This may be the year that I will never remember clearly. It is May . . and it is cold! I am sitting at my beloved “morning table” bundled up like it is January. The daffodils bloomed in February, school closed in March and with Daddy being sick in April-we sure did not hunt for eggs this year. I admit-and everyone that knows me, will agree, that “time” in general is not a strength for me – but I feel totally disoriented- and this time, it is not due to my own fault.
I was going to paint a table and chairs today-but that cold wind howling outside my window, may make me put that off. Of course, it is early morning, as I write this and so there is still hope for a milder afternoon. It all started with me having time to clean up my act at the rabbitpatch. I have an old porch out back by the old field. It is a small porch, that was once attached to my grandmothers house. I saved that porch, and use it like a gazebo. It has a roof and I have sat there many times, pondering, praying and gazing at the woods and field. I love the view, for there is not a man made thing in sight. I thought to paint the old table and chairs today . . .if possible. My dear friends, of several decades are coming for an open air visit , in the next week or so, hence the table getting painted. I might need to just use a tablecloth!
With all of the traipsing around the rabbitpatch, I feel like I am walking down memory lanes. There was a time when, every stable was filled and chickens roamed the territory. Tame rabbits played in outside pens, in the sunshine. The small pasture had a miniature horse and a small herd of miniature goats. I did buy the chickens, but every other animal had landed here, because mostly, children had “outgrown” them. I got the reputation of having a “rescue farm” and so when a horse trailer pulled up unannounced, I didn’t bat an eye. I really loved that time, but when Lyla was born . . well that changed everything. Nobody wanted to feed horses, goats, chickens, a cat, a dog and twenty two rabbits, while I was away. My dear neighbor, Susan did try, but the goats got out a time or two, after all. . .It was always the goats.
Miniature goats are adorable. They are loving little things, but they do eat roses. I had several , when a farmer called wanting me to take three more. He lived but a few miles away, so one day Christian and I headed in his direction, to bring home the little goats. We went in the barn and there they were in a stall with the biggest goat, that I had ever seen. He started snorting and pawing and bleating so loudly, it was deafening. The farmer, slight in size acted like nothing was going on, in particular, and chatted away as he gathered a rope. He explained cheerfully, that he would hold the giant, mad goat, while Christian and I caught the little ones. I was in a state of fear, about entering that stall. . .so was Christian. That goat had a rack of horns, the size of Atlanta, on top of everything else.
Have you ever chased a goat? They are quick and nimble. They can jump and dart on a dime. That is what we were up against-and a goat we named “the devil”, right off. It was a harrowing ordeal and it didn’t help that the slight farmer was red in the face, gasping and yelling out, periodically, “Hurry up! I can’t hold him much longer!” Somehow, Christian and I caught two of them and made it out shaken, but alive. The farmer was unratteled and joked, that “he thought we were country folks?” I told him he could keep the other little goat.
Kyle came home from work a few hours later and loved our new additions. He was quite disappointed, and could not believe that we had the heart, to leave the last one. Christian and I didn’t say a word, for we did feel guilty about that. The next thing, I knew, Kyle was in the truck and yelled out that he was going to get the goat. Christian started to tell Kyle, about the conditions, but I stopped him.
An hour or so later, Kyle came back, white as a sheet, holding the little goat. He had faced “the devil” and won. On top of the awful circumstances, he endured, the moment he got his hands on the little goat, the thing stiffened and toppled over, like a wooden toy! Kyle said he thought he had killed it, but the thing sprang back to life and took off again! The poor farmer was in pain it seemed and had resorted to cursing, but Kyle heard him say “It is a fainting goat!!” “Fainting goats” do not crumple, they do not wilt, they simply fall over, like a doll would. They remain rigid and even their face looks frozen in expression.
Visitors always fell in love with the herd of little goats and would say things like “oh, I bet they keep your ditch banks clean.” “No,” I said, “they just eat the roses.”
The goats were always liable to create a rucus. Once, during a Sunday dinner, I heard the sound of calamity, at the front of the house. Christian ran to the front door, to see what was happening. Several of the little goats, were being chased by a dog and bolted past him, galloping through the house, I do not know why, I realised what was happening, but I ran to the back door, opened it and they never lost their stride, bounding the steps and right back to their stable. Mama and Daddy were dazed, when I asked them, if they needed anything, while I was up. It was always the goats.
The goat stables are empty now, and the blue roses, that I painted, on them, have faded some, but believe or not, I remember the goats, fondly. . . .but not enough, to do it all again.