Old Goats

newmanatthedoorsmEveryone seems to be getting older these days.

Every morning after waking up and reluctantly before my coffee, I lurch outside to feed the beasts, and usually find they are lurching equally ungracefully, if with perhaps a bit more enthusiasm, towards the feed buckets. We are an inelegant bunch with pretty decent appetites.

Recently I graduated Mr. Newman Goat to “the old crowd”. Although I do not like to think about this, in fact, Mr. Newman is heading towards his thirteenth birthday. That is old for a goat. And the past winter was hard on him – I had him wearing 2 coats and a (yes, really) pink undershirt during the worst of the Arctic blasts after I found him shivering somewhat pathetically in the barn. While pink is not really his color, Newman doesn’t “do” pathetic very well. In addition, at some point I decided he needed some more nutritional fortification beyond what he could steal from the pig and visiting teenagers and so invited him in to the old lady breakfast party.

The oldsters get a lovely brew of wet mash – soaked, primarily, because their teeth are not quite what they used to be. I’m sure none of you will have experienced this, but, you know, as we age, our teeth become less, well, young and we do prefer softer substances that go down more easily. Or am I alone in this experience?

At any rate, the thing is, all his life, Mr. Newman Goat has been the invader. The jerk who sneaks in to steal the goods. The first time I opened the gate and invited him into the elder’s breakfast he looked at me like I was out of my mind. Then he assumed it was a trick. “There’s a shot in there, isn’t there? I know you’ve got a god-damned syringe in your back pocket and I’m not falling for it” (my apologies for his bad language; I’m merely quoting him here). And in fact, he refused to come in. OK, if I were him, I’d have refused, too. Who wants to be counted amongst the gum-chewing crowd? However, slowly he has realized that this isn’t such a bad thing after all and there are rarely shots involved. After all, it’s free food and he’s no dummy.

But I am quite sure you will all be glad to hear that Mr. Newman has continued his tradition of pillage and plunder, regularly raiding my vehicle, opening the gate to the feed room, chewing the newspaper right out from under volunteers doing painting projects, and attempting to breach the farm office door.

When he arrived at this farm some 12 years ago, I remember hoping that Newman would “eventually calm down”. Now, I dread that calm. And am grateful for every moment of chaos, destruction, annoyance, and pure Newman-ness that this old goat has to offer.

Until death do us part, Mr. Newman, until death do us part.

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

Till next time,

Farmer Anne
Star Gazing Farm 501(c)3
A haven for retired farm animals and wayward goats
http://www.stargazingfarm.org
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