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The Goat Chronicles: A Difference of Opinion

Posted Sunday, August 3, 2008, at 9:40 PM

(Photo)
The photo I'm posting is of two of my favorite goats, taken earlier this year, after my little house goat Patsy (the one on the right) had begun to decline. The little white goat Tinker Bell is on the left, standing beside her buddy. Tinker Bell was the only one of the goats that Patsy tolerated. I took this photo, I'm sure, after I had shipped off the bullies, who picked on Patsy and may have caused her internal damage.

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."


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Very interesting read, I didnt realize there was so much to keeping and raising goats or any livestock, but of course I have always 'lived in town'.

The comment, 'I dont eat anything with a face' certainly limits ones choices. Gotta be a vegetarian.

Looking forward now to 'Patsy's' story.

-- Posted by changedname on Mon, Aug 4, 2008, at 6:09 AM

Hard to be obese if you're a vegetarian...

Just heard on the Health Break that Americans are eating 18 pounds of food a week, as opposed to 16.5 ten years ago. Those serving sizes at the restaurants are ridiculous!

Of course, summer ice cream doesn't help the waistline much!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Aug 4, 2008, at 7:01 AM

My reasoning for my previous question on your previous goat blog stems from my previous interest in raising these cute little things. I've always lived in town...but I'm the same when it comes to ANY animal. Even cute little mice make me say "AWWWWWWWWW!!!" (Though, I believe I remember a blog about these also;-) So, when my husband and I had the opportunity to have farm animals, we dove in head first. We got horses, pigs, chickens, etc, etc...and I looked into getting goats. The man who had the goats in question had old billies, old nannies, babies, and everything in between, and I fell in love! The sweet and innocent faces of the babies, the happy, gentle temperment of the adults, and the wisdom of the "elders" just struck me as WONDERFUL! When we left, we had a decision to make...but it all came to a quick hault when the people we were sharing the land with decided to back out of their deal, and leave us looking for somewhere for the animals we already had. I really wish I would've had the opportunity to raise goats as well. The good things seem to outweigh the bad, even when there are bullies.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Mon, Aug 4, 2008, at 11:57 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
I agree about mice. I don't want them in my house, but they're so cute!!

If you have kids and live on a farm (or out), goats are your pet of choice, dolphin. They are so kid-friendlly, it isn't funny! They can even be trained to pull carts!

I wish I could have given my goats to you. I would have been SURE that they would be well-cared-for. I think they'll be okay up on Goose Pond Hill, though. I have to go check on them some time soon...

I just couldn't keep my fences repaired.

Too bad we can't let all our animals run free. I've tried it, though, and it doesn't work. If you let the chickens, goats, and geese run free, they come up to your house and poop all over everything, so you have to step in it!

If you have rowdy dogs, they get into your chickens, geese and turkeys and play with them until they're dead! You can try breaking the dogs of killing chickens by tying a dead one around their neck (old wives' tale), but that doesn't work. You end up having to shoot a dog that kills chickens --- or try to give it away to someone who doesn't have chickens.

Only solution -- good fences. Sad, but true.

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Aug 5, 2008, at 8:22 AM

Baaaahhhhhhhhh Baaaahhhhhhhhh to good fences!

-- Posted by Mustang,68 on Tue, Aug 5, 2008, at 2:18 PM

I always love to hear what is happening with your goat chronicles. I too have a soft spot for animals. A few years ago I had a tree cut down that was dead so it wouldn't fall on the house or car. I kept hearing sounds and thought inside the tree was a birds nest. But to my surprise it was two very naked, squirrel babies (Fred and Ethel). I raised Fred to be big enough to be released, Ethel did not survive. It was an every 2 hour round the clock feeding frenzy. And if you didn't it was like a smoke detector x 100. I loved seeing them fur out and run about. Then cried like I lost a child when Ethel died. Then cried again for 3 days when I released Fred. But given the opportunity I would do it again in a heart beat.

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Tue, Aug 5, 2008, at 8:00 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
My daughter and I raised a little grey squirrel that we named "Squirrel Nutkin." Cutest little animal I ever saw! Cuter than goats! We successfully released her out here in a tree out back, and ever after we've had a population of grey squirrels, sharing the black oil sunflower feeder with the big red squirrels! I should write a blog about her! Thanks for making me think of it!

MD! Unbelievable new development! For the first time there is photographic evidence of how the visitors from Planet Goat are traveling to their new assignments. They are using a spacecraft disguised as a cloud! See this world exclusive photo of Tinker Bell and Patsy spacecloud surfing, http://forejustice.org/md/tinker_bell_an...

-- Posted by FJGuy on Tue, Aug 5, 2008, at 9:20 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Oh, yes, that is indeed an unbelievable new development! I am so glad to see proof that Patsy is in a better place, and her little loyal friend Tinker Bell is with her!

Thanks, FJ!

SKD...it's stories like that that warm my heart. My dad had a baby deer that he bottle fed too. I wasn't born yet when he had it, but he showed me pictures of it with him bottle feeding it...and it was SOOOOOO cute!!!

