Friday, April 2, 2010

latter-day goatherd

Today I walked down the hill from my house, looking for dandelions. The house sits on the high point, and the ground slides gently down to a low, lush spot sandwiched between the pond and the wooded creek. In spring, this is verdant meadow, and today I could see that it had grown high with wild legumes - clover, vetch and caley pea, thick as deep pile carpet. It was late afternoon, and it seemed like a good time to let the hens out to range (their first since moving them to the Big House) and to take the does out for a little R & R.

We let the two mothers and the little doeling out of the barn, and with the lure of dried apples, led them across the yard and down the hill. At first they were reluctant, uncertain of why they were suddenly in a strange place, but the moment they saw the buffet spread out before them, it was all over. We staked out a spot on the slope of the pond and let them do as they pleased. They went face down in the thick greenery, tasting everything, gobbling down the very best bits of their favorites. Even the new baby, who as of yet has only tasted mother's milk, nibbled right along with the others. When the novelty of new and delectable treats wore off, they ran, jumped, played and rested, punctuated always by more eating. We sat on the warm ground and studied our native flora, and spoke of trees and animals, and summer nights spent in our youth. The girls were elated, and it was pure bliss for us to spend a beautiful spring evening watching their exuberance and taking in the earthy smell of lush new growth. We were all afforded some time to just be ourselves - human and goat.

Why on earth do I work for pay to buy hay to feed to my goats, when for nothing we can enjoy hours in the sunshine, with all the bounty nature can provide? And why put up a fence when a goat is content to be close to her goatherd? Why should I let the fence have the pleasure of tending them when I benefit so much more from doing it myself? Surely I was meant to do this.


  1. That's awesome, sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon.

    By the way, all the dandelions have invaded my yard. You're more than welcome to have them all!

  2. Wouldn't you know, I'm trying to collect a significant amount to make dandelion wine, and out here we have barely any!

  3. I LOVE your last paragraph. I like that feeling of kinship I get from folks who ask those kinds of questions. Have you answered those questions? I aim to feel grateful as many minutes of each day as possible, but when I answer those questions, I feel icky.