I have tracked through woods deeper & darker than Mantracker has ever seen, wrestled my way through swamp thickets, slipped & slid up and down muddy creek beds, trudged thru neck high hog weed, sprinted across never ending corn fields, climbed electric fence & barb wire, inches from being trampled by a herd of cattle, had an unfortunate exchange with a very large deer & have eaten more Mosquitos than the suggested daily protein intake of a large man and all this for.... a goat, who's bell can still tauntingly be heard just far enough in the distance to make you crazy. The two day saga continues...
We have been trying to streamline our herd of dairy goats, after committing to just about one of every breed last year to figure out which we liked best. We'd decided on Nubian for their delicious, ungoaty milk and friendly dispositions & goodness forbid their dual purposeness. So I listed the precious goats we were to cull this year to make room for a few more Nubians in their stead. All this is made easier only by having a vision of the path forward of the goats that would be replacing them.
I had found a unusually shy but wise lady near Kingston who was downsized her own precious herd of dappled Nubians. They were the most beautiful collection of goats I have ever seen. They had polka dots everywhere. You couldn't tell where one goat started and the other ended. Like a great big Jackson Pollock painting on the run. She had a few for sale. As I was trying to get close enough to look at each one, the whole herd would flux and fly away from me wildly climbing walls to get out of my reach, with the exception of one. One large doe just stood right next to me and stared me right in the eye. Not timid or scared one bit by my strange presence. The lady said that doe was reluctantly for sale. Her name was Scarlett and she was her favourite. But she had aged and the lady knew it was time to sell her. Scarlett had the personality and the teats we wanted in our herd but she wasn't as dappled as the others. There was another wild-ling in the bunch that had the perfect dappling for our breeding program but clearly had never been touched by a human. I have always been terrible at deciding these things, which is why I usually take someone with me to push me on one side of the decision or another. I asked the lady who was selling them which she would take. She said she'd love for me to take Scarlett just because she knows she would be going to a good place but that it was my decision. After way too much pondering, I chose Scarlett, still not confident about leaving the other beauty behind.
It immediately became apparent that Scarlett had never been on a lead before & was very forthright about her opinions about being taken from her herd. I had unfortunately taken my mom's SUV which was high from the ground but with much awkward wrestling, she reluctantly was loaded in the back. Despite her initial dissatisfaction with riding in the back of a moving vehicle, she settled right down. She stood the whole way, up and down the winding roller coaster back roads of Westport and beyond. With her head over the backseat watching Livi and Kai's every move. We had just come from Livi's Preschool Graduation and both Kai & Livi had been playing with balloons in the back which Scarlett had found amusing. But it wasn't long before I heard Kai whining uncomfortably in the backseat.
"Scarlett's dropping her boogers on me & she won't stop!" he tattled.
We must have had the air-conditioning too high. He tried bending himself out of the way of her sniffling snot but Scarlett had found such solace in his big mop of wild hair that the booger drippings could no longer be avoided. I handed Kai the Kleenex box and he sweetly blew her nose for her. The three of them became the best of friends back there. So much so that it appeared that one of the two munchkins in the back had unclipped the dog leash that was to keep anchored to the back of the car. But she didn't jump the backseat, just faithfully stood the whole way to her new home.
She had been so chill the whole idyllic way home, that I could not have predicted the drama that was about to ensue once I opened the back hatch to bring her into the barn.
I pulled up close enough to the barn and unloaded my two littles with their helium balloons happily in hand and gave them instruction to stand right next to the car until Scarlett was in the barn. I opened the hatch, quickly re-clipped the dog leash and let out a sigh of relief. Phew. That was close I thought.
And then, with absolutely no warning, Scarlett leapt out of the back like the car had just exploded. Unaware of her new surroundings, flew into the side of our old pumphouse with me on the other end of that nylon leash. I smoked my shoulder, and lost my footing over some forlorn logs around the back of the pumphouse and she dragged me. Dragged me hard. Through the grass. through the cedars and just about onto the road before I regained control. I was slightly impressed that she could drag me, a full grown woman, so far, so fast.
Livi screamed with horror having just witness the whole terrible event and let go of her balloon in sheer shock. She was now bellowing her sorrow upon realizing her balloon was gone. Kai happily fascinated with the dancing balloon over his head hadn't notice a thing. I wrestled that goat as hard as I possible I could. With all my might, I dragged and pushed and pulled that goat while yelling my not so sympathetic comfort to Liv who, devastated, had lost all of her life's dreams in that balloon now swirling high in the sky on it's way to the moon. I finally got Scarlett into the barn and took the kiddos inside for their overdue nap.
Later that day, I could not get that other beautiful goat out of my head. I humbly asked Steve if there was anyway we could afford to get this other goat, as dappled goats are quite rare and sell quickly. He said yes, despite the fact that we hadn't yet sold any of the goats that we were replacing. We rubbed our pennies together and I took my mom and all the kids back the next day to grab the other, more wild, less better tempered goat. And that is when all the trouble started.