Granted, this is not something most goat farmers wake up singing. Particularly, if they are a man. Unless they do a remake of the West Side song and sing, “ I feel handsome, oh, so handsome. I feel handsome, and athletic, and strong.” Mainly goat farmers wake up surprised that they find themselves still in bed, especially if it’s kidding season.
As for feeling pretty, I haven’t thought about that in …. um, what year is it? Well, let’s say it’s been a while since I thought about pretty, unless it’s a pretty goat or a view of pretty goats coming down off a green hill, sunlight glistening off their healthy coats, or pretty kids playing on the creek bank or …. Well, you get what I mean.
Instead of thinking “pretty”, I’m more concerned with, “Am I reasonably presentable.” Each day I try to start out presentable, clean jeans, shirt, socks, but something happens within the first hour of going outside. Either a baby goat jumps on me after running through mud and various other things that are found on the ground, and/ or I accidentally squirt medicines all over myself, getting permanently stained.
Anyone who just suddenly drops in to see the goats, well, they get what they deserve for their surprise visit, surprised. If it’s later in the day, there I stand in all my glory, badly stained pants, anything from diarrhea, mud, or medicines on them, and the same goes for the shirt. Thank goodness they can’t see my socks. Wearing rubber barn boots most the time, everything seems to drop in them. I have stood there and had goats deposit their berries in them, a doe squat and urinate in them (yes, this is with me in them); carrying hay, I seem to deposit part of the hay down my boots, and grain is forever getting dribbled down them. By the time the day is done, so are my socks. Even after two hours wear, they are never the same. I’m thinking about developing disposable socks that you can peel off any time and toss away and put on a fresh pair. That would work good for our farm.
If I know someone is dropping by to look at goats, I can hurry and hunt up a reasonably presentable barn shirt for the occasion. Gee, I might even go so as far as putting on a stained but clean pair of jeans, too.
Now, you probably wonder what these barn shirts are I keep talking about. No, there’s not a place at Sears or Wal-Mart called “barn shirts”. Barn shirts to us is any shirt on the clearance table that is around $2.50 or a dress shirt that has seen it’s better days and has been demoted from church clothes or going to town clothes to now the barn shirt.
I had one favorite barn shirt like that that I called my “girlie” shirt. It was so pretty with buttons and bows and a soft turquoise color. Sure, it was faded and stretched out some now, that’s why it was a barn shirt, but it still felt so “girlie” when I put it on. As I said, usually my barn shirts are the clearance shirts in the men’s sports section in clothes stores and there is no telling what team I am promoting that day when I put on a good $2.50 barn shirt.
But, this “girlie”, may I go so far as to say, blouse was so feminine I kept wanting to sing, “I feel pretty, oh, so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and bright!” Which the goats didn’t mind a bit, so long as I kept the feed coming. I did control the song when goat customers arrived so as not to have a quick mass exit of goat buying customers. I mean, would you hang around if the seller kept singing, “I feel pretty”? If someone started singing that while I was standing there I’d say, “Feet don’t fail me now,” and would definitely get out of there.
So, one day I am showing a family the goats I had for sale, walking to the various pastures to see each group of goats, and I have my pretty “girlie” blouse on. Now, with my goats, many will come up and stand with you while you are discussing them. They are a friendly sort. And, while they are standing there listening to what you have to say about them, nothing pleases them better then to get a little mouthful of my clothes and chew on them, with a happy dreamy expression on their face. If I stand very long in some of the fields, I come out with soggy bits of clothing all over me.
After the family had made their pick and had drove off, I happened to look down to see holes all along the bottom of my pretty blouse and up the sides where contented goats had stood, dreamy eyed and content, and chewed. The jeans can hold up to this type of chewing, but shirts and my pretty blouse don’t stand a chance. It looked like I had been attacked by a band of very large moths. Ah, well, the blouse would now be demoted to the rag bag. Nothing goes to waste around here.
Until then, I had to break out into my Goat Farmer Feeling Pretty song, while I had my soon to be demoted pretty (holey) blouse on:
At this point, if you bang the feed can, the goats will join in with the chorus.
And thanks goes to West Side Story for the inspiration of this story and a once pretty pretty girlie blouse.