Yearly Archives: 2015

Nuttier than a fruitcake!

Cuzco posed like a statue for a very long time, just waiting for me to bring the camera I’m sure.

And then the old goat did something very out of character–he pulled a silly face! I’m used to the other goats making goofy expressions and sticking their tongues out at the camera, but never Cuzco! I guess even the most dignified goat has to let his hair down once in a while.

Back to looking noble…

Until Phil breaks out the Christmas fruitcake, at which point all pretense of nobility flies straight out the window! Here he is climbing the gate with one foot in the mineral feeder just like a silly young scallawag who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. “Gimme fruitcake! Gimme NOW! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!!!”

Have I ever mentioned that fruitcake very nearly killed this greedy goat two years ago? We bought a 3-lb. fruitcake that was supposed to be shared among five goats. Cuzco tore into it like a fiend, knocked it to the ground and devoured it before anyone had time to react. I got a picture of the aftermath.

And this was where Cuzco spent the next day.

We ran him into the vet that morning because he was so sick he would hardly move, but the vet didn’t seem to think there was much to be done for him. So we took him back home, made him a bed by the wood stove, and I sat with him until late that evening when he finally got up and wanted outside. It was a few days before he was totally “right”, but he pulled through and we’ve since modified our fruitcake distribution system. For one thing, you’ll notice there is a gate between Phil and Cuzco in this year’s picture. We also bought a smaller fruitcake which was then cut into even smaller portions to be fed one at a time. Cuzco still got the biggest portion because he by far enjoys it the most (only about half of the goats even like it at all), but we make sure he never gets to inhale an entire 3-lb. fruitcake in one sitting again!

Beulah Yule Log Festival 2015

The snowstorm ended early on Saturday night and Sunday dawned clear and warm with a few inches of dazzling powder to make everything fresh–except the road. The dirt road we take to Beulah was pure mud. But at least it was no longer icy and the visibility was good. So we loaded up Finn and Sputnik and splashed our way back over for the highlight of our Christmas season–the annual Beulah Yule Log Festival.

As a safety precaution and as a fun way to celebrate the festive season, Phil and I wrapped our boys’ horns in candy-cane stripes. Now that they know what we’re up to, they’ve both gotten very patient and good about this procedure.

The event started off with readings, blessings, and Christmas carols. There was a special “Blessing for the Animals” which particularly warmed my heart. There was a perfect place for goats to hang out during this more solemn part of the festival. There is a substantial rock outcropping near the side entrance to the pavilion, and this year it was covered in evergreen boughs, so Finn and Sputnik were able to entertain themselves by climbing and nibbling until the Hunt began.

After the service, the hunt for the Yule Log began! With a bugle fanfare, the Huntsmen, all dressed in festive green shoulder capes, led us to the general vicinity of the Yule Log, told us the boundaries within which it was hidden, and let us go! Finn and Sputnik took off like hound dogs, plunging into the woods with Phil and I dragging at the end of their leads. But as usual, and despite their overwhelming confidence, goats seem to be no good at Yule Log hunting. They ended up leading us far out of bounds.

But we had a lot of fun playing with the boundary line. I tried to get them to jump it in unison, but that only happened once–naturally it was before Phil had the camera ready. It was a pretty high obstacle, so it was really fun to watch them sail gracefully over it.

It was about this time that we heard someone cry “Haleub!” This is “Beulah” spelled backwards, and it marks the discovery of the Yule Log. We hastened down the hill toward the excitement as a Huntsman sounded a bugle to gather the scattered crowd back together.

The lucky finder of the Yule Log gets to ride it back to camp while the not-so-lucky revelers get to drag it.

We tied the goats’ leashes to the rope so they could help us pull too. Smile

It didn’t take long for the lucky winner to invite all of her friends to ride the log with her. This Yule Log got pretty heavy after a while!

Finn made good friends with this Huntsman by the time we were done dragging the log back.

After the log was dragged back, it was sawn in two and one half was put on the Yule fire and the other half will be saved to start next year’s fire. And then there was wassail and cookies! We had to tie the goats up while we got the cookies because I was afraid that if we took them with us down the line there might not be any left for the folks behind us. They were very unhappy with this arrangement and Finn kept trying to climb over the fence. But there were many cookies left over after everyone had been served, so I was able to snag a generous handful for them. Ginger cookies were a particular favorite. There were also folks in the crowd who shared cookies as well, so between all of us I think the goats got their fair share of Christmas cheer.

