Imagine that I’m sitting at my kitchen table, looking out the open window. I am taking in the pastoral view of 18 sheep and goats munching on what’s left of the ivy. I can hear their soft bleating and the bells that a few of them have around their necks. The livestock will be in our yard until they are done with the ivy – probably another day or so.
These ruminants have provided much lively conversation fodder over the past week, but they have also provided some surprising moments of activity.
We went to a barbecue on Saturday night and got home around ten. I was in the bedroom changing my clothes when I heard Rick call out “Maryann, we have a problem!” I came into the kitchen to see a little white goat on our back deck! As we opened the door, the little gal went back down the steps and started munching on some ivy that was in front of the electric fence that was supposed to keep them contained and away from the azaleas (which apparently makes them sick – who knew there was something that goats can’t eat!). Fortunately, this goat is not scared of people, and I was able to put a leash around her neck and coax her back onto the deck where I could keep her captive until the owners came to unceremoniously drop her back over the fence and fix the place where she got through. Crisis averted!
On Sunday afternoon, Rick and I were sitting on the patio looking at the almost cleared strip of back yard and talking about what we were going to do with the space now that the ivy is gone. I was pointing to the far corner of the yard when I noticed the back end of a goat (the same white one we had encountered the night before) disappearing through a hole in the wooden fence that separates our yard from our next door neighbor’s yard. Well, heck! One of the fence slats had rotted and the goats had pushed it away, anticipating more delicious foliage on the other side!
I ran over to the neighbor’s yard (they weren’t home at the time) and began what I can only describe as goat-herding, or maybe a goat rodeo, which consisted of my pushing an unwilling goat through the small space and then trying to keep that one from coming back through while trying to grab another goat to push it through. Our back yard neighbors, who will get the goats once we’re through with them, came over to help encourage the more skittish ones to get close enough to me for me to push them through. All the while, the largest goat, whose name is Spike, kept coming back through the hole. Spike is actually a very friendly goat, so he was easy to catch again, but he’s so big it was hard to push him back in the other direction, especially when there was so much for him to munch on in the neighbor’s yard. The grass (or bush) is always greener on the other side indeed!
Rick was on the phone with the owners – giving them a play-by-play – and fortunately they didn’t have to come back to the house to help. Thank God for Brad and Heather, who came to our rescue with brute strength, patience and a drill to fix the fence post!
When I got up this morning, I took a careful count and found all of the animals accounted for. Who knew we’d have such excitement on a fine Sunday afternoon in suburbia?