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Swimming with goats

Goat walk

It's been blazing hot, with highs in the mid nineties. So, after supper, the goats and I head to the creek for a cool-down.

Summer creek

I jump in one of the deep holes while the herd looks on in horror. Actually, on day one, all three goats ran up and down the bank and cried, "Please get out! You'll drown! Or the alligators will get you!" No matter how much I explained that naming one of our wettest areas "the alligator swamp" was poetic license, they wouldn't calm down.

On day two, Artemesia was the only one worried about me, though. And by day three, the whole herd just quietly grazed along the shore, although my favorite little doeling did keep her eye on me the whole time. I guess it's handy to have a goat lifeguard, even if the water is less than waist deep.

Grazing goats

By the time my core body temperature has cooled down sufficiently to make life enjoyable again, the goats are deep into their grazing cycle. This week, they're spending their days in our poorest pasture, which wasn't even grazed by chickens last year and which runs out of goat-friendly greens after about day 1. I want the goats to keep depositing manure there, though, so I bring tree branches each morning and drop by with cabbage and carrot leaves midday. Still, by dinner time, the goats are hungry.

Head butt

So I settle onto my yoga mat with a book or a notebook (depending on my mood) and relax for an hour or so. I know when each belly fills because the attached goat drifts back to visit with me, and make trouble (Lamb Chop) or act cute (Artemesia).

Of course, the herd isn't ready to go home until the herd queen is 100% full. So when Abigail makes an appearance and decides head butting is more fun than eating, I pack up and we walk back down the driveway to our core homestead.

Goat on a bridge

The goats scurry alongside with little or no verbal prodding, Artemesia often right at heel with her ears perked back to make sure I'm still coming. The other goats are less concerned about a human's presence, so they just make a beeline for the coop where the deer flies they've accumulated will be confused and will soon fly away.

Goats running up a hill

And that's my post-supper goat hour in a nutshell. The only part I left out is the frolicking leap of goats 1, 2, and 3 down the hill at the beginning, during which time they really do appear to be clicking their heels together in joy. I'm still working on catching that on camera, so you'll just have to imagine goat glee at 6 pm today.

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