Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gertie Has Wanderlust

My friend Debbie's name showed up on my phone screen awhile back. "Hey," she said when I answered, "I just drove by your house a few minutes ago and wondered if you knew your goat is down by the road, just watching the cars go by. "

I have suspected for some time that Gertie's innocent days, when the fenced boundaries of our property represented the boundaries of her world, were coming to an end. Gertie has begun to poke and prod those boundaries, putting the proverbial camel's nose under the proverbial tent. Apparently, she's intoxicated by the proverbial incense burning in those tents.

She has begun to wander.

Early this week, she followed the dogs through the fence behind the chicken coop onto the neighbor's private lane. That's a no no. Last week, she followed the dogs through the wide area in the fence that grants access to the neighboring alfalfa field. Wintertime: OK. Spring and summer: Ummm, no. Don't want to steal the farmer's hay - that's bad juju.

Back to Debbie's call. "She wasn't in the road," Debbie explained, "She was just watching each car go past. The dogs were down there with her, too. Do you need me to take her up to the house or something?"

I was going to be in town for a few hours, but we agreed that when Debbie drove back by she would check to see if Miss Traveling Pants was still by the road or causing trouble, and would give me a call. About an hour later, Debbie called with the status: Gertie was no longer at the road.

Still, the age of innocence is past. We can't have a wandering Gert. We knew the time would come when she pushed the boundaries. It's basic goat DNA. Still, it's been fun having her trot around the property with whatever farm clique she was attaching herself to at the time. The chickens, the ducks, the turkeys, the dogs - she's one of those enviable souls that fits in any crowd.

How sad that the antidote to Gertie's daily constitutional is to put her on a leash or in a penned enclosure. Just when she's discovered there's a big, colorful world out there, she's going to find herself restricted. It doesn't seem quite fair. But the alfalfa is starting to poke through the frost in the farmer's field, and we can't have goats stealing crops or stopping traffic. So, we'll have to find a solution that curbs her wanderings but doesn't break her spirit.

A big, sturdy livestock stopping fence (is there really such a critter?) surrounding our 3 acres won't be a reality for a few years down the road, so she'll have to bide her time in a roomy pen or on a long chain that we can pull up and stake around the property. And, when we're outside with her, we can test the waters at letting her out to trot along with her pals. I'd miss her banging on the door, so we have to let her have some rambling time.

We'll let you know how it goes. And how much grief Gertie gives us when we find a solution.

Love from the farm,


  1. Came over from The Pioneer Woman :)
    Was wondering if maybe Gertie needed a little goat companion? I have two wethered males and they are great friends. They keep each other company, and are going on twelve years old!
    Just thought I'd mention how well they get along, and sorta keep each other out of trouble, for goats anyway :)

  2. You know we really should get her a goat companion. She is such a character! Right now, she acts like a dog, running with our little pack. We have neighbors who always seem to have a goat to spare...maybe this will be the year we add a pal for her. Thanks for taking a peek over here - I'm a fellow Ree fan. ;)