And then we discovered our neighbor, whom from here on out we shall call The Enabler. She's the one who boarded her horse here so my girls could ride him, the one who gave us our monstrous puppy. Yeah well... she raises goats, too.
And so, meet Liberty.
liberty[lib-er-tee] freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.
Liberty is a nine month old Nubian doe. We'll walk her back to the neighbor this fall to have her bred, and in the spring, if all goes well, she'll have a baby and provide us with milk.
However, as we all know, Liberty never comes without a fight.
She's a sweet goat, but she hasn't been handled much in the past couple of months. She's not entirely sure she has any use at all for humans, no one ever told her she is supposed to come running when you're holding a grain bucket, and in general, she is pretty freaked out.
We walked her home on a collar and leash, and put her in a barn stall. We were in there with her, feeding her grain from our hands, petting her and talking to her, when she decided that was enough. And apparently a six inch gap between fence boards is enough for a goat to slide out sideways. Off she went, in a flash, and I found myself chasing her down the driveway, and down the road. It must have been a sight, a goat running down the road with her leash dragging behind her, me running along behind her.
Eventually she took off up a hill on another neighboring property, and I had to give up. Even if I did find her, she wasn't going to let me near her. The girls and walked home, sad and dejected, having owned a goat for only five minutes. We were goat owning failures.
Then I decided to drive down the road a bit, watching up the mountain with my binoculars. And there she was! She was heading back to her herd... she'd just taken the long route. I called the neighbor. Her husband ran out and coaxed the whole herd with a bucket of grain while I sprinted up the hill, dodging cow patties and leaping over irrigation ditches, to herd her toward them. Our silly little goat found herself a hole in the fence, and went along with the rest of the sheep and goats, right into the pen. We were able to catch her again, get her back home, and we reinforced the stall fencing. A lot.
We'd planned to call her Liberty before any of this happened, but now it seems even more fitting. Happily, she's still out there this morning... I was awake half the night worried that our sweet little goat might be off wandering a mountain at night trying to go back to her herd again. Goats are impressive, the way they can squeeze through any opening if they put their mind to it.
I don't imagine it'll be long before the girls and I have her much more tame, assuming we don't lose her any more. It's a good lesson in patience and empathy for my daughters, as much of this life tends to be. But the satisfaction of seeing her eat out of their hands, or her letting them rub her between the ears, and the smile it puts on their faces, is great reward for my trek up and down the neighborhood chasing a silly goat.