So, let's move that political post down on the page and move back to our regularly scheduled programming, shall we? Because, you know, Torsten's birthday happened, and it was great--the perfect combination of relaxed and special. It involved a brunch cooked at home, a trip to a German bakery to purchase a birthday cake, a couple hours of Rock Band Beatles, a small gift of a goat-shaped Christmas ornament, dinner at a fantastic restaurant--oh, and that goat farm thing.
The goat farm was actually kind of awesome. The guy has only been doing it for three years--during which time he's built up his, um, herd? from 1 goat to about 40. He still has a day job, in fact (which is insane). He doesn't normally do tours but he agreed to let us visit, and showed us around the dairy and then let us pet the goats and take photos (full set here).
Goats are pretty cute, as it turns out. And actually, some of them reminded me of Montana. Especially this one:
I think it's the ears, and the quiet pushiness, and the constant curious sniffing. Of course, the goat also checked out my shirt:
But the farmer said, and seems to be right, that goats don't deserve their reputation of eating everything. They TASTE everything, because that's how they figure out what things are, but they don't actually EAT things. And it is definitely true that this goat was not CHEWING on my shirt. She was just... MOUTHING it. Though she did grab on with her teeth when I tried to get her to let go.
Goats also kneel as they're getting up, which, for whatever reason, I find incredibly endearing:
AND, the farm had some yearlings, who were in their own separate field, enjoying playtime:
Unfortunately, the trip was not entirely fun and games. We were standing in one field and I looked over the fence into the yearling field and noticed a goat lying oddly, on its side, with a leg in the air. I said to the farmer, "Is that goat sleeping on its side?" And he looked where I was pointing and said, "That goat's dead!"
Turns out, there were two dead goats, both yearlings. I actually felt kind of bad that we were there--the farmer said this had never happened to him before, and he seemed quite stunned. He was definitely very attached to his goats and it can't have been easy to see two of them dead for no real reason.
It looks like they died of bloat--the farmer said that normally when that happens, the goats bleat and he comes and kind of pumps the bloat out of them, but these two didn't make any noise. And I guess they could have eaten baking soda to help, but their feeder was out of baking soda.
We were talking about it in the car on the way home, and it does seem like the type of thing that happens to everyone as they start to expand their new business--a little mistake, like not putting out two trays of baking soda, that seems inconsequential but ends up costing you. But usually the cost would just be money, and in this case it was the lives of two goats.
Not exactly the best thing that could have happened on Torsten's birthday. But still, the visit was great, and we are definitely planning to go back in the spring when there will be lots of baby goats. Torsten can't wait. (And actually, kind of, neither can I.)
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