Saturday, August 15, 2009


Remember the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” (we’re old hippies, we remember when it was the saying du jour)? We did exactly that this morning.

I got up at 6:30 AM, took bottles to Mopple and Edmund, let Martok and Uzzi (our Nubian buck and his wether friend) out in the yard for walkabout time, then came in to write until time to feed and milk. Shortly after 7 AM the power went out. So I read until feeding time and then did the chores but the power was still out at 9:30 when I put the bottled goat milk in ice water to cool. Since we live in a mobile home and this being mid-August in the Arkansas Ozarks, things were heating up pretty seriously. John suggested we put the dogs in the outdoor dog yard to stay reasonably cool, stop by the post office to see if my paycheck was there, and then go on to Batesville to buy my wagon.

So we did. I fed the guys their second bottle a little early (I’m feeding Mopple 12 ounces of goat milk, four times a day), made sure they had plenty of cool water (I plopped in two Philly Cream Cheese container ice cubes to be sure) and loose hay, and off we went.

It’s 80 miles to Batesville from here (Batesville is the closest decent-size town), so we had plenty of time to chat, then we enjoyed a fine lunch at a Chinese buffet we’d never tried before (mm-mmm, noodles!). Then, off to TSC.

TSC had three wagons in stock: a humongous silver model, a medium-size green one and a smallish red wagon. While red would’ve been nice to match the harness, the wheels on that model were awfully close together, so it didn’t seem stable. The green one is a good size for an adult goat or Mopple-size sheep to pull and the tires are set much farther apart, so that’s the one we chose.

So, John started pulling it toward the front of the store. Wait, I said, they won’t let you take the floor model, we’ll have to take a boxed one and put it together! Sure they will, he replied—just watch. And darned if the cashier didn’t let him have it. She not only let him have it (without charging extra for assembly), she followed him out to the van to help him load it. Who’d have thunk it!

Now I have a wagon (as soon as John makes its shafts) and a harness; it’s just a case of figuring out which goats to train to pull it and then, training them.

By the time we got home at 1:30 PM it was 94 degrees with the humidity really cooking (though mercifully the power was restored and the air conditioner humming), so I’d best wait till tomorrow to work with a goat.

I think Uzzi is the way to go but I’ve never worked with him separate from Martok, so we’ll do some leading refresher training out in the yard (with increasingly smelly Martok back in their paddock) before introducing something new.

An alternative might be Morgan the Sable though he doesn’t ‘do’ heat at all well (he has to pant a lot); he does, however, love attention (and food rewards!) of any kind.

Kes, our Boer herd queen wants to be a working goat (I’m going to lose some of you, I fear, when I admit I learned that via animal communication) and she’s cute, short and very, very blocky and strong, so she’s on the agenda too.

So many goats—so little time!


  1. Awesome! Paint it red! ;)

    That harness is going to look great on them. I love the pics!


  2. "Kes, our Boer herd queen wants to be a working goat (I’m going to lose some of you, I fear, when I admit I learned that via animal communication) and she’s cute, short and very, very blocky and strong, so she’s on the agenda too."

    You've got me hooked in fact - I want to know if the communictor was right or missed her saying "NO WAY" I'll be a working goat ;)

  3. I think she was right. Kes is a very cool goat.

    My friend Lori Olson bought her for me when we were going to raise Boers. Kes (her registered name is numbers, so Lori and I gave her the name Kes) is a small but very heavy-boned South African doe with a super pedigree.

    However, when Kes was heavily pregnant the first (and for us, only) time, she had pregnancy toxemia and nearly died. We worked around the clock to keep her going for the last three weeks and then when she did go into labor she was too weak to deliver her kids, so we had to pull them. She was a great mom but we think that was enough of that.

    Before that she was friendly but not touchy-feelie. Since then she's been a pocket goat. She's incredibly sweet and shows a lot of interest in everything we do. She acts like a goat who needs a second career.

    One day I put the packsaddle on her back and she loved it! So I think she'd enjoy learning to pull the wagon.

    I guess we'll see!