Monthly Archives: December 2019

The Goat-O-Rama Gang presents a series of seasonally festive photographs for your enjoyment.

Coral is one of our most proficient tree-trimmers and acrobats.

Lovely Rita wears a tastefully fashionable “sprinkle of snow” cape with festive “sprig of pine” accessory.

I may have been premature in choosing a photo for the Christmas card this year.
Tigerlily will not be outdone by the younger generations! She can still dance with the best of them,  and her white spotted coat needs no holiday enhancements.
Snowball gazes in rapt admiration at her glamorous and athletic mother.
With this balancing act, Finn appears to be trying out for the circus.
Sputnik in regal form.
Coral, a.k.a. “Fuzzy”, wonders whether it might be easier to flap her ears and fly to the treetops.
Mother and daughter–what a pair! So similar and yet so different, and both look stunning in the snow!

The rest of the photos belong to Miss Snowball. She has turned out to be the biggest, the prettiest, the softest, and certainly the most photogenic baby of 2019. Her pure white baby coat has been replaced by her permanent color, which is as stunning and unique as her mother’s but with a very different expression. Unlike Tigerlily’s minimal bold black spots, Snowball has developed a soft roan wash over much of her back. Her ears darkened to a beautiful fawn brown that frame her white face and cherubic smile.

2019 Beulah Parade and Yule Log – A Goat-O-Rama Tradition!

This was the 67th anniversary of the Beulah Yule Log Festival, and our 7th time attending. As usual, Phil and I dressed up as Santa and Helper Elf for the Beulah parade of lights the night before the Yule Log. We were thankful to have help decorating the carriage from our friends Bob and Alane Smith who we know from our church in Rye. I added some red and gold frills to the goats’ harnesses and bedecked them in enough bells for the people in the next county to hear them coming.  
The parade was a blur of fun as usual. The goats were particularly well-behaved this year despite having only a single practice session one week before the event. They always get a little nervous in the most crowded section, mostly because of how many dogs bark from the darkness then suddenly lunge into the light all sides. Thankfully the dogs are all leashed, but the experience is always a little unnerving for the goats.

Santa thrilled one and all with his generous distribution of candy. The children always love seeing Santa ride into town in his goat-drawn “sleigh” while the elf toots the horn.

Next morning was the Yule Log festival, and for the first time in our seven years of attending, Phil and I finally got to sit inside the beautiful stone lodge built during the Depression by the CCC. We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful music presented at their Christmas ceremony before going back to our truck to retrieve Finn and Sputnik for the Yule Log hunt.

We didn’t come anywhere close to finding the Yule Log this year, but as usual our goats helped drag it back! There was no snow this time so dragging the log (and its dozen or so riders) was more difficult than usual, but as always the goats put their best effort into the work and we soon made it back to the lodge with our prize.
And here is the esteemed Yule Log, with part of it already cut and fed to the Yule Fire and the other half waiting to start next year’s fire. 
And now for Sputnik’s favorite part of the celebration–wassail and cookies! There were several dozen varieties of cookies presented, and I’m pretty sure Sputnik sampled most of them and loved almost all of them equally until his belly got full, at which point he became somewhat more discriminating.

As always, the Yule Log Festival was a wonderful, magical celebration steeped in tradition and camaraderie. We can’t wait till next year!

A Whirl of Changes

November is usually a month to get ready for winter and holidays. It’s a month to prepare for cold weather and get used to shorter days. Cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking firewood usually looms large in November. But this year was different. I spent a brief but fun weekend in Massachusetts with my in-laws. They invited me out to attend Equine Affaire, which is one of the largest horse events in the U.S. It my first time visiting Phil’s parents sans Phil. He held down the fort here so I could go for my “horse spa weekend” as he called it. We had a wonderful time together and I’m so happy they invited me.

Just before I left for MA, I made the difficult but long-in-coming decision to list my horse Skokie for sale. I’d had Skokie since birth. He was the only offspring from my mom’s beloved palomino mare, PJ. My mom and I had spent time picking the stud–a beautiful Thoroughbred stallion named Coverallbases who was a grandson of Seattle Slew on his father’s side and a grandson of Secretariat on his mother’s. When we originally bred PJ to a Thoroughbred, I had hopes of getting into hunter/jumper competition and other English riding disciplines. But this never panned out and Skokie ended up much too big a horse for me and for the western riding I ended up doing. Skokie and I also never really clicked. He was a good horse and I had no complaints about his behavior, but for some reason our personalities never quite meshed. It was time to let him go.

A buyer from Virginia called while I was in MA. I was not interested in selling Skokie to anyone sight-unseen, but the man was very determined. He said his daughter would come pick Skokie up. That made me feel better. There was no way I was going to pack Skokie off with a shipping company and send him across the country! But if the man’s own daughter would come in person and actually ride him and take him back herself, I could feel ok about that.

