This month has been one heck of a wild ride! It started out good, my goats are going to be on TV in a reality show around the holidays this fall/winter! The filming went good, the goats behaved, and all was well till it was time to load them up to come home. The two wildest goats, Barney and Cleo, both two year olds, made a break for it and headed into the woods. I wasn't right there when that happened, I was on the other side of the barn, someone came and told me they had escaped. I guess three of the guys working on the set chased after them, which made them run faster. They disappeared in the thick woods on the other side of the road and were only seen off and on after that. That was on the 4th, a Wednesday. Cleo made it till Sunday night, then she wasn't seen again. On Tuesday I was over in that area in a huge 1000 acre tract of land following a goat track, so Cleo got ate by something out in there, probably a mountain lion. I never did see Barney that day. It was BArney's track I was following. Barney was seen a few times that week, but he was so wild that as soon as someone even started to open their door, he was gone like a shot. I went on a couple of wild goose chases when I'd get a call saying he'd been seen. I drove over there as fast as I could, but he was long gone each time. The last sighting of him was on the 13th. He probably got ate by a lion, too, or a wolf. That area on the East side of Flathead Valley has more predators than we do over here! So that was sad, they both had nice yields of beautiful cashmere! I'm glad I got them combed before the filming, so I at least have their fleeces from this year. I have their parents and sisters, so I can make more, but those two will be missed. Barney had a cute little white dot on his nose, and Cleo was a badger color, which I only have one other goat that color.
The film crew was a fun group of people to work with. Except for losing the two goats, I had a great time doing that whole thing. Bart the goat was a hit, he had to be right in the middle of things seeing what was happening at all times.
Then on the 7th, Dottie, my little 5 month old Russell Terrier puppy got picked off by a coyote just on the other side of the fence behind the goat pens! It was just about dark and I was putting up my game camera out there so I could hopefully get a picture of what the dogs had been barking at for the last few nights. She had been staying close to me, but I turned my back to hook the camera to a tree, and she ran off. I called and called, and pretty soon I hear a startled yippy bark, then three short shrieks, then nothing. I ran over there where I heard her with Nellie following me, but I couldn't find her. It was all but dark out by then. Nellie started barking at a thicket of little trees, but wouldn't go in there, and I didn't want to get too close since I could barely see anyway. The next morning we went over there again, and Nellie found two little pools of blood on a trail, and that was it. I searched in a wide area around those pools and didn't even find Dottie's collar. That was really sad. I only had her for two and a half months, but she had wormed her way into my heart pretty good. I must admit, it's a lot quieter around here without her. Reggie the cat misses her the most. They were best buddies and played together all the time. I have decided that I won't ever get a tiny dog again, this just isn't the right setting for one. I'm sticking with the big dogs like the Akbashes, they are huge and they are only 5 months old now.
So in the space of 4 days, I lost three animals!
I have all the goats combed already! They all shed early this year, even Mandy, who normally doesn't even start to let loose of her fleece till May. Now I am in the process of washing the fleeces, then I'll get the machine up and running and get it all dehaired. I should have it all done by the end of May, which will be the earliest that has ever happened. I'll have time to do other people's cashmere this year, and they will get their fiber back before October!
This has been the strangest winter/spring, weather-wise we've ever had, at least that I remember. The flowers are blooming, the grass is green and there isn't a speck of snow anywhere! The garlic is coming up, too. Usually at this time we are still buried in snow! Many a year we've had more snow fall in March than the rest of the whole winter, but not this year. I just hope it rains on a regular basis all summer!
I signed up for another two acres of thinning to do. I'm doing out behind the goat pens, and then down at the bottom of our property. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of little "pencil" trees that need to be cut out of there. They are so thick I can't walk through it, and it's perfect for predators hiding out, as evidenced by Dottie getting killed. Although she was on the outside of the fence by a few feet. It's a big fire hazard if a forest fire happens. So, I'll be doing that along with all the other things around here. I have a few helpxers coming, so they can help me with everything, thank heavens for them! Thank-you Heidi for telling me about the HelpX site!
Well, I think that's all that has happened this month. A stressful one for sure. Now I'm hoping for a goat kid to be born on my birthday in April. There are two does that are due around that day, so maybe this will be the year I get a baby for my birthday!