A couple of days ago I had to run a bunch of errands before doing the afternoon goat chores. The Health Dept. was giving out free H1N1 shots to anyone over eighteen, starting at eight in the morning. Then I wanted to stop at the vet’s and pick up some arthritis medicine for one of our backyard dogs, do some grocery shopping, and pick up a prescription, plus a few odds and ends on the way back to the farm.
The H1N1 shot at the Health Dept. found a line that looped around the building by the time I got there. I hurried and jumped in line and said to the people around me, “Is this the line for a free shot?” Implying that if anything was free, I was there. This brought a lot of laughter from the crowd and we all started making smart comments trying to out do each other. For a crowd waiting for a needle, we were awfully jolly. That’s the way it is a lot of time when you don’t get off the farm or out of the house much, get in a crowd and you think it’s party time. Evidently all of us in that line had not been off the farm in a long time.
After the shot, I went on down the list to get all the errands done. Things took a bit longer here and there, so by the time I got back to the farm, I was a tad bit late. After watering the girls in the upper field and checking everyone over, it was time to take care of the water and hay hauling and grain feeding down around the main barn. At five that morning the weanling girls had had breakfast in their feed area and usually I am back in two hours to shut the gate to keep them out of the feed area so it would be safe to put the grain out into the feeders for evening feeding. Try putting grain in feeders with a whole bunch of little girls trying to climb into your bucket. It can’t be done. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Well, errands had got in the way of closing that feed area gate early, so I had to adjust. What I found were a bunch of weanling girls standing in the feed area, peeking around the corner of the barn, yelling, “Feed Me! Feed Me! No! Me first!”
Then they would charge out of the feed area at a dead run to the end of the barn where they could look through the gate and see me preparing the grain in the grain room. I thought, good! This will work! And, I dove out of the grain room and ran through the barn to go out the back barn door and get into that feed area and shut the gate. Piece a cake. Nope. The girls knew exactly what I was doing and beat me to the feed area.
Okay, I thought, I’d just go ahead and feed the weanling buck boys in the other pens until the little girls got confused where I was at and then I could run back and shut the feed area gate. Four tries later, they still beat me back to the feed area before I could get that gate shut.
Extremely aggravated, I informed my girls that I could wait them out, I was going to water next. There was a lot of pens that needed fresh water and I’m sure they would forget about beating me to the feed area by then.
So, I went around dumping buckets and tubs, keeping an eye out to where the girls were. So help me, I think they assigned look outs to keep tabs on my where abouts. When I thought they had forgotten the feed area and I stealthily tippy toed back to the barn, there would be a kid on guard yelling, “She’s here! She’s here!” And, the whole mob would get there before I barely made it back inside the barn.
I even sat out an unusual tub of hay between their run-in shed and the feed area to distract them. That didn’t work. They all tried jumping into the tub, smashing my favorite hauling tub. I guess if you don’t have a bucket to jump in, you jump in the tub, was their reasoning, and then they charged to the feed area before I could even reach the gate to shut it.
I saw it then. They were on total alert. To them, the game was afoot. It had gone past getting a bite of grain, to “We can beat Connie at this game. This is extreme fun! We are outthinking Connie!”
Sure they were, the little goobers, they also weren’t getting any grain. But, I was determined. They couldn’t outsmart me, at least not today because I was determined. The game really was afoot! Dab nab it. Sorry for the strong language, but they were getting to me.
I hauled the long water hose into their pen, dumped their tubs and started filling them up, humming all unconcerned. They kept casting suspicious looks my way as they walked around. Finally the round bale inside their run-in shed called them and they wandered in to get a snack. I tried making a straight bee line to the gate to get it shut, those girls were out of that run-in shed like a shot. Someone must have been peeking out a crack and saw what I was about to do. Okay. Okay. I’ll just continue watering. I still had the pregnant girls to do and the bucks in the other pen, so I kept humming and watering, while craftily eyeing the girls and the distance to that feed gate.
I finished watering and was dragging the hose back to the barnyard to drain it so it wouldn’t freeze up in the night and then I saw it, no little girls in sight. Bam! I was out of there, in the barn, out the back door, and slammed that gate shut in at least 24 little faces who had charged around. Did it! A victory dance was called for. HA! Got you little girls! I’ll show you and feed you!
What can you say? You get a little bonkers on a goat farm. But, it’s always interesting when the game is afoot trying to outsmart a goat.