A Farmer's Journal

June 2017


"Guardians of the Galaxy"

In my 12 years home from Maine, we've killed two coyote and taken shots at half a dozen others who had the good sense to consider us serious about the matter of killing them and did not return.
The first coyote we killed took down a pregnant nanny goat before we evened the score.
The second one did much, much better for itself and took down nine kids, one at a time, before we finally called its hand.
I wouldn't say that we are hunters, and certainly not anti-wildlife, but we are anti-coyote.
No Loony Tunes reruns playing happily while we laugh; this is serious business.
And, as you've probably heard by now, we're heading north to the land of open prairies and more "wildness."
(Ok, there might possibly be a tiny, TINY bit of creative license in that statement, but not a ton. We're heading to 400 acres. We are dramatically increasing our size and range and also the territory of our enemies.)
Our goats are more vulnerable. Sure, we know that a coyote pack could give a young calf trouble but have you seen our Momma cows?
There's not much chance anything is going to bother our calves. After all, we have a cow named Killer.
(Ok, not really...farmer joke.)
But our goats need a protector. A great protector.
Better still, a pair of great protectors.
Enter Sam and Max.

Yeah, at eight weeks old they may look cute and cuddly, but these are Anatolian Shepards from working stock.
These are born and bred guard dogs.
These are named after literary giants. They are going to be tending our farm and our flock.
I sleep better already.

Welcome, Sam and Max.

Oh. The literary giant part?
"Green Eggs and Ham"
"Where the Wild Things Are."



You know the character I mean. You get the reference.
Moby Dick wasn't going to work although in terms of large and white that name would have made more sense.
We went with "Ahab."

He arrived three weeks ago, hailing from Madison, Georgia (hence the red clay highlights).
He's as impressive a billy as we've had since Walt Whitman. (Oh, Walt! How we miss you!)
Our intention was to allow Ahab a little quality time with our 20 young nannies from last year.
Follow my logic here. 20 nannies plus billy goat in May equals 20 mommas in October.
Then, we'd planned a little honeymoon between our billy goat and the remaining 40 nannies for September.
40 nannies plus five months means more kids in February.
Yes, it was a crazy plan, but even at it's most outrageous, it was not...not totally insane.
Indulge me while I complete my literary references for the day..."the best laid plans of mice and men..."
Instead of heading north with 20 female companions, it became necessary for Ahab to stay on the coast with all 60 ladies.
What is a boy to do!
(If you need to ask, perhaps this post is not for you.)
After two weeks of free love, I decided maybe it was time to step in and save myself. Even if half of the nannies available were pregnant, that was already more than I really wanted to handle in October.
Last Thursday, Antonio and I caught Ahab and put him into his bachelor pad - alone.
Ahab, being male, had other ideas.
On Friday, we strengthened the fence, caught Ahab and put him back into his new home.
By Saturday, I was beginning to grow weary of this game.
I'm not really a game-playing kinda girl anyway. Board games, organized sports, computer games (or worse -games on cell phones) are not my cup of tea.
Neither was this new billy goat game.
I asked for reinforcements. John purchased a new electric fence charger, we plugged it in, caught the goat and started again.

I'll spare you the details. By Monday afternoon, the score was Farmers 0, Ahab 6 (unless you're keeping score in nanny goats in which case the number may have been higher...check back in October).
We were saved by Grandpa who found the short in the fence, strung one more line of wire and managed to confine the beast.
Ahab, in all of his glory, may be viewed in the pasture beside my house.
Grandpa 1, Ahab 0.