This kid really milks his mom for all she's worth

May 17, 2010

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This spring, we were ... I'm reaching here, but I think the word is "blessed" ... with six baby goats, none of which are lacking in energy, enthusiasm or conviction in his or her beliefs.

Their beliefs are limited to three items, those being eat, sleep and create a general terror that can likely be heard for miles around.

They take breakfast at 6 a.m., and for the next two hours, the barn and pasture are filled with a variety of crashes, bangs and bleats in a cacophony that would make a human day-care center sound like a yoga class.


Naturally, I would wake up in the middle of the night with the singular thought: Must. Sell. Goats.

The worst (not necessarily for us, but for his mother) was a young buckling that was always, and I mean always, hungry. He would nurse until his mother, Hillary, would say "enough," but did this discourage him? Oh, no. He would chase Hillary around the pasture for hours, looking to latch on to her udder, buzzing the doe from all angles and allowing her no peace.

So annoyingly persistent was his pursuit that I wound up naming him Horsefly.

Hillary, named after the climber, is a pretty good athlete in her own right, but she was no match for little Horsefly, who could have given the Kenyans a run for their marathons.

She got a brief rest when I milked her in the evenings. She'd never been a big fan of milking before, but having her child locked out of the room gave her some peace that she seemed to cherish.

Afterward, I would open the door and, sure enough, there was Horsefly, happily wagging his tail with a frenzy and greeting his mom with, "I'm glad to see you're BACK; I've been waiting to SEE you again." And Hillary would freeze in the doorway and go mildly catatonic.

So you can imagine my relief and hers when a wonderful couple answered our advertisement about young goats for sale.

Of course, things for me are never this easy.

I was behind on chores and was racing around to be finished throwing hay by the time of Paula and Frank's arrival. I was just about done when I couldn't help but notice a 4-foot snake that was sunning himself in the paddock.

I am not permitted to kill these vipers, per instructions from the management, so I hastily grabbed him by the neck and headed for the driveway -- just as our guests were pulling into the parking lot.

It is a testament to their tolerance that they did not immediately do a 180 and go fishtailing back down the lane, spraying gravel in their wake.

Here I was, wearing threadbare farm clothes, hadn't shaved in about four days, with a pitchfork in one hand and a writhing snake in the other. I froze. I knew this had to be an unspeakably picturesque introduction to Little Farm by the Creek, and feared I might have cost us a sale.

Fortunately, Paula and Frank were quite understanding, and Beth was there to clean up the mess. As I relocated Mr. Snake, she took them to the barn, where they were greeted by two blurs flashing in front of the barn door -- Hillary, and then Horsefly hot on her tail.

In the end, they decided to take Horsefly and his sister, and these are two very lucky goats. (And it needs to be noted that Hillary, not exactly being Mother of the Year material, did not miss them a bit.)

As we were sitting around talking that afternoon, Beth had only one request for the goat's upbringing: "Can you please name him something other than Horsefly?"

To that point, I had no idea that my creative efforts were so unappreciated.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at"> Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under">, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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