here are some photos from today’s drive.

Phil and the boys waiting patiently at the side for cars to pass.

Me and the boys negotiate a traffic dip. I love how synchronized they are when they walk. Once they hit their stride they move perfectly together!

The boys are starting to pull quite evenly now. Our starts are still rough, but they’re definitely beginning to understand the concept of teamwork!

The First REAL Drive!

Today was AMAZING! Phil and I loaded the boys and their wagon up in the truck and hauled them down to a quiet paved street near the local golf course so we could concentrate on driving our team without the distraction and discomfort of bumpy gravel, hills, blind corners, and traffic found on the road next to our house. It’s also helpful to get them far out of sight and sound of the other goats so we can keep them focused on us instead of on home, buddies, approaching suppertime, etc. It really is the perfect road for driving practice–smooth pavement, hardly any cars, very low speed limit, excellent visibility, mostly level with a few gentle slopes, and a really nice length loop so we don’t have to turn around and backtrack.

You can tell how happy I am in this first photo! Driving_6:23:16.2

The boys behaved almost perfectly right from the get-go. I have to say, it is MUCH easier to drive a team of goats than just one. They seem to enjoy walking with a buddy a lot better than walking alone in front. We always had trouble getting Cuzco to walk without someone in front of him. No such trouble with these guys! Driving_6:23:16.1

Phil and I took turns driving. There were only a few short times when the person walking had to help lead the goats to get them straightened out or moving. For the most part they stepped right out and kept going, even past a few barking dogs. Driving_6:23:16.3

I punched more holes in the neck straps this afternoon so the breastcollars are now in the correct position. I also buckled the tops of the neck straps to a ring on the check hook to help transfer the weight from the yoke to the saddle. The only adjustment I still need to make is to let the traces out one or two holes. The yoke was pressed a little hard against the stop. A very easy fix!  Driving_6:23:16.4

Shortly after this photo, when the goats were going very, very nicely together, I softly asked them to “Whoa”, gave a gentle pull on the reins, and when they stopped almost perfectly, I got out and Phil and I led them the rest of the way back to the truck to give them a break and tell them how good they’d been. If they go on like this I think we’ll have them ready in time for the 4th of July parade! Driving_6:23:16.5

Test Drive!

I (FINALLY!) got my yoke and team pole built with doubletree installed. The polyurethane coating wasn’t quite dry, but what the heck–I couldn’t wait to try it out! So as darkness fell, Phil and I hitched up our team and went down the driveway and back. The wagon was empty about half the time while the boys got used to the rattle and the noise and having to walk nicely side-by-side (Finn likes to whack Sputnik in the face, which doesn’t really upset Sputnik, but it does make him stop moving). Phil and I each took a short turn sitting in the driver’s seat with the reins while the other helped manage them from the front.

This was a good opportunity for me to assess the fit of my harness and see what parts need a few more holes punched. The breastcollar rides too low and the quarter straps are a smidge too long (although they probably won’t be too long once I raise the breastcollar). The boys did really well for a first time out, and it’s way easier to drive them when they are hitched to a vehicle! We’ve ground driven them 2-3 times before with pretty lousy results. Goats have such a short “wheelbase” that it’s way too easy for them to suddenly whip round and face you or run around each other and end up on opposite sides to the one you started with! Horses are MUCH easier to ground drive! I think with goats it’s wiser just to wait until you can put them to a vehicle, which really helps avoid a lot of nasty entanglements and lost tempers since the pole and yoke keep them pointed more or less in the right direction. Unlike horses, goats aren’t really that upset by the wagon bouncing along behind them, and even if they are upset (I’m looking at you, Sputnik!), there just isn’t the same danger of them running over top of you and getting away.

Along with punching a few more holes in the neck straps, I really need to get them fitted to some bridles with bits so we can get away from these halters. Sputnik’s noseband kept sliding down off his Roman nose, and Finn’s kept riding up even though both were as tight as I could reasonably get them. And if I use bits, I’ll be able to use the overchecks, which should help keep Finn from whipping his horns side-to-side in Sputnik’s face. I think Finn is trying to be dominant and keep Sputnik behind him, but of course that doesn’t make for a very good team!  Team_FirstDrive

“My Mama’s a Monster!”

Jezebel fusses and hovers over Napoleon constantly and keeps him far away from the other babies, which means he leads a somewhat lonely existence at the moment. (Just wait–it won’t be long till he can outrun you, Jezebel!) In the meantime, he’s discovered a refuge from his mother under the back porch stairs.

“Come out of there, Napoleon! Come out!”

We have on several occasions found Jezebel circling round the back stairs, calling out in distress because Napoleon has tucked himself as far into this recess as possible and she can’t make him come out.

“Is she gone?”

