Monday, 15 August 2011

Now you see them ...

Obviously it was Jessica's fault. Without an identity the goats were content within the confines of their new world but now they had names, they felt compelled to express their individuality. Toffee started by getting her head stuck in the fence, finding that backswept horns are fine when going forwards but less co operative when going in reverse. Thus she discovered that fences were not intended to allow her through; but no one had said anything about going over.

Two days after the wedding the goats were gone. If they had been intended as part of a dowry we could have fobbed it off as no longer our responsibility but they represented our hope toward self sufficiency and a lifestyle of eating that which we had reared (had some one told the goats?).  Thus we once again had an empty paddock and endured the platitudes of friends who attempted to offer us solace with stories of goats performing all kinds of escapism feats.

Having been goatherds for such a short time we were dismayed and bereft. Such long and careful planning (not to mention the cost of the goats themselves) had borne so little fruit . We walked the empty paddocks trying to find clues to the 'how?' and left the 'why?' untouched as a raw nerve on the surface of our sensibilities. The obvious bolt hole proved not to be a hole but a handy 'step-up' in the form of tree stumps conveniently spaced on either side of the fence. This was a job for the chainsaw. Thus armed we proceeded to try and close the escape route (despite the fact that the escapees were on the other side). If it had been a gate and a horse, the proverb could not have a better application.

Notices in the local shops did not achieve the desired result of news about our goats. We hadn't had a chance to take photographs and so we couldn't even include their mugshots. Ideas of being responsible for the genesis of a mob of feral goats rampaging through the adjacent bushland had me experiencing pangs of guilt and visions of prosecution by Parks and Wildlife and searches of our neighbouring forests yielded no sign of the wayward animals. Perhaps they had been abducted by aliens and were even now the focus of arcane experiments or, even worse, could they have been spirited away by a coven of witches to be used in unspeakable rites at the next full moon? Whatever the cause, whatever the case, the goats remained lost to us and at large pursuing their own goaty agenda and quite probably sniggering to themselves about their own cleverness in outwitting ourselves and the waratah wire company.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Engadine becomes home to The Goat Girls

From their first arrival in March, two weeks before our daughter's wedding, our first venture into livestock husbandry was fraught with unknown consequences. Four boar nanny goats were purchased in an effort to keep down rampant grass growth and hopefully to help control the odd thistle and briar attack. 
We'd prepared well. New feral proof fencing now surrounded the paddocks and posed a barrier not only to the wallabies that were trying to get in but also to livestock that might want to get out. What better home for a few impressionable young ladies? Initial reactions were mixed. The goats were unsure and skittish, disappearing to the far corner of the paddock to take solace beneath the prickly box and refused to be tempted by offerings of tid bits but aside from all this, they seemed intrigued and stimulated by their new environment.
With ear tags representing a mathematical progression almost worthy of a Dan Brown novel, the goat girls were identified as 2, 4, 6 & 8. Such impersonal reference was offensive to our daughter who believed that, as her parents had entered a new phase of their life (one in which our children had been substituted for goats), they should embrace it wholeheartedly and give the surrogoats (sic) names. So 2, 4, 6 & 8 became Molly, Toffee, Sugar and Polly aka, the goat girls.