May we catch up?

Little Yeti attends one of Phil’s work meetings in the office. 

TinCup takes a break in the warm, sunny gravel with her three kids around her.  

TinCup’s kids took their first walk on May 3rd. Poor TinCup looks a little ragged with that old winter coat still clinging. Thankfully she’s gaining weight now that she’s had the kids. 

Little Buster Brown is one of the stoutest kids we’ve ever had. His build and personality remind me a lot of Finn. 

Run Cupcake!!!

This has been one of the greenest springs we’ve ever had. I look out the window and feel like I’m in Switzerland. 

After the first day or two, one of Snowball’s ears started folding back against her neck along a crease it had when she was born. It got worse over the following few days and soon the inside of her ear felt hot and weepy. She kept scratching at it with her hind foot. So I put a cardboard tube on the inside, a short piece of a paint stick on the outside, and duct taped them to her ear to unfold that stubborn crease. I thought it would straighten out in a day, but it ended up taking three days of wrapping before the ear stayed stiff on its own. It still has a funny little fold near the back, but at least she can hold it out now and the air can circulate inside.  

One day I found all six babies curled up inside the small doghouse. What a fuzzy little pile of cuteness! 

Phil and I love to bring the kids into the house in the evenings to watch movies with us on the couch. Cupcake and Brownie have been some of the most fun. They play and play before the show starts, but then they’re both content to settle down and sit quietly when the film starts to roll.  

Brownie makes friends with one of our stuffed goat toys. 


May Day Eve

Whew! The first three weeks of May were a whirlwind of activity and excitement–so busy that I never even caught us up on the photos from the tag end of April! April 30th was a busy day. It was Snowball’s first day in the Wide World, and the day Petunia’s kids ventured out on their first walk.

Tigerlily had to slowly warm up to her new role as “mother”. She had delivered two dead kids in two previous births and didn’t quite know what to do with a live one. I’m not sure how anyone could be afraid of this adorable piece of dandelion fluff, but Tigerlily harbored a few suspicions. She also kept mistaking me for her baby and would sometimes reject Snowball in favor of me when I would interact with the two of them. She did better when I left her alone. She’s the first goat I’ve had to lock up in a separate enclosure with her kid so they could bond in private. Every time other goats’ babies entered the scene, Tigerlily would go into a frenzied confusion and start butting all the kids away, including her own.

“Look out, Tigerlily! Don’t be fooled by the small, innocent appearance. It can probably smell fear!”  

Tigerlily also had a tendency to abandon Snowball for hours on end as if completely forgetting she had a baby of her own to look after. 

Where’d everyone go? 

I didn’t like seeing Snowball abandoned on her own so I put her with TinCup’s triplets. When you already have three kids, what’s one more, right? 

“Wait a minute, who are you?” 

As long as Snowball didn’t try to nurse, TinCup was happy to let her hang out. Looking at them side-by-side, I’m very glad I induced Tigerlily. Though she was almost two days younger, Snowball was significantly larger and thicker than TinCup’s babies. If we had waited for Tigerlily to kid on her own, this little gal would have had a very hard time coming out!

TinCup’s kids quickly adopted their new “sister”. 

Snowball bears a striking resemblance to TinCup’s first kid, Yeti. In fact, Tigerlily took an immediate dislike toward Yeti and even now, almost a month later, Tigerlily will bite his tail or butt him if he comes too close to her. She doesn’t do this to any of the other kids, so I can only think that she resents his resemblance to her own precious Snowball.

Yeti has the cutest swirl of hair on the end of his nose, just like his mama.  

Petunia recovered very well from her scary bout with milk fever and was looking sleek and fat again by the weekend. 

Buster Brown discovered the joys of jumping and balancing on this wobbly log. 

And realized he could use it as a launchpad to get onto Mama’s back! Mama wasn’t too pleased and sauntered off. 

Meanwhile, Cupcake thought she’d try chewing on mama’s beard. Petunia tended to keep that beard tantalizingly out of reach. 

Cupcake discovered her favorite hidey-hole inside the electrical spool. 

Cupcake wasn’t too sure about Brownie’s wobbly log, but she loved these rocks!  

