Last weekend my friend Jordan was home from college and we took Sputnik and Geronimo for a walk, along with Jordan’s little brother, Rodney.
Jordan got some funny close-ups of Sputnik. Close-ups are usually Finn’s specialty, but Sputnik is getting more accustomed to taking the spotlight as time goes on. He was very clingy to me on this walk and I had to push him away a lot because he was stepping on my feet. I think he was a little insecure about having two “strangers” with us.
Rodney is a funny kid. He is not much taller than Sputnik and was therefore a little shy of him. I jokingly asked if he wanted to ride this big goat, and Rodney surprised me when he hesitantly said he’d give it a try. Big as he looks in the photo, Rodney is a string bean and I lifted him easily onto Sputnik’s back with one arm while I held Sputnik’s halter with the other. Sputnik was a little startled and began to walk off when Rodney’s legs gripped his sides, but he stopped on my “whoa” command and stood for a photo. Rodney hung onto Sputnik’s collar and rode him for about fifteen feet while I led him along. Sputnik didn’t seem bothered after the initial surprise, but Rodney is of course too big to ride a goat very far.
I took Sputnik for a drive around the golf course today. Canon National Bank sits at the edge of the golf course and I had to deposit a check, so what better way to get to the bank than by goat cart? Unfortunately, they don’t have a hitching post or a parking spot for goats. Shame on them! So I tied Sputnik to a lamp post out front. He was very patient while I went in. Someone in a pickup truck pulled into the bank parking lot and sat there for a while just to stare at the goats tied out front.
Our goats were lounging hard core this afternoon!
Sputnik was particularly “down and out”.
As Petunia has started nearing the end of her (interminable) pregnancy, she has started taking her sleep very seriously. Look at that belly oozing out on either side! Meanwhile, Coral had command of the boulder.
Jezebel preferred to nap away from the crowd.
Phil and I went for a lovely drive today, but it ended with a small catastrophe in which no one was injured but a lesson was learned. It was a beautiful day and the sun felt nice.
As soon as I lowered the tailgate on the truck to load Finn and Sputnik, Coral leaped in and told me plainly that she wanted to come with us!
Pretty baby! Of course I let her come!
I love the sunlight glinting off those horns.
“Where did the boys go, Coral?”
She spent most of the drive right here by Finn’s flank.
When we were almost finished with our drive, I took the goats down a little side road with a narrow sidewalk up a hill. They did great, but on the way back down the hill our yoke broke! The wagon tongue hit the pavement and the wagon overtook the boys and whacked them in the hindquarters. However, their solid training foundation saved the day and they stopped immediately when I pulled the reins and said “Whoa!”. Had they spooked and bolted it could have been a terrible wreck. I got out and unhitched them and drove them back to the truck while Phil pulled the wagon. I made a new yoke last week because I wasn’t entirely happy with the first one I made. Unfortunately, the wooden rod was too narrow for the size of the holes I drilled for the ring. Furthermore, horse yokes always have a metal piece to bind the wood around the ring and keep it from splitting. My next yoke will be designed with a sleeve of steel pipe in the spot where the ring attaches. Lesson learned! But I’m very proud of how well Finn and Sputnik obeyed in the face of such a major spook.
We threw out our Christmas tree the other night. The goats had a hey-day with it the next morning and by noon it was completely denuded–needles, bark, and many of the smaller branches were GONE. Phil said, “Well, the goats have thoroughly put this Christmas six feet under!”
This is what our once-beautiful tree looked like a couple hours after the goats got it:
In other news, Petunia is growing larger by the day. She had a secret fling sometime last summer and I don’t know who the dad was and I don’t have a breeding date. Her belly is blowing up like a balloon but she still isn’t making an udder. She’s been “large and in charge” for about a month now and she’s almost knocked me down with her belly a few times when we go for walks. I’ve felt a few kicks in the last week or so. Every time I think she can’t possibly get much bigger, she gets bigger.
So we’re taking bets! How many kids are in there and when will she have them?
I’m going to say three kids. Last Monday I made a wild guess that she would deliver on January 12, but as of today I’m thinking I’ll probably lose that bet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’m wrong about three kids. I would prefer she had just two!
Here are a couple of photos. I had trouble capturing the enormity of her girth. She looks significantly bigger in real life.
It was a gorgeous day today. So far this winter we have not had any winter, and today was t-shirt weather. Phil was working so I loaded up Sputnik and we headed out for a short hike this afternoon around the Colorado City Metro District area, which is a large open space made up of parcels that were sold in a land scam back in the 1970’s. The land didn’t have water so most of the lots reverted back to the town when the owners eventually stopped paying taxes on it. It makes for a lot of nice hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-roading trails in our area.
I decided to swing by my friend Jordan’s house and pick up her two-year-old pack wether named Geronimo. Geronimo is an Alpine/LaMancha cross with a wonderful personality. He has had very little handling because Jordan has been away at college, yet he is friendly and solid with almost no skittishness or aggression in his attitude. Since two years old is when sweet wethers often change rather suddenly, I offered to take Geronimo out from time to time to help him remember his manners. I decided to try our spare Sopris pack on him. He wore a dog pack last June at the Rendezvous, but I don’t believe he has carried a saddle since. He was a tiny bit skittish of it at first, but once I let him sniff it he soon stood still and let me fasten it on.
Sputnik was indignant. He thought he should be the one carrying the saddle and he let me know by bashing Geronimo when my back was turned. I put a stop to that and we set off on our walk.
It was a wonderful time. Sputnik was on high alert because of the new goat. His tail stayed up at full mast the whole time, but aside from the brief butting incident during saddling, he left Geronimo alone and didn’t hassle him.
It was a good experience for Geronimo and I think he’s going to make a wonderful packgoat when he grows up.
I just got a sweet letter yesterday from the lady we bought Cuzco from all those years ago. I have sent her “Cuzco” letters at Christmas for many years now, giving her updates and photos, and telling her of our adventures with the wonderful $25 “bargain goat” we bought from her. This year I was sad to report that Cuzco went to rest last spring. I’ve never heard back from this lady in all the years I’ve written to her. I only hoped I was still sending my letters to the right person! But finally this year she wrote back. She says she has loved getting Cuzco’s Christmas letters over the years and has kept them all. She has been dreading the day she’d get the last one, but she’s glad Cuzco had such a long, happy life. She still has a few dairy goats left that are descended from the ones she had when we bought Cuzco, but most of the goats they raise now are meat goats. It was nice to hear back after all these years of writing to her.