Have Goat Will Travel
By Kim Johnson
Is it just me or is everyone meeting on the Internet these days? Match.com, e-harmony.com: singles everywhere are finding love.
Why should livestock be any different? I sat down one afternoon at my computer to find the perfect mate for my goat Lucy, a long legged LaMancha beauty. It wasn’t long before I found him on the Internet: Storm, a lovely stud, creamy white buck hair, blue eyes. He had an impressive pedigree, from a long line of proven milkers. After a lengthy e-mail conversation with the owner we decided Storm would come to my house for a few weeks to see if he was interested in Lucy. I was hopeful they would like each other because what they had in common was that they were both goats.
Storm arrived one weekday morning in the back of a pickup truck. His owner had been breeding a line of milking goats for some time, selecting the offspring of the best milkers with the creamiest milk. I was already envisioning pots of cheese, chevre molds all lined up on the counter, creamy bars of goat milk soap and frothing bowls of frosted flakes, all from my very own goat milk. I couldn’t wait for him to meet Lucy. When Storm got out of the truck I couldn’t help but be struck by his short stature. While handsome, he was certainly smaller than his stated Internet dimensions. I didn’t want to insult his owner so I kept my thoughts to myself.
We trotted Storm off to the barn. He seemed sure of himself, confident, his little legs moving with a certain determination. We introduced him to Lucy, who took one look at him and let out a mournful sound. Storm’s owner spent some time apprising the two of them and imagining, I’m sure, how the breeding would work. Nonplused at the obvious size difference, she turned to me and asked in all seriousness, “Do you have something he could stand on?”
Storm spent several days trotting around the barn. He seemed to trot everywhere he went which I thought odd until my neighbor pointed out that his legs were so short he had to trot just to keep up with the other goats. It wasn’t long after Storm’s arrival that Lucy went into heat. One morning I found them in the barn in a desperate state. She was desperate to breed with him; he on the other hand, looked like he might be having a heart event. Lucy was trotting around after him and he was at a full out run to get away from her. This went on for some time.
In the end Storm went home and I had to wait five and half months to find out that there was no goat milk in my future, at least not from Lucy. Perhaps match.com was not the answer. Instead, a visit to craigslist found a lovely LaMancha goat in Woodburn that was already being milked, giving almost a gallon of milk per day. At the very least I wouldn’t have to worry about height differentials.
I agreed to meet the lady with the goat in a superstore parking lot. I packed the kids into my Volvo station wagon with an a/c unit of dubious quality and drove down I-5 on the hottest day of the summer. The goat had a fabulous bag of milk and I agreed at once to buy her. Although friendly, she eyed the dog crate I brought with serious misgivings. Push and pull as we might, the old owner and the new owner could not convince the hundred plus pound goat it was a good place to be.
Low on options, I begged the goat not to pee in the Volvo, loaded her in the back with the kids and up I-5 we went. Other than attracting attention with a goat hanging out the window the trip was uneventful. We named her Jelly and she turned out to be a fabulous milker, giving almost a gallon of milk a day. My dreams of cheese, soap and frothy frosted flakes were realized and I spent the rest of the summer gaining fifteen pounds.