There’s a saying; “If it won’t hold water, it won’t hold goats.”
So… no goat, on no uncertain terms. Not after all the stories of escapades from friends and books.
Now, my siblings and I… we’re not the begging type. We throw hints around, sure. Show Dad pictures of really adorable pygmy goats? That’s us! But somewhere along the road my parents were finally convinced.
So there we were, all gathered around the purest white, sweetest baby goat. She was only four days old, wobbling around on her knobbly knees. She got petted, and kissed, and then we all went in for dinner.
And then the debate began.
Eat the goat. (That one was met with uproar) Milk the goat. Breed the goat…
Name the goat.
Now, our family meals are usually pretty organized, but this particular one? Imagine twelve voices, most of them high pitched, all of them strong-headed, each determined to voice their opinion on the matter. Afterwards I said there should have been a recorder under the table, because some of the stuff said was hilarious. And the cry of outrage when my clown of a brother mischievously suggested goat curry? Priceless. Yep, the guy keeps us laughing.
Eventually, our Mom decided on a name herself… Daffodil. We call her Daffy – it slips off the tongue much easier.
Tiny Daffy had to be bottle-fed the first eight weeks of her life. Try getting up at five, preparing a warm bottle, and snuggling with a baby goat the first half hour of your morning. It’s very relaxing. I mean, sure you feel like some kind of zombie for the rest of the day… but hey, hello coffee! And, I only actually had to wake up that early for a week or so, because the kid sleeps through the night eventually.
So there we were – all one big happy barnyard speckled with chickens, children, two sheep, a moody cow, a dozen cats, and our latest and beloved addition, Daffy.
Enter Thistle. (Yeah… I’ve been studying Shakespeare, and yeah… it’s going to my head.)
I always thought of billy goats as the ones with the mischievous grins, the king-of-the-hill attitude, saucily shaking their long horns at you…
Thistle was a skinny, awkward looking thing. A vet-in-training at the goat farm removed – or rather tried to remove – his horn buttons, and they were pussy, scabby knobs on his poor head. His hooves were crooked and his baby-bleat pitiful. Unfortunately, as he reached the goat equivalent of preadolescence, his awkward appearance only worsened, and that, combined with the classic billy goat smell… Let’s just say the poor kid wasn’t an instant celebrity.
Take this conversation between a younger brother and his city-bred friend: “Wanna see our new goat?”
The boys put on shoes and ran out to the barn. They stopped in front of Thistle’s stall.
Friend: “Hey, boy! He’s really – Augh! What is that smell? Is that you? That’s the goat? Augh!”
At that point the poor kid (the friend, not the goat) had his sweater sleeve over his nose and was searching for the nearest exit.
So… Daffy and Thistle are a sort of… Beauty and the Beast kind of couple. We have snow-white Daffodil, with her supreme confidence, soft fur (from being petted and snuggled), and clear blue eyes.
And then there’s Thistle. In all of his runny-nosed, scared of his own shadow, knobbly kneed splendour.
Not surprisingly, the two supposed lovebirds do not get along. They buck and butt heads, and Thistle gets terribly annoyed because Daffy is so much stronger then him… not to mention Daffy actually has horns to butt him with! It’s to the point where my sister rotates them out in the pasture. Daffy goes out one day, Thistle the other. Of course, we want to wait until Daffy is a little older anyway, because eventually we’re going to want baby goats…
Maybe we should ease them into it… you know, take Daffy and Thistle for twilight walks… send them on dates or something? We could put flowers in her hair, maybe smarten Thistle up with a bow-tie… and might I suggest a bath?