Happy Fall! It was The Summer of Goats. Sun Star Herb farm’s Horned Locust Division was in residence at the Weed Ranch and I fell in love with an entire species, not just a few cute representatives. I never knew any goats before and presumed they were like sheep ( not that I've known any sheep - that way.) But no. They’re intelligent and individualistic and perhaps underestimated. Big Dog dog said that sounded like the Libertarians and he wasn't into no Libertarian goats. Even 100 of them. He focused on the herd dogs who drove him mad with desire from the other side of the fence. Teasing him about being a city dog.
At some point during their two-week residency he learned a fun trick of rushing the fence to spook the goats. (This is apparently Lesson One of Herding for Dummies.) He did this one day as they were headed into the corral and little goats scattered everywhere out of what had been a leisurely and orderly procession toward the gate. This procession was led by a large old male goat.
When I had asked Amanita (Division Head) about the alpha goats I assumed the leaders would be the males - that patriarchy's ugly grasp extended as far into goat kingdom as elsewhere. She said the males will lead in unfamiliar situations where more bravado is required. Female leaders know where the good grass is. Sounds about right.
This male leader was multi colored; brown, black and tan with some white bits - a calico goat. He had pendulous testicles that looked disproportionately huge and burdensome. He looked like he carried the weight of all the combined planetary maleness - like responsibility the next presidency, global warming and how many coyotes might be out there all rested on, and might almost fit in those nuts. And it looked damned uncomfortable.
Taffy, smallest of the herd, regularly wedged herself through one of the gates after that day and the dog studiously avoided acknowledging her presence. Even if he had to walk by her he pretended she wasn’t there. What goat? But the cat thought she had a chance and began stalking Taffy one day. The tiny goat, still twice the cat’s size, considered the cat between mouthfuls of bindweed, her little jaw never ceasing the rapid motion chewing. As the cat got closer to Taffy a group of the cloven gathered at the fence to watch this goat hunting cat. Her cover was blown. She began casually cleaning herself, trying not to think about all those horns and hooves. The goats stared, chewing.