Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Those Udderly Wonderful Goats!
Fall is just around the corner.
Now I know most of you are saying ‘Hold up yodeling goatherder! It`s barely September and it`s still hotter than heck outside and you`re talking about fall?! Did someone spike your coffee?’ And you would be right. Well not about the coffee as far as I know but yes it`s still toasty outside here on the hillside farm as well but I have a secret, one that only owners of goats know. Fall doesn`t announce itself on a goat farm with the subtle tint of color to the maple leafs or the flocking of black birds. We caprine owners know that fall is just around the seasonal corner because our goats tell us.
Fall brings changes to the goats here. Fall is the season of ruminant adoration. Of sounds and smells of caprine passion that will tell any who visit that infatuation flows from one side of the driveway that separates the goat pastures to the other. Ahhh yes, goat love is in full swing here. It flies on gossamer wings and soft bleats of desire.
Okay, I may have romanticized things a wee bit, but the shortening days do bring a new vigor and fuel to our goats. Much like white-tailed deer domestic goats are influenced by the waning sunlight. Shorter days make changes in our usually sweet and mild mannered farm friends. The one who shows, and wears, the touch of devotion most is our senior buck Anakin. That`s his handsome face above. (Yes, he`s named after Skywalker and yes I am a nerd and proud of it!)
Anakin has noticed the sun setting just that wee bit earlier each evening and he has noticed how lovely the ladies are across the driveway. I can imagine him, stuck in that pasture with the rest of the goat boys and Patty the cow, looking longingly across the gravel road at that bevy of beauties.
‘A pox on these fences and those who built them!’ he must be thinking as he calls to the ones who hold his heart in tender wee hooves. Truthfully I do feel badly for the man. So close and yet so far away….
We separate the bucks from the does after kidding season is done. Once the babies are all born and bouncing about the pastures, dad has to move into the ‘bachelor pad.’ And I have noted that after spending a week or two with ten to fifteen kids leaping off his head Anakin doesn`t seem to mind the separation overly much.
He spends his summer with his buddies-the young men who are now weaned and Patty the cow who may have some idea he`s a goat I`m not sure- eating tall grasses and butting heads, you know? Guy stuff. He barely raises a passing eye at the girls all through the hot days of June and July as he enjoys his bachelor status. But then something happens, his thoughts tend to stray more and more from the ‘Let`s see who can roll who down the hill’ game the fellows are so fond of.
He begins to think of romance.
And much like the white-tailed deer buck our boy will also display signs of his masculinity. His neck swells and his temperament towards his sons seems to grow shorter and shorter. He is a very gentle buck with us though. He has never dropped his head once to anyone here that wasn`t a fellow caprine and that is one of the major reasons I adore him so. Also the beautiful babies he gifts us with each spring adds to his appeal for me as a Nubian breeder.
His appeal to my husband, daughter and I does tend to waver some though as Anakin begins to spend more time trying to jazz himself up. Now don`t get me wrong, I love the big lug! Heck I bottle fed him when he was a tiny kid brand new to our farm and I will admit to hugging goats daily. But when August rolls around Anakin tends to become rather, offensive, at least to our human noses.
Now the goat ladies! Well that’s a different story! Apparently the girls find his rather strong musky aroma MOST appealing. Personally I`ll stick to Old Spice or Stetson on my man, but who am I to question love? Once he has his cologne dabbed onto his striking and manly beard he will mosey to the accursed fence and he will sing. I`ll say now he`s a L-O-N-G way from Elvis when he breaks into a love song. Maybe if the other guys and Patty would be the Jordanaires it would help, but I kinda doubt it.
Nubians are not a breed known for their soft, gentle bleats. Nubians scream. Loudly, harshly and with grating levels that rival an air raid siren. I`m pretty positive our neighbors up and down our dirt road are thrilled to hear the echoes of Anakin`s plaintive love calls as soon as the sun peeks out in the morning. His concertos will continue daily until the end of October when the gates are opened and he can run into the girls pasture and fall into the open arms of his lady loves. *Sigh*
But until the frost touches the pumpkins Anakin must remain where he is, singing his heart out as he dreams of finding a danged hole in the fence somewhere.