Crofting: Tara the Terror

The Terror Herself

Oh, she looks so sweet and innocent, just a little Heidi goat. Imagine her romping through the Alpine meadows. Sweet little doe! Oh, look at the cute little face, those gently sloping horns!

It has been a day here when things could have been better and by the grace of God, they weren’t worse. I awoke this morning with an incipient angio-edema. Again. I haven’t had this sort of allergic reaction in several months, so I have no idea what triggered it. It could be an exposure to a virus – we’ve had sore throats – or it could have been a small exposure to mould last night. It requires doses of antihistamines, and if all goes well, no trips to the emergency room. (Angio-edema can be life-threatening if it spreads to the tongue or throat.) I decided that as full of drowse-inducing antihistamine that I was, the wisest course was to stay on the couch and work on some writing projects. There’s also the fright factor. People do tend to stare and ask, “Good heavens! What happened to you?” So until the edema is reduced somewhat, I try to keep my duckbill face indoors.

Coincidentally, when Nikki and Doug arrived to drop off some tomato and pepper plants for me, Doug was sporting a swollen cheek because of an allergy to catching a puck in the face. He looked better than me, even with the discolouration. Sports injuries can be kind of disfiguring and painful.

All settled down; rain blew through. I went out to the barn to give grain and water and shift goats to the other stall. the warm wet weather has hatched out a large number of flies, and I wanted to get the goats on drier floors. they enjoyed the grain, as always, and I went back to finish making supper for Husband. Then, just as the table was set, I could see Tara out in the barnyard, nibbling along the edge of the garden, sampling a little clover and dandelion. The stall the goats were in has a loosened hinge, and Tara can sneak through it by pushing on the bottom.

Well, no problem, I thought, and put on the boots to go fetch her in. As I crossed the driveway, I could hear a wicked bawling from the barn. I thought that Bucky was very annoyed that Tara was out free while he was still imprisoned, and was protesting.

It was worse than that. He had tried to follow her, and he had his neck stuck in the stall gate. Goats don’t really understand about backing up, so he kept trying to push forward and up, wedging himself pretty badly. It was one of the worst sounds I have ever heard from an animal. And instead of stopping and waiting patiently for me to sort it out, he became frantic and was crying, really crying.  I was concerned that if he thrashed too much he would break his own neck, which I had seen happen to a nice little ram I had a few years ago. It took me a couple of minutes to get his feet and head positioned so that I could unhitch the gate latch and let him out.

Vanilla had worked herself into a tizzy over this, and both of them galloped out of the barn to join Tara. It was easier and safer than trying to keep them in, but they simply refused, all three, to return to the barn. They had a good nibble at the hedgerow, wandered into the meadow and gave me a look.

Additional grain did the trick, of course. They will follow that bucket anywhere. In they went, I gave them the grain, and moved the water bucket out of the stalls. Nicholas helped me get the doors shut, and I left them loose in the barn so they could roam around a bit and, perhaps, with any guidance from whatever beleaguered angel watches over goats, they may make it to the morning without further mishap.



6 thoughts on “Crofting: Tara the Terror

    • They can be endearing as well as monstrous! Bucky needed a few minutes of headrubs and pats to get over the trauma, but when Vanilla decided she was cutting loose, he went off with her.

  1. Glad that all is well with Bucky. The additional-grain-in-the-bucket trick always seems to work for our animals. Reminds me of my mother when I was a child, wanted to get our marmalade tabby cat, Chester, to come home so, she shook a box of “Little Friskies” dry cat food in her hand and cried loudly out the front door, “Here… kitty,kitty,kitty!!!, Here…kitty,…”. And would you know that cat came prancing down the street at a trot, from out of sight, around the corner at the sound of the cat food rattling in the box! That cat came from quite a distance and made a bee line home. Hope you will be feeling better and ooh, a hockey puck hitting Nicholas in the face must really smart! Hope he feels better also.

    • The puck hit our friend Doug, not Nicholas, although Nicholas met a fair share of flying pucks when he was still in league hockey until about twenty years ago. It’s a hazard of being Canadian.

      • Yes I enjoy watching a hockey game also. When I was 12, I was taken to Madison Square Garden to see a game between the MN North Stars and the NY team and had front row seats. The player would come sliding and slamming into the plexiglass barrier in front of you and I was glad that it was safer there than higher up. I’m sure a puck would stray up there a time or two.

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