All posts by Nan Hassey

Chariots of Fire!

The chariots are coming together! I bought some heavy sheet plastic from an online motorsports site. Now we just need to add decals!

This is the dead-end circle where there are two big, noisy, ferocious-looking dogs behind an invisible fence. Sputnik had a meltdown last time we drove here. This time he went round the circle like a champ! Finn did very well too.

What a handsome trio!

Everyone went very well the whole time and we had just turned to head back to the truck when something startled Finn in a big way. Phil and I were driving side by side when Finn suddenly bolted with a loud snort. This spooked Sputnik and both goats took off like a shot, almost leaving Phil and I behind on the pavement. Good thing neither of us was standing up in our chariots! Our goats “huddled,” escalating the situation into a full-blown Hollywood-style chariot race. When goats panic they form a tight bunch and run shoulder-to-shoulder. Well, that’s what Finn and Sputnik did and of course our chariot wheels locked. There was a loud ripping noise of tire scraping tires and an acrid smell of burnt rubber as we raced full-tilt down the street. Had it gone on much longer we might have started smoking! However, we managed to stop before the tires were damaged and then we had to get out and unlock our wheels. We led our frightened charges for a while until they calmed down and their breathing became less frenzied. I’m not sure what set Finn off. There are bears in those woods, but we never saw one.

We get a lot of stares when we drive around town with this crew in the back!

Finn loves his buddy Phil.

A wonderful thank-you surprise!

I got a REALLY COOL gift in the mail today!

It’s a Marc Warnke “kid pack”!! Tigerlily thought she’d model it for us today. It fits her perfectly! It will be so much better than the dog pack she’s been wearing (and which is really too small for her).

“I do look wonderful in this pack, don’t I?”

It also fits Sputnik (barely). The cinch *just* stretched around his enormous grass belly. This will be the perfect pack to take on little short trips and day hikes. I’m so glad it works for a full-sized goat.

And so the rut begins…

Anyone remember these tiny, adorable little cuties?

Yeah, me neither. Last week, as though someone flipped a switch, they went from slightly musky and still pet-able to burn-your-nose hairs stinky and I-don’t-want-you-within-ten-yards-of-me. With rippling swaths of muscle, they no longer bear much resemblance to the snuggling, huggable creatures we brought home last year in April. They’re still very friendly and they don’t understand why the last thing I want to do is touch them or let them rub against me!

I’m not sure what happened, but Rocky’s skin has somehow grown about twice as much as the rest of him, so he looks more like a Shar-pei than a goat.

Rambo, on the other hand, gets more regal all the time.

Rambo is proud of his ladies.

Nubblets’ first outing

Since rain was in the forecast this afternoon, Phil and I took our hike this morning. We chose the Greenhorn Trail, and–who’s that peeking at us from behind Finn??

Why, it’s Tornado and Storm!! Yep, we decided to bring a couple of the Nubblets for their first hike today! These two are going to a new home together once they are weaned and we want to make sure they are at least introduced to the idea of hiking. This was their first time away from their mama and brother and there was a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the beginning. They had a tendency to lag far behind crying, and then eventually race to catch up when they realized we weren’t coming back for them. I found that it was quicker going if I kept one of them on a leash so they would keep up.

Tornado and Storm even had their first experience crossing water. I’m not sure they learned anything except, “It’s wet”. I had to drag them each across one at a time. There was very little voluntary walking. They could have followed me across on the stepping stones (my feet stayed dry!), but instead they preferred to use the rocks to brace themselves against the pull of the leash. This usually ended with them sitting down in the water and getting not only their feet but also their bottoms wet.

And now it’s Storm’s turn.

Finn demonstrated one way to cross without getting wet. The Nubblets did not follow his example I’m afraid.

We got sprinkled on during the hike, but not enough to make us wet. The big rain didn’t start until around 5:00 this evening–just in time for Phil and I to get soaked putting everyone to bed.

Sputnik goes to Beulah

Phil and I were invited to bring goats to the Beulah Arts & Crafts Fair again this year so we brought Sputnik and the cart. To keep things simple we opted not to bring a whole entourage this time. Besides, Finn has been amusing himself recently by rubbing his body and especially his face all over our bucks, who just came into full stinky rut during the past week. Sputnik has been rubbing them too, but not nearly the extent that Finn has. I felt that Sputnik would probably clean up pretty well with a single bath, but Finn would likely take several washings to get rid of the pungent reek around his head. Sputnik loves to get a bath, so the choice was easy.

We didn’t get many photos, but Sputnik was a good boy for most of the afternoon. He began to sulk as the afternoon dragged on and got hot. He couldn’t have been tired–the work wasn’t that hard–but he felt that the world was not quite fair to him and started balking when I’d lead him off with a fresh batch of kids. We quit soon after that and I let him graze for a while before we went home. And miracle of miracles–we did not get rained on! I must also add that Sputnik seems to genuinely like children. He enjoyed having them come up and pet him after a ride, and he even shook hands with one girl repeatedly despite the fact that he was obviously bored of the trick. He’s a good boy.

