Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A New Blessing Farm Family Member

Sometimes you get an unexpected bonus. Last week I called the doctor's office to request refills on my migraine meds, and the nurse I am friends with said, "Sure, I will call those in right away and by the way, do you need a goat?" Sounds absolutely random, and it kind of was, but we've talked about lending her Merry as a pasture companion for a while before, so she knows we love farm animals and we trust each other.

Welcome to Blessing Farm, Grover!
Getting used to the new home...
The truth is that I've been thinking we should get a goat for at least a little while for a few months now. There is so much brush in certain areas that we will never get control of without a little help, and I figured if I could move a goat around to all the most needy areas, he'd eat them down enough that I could get the kids to finish off the rest (with my help). I mean, I do know better than to take a completely useless animal these days...a few years ago a random guy stopped by the house and offered me three llamas for free. Not having enough pasture and not knowing what use a llama would be, I turned him down, but when you live in the country, it seems offers of animals are not that uncommon (I mean, how many puppies and kittens have you been offered throughout the years? Just broaden the scope and that's what we get! If only someone would offer us a few more full grown hens to replenish our dwindling flock (with two useless roosters who were supposed to be hens!)

In any case, we happily agreed, and drove over on Sunday after church to meet Grover the goat. Those of you who are Percy Jackson fans will recognize the reference the satyr who is Percy's friend...his original owner must have had a good sense of humor. Grover was hand-raised and is very friendly. He can be a bit pushy with his horns, but I think it's because that his "daddy" (the husband) liked to wrestle with him. Unfortunately, animals don't differentiate between daddy and grandma or the grandkids, so we are working on gentle discipline and redirection of those behaviors and he is doing well.

Grover is trying to eat my sweater!

Meet Grover, our new myotonic "fainting" goat who has never actually fainted...
He does like to climb, so I guess that is a good thing!

Cowboy, our Goat Boy...
Ladybug is our Pony Girl
Cowboy is so thrilled with the goat. He loves to pick choice morsels of plantain, dandelion leaves, and grass and feed Grover. He's not intimidated by the occasional push or hook with the horns (I did file down the tips so they are rounded and not pointy). He is going to be our "goat herd." Of course, then the rest of them wanted job titles, too. Ladybug wants to be Pony Girl, Firefly wants to be the Chicken Keeper, Boo will be Bunny Boy, and Austin maintains his highest interest in the ducks since I won't allow him to have a fox until he moves out. Go figure. He also gets the smelly pooches for now. I guess I am the Crazy Cat Woman. I am okay with that.
Lily is a bit concerned about the goat...
Max is not sure about Grover yet.
Grover seems to be settling in nicely. Lily was a bit affronted at first that we were bringing this strange and smelly unknown beast to her corral. The ponies were curious, but not terribly concerned by Grover. Grover was laid back through it all. He did try to wrestle with Rosie, but she ignored him and kept on eating clover. We've tied him up to the first clump of trees and brush that is our first project area since it is right near the pasture gate. It makes Grover happy to be near other animals. The poor guy bleats piteously when everyone leaves him alone. The kids spent the day setting up climbing  piles (wood scraps and concrete blocks and stumps), and he loved that. I think he will be very happy here. For now, we are penning him in a stall at night with nice and fresh shavings, and he's very content. The ponies are jealous and spent the day sneaking into the stall while he was out and taking naps there.

Our kind neighbor...she took most of the pictures.

I love animals. They are so much fun. The kids did not do much schoolwork today, other than phonics and math and reading, but they learned a lot about cooperation, caring for others, consideration and kindness, not to mention the creative play they engaged in for hours with some of the old toys we found hidden in the garage as we (Tex and I) cleaned it. It is a blessing to have the flexibility of homeschooling because the day was gorgeous and I'd have felt horrible if they were kept in all day to do seatwork because it started raining in the evening and will rain for the next few days. Some days you just have to pretend to be an unschooler and relax a bit...learn the most valuable lessons by doing and working together to care for something or someone.

Rosie did not seem to mind Grover one bit. Too busy eating...LOL.

Do you have any favorite animals that have helped teach your kids valuable lessons? If so, I'd love to hear the stories!


1 comment:

Kristy Jensen said...

The animal that has taught my boys the most is our chihuahua, Marley. She is a bit annoying but she loves when the kids play with her. She became their very first chore/responsibility by feeding and giving her water and taking her outside.

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