Old sights, new tastes, new sounds

On Saturday we hiked to the arch again with some different folks who had never been there before. Once again we brought Finn and Sputnik as our faithful beasts of burden. None of these folks had hiked with goats before.

We picnicked under the arch as usual where the goats managed to politely finagle some food scraps off of our innocent and naive friends. This was Sputnik’s first experience with peanut butter. He liked it but he was bothered by the way it stuck to his lips and tongue. He’d eat a piece of PB&J, then rub his lips up and down along the log, then try another piece, then rub and rub some more. Janie eventually took her napkin and wiped his lips for him which was very amusing.

Finn wasn’t too interested in food but Alane really wanted to feed him something so she tempted him over with an almond butter biscuit. He didn’t end up tasting it, but he had to at least give it a token smell.

I love how Finn and Alane are making the same face here.

When we got home from our hike there was a mysterious package in the mail addressed to Buster Brown. I opened it up and found a small goat bell from Steve and Marianne! Buster Brown did not go on the hike with us, but we let him wear the bell for our daily walk that evening before putting it away for safekeeping. He looks very proud of it!

Werewolf Attacks Stanchion

We HAD two stanchions. I have a big metal stanchion I bought a few years ago because my boys (and most of my girls) outgrew the smaller wooden stanchion for daily milking purposes. But the small wooden stanchion still got used on a daily basis and was a nice little workhorse.

Not any more.

Last week Pluto and Daisy came in with porcupine quills in their faces. Daisy’s weren’t too bad and since she’s smaller I was able to pull the quills out while Phil held her down. Pluto was another matter. Not only did he have a lot more quills, but they were more deeply imbedded, and he had scratched and clawed at them to the point where quite a few of the ones inside his mouth were broken off. There was no way to hold down a dog that size by force, so I put him on the wooden stanchion, locked his head in, and got to work. We were doing pretty well but my pliers were too clumsy to grip some of the smaller, broken-off quill stumps. I ran into the house to grab my assortment of needle-nose jewelry pliers and some hemostats. I thought I could leave Pluto safely on the stanchion for a few minutes, but apparently I was wrong.

I came outside to find Pluto running loose and the headpiece on my little wooden stanchion turned to matchwood. He had literally gnawed his way out of it. It looked like a werewolf had got hold of it! I knew he had powerful jaws, but the way he splintered my stanchion in just a few minutes has given me new respect for those teeth! That board was almost 4 inches wide. Yikes!

Colorado State Fair 2019

Last weekend Phil and I attended the Colorado State Fair, and I have to say it was the best time we’ve had at Fair in a long time. We were there three days: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We only brought two goats, Rita and Skeeter, so it was a low-key weekend of showing. We got to see all the sights and take in all the shows. We even splurged and bought tickets to the ferris wheel one night!

The highlight of the weekend was this guy. We found him lying at the back of the cattle barn on Saturday, and I could not get over those enormous horns! I’m always impressed by the African Watusi cattle, but I had never seen one this massive before.   

Phil and I set up the goat obstacle course on Saturday night. Turnout was not quite as big this year, but it’s always a fun crowd pleaser nonetheless. I competed with Rita and she did not do very well, but we still came in second place. Phil and Skeeter were somewhere near last.

The youth costume class was woefully under-attended. This was the only contestant, but her costume was outstanding and I’m guessing she would have won even if she’d had some competition.

This lovely señorita went all-out for the adult costume contest. She was a piñata sales-lady, and her little Nigerian Dwarf kid was dressed as one of the piñatas. After the class, the lady hung one of her piñatas up in the show ring for the kids to swing at. (It was not the goat piñata!) She was the deserving winner of the adult competition.

This goat deserved a prize for its extreme patience. They showed up early for the costume class and had to wait through the obstacle competition. This goat never complained about that massive saddle or laid down or tried to rub it off.

Phil and I donned our Chinese outfits and dressed our goats up in a lion dance costume. Unfortunately one of the goats stepped on the sheet, Rita tripped and went down, and the whole costume ripped right down the middle. Skeeter was afraid of her lion head and wasn’t walking very well anyway, so our lovely lion dance parade ended in a shambles, but it got us all laughing. 

Next day I discovered that the incredible Watusi steer that had so fascinated me the day before was actually one of the attractions! For $15 you could sit on “Oliver’s” back and get your photo taken! I could not pass up the opportunity to ride such a magnificent animal. He was not only enormous, but he was incredibly gentle and a real ham for the camera. Every time the camera pointed at him, Oliver lifted his head and bared his bottom teeth in a big, cheesy grin. Yee-haw!

On Monday, Oliver actually competed in the Watusi show. His owner, the gentleman in the cowboy hat, took the blue ribbon in showmanship (I’m not sure what the lavender ribbon was for). I am not surprised they won showmanship. Oliver and his owner work together beautifully. 

A March to the Arch

This past Saturday, Phil and I organized a group hike to the Saint Charles Arch, which lies between Rye and San Isabel. It’s an easy five-mile round trip and the arch is always a surprise the first time you see it. It’s an arch “which cannot be found except by those who already knows where it is.” 😉

Among the group was Steve from Beulah who bought Max and Sgt. Pepper from me a year ago. He brought them along and I hardly recognized them! They’ve grown magnificently and look very healthy and happy.

My long-time friend Tiffany also joined us from Pueblo West, as did Jeff and Diana from Rye whose daughter Emma has been taking riding lessons from me this summer.

Steve’s goats needed a little persuasion to cross the creek.

The area beneath the arch was shady and full of good things for goats to eat. 

And there it is! The Saint Charles Arch. It’s rare to see a granite arch this size. 

We picnicked on the rock slide in the arch’s shade. This is one of Steve’s photos.