That fleeting childhood

Run Nubblets!!!

Look at those matching banded legs standing all in a row in the trough!

Sox is fast becoming a very handsome young man.

Westin says, “I’m handsome too!”

I think they’re both handsome.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h Westin!

Our siblings are going to be quite distraught when I separate the brothers into the boys’ pen in the next week or so. I was hoping to have begun weaning them already, but the constant rain has made me hesitant to put anyone in a situation where they might be chased out of shelter. The boys are starting to get fresh with the older ladies, but they are so far maintaining a fairly innocent love for their sisters so it’s probably safe to keep them together a bit longer.

Sanibel looks so much like her pappa!

What’s with the pouty lip?

Little Coral has the most innocent face of any goat I’ve ever met. What makes it even sweeter is that it’s actually genuine! She’s a truly adorable little goat–not mischievous or bossy or even greedy. It might be too much to wish that she stays that way, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Westin’s markings are getting more and more striking. It’s a pity his black martingale will likely disappear once he’s wethered.

Meet the new girls!

I finally got some photos of our new Alpine does, Nauti and TinCup, this afternoon! It’s been raining nearly every night at walk time, so many of our walks have either had to be cancelled or cut short as we try to get everyone under shelter before we all get fried by lightning, so photos have kind of been on the back burner. But today I finally brought the camera! We still got rained on a little, but not too bad.

The two girls are doing great. They’ve established their places in the herd and aren’t being kicked out of shelters when it rains. They consistently follow the troop around the property to browse, and they’ve formed a bond with Tigerlily in particular. Nauti is on the left and TinCup is on the right.

The girls adore Phil. He pets them and talks to them every morning when I milk, and he spoils them with treats the rest of the time.

Tin and Pluto share a moment. The girls were terrified of our dogs at first, but it didn’t take them long to adjust.

Nauti needs to gain some more weight! She’s a hard worker and has been putting every ounce of extra fat into the milk pail. I cut her back to once a day milking and hopefully that will help a lot.

TinCup is delighted to be up to her ears in eatables.

I’ve been feeding the girls a little supplemental alfalfa in the evenings before I let everyone else into the pen. They seem to appreciate it. Sometimes I let the babies in there with them. The girls are both wonderful with the kids. Nauti has been helping Nubbin by nursing a couple of the triplets every morning when I put her on the stanchion. As long as I supervise to make sure they’re being gentle, she doesn’t kick at them.

Hi Tin!!

Pueblo County Fair Packgoat Class 2017

This past Thursday, Pueblo County Fair held their annual packgoat class. It’s always on the fair schedule, but no one seems to be in charge of it these days so Phil and I run it even though no one has ever officially asked us or even told us about it. For the last three years we’ve just showed up and taken command of the situation since it seems to be assumed that we’re in charge. There is a woman who is officially in charge on paper. I always call her–she has never called me, but every year she seems relieved when I tell her we’ll volunteer. It’s kind of an odd situation, but since it’s a lot of fun we don’t complain.

Except this year I’m complaining! Someone on the fair board decided it would be a good idea to schedule a mandatory 4-H meeting one hour after the start of the packgoat class. Since the meeting was to be held on the other side of the fairgrounds, parents didn’t want to let their kids get too far away, so attendance was dismal this year. We usually have quite a few kids and enough goats and enough time to hold a friendly obstacle course competition and have some races or other games with prizes. Not this year. We had hardly any kids this time, and the ones that could come were in a hurry and most didn’t have goats. We let them take turns with our goats, but it wasn’t quite as fun as other years because everyone felt rushed.

Tara was here as usual, and this time she played with Sputnik. This little girl was in love with Pac-Man when we brought him to this event several years ago, and she got him to do things he wouldn’t even try for me. This time she got to work with Pac-Man’s son and he did well for her.

I wish this photo wasn’t blurry because it’s absolutely adorable.

A young man named Billy did well with Tigerlily and eventually convinced her to do all the obstacles for him even though she was skittish about some of them at first.

My friend Jordan came with her young packgoat-in-training, Geronimo. Geronimo did amazingly well considering how little time Jordan has had to work with him. She’s in college and can only come down a few weekends per semester, so Geronimo doesn’t get much handling. Nevertheless, he took all the obstacles in stride, including this sled drag which was scary for several of the goats.

Oops! Runaway goat! One of our obstacles involved dropping the goat’s leash and picking up his front foot to clean it off with a hoof brush. Obviously the entire point is for the goat to stand obediently while his feet are handled. Sputnik wasn’t so sure about that one and only did that obstacle well for me. Everyone else needed to hang onto him.

Finn did well this year in contrast to last summer when he decided to play stupid and incompetent for the young man who was handling him. Phil took a more active role this year in making sure Finn obeyed his various handlers and it payed off.