A Snowstorm Can’t Stop Us!

It was an exciting weekend at Goat-O-Rama! Saturday night Beulah had their annual Parade of Lights, and Old Man Winter was in full attendance this year. Some thought we might not make it because of the snowstorm, but we weren’t going to be daunted by a few snowflakes! We did, however, leave the cart at home. We figured the roads would be too icy to use it safely. We blanketed Cuzco and covered the door of our portable hutch so he would stay dry for the ride over. Once there, we loaded him down with packsaddle and festive red panniers filled with candy and then covered him from head to toe in colorful LED lights. He was a lovely sight to see! Of course, the first thing Cuzco did when I plopped a pannier full of chocolate onto his saddle was to turn himself inside-out trying to reach it. He went all the way down on one knee in his effort to get his teeth into those sweets, but I managed to get him back up and straighten him out before he grabbed anything. As a consolation, I did give him a few pieces of chocolate (properly unwrapped!) that were left over after the parade. Cuzco loves chocolate!

We forgot to bring the camera, so I have no pictures of Cuzco decked out for the parade. Phil dressed as Santa and handed candy out to the kids. Well… I say handed. It took a little while for Phil to get his technique down. He started off by tossing candy, but after beaning a few people in the head, and watching others scramble around in the fresh powder to look for their fallen prizes, he changed his approach and started giving people candy by hand. A particularly special moment was when Santa Claus and his special Yule Goat walked up to a little girl and gave her a handful of candy. We saw the girl’s grandmother next day at the Yule Log Festival and she said it made her granddaughter’s evening.

It turned out to be a very good thing we did not have the cart. The road was almost skating rink slick. Phil and Cuzco and I were the only ones walking in the parade–everyone else had a float. So the parade went rather fast for us and I had a hard time making Cuzco keep up on the slippery footing. He quite understandably wanted to take it slow, but we almost had to trot for much of the parade route. I was tired by the end. There was one tricky spot in the parade, however, which made us very grateful to be on foot! The route plunges down a steep hill with a sharp turn at the bottom, and several of the floats began to slide and got jackknifed at the turn. There was a bit of a pileup which we were happily able to avoid. All the trucks and trailers came away unscathed, but it was an exciting little stretch of roadway for a while. For such a small town, Beulah has a very respectable Parade of Lights with a large variety of very impressive floats. It think there are more people who ride in that parade than who watch it!

Come see us in Beulah!

For those of you following this blog, Goat-O-Rama will be attending the Beulah Parade of Lights this evening in Beulah at 5:15. Santa will be making an appearance with his famous prancing Yule Goat, Cuzco.

And tomorrow we will be attending the Beulah Yule Log Festival at 1:00 in the Beulah Mountain Park with two of our younger goats. Last year we took Snickers and Sputnik. This year it will probably be Sputnik and Finn. We hope to see you there!

Robert’s Birthday Party and Finn’s First Carting Job!

Yesterday we celebrated my nephew, Robert’s, sixth birthday. Robert is obsessed with cowboys right now, so we all donned our western shirts, sheriff badges, and mustaches, and had a hoedown! My mom brought a pony for the kids to ride. Here’s Robert with his cowboy mustache showing off his “Hi-Ho-Silver” skills while my mom does the actual pony wrangling. Robert’s dad (my brother) is in the background brushing up on his lasso tricks.

Phil and I brought goats with us to the party. Sputnik grew a mustache for the event, but we had a hard time getting him to sit still long enough to photograph the evidence. When he wasn’t brandishing facial hair, he wowed the kids with his endless repertoire of tricks and jumping skills.

Our goats have been marvelously good about keeping their horns away from people, but since kids are unpredictable and accidents can happen, we used tennis balls and vet wrap on the horns again like we did on Halloween. I think this will be our standard practice for bringing horned goats to public events where kids and goats get to interact. I love horns, but I never want to take them for granted, especially since kids’ faces are on the same level.

I know these photos are all kind of the same, but I’m so proud of Finn that I can’t help myself. Phil and I hitched him to the cart for the first time last Thursday, and not only was he big enough to fit the shafts and hold the cart level, he seemed to really enjoy pulling it. So after only five minutes of practice on Thursday, he jumped right in at the deep end on Saturday and started his carting career by pulling kids around at the party. Since Finn is only 18 months old, we kept the pulling time short at only about 20 minutes, and we were careful to make sure he wasn’t getting tired or fussy.

Robert the birthday boy got to ride first with his pink-hatted friend.

