Oh our goats are such cheeky boys! They’re in escape mode again :-0 But I do think I understood what’s going on behind those limpid eyes. You see, their field behind the shed had become boring – they’ve been moving about it in their electric fence over the last 6 weeks or so. They’ve eaten all their favourite bits. Played king of the castle on all the rocks. Explored every nook and cranny. They’re over it. Abel tells us this by jumping over the electric fence and standing in the corner of the house garden bleating and munching roses, whilst Basil and Clyde scream their frustration that Abel has gone and they are still in purgatory.
Yesterday, Noah and I spent ages in the hot sun (hot sun!? in may!?) carting the electric fence way down the other end of the property. We set up a field where the goats had fallen trees to climb, bracken and blackberry to munch, long grass, shade to lounge in, and new rocks to stand on. Alas, we forgot to take into account that whilst our goats are cheeky boys, they are also terrible sooks. They couldn’t stand being that far away from us and within an hour of being in their new field, they were back eating the roses and standing on the Jeep’s bonnet (Julian LOVES it when they stand on the Jeep bonnet!)
Much to their disappointment, this led to a long afternoon sulking in their sleeping quarters. The goat life is a hard one.
This morning – Julian had errands to run and I just didn’t have the heart to say to Noah, “We need to go and undo all of yesterday’s work and redo it somewhere else, on the off chance that will please our neurotic goats.” So the goats were once more left languishing in their sleeping quarters. Now this is not dreadful – they have plenty of room, water, food, shade, cosy straw beds under shelter, and their play gym. But you know, they’re goats. It pissed them off. Specially every time the chickens strutted past clucking “Don’t mind us – we’re just off to explore the neighbours fields!”
So, once Julian was home, we set off for a goat walk. It is such a good way to spend a couple of hours – never fails to energise, inspire and relax – and Julian and I enjoy it as well! We set off in one direction, clambering down through the fields of long grass to our small forest. There’s always lots to explore down there. Julian and I talk non stop about which trees need to come out (the fallen and spindly ones) and what we’ll use them for, delight in how many wombat dens there are, shake our heads in dismay over how many rabbit warrens there are, check out the kangaroo beds (the nooks of flattened grass), and just which gully will make the perfect lake that we can build a little jetty one, fill with trout that we can fish from a little row boat and of course, water the livestock.
Then we meander further north to check out the new fencing. We are agisting part of our land to the lovely neighbours who farm Italian water buffaloes – they are dairy buffalo and we are so looking forward to their milk! Julian is determined to make blissful mozzarella. This awesome fencing also means we can safely keep a small flock of sheep and cows on our side – black suffolks and Irish dexters here we come!
All the way, the goats play and climb and munch. We go slowly so as to let them enjoy every moment – and oh they do.
At last, it’s time to head south, back up the big hill towards our cottage. The goats bellies are round and fat with weeds, grass and small trees. They frolic along, long fronds of greenery hanging out of their mouths, in the best of spirits. As are ours. Our hearts are full of excitement and love for this beautiful land that we are custodians of. Our minds are full of plans for what the next 40 years will bring. Our imaginations are full of so much whimsy and adventure.
Once home, the goats amble good naturedly back into their sleeping quarters where we fill their bowl with goat nuts. We promise them that tomorrow we will move their electric fence back to the field behind the shed, but further down – where the grass is lush, the bracken is tender, there are plenty of trees to ruminate under, and so many new rocks to play king of the castle on! They bump their thanks against our legs and let us rub our cheeks into their soft cosy winter coats.
And we promise each other that we will take this lovely goat walk more often.