Tigerlily was a lot of fun to work with this year. She started out skittish with some of the obstacles, but I spent a little time introducing her to all of them before handing her over to the kids. They continued working with her and by the time we were finished she was doing all of them like a champ.

At the close of the day

Phil and I often walk as the day begins to cool during the glow of evening light.

With eighteen goats, we can rightfully claim to have a proper herd now!

The goats enjoy the view as much as Phil and I do.

Rocky says, “Babies stink!”

Babies also want up!

“Are you sure you want up, Lightning?”

Of course he wants up! Ears taste just like potato chips!

I love my beautiful Tigerlily. She seems to be thriving lately and is making way too much milk!

Can you count all eighteen goats?

Finally, a bad photo of our new girls, Nauti and TinCup! They’re sweet, sweet girls and should add some really nice things to our herd, not least of which is better udders. They are currently on the thin side because they are such high milk producers, but they should fill out nicely once they dry off. They’re yearlings and should be very big girls once they’re done growing.

We call this the baby goat rock. I wonder why?

Flying babies!!

Introducing the Goat-O-Rama Kids of 2017

It’s high time for some individual profiles on this year’s Goat-O-Rama kiddos! First, let me introduce you to Sox. The third kid born at Goat-O-Rama this year, he is currently the largest and strongest of the bunch. Or maybe he’s just the fattest. Either way, he’s quite the little chunklet and at eight weeks is getting very difficult to pick up. He broke his first collar this morning.

He may be a big kid, but I’m not sure he’s quite as large and strong as he thinks he is. He’s been challenging the grown-ups lately. Tigerlily was not overly impressed I’m afraid.

A friendly father and son fight. Rocky is a good dad and is clearly proud of his feisty little offspring.

Sox got no end of amusement from the string on my stanchion. Spaghetti?

Sox and Coral may have the prettiest faces of any goats in our herd right now. I love the cheetah-like “tear marks” down the sides of his face.

Up next is Sox’s little sister Sanibel. Do not be fooled by her innocent appearance!

This little scallawag is usually on some kind of mission to stir up mischief among the other kids. She’s smaller than her brother but just as strong, and if a boy mounts her she’ll turn around and mount him right back just to show him who’s really on top!

Except for the ears, Sanibel looks like her daddy. But she’s all mama’s girl and will probably be a hard one to wean.

Sanibel isn’t shy, but she’s less personable than I like so Phil and I are working on that. I like all my babies to love people!

Coral and Westin were the first and second kids born this year at Goat-O-Rama, and boy are they ever a good-lookin’ set!

I couldn’t seem to get a good photo of Westin. This guy is always on the move, so my few individual shots of him are awkward and unflattering. He is an athletic little dude and reminds me a lot of Finn–strong, adventuresome, energetic, and independent yet very personable. He has the nicest conformation of any of our boys this year.

Westin enjoys a good scratch, and if I won’t give it to him he’ll use the patio gate.

Westin also loves to put his nose in the camera. “Am I close enough?”

I can’t get enough of Coral’s adorable little face. She’s like a stuffed toy and is my favorite baby to cuddle.

And now for the Nubblets! These three guys never stop entertaining us! They’re as cuddly as they are cute and every one of them wants to be picked up and held, although they’re quickly getting much too big.

Tornado was my backwards boy who held up the whole delivery. He has the sweetest face and the most Nubbin-like features and personality.

The little white tip on Tornado’s tail was the first thing I saw when he came into this world. He’s the quietest and most contemplative of the three and has had the fewest health problems. Both his brothers battled upset tummies during the first two weeks of life, but not this guy!

Storm was the second kid born and was not only awkwardly positioned but also came out with very crooked front legs. One day of splinting straightened him out and he’s been running and bouncing with the best of them ever since. You’d never know he had a problem and he’s the biggest of the three kids. In fact, when all is said and done, this guy may end up being the biggest Goat-O-Rama kid of 2017. He’s tall, he’s rangy, he’s big-boned, long-bodied, and long-legged. He’s like the Gary Cooper of my herd.

Last of all we have Lightning. Lighting jumped into this world like a bolt out of the blue and was up and nursing within minutes while his two older brothers were still figuring out how to crawl around in the straw. He’s the smallest of the lot but the most active and also the one most likely to jump on people and beg for attention.

Storm and Lightning love to tussle.

Nubbin loves her three babies but she has her limits. Nursing is a frantic ordeal with three kids fighting and wrestling each other over two teats. I’ve taken to putting Nubbin on the stanchion each morning and allowing only one or two to nurse at a time. With the kids as big as they are, I recently started letting Storm nurse Tigerlily each morning so his smaller brothers can have all of Nubbin’s supply. This should help keep Nubbin from being physically dragged down and help the boys grow better.

Pell-mell down the hill!

What does Lightning see? We may breed this guy to Tigerlily this winter since we plan to sell Nubbin and these three are the last of her bloodline in our herd. We’ll see how he grows out.