Last weekend, CJ and Jen traveled with their trailer to Woodbury, Tennessee to pick up a small herd of Angora goats from our friend Christina Ott (Artisan Builder's Collective) who was headed out of town and looking for caretakers. This seemed an opportunity to put the multiflora rose that covers the pasture to good use, and we've been discussing the possibility of finding Billy companionship for some time. Billy lives happily enough with the pigs and chickens, but he has a freer spirit than the others, different thoughts and desires. Lately he's been pursuing new forms of sociality, spending a lot of time with the dogs and humans on the farm. He enjoys sleeping in the barn, long walks around the perimeter of the pasture, and morning coffee on the deck overlooking the backyard. With the recent briskness of fall, Billy's been excitable, and he has indicated to me that he occasionally pines for the amorous attentions of lady goats. I admit this interpretation is partially projection. Billy is a handsome goat, charming too. More than once, I've wished for him love.
But love, it seems, does not come without a fight. Along with several females and a few kids, Saturday afternoon brought Goldman the goat to Ecotone. A billy himself, Goldman is an impressive specimen. Goldman shepherds the Woodbury clan, and he's protective of his flock. When Jen and CJ arrived to collect the goats, Christina warned that a battle was likely to ensue.
Before we could let goats roam, we had to put up electric fencing around the rose pasture and create access to the barn. For Billy and Goldman, our thoughts were to clear a safe ring. We cleaned up the barn a bit, removing chairs and buckets and other miscellany unnecessarily tempting to the whims of goats. Matt and Kim and Zachary came over from next door to meet their newest neighbors. Together, we brought the new goats one by one from the trailer to the barn, all beautiful animals -- Coco the pygmy, Lucky the Kid, Lily and Ashley, the ladies of Woodbury, several others. And, of course, Goldman.
Before long, Billy came in from the roses to introduce himself. We wished them well, encouraged sportsmanship, and stood back to watch.
BILLY V. GOLDMAN