At the same time as I was negotiating the sale of Skokie, I had my eye on a little Morgan yearling that was more my size. I fell in love with Morgans when I was in college out east. I was on the lookout for a mare or filly, but when I saw the buckskin gelding’s sweet little face on the sale page, I couldn’t resist. I ended up bringing my new baby home the day before Skokie left for Virginia. It was absolute Providence that this transition happened at exactly the same time. Dusty didn’t have to be lonely for even one day, and I didn’t have to deal with the dynamics of a temporary 3-horse herd with Skokie asserting his size and dominance over the young newcomer.

I named the new horse Pepperjack. Skokie was in rare form when Pepperjack got off the trailer. He pranced so beautifully that I almost regretted selling him. He looked like he was posing for a statue in Kentucky Horse Park and had that gorgeous Thoroughbred “Look of Eagles” in his eyes. Skokie is normally very laid back, so seeing him puffed up and almost floating above the ground was a real treat.
While Skokie danced and pranced along the fence line, Pepperjack introduced himself to the goats and got to know Dusty a little bit.
I think Pepperjack and I are going to be very good friends. He’s a fun, gentle, and adventuresome little fellow and he will not outgrow me like Skokie did.
Next morning, Skokie hopped on the trailer to Virginia. He now belongs to the Master of the Rockbridge Hunt and will be a foxhunter, which is really the life Skokie was bred for. I feel like a small-town mother who just sent her son off to an Ivy League university, but somehow I think he was made for that life. The best part for Skokie is that he’ll never have to see the inside of an arena again. He always hated arena work but loved striking out cross-country to explore new places. I hope he has a wonderful, exciting life out there and that he turns out to be the best horse his new owner has ever had.

For me, I’m glad of change. Losing Jet so unexpectedly last year was a terrible blow and I’ve had a hard time riding or even spending time with horses since then. With everything new, I feel like I can start over. I look out the window and the horses make me happy again. I look forward to the adventures that await Dusty, Pepperjack, and I in 2020.

In unrelated news, Finn really enjoyed Halloween this year.

Winter came early again this year

I was caught off-guard last year by a blizzard on October 30th. This year’s first blizzard came even earlier–October 24th. We had a good 15 inches of snow! 

The heavy snow wreaked havoc on my electric fences, but it sure was pretty!

“Where’s our breakfast?!?”

Petunia had to break a trail down to the house to get milked. I think this time the milk was already refrigerated before it hit the pail!

“Do I really have to walk through all that snow?”

Sweet little Cupcake looks like she dunked her nose in the snow. I love the matching frosting around her eyes.

“They hay feeder is empty! Why is the hay feeder empty??”

“Ah, this is more like it!”

The cold weather got Rita and Coral riled up!

Petunia got very cold for some reason and even went mostly off-feed. She would sniff the hay, take a bite or two, then go lay down in the shed by herself. I blanketed her and gave her medicine but it took her a few days to recover her appetite and her energy. By the time she felt better, her milk had almost dried up and it never came back. So much for fresh goat milk this winter!

TinCup never acted cold and never went off-feed, but I blanketed her anyway because she’s the skinniest goat in the herd and I didn’t want her to lose any weight from keeping herself warm. TinCup says “Nom nom nom!”

Fall Fell… Where was I?

It’s been so busy around here that I’m afraid I haven’t been a very good blogger. Day 11 was our last day of “goat vacation.” We packed up and headed out of Escalante the next morning. We had a beautiful drive over the Utah mountains. A pinkish haze drifted across them from some distant wildfire.
When I got home, I had to decide what to do about Buster Brown. I wanted so badly to keep him, but I’d had a call from the fellow who bought Thor and Yeti. He had bought two bottle kids before he purchased Thor and Yeti, and one of them was a bit of a runt that failed to thrive. Sadly, the baby died in September and family was heartbroken. His name was Brownie. I couldn’t help it. I knew my Brownie could be the perfect replacement for the kid they lost. He would fit in well because Thor and Yeti were already there. I’ve never seen male and female siblings stay so closely bonded for this long. Usually by three to four months, the brothers and sisters don’t get along because the boys get pushy. Not so with Brownie. He was such a sweet and gentle goat that even at five months, he and Cupcake were still best buddies.

In mid-October Phil and I took Brownie and Cupcake for a final walk together before he went to his new home.

I can’t get over how closely Cupcake resembles Nubbin. They aren’t related, but Cupcake has that same beautiful red-bay coat with white-frosted ears and nose, and a white star. Cupcake has more white on her sides and legs than Nubbin, but I sometimes still do a double-take.

Snowball is one of the most beautiful kids we’ve ever had here. A roan pattern has popped out from her white coat and it’s absolutely stunning and very unusual. She has the sweetest smile accentuated by her black lips, and just like her mother, Tigerlily, she looks like she’s wearing eyeliner. She’s still as soft as dandelion fluff and her personality is as sweet as her looks.

And yes, Snowball came in the house the other day.

Mocha is the go-getter of the group. She is a very athletic and adventuresome little goat and she will do anything for treats! Small as she is, she can easily jump three feet! I love these “levitating goat” photos Phil got.