photo of goats

Young willow trees slap me in the face as I weave my way through the island. I can’t see more than two feet in front of me even with my headlamp on. I’m tripping on dead cottonwood branches and occasionally stepping into pools of water. I have cockleburs in my hair, stickers in my legs, and my stomach is growling. “F****** goats.” If you think it would be fairly easy to find a whole herd of goats in a relatively small area even at night, you’re wrong. You…

The following, hands down, is the most common phone call I receive. Ring…ring…ring. Me: Hello? My mother: Your goats are out. They are (eating my garden/eating my trees/eating the neighbors garden/eating the neighbors trees/in the slough/across the creek/up by the highway). Me: Shit. Here is a common variation of the above call. Ring…ring…ring. Me: Hello? My patient mother: You have a goat stuck in a fence. It is (below the house/near the slough/on the river/in the pen/in the top pasture). Me: Goddamnit. Or this one. Ring…ring….ring. Me: Hello? My…

  This is the Little Dude. He was a quadruplet. His mom died and we raised him as a bottle baby. Needless to say, he is a permanent addition to the farm. The Little Dude and my nephew Liam have grown up together. Here they are when they were both just little. Every time I see them together I think of a poem by Robert William Service called The Goat and I.  And since spring is upon us and my goats help me forget about the world’s worries, I thought…

Our eyes met from across the pen. Challenge accepted. It was on. I was alone and had to treat an eye infection in a 45 lb goat kid before it spread to the rest of the herd. She was wild. I got within four feet of her, threw myself in her general direction and was able to grab a leg. The first rule of catching a goat, never hesitate. She dragged me four feet across the pen and we ended up with me flat on my back in mud…

Because sometimes winter on the farm can get long. And, because we can.    

As I contemplate the coming snow storm that is breathing down Montana’s neck, threatening to dump yet another foot of snow on the ground and bring us sub zero temperatures for four days in a row, I am reminded of a series of events in 2010 that culminated with me falling asleep in front of the wood stove on Christmas Eve at 3:00 a.m. fully dressed in my Carhart bibs with four dogs curled around me and six baby goats in a cardboard box. Perfecto, the goat buck…

Raising livestock and having a full time job is complicated. Goat kids come when they come. They don’t check with you first to see if you’re busy. The first kids of the year were born this last weekend and it reminded me of one very poignant example of how sometimes raising livestock and having a day job can be….complicated. One of our does went into labor on a week day. I had to be conference call with our staff in D.C. to discuss H.R. 2454, aka the American…

The other day, I was splitting wood for winter. I couldn’t hear much over the sounds of the splitter or my ear protection so I was startled when I looked up and there was an old green Ford pickup parked right next to me. A random guy: “You in charge here?” Me: (5 second hesitation) “Why?” I’ll stop the story here and tell you that “why” is my standard answer for three questions I’m frequently asked: Am I in charge? Am I Tom’s daughter? And, are those your…