In spite of gray, crummy weather yesterday afternoon, I peeled myself off the couch, snatched my camera and jumped in the car. Destination: some back roads I’ve never seen before. My goal was to get out of the house and find some cool stuff to photograph.
I hit Hwy 105 north and drove past Low, Kaz and Gracefield, then kept my eyes open for some side roads along which I might find some wildlife or abandoned houses. I stopped and snapped some photos of the river, which was nice (yawn) but it was this sight that really caught my attention:
As I carefully rolled down a dirt road, checking out the houses that were few and far between, I rounded a bend to discover a herd of goats that had broken free from the field in which they were supposed to be hanging out. I slowed to a crawl and followed them for a couple of minutes as they trotted toward the barns nearby.
Finally, I abandoned my car and walked toward the crew of relatively docile creatures, in hopes of finding the farmer who might prefer they weren’t walking all over the road. I would have been happy to have offered my help to herd them back into the field.
Before I knew it, I was right behind them. A few of them turned around to check me out.
It was at this point I started to feel a bit nervous. I called out, hoping there was a farmer busy in one of the barns. Nothing. My eyes darted around, switching between watching the goats walk toward me and checking the fields and road for someone – anyone – who might be backup should the goats decide I was not a friend, but a foe, and start butting me.
As I slowly started backing away, the goats continued hoofing it toward me. I glanced back at my car and was a little shocked to discover how far I’d walked away from it. I thought about how with bears, you’re supposed to make a lot of noise to scare them away. So I raised my voice. “NO. Go away! It’s all good! Go find your farmer!” Word to the wise: this tactic doesn’t work with a herd of goats. At least not with this herd. They didn’t even flinch.
Before I knew it, more of them had turned around and almost all of them were walking toward me. My heart began racing and I had to tell myself to breathe and not let them see that I was getting nervous. (I don’t know shit about goats! I just figure it goes for most animals that if you’re feeling threatened, odds have a better chance of working in your favour if you act like they’re not scaring the crap out of you.)
I backed away until I felt confident I was not about to be stampeded by some livestock then I turned and did some fancy speed walking back to the car. Once I was back behind the wheel, I drove forward and expected the group to move aside for me to drive through. That wasn’t going to happen. Instead, they gathered ’round. Still no farmer to be found. It was just me ‘n the goats.
I eventually – and very slowly – pushed my way through the herd and drove a little further down the road. The next house I came to had a couple of cars in the driveway, so I pulled in. I stepped onto the porch and through a giant pictures window, I saw a white-haired man sleeping in his rocking chair. I wasn’t sure if I should wake him up but I had to think of the goats! I knocked gently and the poor man was jolted out of his slumber by loud, almost ear-splitting yaps coming from a dog the size of my cat’s head. He pulled the door open and shushed the rodent-sized canine.
I asked him if he owned the goats. He said they weren’t his goats. Then without being rude, he started closing the door, as I was certain he was not finished with his nap.
So I turned around, drove back by the goats and saw they had discovered a whack of hay by one of the barns. They were happy goats indeed. So I bid them farewell and drove away.