The Kiss

The other goats, Sage and Pearl, are preoccupied with their own bowls of dry cob on the other side of the barn, so as LaLa nibbles the golden oat flakes with his black lips, I am safe to steal a kiss.  He’s the sweetest goat, but still wild.  All three of the goats are borderline wild.  I am careful.


But I’m not supposed to kiss LaLa.  The Bearded One asked me not to, after I casually described the wonderful smell during the act, and which I should have known that the Bearded One would see as highly dangerous.  If a chicken squawks in the distance, goats may whip their horns around violently.  Also, lice are always possible, though we’ve no signs of such so far.

“Quit kissing LaLa,” he said softly this week when I kissed him, the Bearded One, good night, and I said okay, I would not do it anymore.


I sound like an addict.

It’s 7:30am and I’ve already done the chicken chores — opened the aviary, lowered the feeder from its rat-proof overnight position, mucked out under the roost — while the goats watched patiently, scratching themselves.  Their fleece is long and dense now, and I plan to pluck and brush it out this year and do something with it.  After I kiss it.

Now I squat down next to LaLa, with my back to the open barn door, as he eats.  I stroke the long, tendrilled locks on his neck.  The curly black fleece is thick and smells richly goaty, and I pet him and coo into his long, velvety ears that I’m not trying to eat him.  Maybe it’s because I’m a Capricorn, the astrological sign of the goat, that he smells so good to me.

Spoon and goats 011

I don’t have much time.  Sage will be finished and will tromp over for the attention that he is entitled to as the biggest.  But I don’t want to kiss Sage.  And Pearl won’t let anyone touch her.  I want to kiss LaLa.  His first owners named him for his lovely singing voice when he was a baby.  He doesn’t talk any more than the other goats, now, though.

LaLa is just about the height of our Golden Retriever Ruby, and he wags his little tail just like she does.  I admire the ridges in his foot-long horns.  His head is so hard and bony, as hard as the madrona wood the Bearded One has carved a spoon and a spatula from.

Finished spoons and sun on raspberry canes 003

Which reminds me.  The spirit of my obligation to the Bearded One regarding this promise, of course, I think, is staying safe.  I have no intention of putting myself at risk.

LaLa is almost finished now.  I’m still hunched down, inches from a smooch.

LaLa’s beard circles slowly as he chews.  Goats have no upper front teeth, and use their lower incisors to scrape, leaving the molars to grind.  His palate is for smelling.  When I kissed him the first time, it was on his back.

People kiss horses’ noses and no one bats an eye, I think.  Not to mention dogs and cats.  There is just no good reason to discriminate against goats.


I have just seconds now.  LaLa’s vacuuming in the last bits of grain and I run my hands along his whole body, smoothing down the fleece on his shoulder and puckering —

“Quawk!”  Leah races around the corner of the goat barn and flaps around me as I’m a breath from my goal.  “Brrrk-brrr- brrrk BRRRRRK!”  Busted.

“Did the Bearded One send you?” I say to the Rhode Island Red hen who is now scratching in the dirt.

LaLa trots out of the barn to the hay rack, out of my reach, and the hen walks over to take his place.  She squats down, her way of saying pick me up.

Which I do.  And pet her silky-soft feathers.  And give her a big kiss.



8 responses to “The Kiss

  1. The goats remind me of Earl…I think that he will always have a little bit of “wild” in him. We watched a dog whisperer goes to Europe episode last night and Caeser was telling a worried owner whose dog kept running away (but coming back eventually) that he needed to show the dog its boundaries by not chasing after it and just walking away. Apparently this forces the dog to come back to its pack…I don’t think this would work for Earl! I think that Earl is a “pack of 1” in his head and if we let him off the lead he would be gone on his own adventures. Its amazing how much living with something bordering on wild can teach you though :). I don’t think the B.O. completely understands that we women are part wild too. When you are kissing LaLa’s soft muzzle you are acknowledge that you are part of his ethos…part of that natural world that pulls us so many ways on our earthly journey. Testosterone can only take you so far but we women have our ebbs and flows that pull us to our natural rhythms and remind us that nature flows through us. Spinning or carding or whatever you are going to do with your goat’s wool (have you tried felting?) will allow you to tangle your hands in that wild element, it’s addictive and dangerous and completely natural and when you immerse yourself in that fuggish natural scent you can’t help but renew your own personal contract with the earth.
    I think the fact that we are Leo and Capricorn gives us part of our friendship. I have always gotten on incredibly well with Capricorns…I love their kindness and their caring natures and Capricorns have amazing senses of humour and incredible intelligence :).
    Oh those spoons are BEAUTIFUL! There is some magic that happens to a simple hand carved wooden spoon when you take it from it’s raw elemental wood and you annoint it with waxes and oils…it changes from something ripe with possibility to something stolid and real and beautiful. The preparation that the B.O. used on his spoons brought out that amazing wood grain and your spoons are now MY envy :). Madrona/Arbutus is a wood that we just don’t get here. We have a large specimen on the property but I covet its gorgeousness and the birds eat it’s fruit every year and we planted one in the front yard at our home in the city where our daughters live, not knowing at the time how HUGE they get (“not in OUR lifetime!”…our mantra whenever our horticultural passion bleeds into our horticultural knowledge to its detriment 😉 ).
    Your moments with LaLa might be precious too him to Christi, he once knew human hands and now you are slowly reintroducing him to the delights that human hands can give. I completely understand the safety in the B.O.’s instructions but life isn’t meant to be safe…it is meant to be measured doses of exploration, learning everything that we can, living our small moments as if they are our last and stolen goat kisses
    I am laughing (well under my breath quietly becauase it is 5.44am and Steve, Bezial and Earl are all curled up in a pack asleep in bed and the feral rooster has just started his dawn chorus…) as I imagine the B.O. waiting around the corner, knowing your addiction and counting the moments until he threw Leah into the arena…”chook kisses” are something that the B.O. won’t begrudge you…protecting you is his mission and there is a stolid and most touching beauty in his concern. You are a very lucky lady Christi 🙂

    • Oh, Fran, fellow wild woman! Nature flows through me, that’s exactly what I told the B.O! He just doesn’t want me to spring a leak. Yes, he is a good ‘un, and I don’t take promises to him lightly. On my honor, I haven’t kissed LaLa since. 🙂 Fuggish, the perfect word once again from my wordsmith Australian twin. That’s it. Also felting, good idea! I’m interested, and will follow through on researching. The spoon and spatula are marvels, I agree. The oil really snazzed them up. Steve is an inspiration across the globe. You’re a lucky lady, too. 🙂

  2. The Kiss put a frisson of danger in my belly. I have to admit I almost read ahead to be sure you didn’t get hit by Lala’s horns. So glad you kissed the soft feathers of Leah at the end.
    I felt your tenderness for Lala as you finger brushed his tangled coat. I’m sure Lala felt that also.
    Here we have been kissed by snow! It is still gently falling and coating the cactus. All the quail are puffed up balls of feathers to keep warm.
    Tell the Bearded One that his spoon and spatula are a delight to the eye and I know would feel smooth and sensuous to the hand while stirring cake batter.
    Hugs to you both and to the chickens and the goats and Ruby and Garfield!

    • Snow in the Tucson desert in late February, wow. I can only imagine what all the desert critters are thinking, much less your B&B guests. They’ll all have the chills — frissons! I love that word. 🙂

  3. Yay! So glad you got to kiss someone…what with those lovely red lips and all the Bearded One gave you.

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