This time last year, a hummingbird that frequented my dad's feeder got attacked by a cat. He got the cat to drop it, and fed it nectar from a soda cap until someone would be in the conservation office to contact about coming to get it to rehab it's wing. They are so gentle. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to hold one. I sure do wish I could do zoo work or something.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Aug 5, 2008, at 9:40 PM

Has anyone seen the white fawn photos that KFVS showed? I am so outraged that they did that! Now every dope in the area will be out tromping through that SPECIFIC location off Mt. Auburn Road, looking for the poor little thing!

They had a white fawn in the Chaffee paper one year, but they would NOT give the location.

People can be such dopes!

We went to a zoo this last weekend, and I noticed what IDIOTS some people can be! I was so glad that the zoo had an employee stationed at the giraffe viewing station, where people could feed the beautiful animals.

Makes me wonder --- Just WHO are the animals at the zoo??

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Aug 6, 2008, at 6:18 AM

Shot that little albino yesterday GOAT.....you wouldn't believe how tender white fawn meat is. If KFVS ever releases the location of the dope, let us know. Interesting.

"I am not an animaaaaaaaaaal. IIIIIIII aaaaam a HUMAAAAAAAN BEEEEEEEING.

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Wed, Aug 6, 2008, at 9:52 AM

I loved the story! Looking forward to the sequel!

-- Posted by swift on Wed, Aug 6, 2008, at 3:01 PM

Well, I guess that answers MY question...Hoon, was that you up on the giraffe platform, trying to feed them cigars???

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Aug 6, 2008, at 5:26 PM

Speaking of feeding animals cigars, I was once on a nature hike and the professors leading us made sure the smokers put their cigarette butts in baggies, rather than leaving them on the ground. They said the deer will eat them and become addicted to nicotine!

-- Posted by Youngest Child on Wed, Aug 6, 2008, at 10:44 PM

GOAT:

I was not on a "giraffe platform"??????? trying to feed them cigars???????????? Will smoke a fatboy every now and then. The last time I was on a giraffe platform was in college. I did a triple ending into a 4 foot pool and stood to a standing O! Did I tell you how tender albino bambi meat is?

"Mommy, where's fluffy?"

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Thu, Aug 7, 2008, at 1:08 AM

Good to see you sacrificing your health by staying up till after midnight to enlighten our blog buddies on your non-existant activities, hoon.

I see that you are in your element on Bobby's blog, ripping up the opposition with your rapier wit. Only time will tell if your new opponent will cave in under the combined pressure of the dead rockers, as others have done. If he survives, I'm sure he will make a stellar addition to your sarcastic society.

I'm not surprised by the addictive qualities of cigars. Another of man's disgusting inventions!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Aug 7, 2008, at 7:21 AM

MD

Fred was like the "son" I never got to have. To keep him out of my hair while I was working (medical transcription home based) I would roll him up in the tail of my T-shirt. As long as I didn't get up he would lay right there and sleep. He also liked to sip water from a straw in my cup. I miss the little rascal horribly and I set him free three years ago this October.

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Thu, Aug 7, 2008, at 8:10 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
How cute! Squirrel Nutkin would run around and around our shoulders and nibble on my daughter's earrings. I could hardly stand it when we had to release her into the wild, but she was demolishing the walls in my extra bedroom!

Coming in a little late with this comment, but sorry, the only good mouse is a dead mouse as far as I'm concerned. Nothing cute, there. Never did like Mickey, but Donald Duck was the best!

-- Posted by ct on Thu, Aug 7, 2008, at 10:34 AM

Ah, ct, you're no fun!!! If you don't like cute little mouses, tell us what animals you do like!

Gotta like animals or line up with Mr. I-Was-Voted-Most-Sarcastic-in-My-Senior-Class-of- mmm..1972-and-Ate-a-Rare-White-Fawn---(Hoonowski). Did I get close??

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Aug 7, 2008, at 4:58 PM

Aw ct, I thought that too, but there was no way I could let the little rascal just die in the hot sun, so I raised him and then set him free. I called him my little furry tailed rat. And I would do it again given the opportunity.

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Fri, Aug 8, 2008, at 11:07 PM

goat lady, I think that in another life I was cousin to a deer. And I've always wanted to own a horse. Planned to buy one a long time ago and ended up getting my oldest son instead! Love to hear cows moo and dogs howl!! Prairie dogs are good, too! Omaha has a great zoo. I always thought St. Louis was the best, but I think Omaha has it beat.

-- Posted by ct on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 11:56 AM

GL, please do not put that guy off on the 1972 class. You keep him with yours. If you think he is really a graduate of anything.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 6:53 PM

Hoon seems to be more in the 80's or 90's era. Just based on what he says, and who he talks about. Though I could also be wrong...Hoon jumps around an awful lot on things.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 11:46 PM

Mmm...after I guessed 72, I thought he might be older than that -- but I don't know my music well enough to place him. So, I.B., class of '72, huh?? Interesting! I had you figured as older, since you're so WISE!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Aug 20, 2008, at 6:28 PM

I didn't say how old I was when I graduated. I am from Eastern Kentucky.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Aug 20, 2008, at 8:26 PM


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Madeline DeJournett
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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 advancensc@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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