And on the last day of April, Petunia decided that her kids, just shy of one week old, were ready to accompany the big goats on their evening walk. 

April, fare thee well! You’ve blessed us with green grass and bounding babies! (Including the strange radioactive one in front.)


Tigerlily finally kidded last night at 10:00, just as I was about to give up and shuffle off to bed. She had to kid during a snowstorm too. But this adorable ball of fluff was totally worth all the nonsense Tigerlily put us through! Introducing Snowball!   

A Triple Helping of Cute!

Morning broke and TinCup decided it was a beautiful time to have babies. And she was absolutely right!

At 6:30 a.m. we had two beautiful bucklings on the ground. First came a very light tan and white with frosted ears and frosting around his eyes who we named “Yeti,” followed almost immediately by a rich brown and white boy we’re calling “Thor.”   

What a proud mama! Good job TinCup! We wanted boys and you gave us boys!  

And they’re big, strong boys too! They weighed in around 10 lbs. each. 

“Go find that milk bar!”

This is how we check for more. What’s that hard little lump I feel? Not another one!? 

Our surprise bonus was a beautiful 8 lb. baby girl! There she is standing out front. We’re not sure of the name yet, but possibly Mocha. 

She has a fun marking on her side that I’ll have to try to get a photo of tomorrow. 

Three little kidlets all in a row.

They dried off quickly once the sun climbed and got warm. That’s all for now, but brace yourselves for many more photos in the coming days and weeks!

Sweet Treats

Tigerlily and TinCup appear to be holding out, so I’d better post these photos before more kids come and steal the spotlight!

We decided to name this little fella “Buster Brown.” I call him Buster and Phil calls him Brownie. I wonder if he’ll be confused? 

And this little gal is named Cupcake! Goes very well with Brownie. 

Petunia is tired and still a bit weak, but she’s been puttering around the yard enjoying the sunshine so I think she’s going to be ok. 

Ooh… a cave! 

Petunia isn’t making much milk after her illness, but for now it seems to be enough. 

She sure loves her little kidlets! 

Finn and Sputnik prefer to keep out of the baby scene.

We had the kids in last night for their first movie on the couch. Much fun was had by all!

2019’s First Arrivals!

Petunia decided to get down to business a day early. The smart little gal set up camp in the official kidding shed where we keep the camera and can keep an eye on her from the house.  

She really built herself a nice nest in there. 

Sometime around 2:30 she started the licking routine. Imminent mamas like to warm their tongues up and get in some licking practice just before the kids arrive. Phil’s hands provided a good workout routine.  

Sometime around 4:00 we had our first arrival–a 9 lb. baby boy! He’s the most beautiful shade of rich, reddish brown.

Good thing Petunia exercised that tongue ahead of time!

Bob Ross is watching you, Kiddo!

And what’s this? A spotted brown sister! Keep workin’ that tongue, Petunia!

After the birth everyone stepped outside for a little fresh air and clean grass while I cleaned the shed. Mama’s still working that tongue. She’s always sure she missed a spot. Did you ever see such a fuzzy brown baby?


Petunia has the best ears in the world. 

Hi baby!

Aaahhh!!! Attack of the giant baby goat head! It’s so fuzzy!!!


…so precious,

…so noble,

…so kind, 

…so thorough. 

And who is this little cutie-pie?

What a beautiful baby girl! 

What a sleepy baby girl!

This kidding was not as easy for Petunia as her last couple. Her contractions were weak and we had to help pull the kids even though they were presented correctly. We weren’t sure what was wrong except that earlier in the week Petunia had been hit really hard and was bowled over on her back. I thought maybe that affected her delivery but I was wrong.

Next morning Petunia was so sick she couldn’t stand and her lungs were full of fluid. She spent all day looking like each breath might be her last. She was too sick to take to a vet and the mobile vet in our area doesn’t work Thursdays so I had to wait until my neighbor Kathy, the vet at the Pueblo Zoo, got home from work. Kathy came around 6:30 pm and said that Petunia was hypocalcemia, which is a fancy word for a sudden, severe calcium deficiency that can happen after giving birth. Kathy and I spent two hours in the shed with Petunia while Kathy hooked Petunia to an IV drip to administer fluids and the life-saving calcium. This condition can be caused by too much or too little calcium in the diet prior to kidding. The weak contractions should have clued me in, but I was distracted by her accident earlier in the week and didn’t think to give her some calcium paste. I’ll have to think about my feeding regimen because I don’t want to have another scare like this again! I was afraid we would loose our “Pretty Pet”!

