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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This is why we can't have a goat.


There is a man on Beach Road selling his goats. I have been stopping at his corner to watch the baby goats playing in the yard, butting heads, climbing up onto their shelter and jumping off. They are so frisky and intelligent. I have always wanted a goat. He has a big “Goats for Sale” sign on his fence now. I pulled over yesterday to get a closer look and the goats stopped playing to stare at me. I baahed at them and they responded, then went back to their head-butting game.
Alas, I cannot have a goat. This is why. Back in the 1980s, a gang of very badly behaved goats ruined any chance of me any owning one of their kind. At the time, the Farmer (who wasn’t a farmer then) was travelling the prairies visiting farmers on behalf of a credit union. On one especially hot day, he was travelling a long, country road, enjoying the breeze through the windows of his K-car. He arrived at a goat farmer’s house and went in for a chat.
That particular farmer didn’t get visitors very often, and he loved to talk. So when my husband (who wasn’t my husband then) arrived, this gentleman put the kettle on and opened a new box of tea biscuits. My husband is never one to rush away from a conversation or a pot of tea. For the next two hours, the two men chatted about the weather, crop yields, finances, and women. In that order.
This is how the goats spent the same two hours. Noticing the shiny new vehicle in the driveway, they decided to amble over and take a closer look. Goats – even Manitoba farm goats – fancy themselves mountain climbers, and will climb onto anything that they encounter. The first goat reached the roof of the car and did a little tap dance to proclaim himself King.
The second goat assessed the situation. If he climbed up top and joined the larger goat on the roof of the car he would likely be shoved off. Then he noticed the open windows. The Farmer had conveniently parked the car next to a pile of old wooden pallets, so the goats could step up and hoist themselves in. Within about twenty minutes, the K-car, a company issue, was occupied by four rather curious and snacky goats.
Now, goats have iron stomachs and they have been known to eat leather shoes, hardcover books – even tin cans. They don’t have to be hungry. They just consider it their duty to taste everything.
This is what they ate: the upholstery of both front car seats and a good portion of the rear bench; the Farmer’s briefcase handles and most of the papers within (he had left that conveniently open as well); the Farmer’s ham-and-cheese sandwich, apple, cookies and potato chips; the map of Manitoba; the novel he was reading; and the left of his pair of hiking boots. The goat was working on the right boot when the Farmer emerged from the house. His host laughed and said, “I hope you have goat insurance!” The story grows longer every time my husband tells it, with embellishments and items added to the goat menu. The morale always remains the same: we will never own a goat.
About four years ago, we were visiting friends and they told us another goat story that only added to my husband’s (then he really was my husband) dislike of goats. They had visitors with a shiny sportscar. While on the back porch enjoying a barbecue, the resident goats noticed the flashy car, came closer and caught a glimpse of two other goats in the reflection. A fight ensued and after about half an hour of head-butting the stubborn car-goats, the sportscar was covered in dents. That story told, my Farmer gave me a look and said, “don’t ever ask me for a goat.” He knows me so well.
So, if any of you are up for the challenge, starting a hobby farm or a goat cheese business and you need a couple of goats, I know where you can get some. I have been told we are sticking to beef cattle and turkeys.
Note: Diana Fisher will be doing a reading at “The 14th Annual Literary Follies” books and music event on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 12:30pm, Grenville Mutual Insurance Bldg., Colonnade Drive, Kemptville.

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