We have two goats. Sweet Betsy, as her name implies, is a patient, gentle creature who trip-traps tidily to the milking stand and back. While Sweet Betsy is the intelligent one who jailbreaks them periodically from every fastener we put on their gate (she’s currently working on a combination lock), she does sedately allow herself to be returned to her pen when discovered truant.
Not so Hershey. Her flighty mind is not fitted for the painstaking care of opening fences. But once she has escaped, she prances like one possessed. I amble in her general direction with my rope, speaking to her calmly as if we were friends. She watches me intently, and then just before I get close enough to slip the rope over her head, the devilish gleam surfaces in her eye. She feints right, leaps left, and scampers away to safety. Then she makes for the top of the compost heap to crown herself queen of the mountain, lording it over me as I trudge after her. This charade is repeated several times in a row, until I am forced to call out reinforcements. With one small child on either side of me, I am finally able to herd her back into her pen, where she continues to prance, tossing her head rakishly at me.
Here there are no cows. But our goats will eat your apples, rosebushes, and yes, the cones under your pines. And even a good fence won’t keep them in forever.