Sunday I went down to Big Picture farm to pick these two little sweeties up. They were a bit frightened to be separated from their mamas and herd and Monday (after I wrote about the schizophrenia of success and failure) I went to give them some alfalfa treats and try to win their affection. I had kept them Sunday night in the sheep's winter shed so that they may stay safe and warm while I scrounged up some goat fencing. I opened the door and knelt down to offer them the treat. Stupidly, I did not close the door tightly and the white one leapt past my shoulder and into the fenceless world. She bounced right out of sight, like a little woodland deer. I ran after her for a mile and half. First through the ramp forest then into a wide open cow pasture of our neighbors. I kicked it into high gear when I saw her heading for a house that owns a rescued coydog (half coyote/half wild dog). Successfully evading the coydog house I had inadvertently pushed her into the opposing pasture where our neighbor's herd was chewing their cud. She flew through their sleeping herd and bounded straight up a 300 foot forested climb. That was the last I saw of her that morning. I like to think of myself as pretty quick but I am no match for a young goat, especially on steep terrain.
Aware that by now she didn't trust me I thought I would go fetch the other goat I still had and use her as bait for the runaway. I drove the bait goat down to where I last saw her friend and attempted to walk her, leash and collar into the high pasture, to where I assumed the runaway had vanished. The bait refused to walk with me by leash (I imagine it was her first time on one). So instead I carried her on my back.... straight up the forested cliff, tickling her every few yards to try to get her to call to the runaway. It wasn't long before I was exhausted and sweaty and dizzy and frizzy and frazzled and thought this was a rather dumb thing for a woman in my condition to be doing.
So I reluctantly gave up trying not to focus on the poor 2 month old white goat who would spend the night in below freezing temperatures among the coyotes and monsters of the mountains. I wouldn't be able to chase her. She was much faster. I wouldn't be able to lure her to me, she thinks of me as her captor. I wouldn't be able to find her. A little white goat in about 300 acres of contiguous forest. Some things are beyond our control to fix, I reminded myself.
I put bait goat back in her shed with treats and hay and water and went to meet Nick who had been expecting me 2 hours earlier at the new farm. (There is no cell service where we live, so you are either on time or you aren't, no calling to say you are on a wild goat chase). I met Nick in tears as I unwound the stress and drama and guilt of the previous 2 hours. We called the town hall to tell them we had lost a goat and to give them our home number if anyone found her. The town clerk laughed.
We had to finish the cow fence so that they would not escape again and so that is what we did. My fondness for the goat I barely knew and had just lost grew as did my anger and embarrassment. I couldn't imagine calling Louisa that night to tell her what I had done with one of her sweet little baby goats.
We drove home in tandem, listening to the sad verdict given by SCOTUS on the Monsanto soy bean trial. We crawled at 7mph up the last three miles to the house, looking left and right and up and down for a white speck of goat in the neighbor's pasture. Nothing.
We picked up speed in the last half mile as the realization sunk in that we wouldn't see her just happily grazing in a faraway field. As we rounded the drive to the barn Nick (who was leading) stopped abruptly and got out. I parked behind him to see what he saw. The little runaway was there standing in front of their shed, talking to bait goat from behind the locked door.
Ahhhhhh. The success/failure roller coaster had continued.
We got her back in the shed and today I got fencing and we have two happy little goats now who don't trust me for all the alfalfa treats in the world.
But I can't call them runaway and bait goat forever. I need your help naming them. My mind is fried. I have not one creative cell in there right now. Suggestions?