My first introduction to goats came in the book “Heidi.” I was fascinated with the job Peter had of taking the goats to pasture, and how Heidi’s health improved drinking goat milk and eating homemade bread and goat cheese. The Billy Goats Gruff, guarding their bridge from the trolls, (http://www.storynory.com/2007/04/22/the-billy-goats-gruff/) and Bill Grogan’s goat eating three red shirts, coughing them up to flag a train and save himself, (http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/b007.html) completed my education on goats. Oh, yes, and I heard they ate anything, including tin cans.
Then I heard tales from my parents of the goats they’d owned prior to my birth, and how they would jump on top their old car and onto the roof of their two-room house. It seemed they were playful, enterprising, and pesky animals.
As a young mom, I had a friend whose child was allergic to all milk but goat’s milk. And goat butter smelled like a goat. I wondered how Heidi and Peter thrived on it. Did they hold their noses? I tried goat cheese pizza. Once.
Next week, I will be at the fair with my grandchildren and their sheep and goats. And I’m sure the goats will exhibit all their known qualities, even though we will hope for the intelligent, compliant, and “great pet” qualities being the only ones exhibited.
So far, I have heard tales of the stubbornness, (laying down and refusing to move when being walked for exercise—hmm, might try that), not standing just right (feet even, poised just right for the judge), and refusing to stay inside the fence. The grandchildren have been working with them all summer, since their exciting births early last spring—twins and triplets born the same morning!
But like with all kids, frustration at their stubbornness and ingenuity in getting into trouble, are offset by the soft little faces, heartbreaking cries for love, (especially when they were being weaned) and playful antics. They are entertaining and character building for the owners.
I won’t ask for the opinion of my son-in-law who has to build and fix the fences and pens, buy the food, etc. Both he and my daughter are super busy at fair, washing, trimming, hauling and supervising goats and their handlers. Then standing by nervously as a judge questions the human kids, pinches the goat kids, and passes judgment on both types of kids whom the parents love, (as do us grandparents).
But when it’s done, it’s all worth it—and I’m not kidding!