As of this morning, Petunia is weak but recovering. Her babies are thriving. I had to feed them bottles while their mama was sick, but they are both good eaters and had no trouble taking milk from a bottle.

Big Fat Pregnant Girls!

I got very behind on my blog following our trip to Texas and now there have been so many things to post that it’s hard to get them all out at once! The morning after we got back from Texas (April 10th) we were greeted by a morning rainstorm with a rare west-side rainbow.

Three days later, that same western view became this fairytale spectacle:

Our girls were looking ripe when we got home! While this is not a great angle to see it, Petunia looked like a basketball with legs! She is due April 25th. 

TinCup is due April 27th, and while she’s not as wide as Petunia, she’s definitely lower. I think this goat needs a belly wheel! 

Tigerlily is due April 26th and as usual she barely looks pregnant at all. I think she’s got one tiny baby in there. 

“Hoofananny”: Final Day

Phil and I headed home in the rain on Sunday morning.

The rain that had come down all night finally petered out just long enough for us to take a short walk along the muddy lake shore. 

Ok, now it’s time for a little show-off session. Or maybe I’ll call it a “training clinic” so I can pretend that I’m not just boasting.  Finn gave us a textbook-perfect example of how a well-trained goat should cross water and I can’t help but post the whole thing.

There was a small corner of the lake that I wanted the boys to wade through. Finn and Sputnik must have decided to trade personalities, or else Finn was trying to make up for his disgrace the previous day because Finn is usually sticky about crossing water and Sputnik generally plunges right in. This time they were the opposite. I grabbed Finn first and he demonstrated the kind of water crossing I didn’t know was achievable with goats!

Finn approaches the water with interest, and while he’s slightly hesitant, he’s not resisting. There is slack in the lead. I am neither dragging nor coaxing him toward the water. 

I have now put a little gentle tension on the lead–enough to show Finn that I DO want him to follow me into the water and not avoid it by leaping over the narrow spot to the left–and he is responding beautifully. He’s stepping down the bank cautiously but without balking.

And here he is, walking nicely across. The lead is short but I have very little tension on it. The bottom is very uneven and I’m not sure whether it might be slippery in spots, so I keep Finn close so I can grab onto him if I lose my footing. 

And we have achieved the crossing! “Good boy, Finn!” He gets a cookie.

Now for the hard part… There is a deep spot right under the wall and I’m not sure if Finn will step down into it, especially now that the water is murky and we can no longer see the bottom. 

“Bravo, Finn!!” He steps right down into the water without hesitation, and he is not startled by the initial depth, nor by the steep, unseen climb to shallower water.

Now it’s Sputnik’s turn! Sputnik is usually not too concerned about water. When we go hiking and there’s a creek crossing, Finn always takes the log bridge or finds a spot narrow enough to jump while Sputnik plows right through the water. But Sputnik isn’t too keen on this pond for some reason. You can see the tension on the lead and Sputnik’s body straining against the pull. 

Luckily, Sputnik is very motivated by food. A treat from my pocket persuades him to plunk those first two feet in, but his braced posture tells us he’s not happy about it.

After that he crosses pretty easily, but not with Finn’s nonchalance. Once again, I’m holding my goat close so we can support each other on the uneven, invisible bottom. I love the way Finn is looking down from above. I think he feels superior. “I did it better, Sputnik!” And I admit–Finn DID do it better. On the way back, Sputnik balked before suddenly jumping down into the deep spot. He made a big splash and soaked the back of my pants, so I got to be wet for the rest of the morning. Unfortunately, Phil did not manage to get a picture. 

“Hoofenanny” – The Big Day

Our big packgoat “meet ‘n’ greet” day dawned foggy and wet. We were joined early in the morning by Kim Fox, another fellow NAPgA member, but no other members showed up. Bad weather kept most of them home, but our spot near Ratcliff Lake was good for stormy weather. It was humid and there was drizzle, but the rain and lightning mostly stayed away until that night so we had some good workshops. The FS put up flyers telling people to come learn about packgoats and a few brave souls ventured over. None of them had ever heard of a packgoat before!  

