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Friday, July 1, 2016
The Goat Chronicles: A Difference of OpinionPosted Sunday, August 3, 2008, at 9:40 PM
I always thought Tinker Bell probably looked like the little dancing goat Esmerelda from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." I haven't seen the animated movie, so I'm not sure if they even included a little goat, but there was certainly one in the book. Tinker Bell had the cutest personality and was loved by all the other goats, except (of course) the same bullies who picked on Patsy.
Goats are like that. They have an alpha male and an alpha female in the herd, and, like chickens, they have a "pecking order." One dominant animal will pick on them all, and one animal will be picked on by everyone. It's very irritating.
Anyway, Matthew, my practical middle child, entered into the DeJournett Brush Removal System with his usual down-to-earth sense of logic, thinking that we could accomplish two goals--1) eliminate the wild tangle on our levee of blackberry brambles, honeysuckle, poison ivy, wild grape vines, and runaway mimosa sprouts, and 2) make enough money from the sale of extra goats to at least recoup our losses.
It didn't happen.
Looking back over our life on the farm, my son should have been able to see that his father was the only one who was ever able to view livestock with any level of detachment and objectivity. And even he fell in love with a little orphan calf, who followed him around on the farm until a negligent hired hand left a bucket of antifreeze in the barn, which the little calf drank - and, of course, died, thus ending the employment of said hired hand....
I, on the other hand, have an unfortunate and unbusinesslike tendancy to make a PET out of every living creature I come in contact with, including a baby snapping turtle that my oldest child once found. We've had baby pigs in the yard, eating Easter eggs out of the kids' baskets...baby turkeys on the sidewalk eating flies from our fingers...baby geese swimming in the wading pool with my oldest child...and as many as 21 gerbils getting out of their cages and running through the house...
Dear Matthew should have known that Mom would make pets out of the goats, these sociable creatures with such tame natures. It's a wonder I didn't have them all dressed in little shirts and living in the house... Of course, for a period of time, I did have one in the house, but Patsy gets a story all to herself. She never did like to associate with the other goats.
In the wintertime, if there was an icy wind blowing, I didn't sleep well, knowing the goats were out in it, and to make matters worse, they don't share their quarters - so you have to have shelters for each one or two - one mother and her kids to each house. Very inconvenient. Matthew was always having to come out and put up more goat houses. I even pressed large dog houses into service, and the smaller goats found them quite cozy. Dog houses had the added benefit of being fun to jump on.
Another quite obvious problem with raising goats is that I'm probably one of the few who doesn't eat them. That also causes problems in the selling of them. For practicality, you name your goats - so you don't have to say, "You know, that grey one with the black markings on her face..." Professional goat herders tag their goats' ears, so they can identify them. Silly people name them. My brother David may not have trouble eating a calf named "Herman," but I've always found it repugnant. In fact, I rather agree with someone on the blogs who once said, "I don't eat anything with a FACE."
Next in The Goat Chronicles: "Patsy the House Goat."
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at email@example.com.