Friends at last!

As the only child of a hovering, overprotective mother, Napoleon doesn’t get many opportunities to play with the other kids. He revels in those rare moments when Jezebel is on the stanchion and he can make friends. Jezebel’s worries are completely unfounded. The other kids have been very gentle with the tiny baby. And like his eponym, his attitude is as big as his stature is small!

Boone is particularly intrigued by the little guy.

Napoleon is so small he looks like he could belong to the other kids! I stood him up next to Crockett for a size comparison. And in these photos he’s more than twice the size he was at birth! He’s small, but I have no doubt he’s going to catch up very quickly. He’s strong, healthy, and a magnificent eater.

Amidst the Chaos

Phil’s parents visited us from Massachusetts last week. It is dangerous to visit this time of year. One is liable to be attacked by throngs of baby goats!

Lois kept getting pounced on by Pedro and Pepi. If these two spy a lap, they jump on it! She aptly renamed them “Chaos” and “Havoc” the very first day. It so happened that we got a substantial downpour the night Jim and Lois arrived, so the next morning was very muddy. My in-laws’ pants were not the same for the rest of their trip.

Jezebel tried to herd little Napoleon away from everyone. She is an overly protective mama who doesn’t want her precious snowflake sullied by plebeians and other riffraff.

But she couldn’t keep him from us for long. He’s so tiny and cute! It’s never long before some suspicious-looking character wants to hold him. Jezebel makes sure to hover around and supervise anyone who touches her baby. (Notice Jim’s fancy, spanking-new cowboy boots! He bought them on this trip so he could better immerse himself in farm life.)

Jezebel enjoyed Jim’s straw hat even if she thought he was a dubious influence on her offspring.

While Jim and Lois were here, our saddle club held it’s first team sorting event of the season. Jim participated in team sorting during a visit four years ago and wanted to try again. He and Jet partnered up for the thrill. (Those new boots sure came in handy!)

Cutting out a cow. (Jet is very good at this if you point him at the one you want.)

Through the gate!

Of shoes and ships and ceiling wax, of cabbages and kings

I really need to post the rest of those photos I took on me and Phil’s anniversary before they get too moldy and outdated!

Rocky and Rambo are almost too big to pick up now! Rocky has this adorable but hilarious bunch of flappy loose skin under his chin so I often tease him that he looks like Jabba the Hutt. “More chins than a Chinese phone book,” as my brother Tim would say! He also lets us know (most emphatically) when dinner time is approaching.

Rambo is long, sleek, and regal, and he has a sweet, laid-back personality.

Nubbin loves “her” boys. She’s adopted them wonderfully, and although she will only nurse them on the stanchion, she runs to it willingly morning and night and doesn’t even wait for me to lock the headpiece or put feed in the pail before she lets them get started. She also sleeps with them at night, shares her food, and keeps an eye on them throughout the day so they don’t get separated from the herd. I’m very proud of her for taking them under her wing (and for keeping me from having to prepare bottles twice a day for 3-4 months!).

Pedro and Pepita are already much bigger than these photos I took two weeks ago, and boy are they a couple of little trouble-makers! They both adore people (especially Pedro) and are constantly into everything. Pepi’s ears stick almost straight out!

“Look! Phil has an untied shoe! Quick, everyone attack at once!”

“Shoo, goats!”


You can’t tell in pictures yet, but the upper part of Crockett’s neck now has dark skin underneath. It will turn light gray or tan by winter I’m sure. If he gets dark enough he’s going to be a stunning tri-color pattern when he’s finished! Lots and lots of chrome on this one!

An added bonus is that he has one black horn and one white. I love this feature, and it makes me so glad we didn’t disbud him!

It’s my friend Boone! I absolutely love the single lightening strike down one side of his face. It gives him a very unique appearance.

“You want a kiss Boone?”

Finn and his half-sister Petunia share a shrub. They’re very different in many ways, and yet both share some striking traits from their mother Lilly. Both Finn and Petunia are leaders in the herd, but unlike the tyrant Lilly, they are both benevolent rulers. I miss Lilly but I’m glad that she passed her better traits on to her offspring who have also passed them on to other members of our herd.


…and Jet.

After the walk there was a fight at the waterhole!

Cuzco’s Glamour Shot O’ The Day… It’s been way too long!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any shots of Cuzco. He lost all his hair in April and it had to grow back so he could be his usual glamorous self. And for all who are wondering, yes, his coat grew back in very nicely. It’s short, sleek, and flashy as it should be.

Kisses, Cuzco?

He’s a little stiffer when he shakes hands these days.

And when I ask him to “Jump!” this is about has high as he goes.

But he can still go down and “Repent!”

He’s getting up there in years, but he’s still my favorite big ol’ buddy.