Saturday, March 06, 2010


Here's Part I of the goat saga. More later, with pics, after I take my own bird to the vet :(

Saturday morning I awoke to more face licks from Lulu and 7AM ugh. I woke up that early for three reasons 1. I had to clean this place 2. my FP friend Bev was coming by to pick up some food for the RI shelter (the pallet I had to drag across the driveway, which weighed a mere 170 pounds) and 3. I was going to The Collection (squeeee) in Natick with my mother and sister in search of a mother of the bride dress and assumed we'd have to leave earlyish.

I got my chores mostly done, including a FULL clean of the conure room, decent clean in the amazon room, swept out the cockatiel aviary, cleaned up after the massive macaws, Burt and Jubjub, emptied the kitty litter (ewwww), fed the cats and dog, and fed the goats. I met Bev and the spazzy little dog she's watching, and then decided to do a final sweep. At 9:15 my sister texted saying that she and my mom were leaving at 9:30. Crap! I begged for 15 extra minutes, dropped everything and hit the shower, and somehow managed to look decent enough to go out to The Collection, hoping my mom would find a dress and I'd find the sparkle navy Louboutins my cheap ass has been secretly craving as wedding shoes in place of the 24.99 Nine West's I bought last fall.

Well I didn't find the sparkle Louboutins (ok just cause they were last season doesn't mean they need to disappear, right?) and my mom didn't find a dress. As the highbrow saleswoman in Neiman Marcus told us "Oh, you are too early to be buying for a fall wedding. The designers won't release their fall line until July." Whoops, sorry for being fashion homicides, lady. We did get stuff at Sephora (thank you Nars, for releasing the foundation color "Siberia" to match my pale-like-a-vampire-but-not-sparkly skin and sometimes frigid disposition), I scored sparkly ridiculous nail polish at Trade Secret as well as "Meet Me at the Star Ferry" from OPI's Hong Kong collection, a sweet bday card for a friend AND fun tupperware stuff at The Container Store (nerdy I know) topped off with a burger from the Met Bar and BEN AND JERRY'S. My day was complete.

I came home and gave the goats some carrots and actually played outside with Lulu (!) for a bit. We ran back and forth through the yard, and it was great fun and exercise. I settled down to scrapbooking, and after a couple of hours, I heard the amazons doing their alert call. It's a screaming, eardrum-splitting call that they repeat over and over and over again. Sometimes they do this for no reason, they often do this at dawn and dusk - maybe a nighttime/sunrise call in the wild?, and sometimes they do it because something is legit out of whack. I decided to check up on things since the calling was persistent and loud. I ran into the amazon room and didn't see anything out of line (ie one of the macaws hadn't escaped), so I thought it was just their nighttime ritual. Until I saw a flash of white outside the mud room window...whose dog was that?



It was Miss Penny...

"SH*T" I yelled.

I pulled on my knee high boots (so essential here) and whipped open the door to find not only Penny but also Copper. How the heck did they escape? I kicked myself for being a moron. I must've left the gate open after giving them carrots. Eff. I ran back inside to grab a bag of carrots, pretty sure bribery was my only option. Penny seemed to love running up and down the stairs, and Copper just stood at the foot, watching the whole circus. I thought I remembered that you could sometimes lead goats if you grabbed one of their horns. I tried with Penny, because she's smaller. Well she did not like this one bit and proceeded to run in a circle, burning my hand skin with her horn. Damn! I decided that I'd just walk to the pen and see if they'd have the sense to follow me.

Well goats are a lot smarter than people think. Copper saw me walking towards her house with a half dozen carrots and BOLTED across the yard (it is a big yard, btw) followed by Penny, out of sheer curiosity. You can imagine my surprise when I got to the gate to see it closed. Wait. So they didn't walk out of the pen. Hmm. I opened the door, hoping they'd run right in. They simply watched me from the front of the pen. When I started breaking up carrots and putting them in their food bowl, Penny ran up to the side of the pen and put her front hooves on the fence, trying to climb over. She realized she couldn't do this, so she ran around to the gate and strolled right in, followed by copper. Oh relief! I shut the gate behind them, lured them into their house, and closed them in for the night.

I figured I'd better test the fence for weaknesses in an attempt to find out how they escaped; if I could find the spot, I could rig up a temporary hold that would keep them in until the homeowners came back. Nothing. There were places where the fence was flexible, and there were small gaps between fence and ground, but no way could two stocky goats get through. Then I turned and realized the problem. The goats' manure mound was about chest high. I could see their cloven hoof-marks in the mound of crap and hay. Penny had used the fence as leverage and the mound as a landing zone, making her leap over the fence child's (goat's) play. The good news? I had identified the problem, so when I go back to work on Monday, I won't come home to find two goats gallivanting in the back yard. The bad news? I had to reduce the height of the mound via pitchfork. UGH.

I wish someone had been there to take a picture of me: me, the girl who says one of the best weekends of her life was spent helping birth baby lambs and planting a food bank garden at a Heifer Project farm, me, the woman who tells her fiance that when they win millions in the lottery or earn it through his first bestseller they'll be moving to Western Mass to start a charitable organic farm - there I was, in wedge heeled Sperry Topsider boots (they are fantastic in the city and in the rain, and were great at the house when I only had to walk to the goat pen and back), Ann Taylor sparkle/beaded t-shirt and cardigan, f*cking pitchforking manure! OMG! All I could think was "I'm so happy I didn't do my nails last night" and "I am a rockstar with the manual labor" and "Ohmygod this goat manure is going to make me faint"
and then
"Wow. I am sooooo blogging about this one."

My self-reward is a "My Life As Liz Marathon" and homemade biscuits with not so homemade soup. It is day two, my friends. Nine days to go, this adventure has barely begun. I am kind of scared of what might be lying in wait!


Elizabeth said...

I love you. You are amazing. How do you know this family of farm animals? Also- how much does one make house sitting for such a menagerie? I hope to goodness you're adding to the wedding fund with this manure shoveling!

Goats are smart! I'm glad you and Lulu are having a better time together. This house sounds like a lot of work...and a lot of fun!

Al said...

Oh it is the home of the owners of Foster Parrots. It is the original FP, the old Victorian house b/f they moved to RI. All the animals are rescued and full of it :) Sadly, manure funds are putting a dent in the $1,000 worth of repairs my Subaru just needed :( It's ok though, every bit counts, and maybe the manure slinging and fence repair will improve my physique!!

Al said...

P to the S

Elizabeth said...

EXCELLENT QUESTION. It needs to be soooon.....

Love you!

everything and nothing said...

OMG I stop checking your blog for a little while and there are goats. They are totally smart and can climb stuff. The teenage cows here are adorable-- I have a special friend, cow #171. Cow #172 has a serious oral fixation. She chewed on my pants, other cows' ears, and now my arm. She will seriously just stand there chewing on your arm. BUT: we might be moving to a new place next month. Go your save the date card today. I liked the pattern you ended up choosing. No job yet :(

Al said...

Hey girl - keep me posted! glad you got the STD. Is moving good or bad??