Super Bowl Goats

I hurt my left ankle three days after the Bearded One got the flu, twisting it on the stairs or something, I don’t really know.  I managed okay until today, Sunday, when I just can’t walk another step.  I’ve been sitting in my rocker with my ankle raised and iced, reading.

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The weakened Bearded One is in charge.  He stands at the window, having just returned from his first trip to the barn and aviary this week. He has been so sick, he doesn’t really seem to care that we don’t get the Super Bowl channel.  This will be the first Super Bowl he’s missed.  Ever.  But he is slowly getting better.  The only lingering symptom besides seemingly bottomless fatigue is a cough.

“Do the goats and chickens miss us?” I ask.  I feel like talking.  It’s been pretty quiet.

“They prefer their own kind,” the Bearded One replies.  He whispers lest he start coughing his brains out.

I see all three goats at the top of the hill.  They are looking back at us, just as they’ve been doing all week.  “Hmm,” I say, intrigued.  I want to pursue this thinking, get philosophical, but it’s not to be.  Yet.

“The rats are back,” the Bearded One says.  “They tunneled under the storage cans behind the coop.  I put the hose down the hole.”

I acknowledge the rat relapse with a groan, and then ask about the chickens.  “Are Stevie and Spot still broody?”

“I didn’t check.”  He starts a coughing jag, moves away from the window, then shuffles away to the kitchen to get a Coke.

And then I see a flash of movement from up on the hill.  Pearl stands on Goat Mountain, Sage is reared up on the ramp, and LaLa is racing figure 8s around both of them.  “Yeeee hawww!” I sing out.  “The goats!”

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The Bearded One comes from way back in the kitchen to watch.

LaLa’s fluffy black tush comes into view, and then he streaks back around Sage and I notice how low to the ground he runs.

“His head is down!” the Bearded One says, gripping the edge of the window frame.  “He’s going for it!”

Sage rears up and LaLa charges the ramp.  They smash horns, and LaLa is forced back down.  Then LaLa circles around the back, out of our view, and appears beside Goat Mountain.  The Bearded One hoots.

Pearl slams her head down and clops LaLa’s side a good one, but he’s okay.  LaLa rears up and even through the plate-glass window we can hear the clack of his and Pearl’s horns before he whirls away light as a quarterback who’s just thrown a perfect Hail Mary.

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“They were happy to see you,” I say.

“Hm,” says the Bearded One.  “Maybe.”  He is grinning.

There’s something life-giving to us humans about animals in our lives, even if we might prefer our own kind.  Why wouldn’t it work both ways?  Why couldn’t our presence be something of a boon to the animals, too?  Even if just for amusement.

Later that night just before I fall asleep, I hear the coyotes start howling and screaming from the forest.  Winter is their mating season.  “AAAyyyyyyyyyy—EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”  Their cries can wake the dead.  “Coyotes!” I call to the Bearded One, who is downstairs watching TV with earphones.  Even in his sick state he gets up, thanks me for alerting him, and opens the back door.

He stands there for a very long time, listening to the coyotes howl.

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6 responses to “Super Bowl Goats

  1. A Farmlet post! SQUEE! :). As I sit here slowly reading and ingesting Olalla (keepin’ it real girl!) I can hear a far away egg layer in full voice…something about that set off an internal alarm…chook…laying eggs…not close…FERAL! Oh NO! The little hen who lives outside with her 2 brothers is laying?! I had best find THAT stash before she goes clucky and hunkers down to start a whole new feral problem on Serendipity Farm! She has stopped now so I have no idea where she was laying BUT it isn’t close :(. I had best listen more carefully tomorrow…. Oh Christi! I hope you are not in too much pain? :(. The B.O. will love his new position of power and the goat’s are trying to communicate with you…I think they missed the B.O. while he was sick and are perhaps silently discussing the situation…perhaps even wondering at their vulnerability and reliance on humans and they might even be renegotiating their feral instincts…
    Looks like I was wrong about the goat’s! A good old fashioned shindig and settling of positions of power in the old ways! We all have so much to learn from living alongside animals. I think we truly only learn what humanity is when we share our lives with other species and learn their ways. Coyotes! Just the thought of them brings back old cowboy movies and memories from childhood :). The biggest thing that we have in Australia is dingo’s and they are only on the mainland. Quolls are smaller than cat’s but are Serendipity Farms answer to the coyote (at least with the chooks 😉 ) and we haven’t had a visit from a Tassie Devil in years. The cycles of nature will heal you both…pretty soon you will have forgotten the pain and the cough and will be back up on your feet going about your days and nights alongside your flock, living symbiotically and learning from the experience :). I hope you feel better soon and that the B.O.’s lungs get over the lurgy soon 🙂

  2. I love this: “I think we truly only learn what humanity is when we share our lives with other species and learn their ways.” I agree, Fran. Sometimes I think love and wildness are deeply connected…and when humans disconnect themselves from the the one, they numb to the other. Good luck finding that layer who has laid! And thanks for the good health wishes. We feel soooo lucky not to have “jobs” — and as long as one of us can make it up the hill to feed the goats, we’re good. Beyond good.:)

  3. Christine Widman

    I hope all the foot and flu infirmities heal soon. Besides alternating icing and heating, I rub arnica gel into any “work sore” place I occasionally feel here at the B&B. It’s like a miracle poultice for me.
    I sent my Love off to photograph today. We have been incredibly busy and he needed a peace-in-nature break.

    LOVE the “Goat King of the Mountain” story and drawing!!! I know I would be watching for goat antics every day.
    Wish I had a bobcat walking along our adobe wall for me to gaze at. One has finally appeared again…I saw him while I was getting our afternoon mail. Very very happy about that.
    Big hugs,
    C
    PS
    Tell the Bearded One I too open my door to hear the coyotes yowl to the night stars.
    A kind of prayer and awe moment – every time.

  4. Ooooo, I LOVE your bobcat! Lucky you! I love to watch Garfield eat. Cats have got to be the most fascinating critters I’ve ever seen. I’ll look into arnica gel. It sounds nice and natural. Thanks for your good health wishes…we’re getting there. Love you!

  5. I love this post. The wildness. The longing out there, and the Bearded One’s capture of it all in gesture. Owwwooo…

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