Buster Brown and I hung out together during lunch because he kept trying to share Emma’s sandwich.

Phil and Jeff climbed to the top of the arch.

Emma and Buster Brown formed an immediate bond and became inseparable throughout the hike. If Emma lagged behind, Buster stopped and waited for her. Once in a while, Buster would get nervous if the older goats got too far ahead, so he would trot a little and Emma would jog beside him with her hand on his back. Emma’s parents told us she would never have lasted the whole hike without Buster Brown to keep her company.

It was just a little further down this hill that Buster got a few feet ahead of Emma and she slipped. Buster turned around quickly and said, “Baaa!” with a worried look on his face. They could not have been a sweeter pair.

The hike out of the canyon was hot and largely uphill, so Finn gave Emma a lift for probably close to a mile. 

With the way her hair is blowing back, you’d think Emma and Finn were in a race! Emma later asked her mom if she could start taking goatback riding lessons! 

Finn stuck his head over the side and flapped his ears in the breeze on the ride home. 

We created lots of fun memories on Saturday, but this is the one I love best. 

Goodbye, Yeti and Thor!

On August 12th, Yeti and Thor went to their new home in Cheyenne, WY. They went to a lovely family that will be training them as packgoats and I know they will be very happy and well cared-for. But we will certainly miss them nonetheless. Phil and I took them on a final walk the day before and made sure to get lots of pictures.

Yeti is always front and center for attention or for the camera.

Yes, I think the boys were ready to grow up. They were 75 lbs. each and were starting to look almost as big as their mom! 

I’ve often had trouble telling Yeti and Snowball apart at a distance (although the horns usually gave Yeti away pretty quick!). I won’t have to look twice to see who’s sneaking up on me any more.

Yeti and Thor pose regally while Brownie and Cupcake cavort in the background. 

Thor–so photogenic!

Yeti–not quite so photogenic, but what he lacks in looks he makes up for in charisma. 

And then we have Finn–Supreme Champion of both the photogenic and charismatic categories. Finn had some really big boots to fill when he took over from Cuzco, and it’s taken him a while to really live up to the task, but I think he’s succeeding. 

Brownie and Cupcake are always competing for the “friendliest kid” award.

Goat train!!

Beautiful Thor.

What’s this guy stalking?

Maybe a pretty girl named Rita. 

Mocha is probably the liveliest and most curious kid this year. But at the same time she’s as sweet and gentle as a little fawn.

Yeti: King of the Rock!

Run like the wind!

These ladies are much too mature for such antics! Grown-up goats march in an orderly, dignified fashion!

Yeti: King of the Log!

Snowball and I share a moment.

Race home, goats!

A quiet moment to remember Cuzco.

And we finish off with a couple of pictures of lovely, contemplative Thor. We’ll sure miss these guys, but we’re thrilled they’ve found a wonderful home where they will be loved and appreciated.

I Can Has Jellybeenz?

Phil and I were enjoying a rest on the back porch swings when Finn heard us talking and asked to join the party. I opened the back gate and he trotted up the porch steps, reminding me so much of Cuzco, who loved to hang out with us on the porch at every opportunity.

My Aunt Jana gave us a bag of jellybeans and I unwisely offered one to Finn. He was insatiable after that! I gave a handful to Phil, but Finn wheedled most of them away for himself. He begged most of mine off me as well and even persuaded Phil to go in the house and bring him another handful. Greedy goat!  

“All gone, Finn!”


Finn’s back makes a good footrest.

But as usual, Finn would prefer to be loved than to be useful.

He also mugs for the camera. Unlike Cuzco, who would stand at an appropriately noble distance to be photographed at his best angles, Finn gets right in there and shoves his face into the lens.

“Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up!”

All Gussied Up

Finn and Sputnik’s cart pulling services were recently requested for a local family reunion followed immediately by the Beulah Arts & Crafts Fair. So the boys got a bath and Sputnik, as usual, was thrilled. Baths are one of his favorite things.  

“A little more to the left. Ahhh… that’s the spot!” 
Often he flaps his lips and slurps at the spray when I aim the water at his nose. 

Finn does not like baths, and he was a bit sulky about having to do work that day. He was tired and laid down in the trailer on the way home while Sputnik enjoyed the hay bag and scattered his snack all over Finn’s back.

Thor and Yeti’s Big Day

Phil and I took Thor and Yeti out for their first hike the other day, and it was a big hit! The boys had a great time exploring, jumping on rocks, and nibbling new things they don’t get to eat at home.

Thor is very photogenic. He has beautiful markings on his face and that pink nose is adorable. He’s a sweet, mellow, affectionate goat. 

Yeti is our bold adventurer. He’s affectionate to a fault and we’re having to set boundaries because he can get very pushy for attention. Yeti is gung-ho and throws himself fully into whatever activity he happens to be doing at the time.  

Despite his size, Yeti still sees an open lap as an open invitation and will climb right up without asking. He hasn’t climbed on my lap for a while, and this day I gave him permission.  

The boys weren’t too sure about their first water crossing. Phil and I walked off, hoping they would get brave and follow. 

But no, we had to break out the leash. 

Once we pulled Thor across, Yeti bravely splashed over on his own.  

The Adventures of Buster Brown

A couple of weeks ago Phil and I took Brownie out for his first hiking adventure. It was a longish hike so Finn carried our lunch and showed Brownie what it means to be a big, important packgoat that gets to carry the important stuff.  

Brownie wasn’t too sure about his first water crossing. But the big goats did it, so he had to go too! 

I hate it when they look over cliffs like this! “Don’t fall, Brownie!”
P.S. Look at the blue pinecones on that tree behind Brownie. 

I think he was eating ants. 

If it weren’t for the horns curling up, you’d never spot Sputnik curled up among these dappled gray rocks. His coat blends right in!