Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Out & About

Yesterday, after finishing morning chores, I was sitting on the couch watching a random movie from 1940, when Andy asked me what I hoped to accomplish for the day.  I told him I had pretty much accomplished it already and wasn't planing on doing much beyond watching classic movies and eating tasty fudge made and given to us by our lovely neighbors. 

With the exception of getting Bert and Ernie out for a walk with their packs.  Gotta work on getting those boys in shape!

I've added the pack bags to their saddles, so they get used to the "extra" weight, and the feel of the material against their sides.  We don't have many trails in the immediate area, so we end up on what country roads we can find, which usually have more traffic than either I or the boys would like, since passing cars tend to freak them out a bit.  Fortunately, we have friends who live at the end of one of the longer and steeper country roads within walking distance, which makes for a decent training walk where we can let go of the leads.  The boys do better at keeping up when allowed off lead, but are unpredictable enough when cars pass us that I can only let them off when we've gotten off the main road.

We do gain several hundred feet of elevation on this walk- these pictures were taken at the highest part, and our turning around point.

What's that in your hands? Can I eat it?

Notice how Ernie is in the lead (usually the case), and how Bert's tongue is sticking out. Bert is still getting tired faster than I would like, but at least there isn't any (extremely) pitiful bleating like the last time we walked up this road.  That was two years ago, the boys didn't have any weight on them and it was around 90 degrees.  So I suppose this is an improvement.

Bert sees many hills in the distance and contemplates laying down right there should we decide to go any further.

I was hoping to get a nice picture of the Valley, or possibly the Sierra Mountains, which you can see on a clear day from this location, but it was so hazy, we couldn't even see Sacramento.

Pssssst! Bert! Snacking opportunity this way!

You may have noticed that Bert has matching accessories, where Ernie's red halter clashes rather loudly with his purple packs. Apparently, really bright colors and pastels are all the rage for goat halters these days as I've only been able to find a pinkish purple (meh), and the dark green halter was a special order because granny-smith-apple-green just wasn't going to do and Bert needed something.  Ernie is actually wearing a llama halter, which I think fits him much better than the large goat halters do, so I'm waiting to get some motivation to shop for llama halters in dark purple before Ernie gets to be all matchy.

The boys don't seem to mind the addition of the packs to their saddles, and while the horses, llamas, and alpacas we pass on our walks seem to find them fascinating, Bert and Ernie pay them little attention.  The one thing Bert couldn't seem to tear himself away from on our walk was the half blind teacup poodle with all of three teeth who was barking and tugging at the end of his leash as though he was fixing to tear Bert to shreds.  I had to drag Bert away from the little monster because he had stopped walking and just wouldn't stop staring at it.

We did get asked if we were walking alpacas (it's the big ears and all the wool that fools 'em every time), and another person slowed her car down to ask if we let children ride our animals, and by the way, what were they?  When I told her they were goats, she wanted to know how much I'd charge, since her daughter wanted to ride a pony, but she though that would be too dangerous.

Somehow, a goat seems safer?

Good to know.  And now I'm tempted to see if the great Google will find me some goat saddles, as there is apparently an area of the goat-related economy I've been ignoring all this time.


Heyjami said...

Wait, aren't the male goats REALLY stinky? That may put a crimp in your goat-riding business idea... Great pics! Thanks for the fun story!

Sarah said...

Male goats that are left intact (bucks) are incredibly stinky, and perform a suite of rather randy behaviors pretty much all the time. However, Bert and Ernie had their goodie bags removed while they were young (and are now referred to as wethers), which is why they don't look all that masculine. The lack of testosterone eliminates the peeing on the face behavior of bucks, reduces their urge to attempt to breed with anything that stands still, and it makes them grow a bit taller than bucks would. Wethers make wonderful pets and trail companions.

Glad you liked the post! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Nan and I enjoyed the post. We took our goats out on walks in the Paso Robles outback 20+ years ago and you reminded us of those fun times. You're a good, clever writer, by the way. Greg & Nan

sabiratree said...

Where were you guys walking? That sounds like a lot of fun!

Sarah said...

Greg & Nan- thanks!

Sabira- just a couple of miles from our farm. I still don't have a convenient way to transport them very far, so they've yet to go for a ride in the truck. I need to cross that bridge soon though, since I'm really hoping to get them out on a real packing trip this summer.

Kitty Sharkey said...

Let me know if you ever want to borrow my trailer. It's big enough for them, but small enough not to be a hassle.

I should come up there and add Sammy to your packing mix. That would be funny. Two chest high goats with packs, and one knee high one sporting eggplant purple.

Wendy said...

I wanna ride the alpaca! Heck just combine them all into one animal!

This is too hilarious, do you think Burt would've eaten the poodle?

Hi from Devin, Merlin & me :)