I smelled like a wet goat today. This will surprise those of you who guessed that I might smell like a wet goat at all times. I don't, really . . . well, not too much anyway.
The events of the morning.
Awakened at 6:30 on a Saturday morning by children. Mumbled "happy birthday, Sparky," and went back to sleep for 75 years.
Pulled on shorts and a tank top and started the coffee. Got out buttermilk and eggs to make Sparky's birthday pancakes. Then the phone rang.
"Hi, this is your dad." Uh-oh. Nothing good has ever come from a phone call that started this way. "There's a baby goat on our driveway, and I thought the girls might like to see it."
"Yeah, I'm sure they would . . . whose goat is it?" I asked.
"I don't know . . . it's just here, and all of my cows are upset. Why don't you have the girls come look at it, and then they can bring it home with them?"
"WAIT a minute. What am I gonna do with a baby goat? Especially one that's not mine? And why do you think I want one?"
"Well, I don't want it, and . . ."
"Dad, let's try to find out whose goat it is, okay? Will you help? Because I have a LOT of stuff going on this weekend and --"
"Just send the girls down, and they can take the goat home for a while."
My blood pressure has never been checked, other than during pregnancies. I don't want to break what is likely an expensive machine by burying its needle in the red zone.
So the girls and I slipped on old shoes and walked down the road. The cows in the east pasture were pressed against the fence, bawling to the west. The cows in the west pasture were pressed against their fence, bawling to the east. And in the middle, on the road, stood a tiny brown goat, looking lost.
He looked a lot like this little one. (Photo via this site)
But as cute as he was, he was not interested in human contact, and he squeezed through a wide spot in the fence, into the east pasture. The cows were NOT happy. They went after the little guy like he was made of hay, probably acting upon instinct to attack anything the size of a dog. And they attacked. The poor baby goat ran away, and then, also acting upon instinct, sought shelter in a herd, and ran right into the crowd of obnoxious cows, who abused him all over again. Nothing good has ever come from a phone call from my dad in the morning.
Sighing heavily, I crossed the fence with two chattering little girls in tow. Try as I might I could not convince them to stay on the fence or go home. To add insult to injury, Dad had just irrigated the pasture, and there was standing water amongst the cow pies. *sigh*
The goat would not be caught, the cows would not relent, and it was hopeless. And then the goat disappeared, totally. I combed the grass for him for 15 minutes without finding him. Okay, my work here is done, I thought. Home to wash our feet and shoes and make breakfast, and finally get some of that coffee that's turning to sludge.
After breakfast my maternal instinct kicked in and I had to try to find that goat. The girls insisted upon coming too, so out we went.
It wasn't hard to locate where the little guy was; he was the speck moving east through the pasture with a clot of crabby bovines hot on his heels. By the time we caught up with the herd they had reached the end of the pasture and were snugged up against the east fence. I made the girls stand way back, by the fence, and moved in alone, wading through brown water more than a foot deep and swearing under my breath at my father. One cow was in heat and the bull was not interested in anybody but her; they were canoodling there between the baby goat and me, and they weren't moving for nobody.
The goat saw me and bolted into the herd, still believing he was safe among the cows.
Have you ever seen a mother cow with a bug up her bad attitude? It's not something you want to see play out, especially if there are children present. Several of the old bags were pretty aggressive toward the tiny little goat, but one in particular was brutal. She charged at him, ran him over -- and I mean trampled him on purpose -- then turned around and did it again. Then she ground him into the grass with her head. My daughters were screaming in horror behind me, and I was carefully moving toward the fray, not sure what I would do if the cow went for me, but positive I was mad enough that she would regret it at least a little.
I was sure the little goat would be dead.
But up he jumped, staggering, and raced for the fence, where he collapsed. In amazement I watched several of the cows move in as if to finish him off. I charged, roaring like a lion, and I'm not kidding. ROAR. It took a very long time and a lot of roaring, but I was finally able to back the herd up, then I ran at them, which spooked them and they turned tail and ran, at least until their tiny brains stopped them. "Oh look, grass . . . munch munch munch . . ." Stupid cows.
I still had to catch the goat, which was surprisingly difficult. I finally pinned him against the fence and some berry vines, picked him up, and carried him all the way back across the pasture. He was surprisingly heavy; not unlike a hairy smelly toddler with hooves and horns. More than once he tried to suckle on my neck, poor baby.
"What are you gonna do with him, Mama?" asked the girls.
"I'm gonna make Grandpa drive me and the goat around the neighborhood until we find his owner," I answered. And that's what we did. Grandpa was just getting into his pickup to go to lunch with friends, but I walked up with a dripping wet, stinky goat and made him chauffeur us around first. Goaty sat on my lap, fairly calm, considering, as we looked for his home. We left him in a neighbor's pasture, and a phone call later confirmed that we'd picked the right one. The little guy may die, though, if he sustained internal injuries, which wouldn't surprise me. My respect for the size and power of a cow has been renewed.
What I Learned
- Goats are stupid. They will keep running for the herd that's trying to kill them, over and over and over.
- Cows are stupid. They forget that there's a goat in the pasture and it's not a dog and didn't we just check that? and Oh look, a dog-shaped thing! Let's GIT IT! over and over and over.
- People who answer the phone on Saturday mornings are stupid. It's probably your dad and nothing good has ever come from a phone call from your dad in the morning.
- Those blood pressure machines need to be built stronger, because I'm certain I'd ruin one on contact.
- Girls who really really need to pee while out in the pasture can pee just like boys only with poorer aim. Who knew?
- Smelling like a wet goat is every bit as bad as you think it is.