The FS gave us access to the covered pavilion, so we stayed dry even when the rain came. 

The pavilion even had electrical outlets and lights, so it was a great spot on a wet day! Sputnik showed everyone how packsaddles work. He was a funny boy. When I was done using him for demonstrations, I tied him up  where I thought he would be no trouble. WRONG! He’s a goat, isn’t he? Sputnik kept reaching over and pulling down the equipment draped over the rail. I scooted the saddles further and further from his reach, but he simply reached further each time. When I finally managed to get everything out of his way, he started hunching his back and attempting to spray like a buck (unsuccessfully, thank goodness, but these displays are always rather embarrassing!). I slapped his rump a couple of times to make him stop, so he got up on his hind legs and began gnawing on the beams of the pavilion and then clacking horns with Finn. He was really quite full of himself and was determined to remain the center of attention. I did eventually bring him back onstage so he could show off his tricks and he was immensely pleased to be once more in the limelight. What a ham!  

After the packsaddle demonstration, I hitched Sputnik to his cart and everyone took a turn at the reins. Fellow NAPgA member, Connie Losee, may have had the best time of anyone. Just look at that grin! 

Connie’s husband Robert drove trotting horses on the track at Belmont back in the day. I felt I was in the presence of a real expert.

Last but not least, Kim Fox took a turn just before the rain started and sent us all scurrying for shelter and some lunch.   

We spent the afternoon trimming hooves, fitting and comparing pack saddles, and jawing about goats. Finally, Phil broke out his fiddle and played us some tunes. Sputnik and Kim’s Toggenburg wether, Lucas, were both intrigued. 

Well, Lucas was intrigued. I think Sputnik was a little bit afraid. 

Finn got exiled to an outside picnic table about halfway through the afternoon after he disgraced himself by butting heads with another goat while Connie was in the way. He grazed her with his horn in passing and while he didn’t hit her hard enough to hurt, it startled her and made me angry. I gave him a thorough dressing-down and dragged him outside to stand by himself at the picnic table for the rest of the afternoon. He was quite upset at being left in timeout, but he must understand that he cannot spar with other goats if there is a person in the middle!

Lone Star “Hoofenanny” at Davy Crockett NF

After our visit with the Texas family, Phil and I took our goats and headed southeast toward Davy Crockett National Forest where we had organized a small rendezvous with other members of the North American Packgoat Association. Unfortunately the forecast was not in our favor. We arrived at the NF and were greeted by enthusiastic park rangers who told us that our original choice of location at the Piney Creek Horse Camp was not ideal for wet weather camping. They relocated us to a much nicer spot near Ratcliff Lake with solid footing and bathrooms complete with running water and hot showers! We were very grateful for their accommodation in light of the fact that pack stock are not allowed at Ratcliff Lake Campground. But the Forest Service rangers felt that our goats don’t quite belong in the “pack stock” category and could fly under the radar on such a soggy weekend. It was a beautiful location!  

Nevertheless, Phil and I explored our original location at the horse camp just to see what it was like. It was also very nice but had no view of the lake. It had longer grass for the goats, but the ground was fairly soggy and I fear we may have gotten some of our trailers stuck.

It turned out that the horse camp was quite thoroughly trashed. Although we weren’t going to stay there after all, Phil and I spent some time that afternoon picking up garbage along the roadway leading into the camp. We were not able to get all of it, but we did our best to make a dent! By the end, both goats’ panniers were full to overflowing. 

I found this little peek-a-boo hole. 

Next day we set up near Ratcliff Lake where Robert and Connie Losee and their band of four goats were already encamped. 

We volunteered to do a small work project, so the Forest Service brought us some tools and told us to go to work clearing brush and weeds around an old, overgrown sawmill foundation next to our campsite. The goats loved this idea and went to work right away!  

Afterwards Phil had fun getting Finn to leap back and forth over this metal barricade. Finn is a graceful and athletic jumper. I just wish my photos could do him justice!