Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “goats”

Reluctant Saviour

Those who have read many of my posts are well aware that my trophy bride, Miss Sugar, has a very soft heart, much softer than mine.  She  is a good influence on me and often makes me behave better than I otherwise would.

So today we were driving home, where I intended to watch the Broncos’ game against the Raiders, scheduled to commence at 2:00 p. m. Mountain Time, and it was 1:55 p.m., but I knew we could make it if we stayed the course.  We did not stay the course.

Instead, I spent some time in my church clothes wrestling a goat in distress.  Why would I do that?  The answer is simple.  Miss Sugar has a soft heart.

A few minutes before I was in the goat pen of a stranger, my trophy wife and I were driving past a ranch about five miles from our place.  These ranchers have cattle mostly, but they also have a herd of goats.  It is a fairly big operation.  There are many pens, like a feedlot, loading chutes, and many buildings, including a large equipment shed, barns, other outbuildings, and three houses.  I don’t know if they are occupied by family members only or if hired help reside there as well.  There were many vehicles parked by the houses, probably six or seven, not including the camper,  horse trailers, stock trailers, and the semi-tractor.  In other words, it is not an abandoned ghost town.  It is an active livestock operation.

It is, however, not active nor observant enough of a livestock operation to suit Miss Sugar.  She noticed a goat as we drove by that appeared to her to have his head caught in a wire fence.  She commented on her observation.  I drove on.  We could make it home in time for the football game, you understand.  Right?  You understand that the goat is not my goat and it lives where many caretakers are very near.  Neither is it Miss Sugar’s goat.  And the game and all should be considered.  And, I was all dressed up.

So I drove about two miles past the goat to an intersection.  Then and there, I asked Miss Sugar,  “Do you want me to turn around?”  Actually, it was not a question.  It was a statement of recognition.  “You want me to turn around.”

Yes, she did want me to go back to the goat because we should never ignore animals suffering when we can help.  (Apparently, the people who live on the ranch rely on Miss Sugar to tell them when their animals need help.)

So we went back to the goat and, indeed, Miss Sugar was correct, it did have its head stuck in the fence.  It was now laying down.  Other goats around it were licking it, for comfort she supposed.  I am not recognized as an expert in goat emotions and the manners in which they are displayed, but I did not argue with her.

So we drove up the lane, past the many vehicles, and parked by the newest house.  Miss Sugar went up to the door and knocked.  The game was on the radio so I stayed in the car, listening, but I would have noticed if Miss Sugar had been abducted or otherwise in harm’s way.  She rang the bell and knocked, but no one came to the door.  She walked to the second house.  No one was home.  (Or they were watching the game.)  I drove the car to the third house.  Again, there was no response.  Well, there was a response, just not by the occupants.  The response was by me.

I got out of the car, walked fifty yards to the goat fence, and up to the subject goat. who scrambled to its feet, while leaving its head on the opposite side of the fence from where it kept its feet.  I suppose it was glad to see me, but, like I said, I am no expert on goats.  Someone even less aware of subtleties of goat communication might think the goat did not fully appreciate my efforts.

I analyzed the problem.   The wire fence was one with rectangles (designed for safety, no doubt).  The distressed goat had somehow gotten its entire head into one rectangle in a manner not recommended by the manufacturer of the fence, nor by the manufacturer of the goat.  Because the goat’s horns extend from its head at a widening angle, it was easier for it to get its head and horns into the rectangle than out.  In fact, the horns were curved past the top wire of the troublesome rectangle and back into the rectangle above, preventing the head from getting out.

That’s where I came in.  I skillfully got one horn back into the same rectangle as the rest of the goat head and the panicky goat somehow got the other horn out and scampered away.

I watched the critter run back to its friends, fully expecting expressions of gratitude from all.  Unfortunately, like I said, I am not an expert at interpreting goat emotions, so I suppose I missed those expressions of goat gratitude.  I would like to say that I could see it in those goat eyes, but I could not.

“C’mon, Miss Sugar, let’s get out of here before someone shoots us.”

We missed most of the first quarter of the game, but it is still on as I write this.  I’m glad I rescued that goat for Miss Sugar because whatever pleases her tickles me plumb to death.”

Fine Art and the Pig

Those of us who know Miss Sugar, my trophy wife, know that she is what she calls an “art advocate.”  That means she plans events where local artists can get exposure and even sell their art.  Those of us who know me know that I am not an artist, exactly, but I showed great potential in junior high, before middle schools were invented.  Since then, I have cut back on my creative endeavors into the visual arts, unless you count building our courtyard, which is a thing of beauty, including a wall made of empty wine bottles.  The wall is not portable, so I did not display my works at the art show and silent auction yesterday.

Some really good artists did participate, as well as some non-artists, including a pig named Sausage.  Sausage was there with some friends, each in the role of  marketing assistant.

Miss Sugar, you see, had organized the event yesterday as a fundraiser for the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department.  Remember the bad wildfire called the High Park Fire here in Larimer County, Colorado?  Well, the Rist Canyon fire department even lost one of its fire stations in that bad fire.  So Miss Sugar, who is nicer than me, thought of the fundraiser and spent many hours recruiting artists to donate to the silent auction as well as artists and artisans to pay booth fees to sell stuff.  And she recruited me to set up tables and carry pictures and pottery and the like.  Which is very important.  I don’t know what she would do without me.

Although I suspect many women in the community attended in hopes of taking a gander at me, none actually stated that out loud, probably because Miss Sugar was there.  Besides me and the art, another draw was Sausage.  Here is how it was explained to me by his owner — when he walks a pig or llama or goat, all of which were there taking turns, people notice and ask, “Why are you walking that pig (or llama or goat) down the street?”  Then he can say, “Since you asked, I am getting attention for folks here in Old Town Fort Collins to ask that question so I can tell you about the Rist Canyon Art Show and Silent Auction.”  That is an effective marketing technique.

So, in addition to the power of my personal presence as an advertising method, Sausage, the llama and two goats attracted some attention as well.  It was a fun art show.

Another fun thing Miss Sugar did was offer face-painting and cotton candy.  I, personally, am not allowed to paint faces, preferring to leave that up to my trophy wife.  However, with respect to cotton candy, who do you think carries the cotton candy machine?

Now, let us turn our attention to yet another interesting aspect of the afternoon.  I have hauled livestock in horse trailers and stock trailers pulled by a pickup truck.  You have seen me and people like me doing that.  What you may not have seen, nor had I until yesterday, is a Jeep Cherokee containing a llama, pig, and two goats.  It is an amazing sight.  I can show you a photo below.  You will have to use your imagination concerning the odors within that particular SUV.  I remain unconvinced about the advantages of hauling livestock without a trailer.

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