Sunday, May 25, 2014

Got your goat

About a month ago, the youngest Huffman announced her news.
“I’m getting two goats,” she said.
Not being in charge of Huffman animals, I looked at my husband, who nodded to confirm.
Where exactly are we putting these two goats? I asked.
Down the street at the 4-H farm, she said.
All of my problems with the goats instantly evaporated. I don’t care how many goats we own just as long as they aren’t pooping in my backyard.
Apparently this is what happens in 4-H. The kids start with something small and portable like a bunny and next thing you know, you’re a goat farmer.
4-H goats work like this:
You get the goats. You feed the goats. You train the goats to walk around on a leash-type thing. You take the goats to the fair where you sell the goats.
You make a few bucks and someone else makes goat stew.
I like how goat ownership has a speedy beginning, middle and end including dollar signs.
After the goat delivery, we headed over to the farm to check them out. There they were, about 20 brown and white goats, along with a few sheep.
We visited before they’d been fed. Big mistake.
Do not visit goats that are expecting dinner. If you do not bring the dinner, the goats get m-a-d. The sheep will also be mad. And they will make a lot of noise to let you know just how mad they are.
Don’t try and explain to the mad goats/sheep that you are very sorry about not bringing food because you are only visiting. This will only make them madder.
There was a cute little cow in another pen next to the goats. She was not mad. She was frisky and practically pranced along next to the fence when we walked by. Who knew a cow could act like a puppy?
Later my husband corrected me.
That’s not a cow, he said. That’s a steer.
Gotcha, Mr. I Grew Up On A Farm.
I discovered that the goats aren’t like a puppy. They don’t want to be petted. They don’t even want to be touched. When our girl got into their pen, they ran to one corner. When she walked over to them, they ran to the other corner. It was like a game of chase, which is not how you train a goat, my husband informed us. Do not chase the goats, he said.
In the middle of the pen was a tree stump. I assumed it was for the goat owner to sit and pet her goats, a la “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” but instead, the goats used it as a scouting platform, probably for a better view of who is bringing them dinner.
The goats warily eyed our girl while she tried to entice them over for a snack of some Wheat Thins. Eventually the bravest of the two, now named Caramel, managed a quick nibble before running away. The not-so-brave goat, named Snickers, kept his distance.
I think someone must have told him about the goat stew.

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