Crofting – Goats Outside

The slat bonnet as worn

This is what I’ll be wearing this summer – my slat bonnet and work apron.

Goats like green grass

It is the first sunny, clear day in a week. I took the goats out for a few hours of grazing on the (dandelions) fresh grass. I attach lines to the fence rails with clove hitches, put the goats on leads, and clip the leads to the lines so they have some range but don’t get tangled together. The clip slides along the length of the line. I am always concerned about animals getting tangled in long picket lines, so this keeps the lead short but lets them move around, get to the water bucket and lie down.

Uncle Buck


The buck takes good care of his girls; I take him out first since the girls will always go to him. But he stands there, looking back at the barn, knickering and calling to them. The goats are much quieter than my sheep were. They sound more like lambs.


Vanilla is very friendly. She likes to have her nose scratched. She and the buck walk on leads like dogs.


Vanilla is very round in the belly. She hasn’t bagged up yet – that is, her udder isn’t full. That usually happens a couple of days before birth.

Tara is a little alpine, and she is seriously opposed to being on the lead. She made her escape from the stall as I took Vanilla out, but she didn’t go far. I caught her with a handful of grain, and got her out on the fenceline, too. She kidded a few months ago. The seller thought she might have been “caught” again, so we might see another kid in August or so.


She is small, lithe, agile – and a wee bit headstrong. She is Goat with the capital G.


These are the bonnets I mentioned on facebook.

Seafoam green toddler bonnet

 This is more green than blue as it looks here. It would fit a child between 18 months and 3 years.

Pink gingham baby bonnet.

This has a brim that stands off the face, so it is pretty but may not offer my coverage. It would fit a child up to 2 or 3 years.

Blue floral baby bonnet

The same bonnet, in a pretty light blue floral fabric.

Prairie sunbonnet

This is a standard sunbonnet, which I can make in any size and in any colour of light cotton fabric. The ones I prefer to make now have a neck ruffle to keep the back of your neck from getting burned. I have some pretty Ozark style bonnets to sew that are similar to this, but with fancier ruffles.

Traditional slat bonnet

A slat bonnet has battens in the brim to give it some shape while still lying flat  when it is off your head. It has a wide cape across the back and shoulders.  It is the best protection from the sun, but it has rightly been described as feeling like you have your head in a mailbox.

Bonnets obscure the side vision, and while this is fine working in the yard or garden, it’s best to remove it when driving or crossing busy streets.

Which Bonnet?

My bonnet

This is the bonnet I usually wear – it is custom-made, a Mennonite style bonnet with a deeper brim. I consider this an investment piece of headgear; it was a bit expensive, but I anticipate that I won’t have to buy another one.

My second best bonnet

 This is also a Mennonite bonnet, of a different type. It does not extend past my forehead, and is more practical for driving. It really hugs the head. I’ve seen this style worn by Mennonite women in Ontario; some do drive cars as well as buggies, and this bonnet does not obscure one’s side vision.

Amish women in full bonnets, old postcard

 This image of Amish women at market is probably fifty or more years old. Their bonnets fully cover their heads and shade their faces, a practical consideration when one is outdoors most of the time.

Old Order Amish boonet


Anish Old Order bonnet

 Advertised as an Old Order Amish slat bonnet, I think this is mis-identified. It looks more like a variation on the traditional bonnet. Perhaps the seller is confused because it is not an Old Order Lancaster bonnet, which has scallops at the back of the brim.

Old slat bonnet


I would call this a slat bonnet. I’m not certain of its age; it may be Amish or Quaker. A slat bonnet is less formal, and is meant for outdoor work. It shades the face completely and protects the neck. Black is not the best colour for a work bonnet, as it tends to heat the head in the sun. Wearing a slat bonnet is described as “having a mailbox on your head.” It severely restricts side vision and hearing. I wear mine for yard work and in the garden, but it is not a good choice for driving or even street wear!