Bad Apples

Whenever I step into the pasture I’m mobbed with goats.  They all crowd around me, hoping I’ve brought them a treat.

So when I need to catch one, to trim her hooves or to give her a copper bollus, it’s normally not a problem. I just reach into the mob around me and pick out the one I want.

I say “normally” because we have a few goats who choose to make it difficult.  For whatever reason, they’ve never become tame and catching them is next to impossible.

Emmylou is one of the miscreants.  It’s her turn to get a copper supplement and she’s having none of it.

Emmylou, fleeing in terror at the sight of me.

Emmylou, fleeing in terror at the sight of me.

I do these tasks in numerical order, according to their ear tags.  That’s the way my brain works and that way I’m not likely to miss anyone.  So when a goat like Emmylou comes up (she’s number 48) my system bottlenecks.  Lucinda and Jennifer, who are up next and would be no trouble to catch, can’t get their copper until I catch Emmylou.  And who knows when that will happen.

By the way, that’s her kid Aretha running away with her; learning bad habits from her mother.

So why not just skip Emmylou and move on? Because I’m on number 48.  And I just can’t bring myself to do them out of order.  Is there a medicine I can take for that?


16 comments on “Bad Apples

  1. shoreacres says:

    I don’t know about a medicine for you, but there’s clearly a song for Emmylou, by Emmylou.


  2. a morning chuckle … thank you … love Linda’s response, too….


    • Bill says:

      That song really is perfect. The next time I’m feeling steamed at my Emmylou for running from me like that, I’ll try to imagine her singing “No man is a master to me…Nobody gonna make me do things their way.”


  3. still laughing … out loud …


  4. Bill, time to consider getting rid of number 48, don’t you think? I’ve not raised goats but problem animals are definitely character building, aren’t they. It seems like there’s always one animals in the bunch that has to push the boundaries and why we put up with them is beyond me.

    Have a great number 48 copper day.


    • Bill says:

      I’ve thought about it. But she makes good babies. Her mother and sisters are all good well-behaved goats. Sometimes they’re slow to tame. Fortunately there are only 2 others like this.


  5. Are they named for the Emmylou and Lucinda and Aretha? And, if so, which Jennifer? Regardless, I love the names and I enjoyed the giggle from imagining you chasing Emmylou.


    • Bill says:

      Yes they are. 🙂 Most of our goats have musical names. Jennifer is named after Jennifer Knapp. Emmylou’s mother is Wendy (Beach Boys). Her sisters are Bella and Donna (Stevie) and Anna (Beatles). Our other two misbehavers are Holly (named for Buddy) and Michelle (Beatles). 🙂

      These days Emmylou doesn’t let me get close enough to chase her. When she sees me she starts running. I’m going to have to wait for a rainy day to catch her in a barn stall. If I can only get her to taste sunflower seeds or sweet feed, she won’t run from me any more.


  6. Steve says:

    We have two goats, Milly and Mabel, and they seem to know exactly when they’re about to go one step too far. .

    May bore you with a story?

    It might only be funny to my wife and I, because we know her mom really well. She’s salt of the earth; very simple in her outlook on just about everything. We start a garden to provide food? Why don’t you just go to the store, it’s easier? We get chickens for eggs? What are you doing that for? We raise some broilers. You what?!

    You get the drift.

    Mention the goats and she doesn’t even raise a question, she simply shakes her head.

    Well, we went away over Thanksgiving weekend and she agreed to feed the herd for us. Bad move. The goats escaped and chased her. They knocked her over, twice. By some miracle, she managed to make it indoors without the goats following her inside.

    But she was clearly trapped. The goats were rampaging on our back porch, chewing Christmas decorations, eating a tiny, potted pine tree and munching on a broom.

    My mother-in-law hatched an elaborate escape plan, which involved bolting out the door and tossing a bag of potato chips in one direction while she raced off in the other, toward her car. The potato chip fling gave her a split second advantage, because even though the goats caught on and bounded after her, she managed to get the drivers’ door open and closed just in the nick of time.

    The goats peered at her through the window.

    Fortunately, the car started and she inched forward. If it hadn’t, if she had been stranded there until we arrived home, it could easily have been a scene from Cujo, the movie where the St. Bernard trapped a mom and a daughter inside an AMC Pacer with bloody and horrifying consequences.


    Well, naturally, my mother-in-law recounted the above to my wife, Mary, over the phone in a loud and offended voice, dripping with hints that the whole incident and her unendurable anguish was our fault. She let it be known that she would never mess with the goats again.

    As Mary related the story to me, I started chuckling under my breath. Mary chuckled. I laughed. Mary laughed. We both, eventually, had tears flowing.

    Milly and Mabel: I love those rotten goats.


    • Bill says:

      Lol. Great story. As you know, goats all have personalities.

      When I was a boy we had a goat named Sparkplug. He was a cranky wether. We would tie him up wherever there were briers, poison oak or the like that needed to be cleaned out. We had to cover his horns with bicycle inner tubes so he couldn’t gore us with them. Smelly too. A real charmer.

      He was also something of an escape artist and every time he got free he’d go jump up on the roof of my grandmother’s car. She was a dignified lady, but she would come unglued when she saw Sparkplug jumping around on the roof of her car. He was known to her as “that damn goat.” I can’t ever recall her using that kind of language at any other time. She reserved it for Sparkplug.

      He too was a rotten goat. I think of him often.


  7. Ah, a kindred spirit… I too would be loathe to move onto 49 until 48 was taken care of. When I undertake a task I want to complete it so it falls off the list and I can get on with the rest of them. If I have too many loose threads, everything unravels. If you do find a drug for that, please share!
    In the meantime, I have lots and lots of ever-expanding “to do” lists. Started with paper, moved to my “smart[y-pants]” phone, but now I just use a giant whiteboard!


    • Bill says:

      I can’t stand to do things out of order. It’s 48’s turn, not 49. Dangit.

      I am a lists person too. I’m looking at my “to do” list right now. It has 84 things on it. I’m making progress.


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