Next came our other nephew, Sam with his white-hatted friend. I’m not sure what happened to Sam’s hat. Maybe it got shot off!

I don’t know either of these boys and the photo might seem redundant, but I had to include it because of the look of intense concentration on this little cowpoke’s face as he holds the reins in a death-grip.

The close-up.

As usual at these sort of events, I attached the reins to the harness saddle so the kids could feel like they were doing the all-important job of steering without actually interfering with the goat. Childhood is full of so many wonderful illusions. Wink

Goat Vacation Day 8: Little Wild Horse Canyon

We took the trip from Escalante to Rye in two days so we’d have time to stop along the way. We decided to swing back by San Rafael and hike partway up Little Wild Horse Canyon. There was water in places because of a rainstorm earlier in the week.

We found fossilized footprint evidence of massive prehistoric goats!

We came to a boulder that was easy for people and young goats, but Cuzco could not get over it.

I ended up taking Cuzco up the canyon wall and around. This was fairly easy on the outward journey, but proved quite difficult on the return. It took us almost half an hour to figure out how we were going to get our big guy back to the trailhead. He tried scrambling up the canyon wall the way he’d come, but the slope that was easy to slither down turned out to be too steep for him to climb up. Poor fella. He tried his hardest and was very cooperative to try to follow me up every weird route I tied to lead him along. I finally ended up taking him along a very narrow shelf with a low ceiling where we both had to crouch down. From there I was able to scramble down to the narrow people trail (not navigable for hooves), but Cuzco had to leap on top of the high boulder. The only way down from there was to jump, and jump he did. It was a long way down (probably six feet), but luckily the landing was soft sand.

It has finally hit me this trip that Cuzco really isn’t up for much serious hiking or climbing any more. We’ve tried to be careful about the type of terrain and length of trails we take him on, but even when we think we’re being easy it’s still sometimes too much for him. Because while the younger goats can do this:

Cuzco is not able to do much more than this:

The canyon walls were weird and beautiful.

Slot canyons make for some great shadows.

After hiking for maybe an hour, the canyon opened up before continuing on into another narrow slot, and here we decided to take a break before heading back down. We climbed up onto a big rock and let the goats browse. Whatever that bush is that Sputnik is eating, the goats couldn’t get enough of it. The stuff was like candy to them and we had a hard time pulling them away from it when we had to leave.

A final look back at the canyon.

I hate it when they do this! Makes me nervous. At least there’s water at the bottom of this one!

A final drink.

Bighorn Canyon Continued: Modeling

Phil found a pedestal. Phil can’t encounter a pedestal without taking off his shirt and posing in statuesque splendor.

Finn cannot see someone else pose on a pedestal without sharing the glory.

“How does one get off this thing?” (And Finn made it look so easy!)

Nanno’s turn!

Finn can’t help it. It must be some kind of disorder.

“No, go away goats! It’s my time! (I’m getting mobbed!)”

Goat pyramid!

Finally, Finn gets the rock to himself!

On our way back I found a shelf I wanted to sit on. But with a rounded edge and nothing to grab hold of at the top, I couldn’t quite get up there. Finn, however, was quite curious what I was after and he decided he needed to investigate. Twice he leaped, scrambled, and fell back down with a thud. I thought he was going to give up after the spectacularly failed second attempt, but he backed up from the wall, gave his tail a quick, determined wag, and leaped with all his might. He made it to the rounded edge and started to slide back, but he clung tenaciously to the rock with his front toes, paddled his hind feet, and made it up.

Naturally, he had to strut.

A final drink.

“Yes, Sputnik? Did you want something?”

Finn plunked his nose down in a mud patch and then gleefully tried to wipe it on everyone else.

Bighorn Canyon Continued: The Logjam

Considering how long and narrow the Bighorn slots were, it was surprising how few obstacles were in them. However, we did eventually encounter a fallen boulder that Cuzco could neither go over nor under, so we turned back. I hope one day to go back and explore further. Younger goats should have no problem with this canyon.

One of the obstacles was a fallen tree that luckily had just enough space to allow us to crawl under it on hands and knees. I had to remove Sputnik’s pack so he could make it.

“Can you do it Cuzco?”

The old goat gave it a whirl. Climbing under things was always Cuzco’s speciality. Did I ever tell how he squeezed into a chicken coop through a 12″ x 12″ door when he was five years old?

Yep, he’s still got it!


Cuzco had no trouble with the narrow spots…

…but Phil got stuck once or twice!