Living in a rural area affords a person the chance to experience the rewards of raising ducks, chickens, sheep and other such creatures. I personally have had the “pleasure” of these opportunities.
It was the spring of 2001, my sheep whose name was Elliott, E-E-E-lli-o-o-o-t pronounced with a sheep accent, had recently passed away and his sheep house was empty. A friend told me a couple of goats from Sequim needed a home.
Well, certainly I would take them; no one should have an empty sheep house. Soon they arrived and I named them Maynard and Zelda, inspired by Dobie Gillis re-runs.
Being Sequim goats, it was apparent right away they hated the rain. A bigger problem than their fear of the rain was my fear of more little goats. I loaded Maynard in the Chevy Tahoe and drove him to the veterinary clinic for his procedure; first I layered 4 mil plastic and a blanket in the back of the car in case of a goat accident.
Once the procedure was over, he slept it off in the Tahoe. Unfortunately, my efforts were in vain because Zelda already was expecting. Soon Oats and Ivy were born.
One evening I was heading out to a performance of the “Vagina Monologues” and I heard a terrible noise coming from the goat house. I opened the door to find four goats projectile vomiting green slime, and grinding their teeth, it was quite a sight.
I called Quillayute prairie resident Candy Hendrickson, goat expert extraordinaire, she suspected they ate something that was poisonous to them, producing the symptoms I was witnessing. She told me I needed to get a jug of mineral oil and get some down them.
Hours later covered in green slime and mineral oil, I am not sure if I had more mineral oil on me or in the goats, but apparently it was enough because they all survived. I missed the play.
One day when I was at the dentist, Dr. Bob Henry, my neighbor, said “Hey, did you know your goats are sneaking out under their fence?” I said “UHHHH UUhhhh?” You know how dentists always ask you stuff when you can’t answer back.
Sure enough, they were crawling out on the back side where I could not see them. Then when they heard me coming they crawled back in.
I tried to keep them in their pen. Especially since Dr. Bob had just planted some nice tender, tasty trees along the property line. It was a losing battle.
Did I mention Maynard had big horns? He liked to ram them in to me. When I asked the veterinarian what to do he said I needed to show him I was the boss, he suggested maybe whacking him with something like a 2×4. I did not like the sound of that so one day I put on a pair leather gloves and as he came at me I grabbed him by the horns and did a take-down. A professional wrestler would have been proud.
Sadly Zelda, Oats and Ivy succumbed to various goat illnesses and Maynard was left as a lone goat.
I finally gave up and left the gate to the pen open, providing Maynard with free range status. He began lying on the front porch like a dog. The dogs didn’t like it much. He also discovered if he got on the table on the deck he could see us in the house better, and he eventually figured out how to open the door. One Christmas Eve my husband found Maynard in the kitchen. And he called out to me, “Is this goat supposed to be in here?” Now, what kind of a question is that? Well, no … So, we had to keep the door locked.
One day Maynard got sick. The vet came to look him over and it was not good, I felt bad like I had let him down … the vet said, “How old is he?” I said, “Maybe 15 years? How long are they supposed to live?” The vet said, “Not that long.”
Some days I miss Maynard, I miss our walks in the woods, like the time we went blackberry picking and I thought he was lost, I looked for him for an hour, and really he just got bored and went back home.