All my girls came into heat around the same time last week, so today I let the bucklings out to play with the herd. It was a very joyous reunion! Finn spent the first five minutes running around like a mad goat at top speed as he chased one girl after another in a hormone-induced frenzy. He soon realized that no one wanted anything to do with him as long as he was acting that way and he settled down and assumed a calmer demeanor for the rest of the afternoon. Cuzco also pummeled him for being a punk, and that took the wind out of his sails. Phil and I are marveling at his beautiful, luxurious coat. He’s got this incredible mane coming in that I love to run my fingers through. He’d make an amazing fur cape right now if I could get the stink out!
Sputnik and Delilah got into a very long fight which Cuzco, Pac-Man, and Snickers watched with rapt attention until Cuzco eventually hammered Delilah and made her run away. I think Delilah had singled Sputnik out as the low man on the totem pole and the goat most easily pushed around. Sputnik doesn’t like to be pushed around and he pushed right back, making for a pretty spectacular fight until Cuzco intervened. He doesn’t like anyone messing with “his” babies.
Today Sputnik smelled girls up close for the first time since he was weaned. He was very impressed!
Father and sons…
Finn is almost as big as his mother nowadays!
Last week we did the painful but necessary task of tattooing the bucklings’ ears. That night it rained. Between wet, running ink and tussling babies there was a lot of green on those little faces and bodies by next morning!
Not too many action shots, but we got a few close-ups! My babies always love sticking their noses right in the camera lens.
Sputnik was the best at posing, and his speckled face really looked good with that green glow, although from his expression here I’m not sure he agrees with that statement.
I love Sputnik’s aquiline nose and pouty, jutting jaw–a throwback to his Nubian ancestry. His parents, Petunia and Pac-Man, don’t have the slightest trace of underbite or Roman nose. None of my Nubian crosses do–except this guy. And it’s so cute! If you look closely you can also see the beginnings of a beard just sprouting under his jaw. I thought he had a lump under his chin one morning last week and I probed concernedly all around his jaw but couldn’t feel a thing. Then I rubbed the hair the wrong way and realized what it was–a beard! That’s another thing no one else in my herd has except Lilly (his grandmother). Pac-Man had a small beard before he was wethered, and I’m guessing Sputnik will lose his too when the time comes. Until then, may it grow long and thick!
On the third day of our trip, the sun came out and the weather warmed up (a little). Phil and I decided to pack a lunch (and some warm clothing) and take a day hike up the Alpine Gulch trail. Cuzco was in his element. He LOVES to pack! Cuzco usually lags any time he’s walking with us sans gear, but when he’s wearing a saddle he marches right on my heels. The hackles stay down and the growling and bad temper evaporate. He’s all business and he’s ready to tackle anything.
I’m hoping some of Cuzco’s good manners can rub off on Pac-Man. As a packing prospect, Pac-Man is mostly living up to his 3/4 Nubian reputation for being loud and lazy. He’s inclined to turn back and take himself home if he thinks an obstacle is too difficult, and he complains regularly and loudly. But he’s come a long way. Just this past spring, a log such as this one would have proved impassible for Pac-Man. But we crossed lots of water on this hike, and Pac-Man walked over every log without coaxing or coercion.
Cuzco fell off a log and went bobbing down the river once when he was about six months old. He’s never trusted them since and prefers to wade. He’s quite a good creek navigator.
It’s crossings like this one that confirm Cuzco’s worse suspicions about log bridges. I almost slipped off this one myself! Pac-Man crossed admirably in my footsteps. I’m getting pretty proud of this guy!
Meanwhile, Cuzco doesn’t care if the water is up to his neck–he’s not walking on that dangerous ice-covered spit of wood!
“You guys comin’?” I think Pac-Man is finally getting the hang of this hiking thing!
I found a glass paw-print on a golden tile. I wonder if a crystal cat walked here?
The next day was also cold, so we stayed in and around town. We visited one lady who recently retired from working at the local Post Office and is now filling her days with painting animals for her “Painted Petting Zoo.” I was surprised by the sheer number of them! Cuzco made friends with a Kudu while Pac-Man and Phil hung out with a gorilla. Pac-Man was unimpressed by the armadillo.
On the last day my parents came with us for a long drive to Arrowhead Inn and a short hike on the Big Blue trail. The goats rode in the pickup bed and I’m not sure how much they enjoyed the ride since the road was pretty dodgy in places. But Cuzco is too old to run behind the truck anymore and Pac-Man is too lazy, so they had to stay in the back.The Inn at Arrowhead had some of the biggest aspen trees I have ever seen. Cuzco and I were both impressed!
Phil found an indecent carving on one of the trees–*gasp*!!! (Don’t worry–we hid the goats’ eyes as they walked past.)
This was a good year to stick closer to home and even get back to my roots. Cuzco is getting too old to make a two-day journey all the way to Utah, so in the interest of giving the old fella an easy time, Phil and I decided to have our “goat vacation” in my old hometown of Lake City, CO this year. My parents still own a house there so we were able to stay for free–an added bonus!
We started out the trip with a detour to Colorado Gators near Alamosa. There are lots of gators, and Phil made friends with one of the smaller specimens whose name escapes me.
I made even better friends with a corn snake named Kali. She loved my hat and tried to get up under it. Unfortunately, she took the scenic route through my braid. Snake scales being what they are, once she started there was no going back. Several people had to intervene to feed her slowly through my hair–not easy seeing as she was fatter in the middle and my hair was braided fairly tight. But in the end we got her out with no damage to the snake or to my pigtail.
After the Gator Ranch we made our way to Lake City, where we were greeted by a late September blizzard over Slumgullion Pass. It was beautiful, but I was in shorts. I stopped somewhere near Creede to blanket Cuzco. He’s not as resistant to cold as he used to be.
The golden aspens were a beautiful contrast to the fresh white snow.
Our first day in Lake City was a cold one, but we braved a short hike anyhow. We didn’t plan to be out long and the goats were both coughing and sneezing after the chilly night in the trailer, so we took it easy and went without packs.
Cuzco gazes down at Lake City’s Ball Flats area. I wonder if he remembers living here?
Phil wants a driveway paved with gold. I told him we should line the driveway with aspens and it will be gold every fall.
A few days before we left for our annual “goat vacation,” I got a box of step-in posts to add as extra supports for my electric goat fence. The net was sagging between posts and I can’t have sagging fences now that the bucks are noticing the does and vice versa!
I laid the box in front of the porch without giving it much thought and several hours later my tidy box containing the neat bundle of poles looked like a tornado had hit it!
I don’t remotely believe Nubbin did this all by herself, although I’m pretty sure she probably enjoyed it the most. Naughty goats! But this is why I love them… they cannot possibly entertain me enough!