When my husband and I first moved to our house on the hill we were excited about our two acres of land and decided we would be somewhat self sufficient. We didn’t have children yet and we were newly married. Twiggy was starting his business and I was the breadwinner, not that I won any bread, but I paid the mortgage and kept Twiggy comfortably full of parmi’s and beer. While I toiled, he drove our shitty car around the Hills picking up cow poo from the side of the road for the vegetable patch, drinking beer and meeting friends for counter meals. I refer to it as the “I worked and he drove around the Hills drinking beer and having counter meals” stage of life. He always sighs and looks wistfully out the window whenever it’s discussed.
Goats, a tale from the hill…
Like most newly married couples with no kids, we thought we’d test our nurturing abilities on an animal. Most people get a dog, but we wanted to get something more “farm like”. Sheep seemed a bit boring, llamas too expensive and neurotic looking, cows too big, horses required too much upkeep and pigs were too stinky, so we decided on a goat. As with any purchase in our house, we jumped online and researched goats for hours. That’s how we discovered that, not only do goats get grumpy and sad when alone, but there are also a lot of crazy goat-loving people in the world. From their photos, I suspect a lot of them are related to each other. Then we found the websites dedicated to miniature goats and we were hooked. As they were miniature, we’d be able to get two goats and they could be friends, we exclaimed in unison.
So, the search began and we finally found a cool place, a couple of hours north of Adelaide, that bred miniature goats. The lovely people who had the goat farm were very into miniature goats. They were also very weird. They loved goats a lot. They showed us many “miniature” goats (we now like to refer to them as baby goats) and introduced us to our new kids. They gave us birth certificates, lots of advice and then sent us on our way with our very special “miniature” goats. They were brother and sister (the goats, not the couple, but who knows maybe they were somehow *ahem* related?). One thing’s for sure, they were definitely good at conning the couple from the Hills who had no idea about goats, let alone supposed “miniature” ones.
We loved our goats, Ollie and Nelly, and for the first few months of their lives they lived in a makeshift enclosure just outside our back door and when it got cold (which is most of the time in the Hills) we brought them inside and they lived in our laundry. Every morning we’d clean the piss and shit covered laundry floor and attach their collars and take them for walks around the neighborhood, where they’d eat everyone’s bushes. And we’d blissfully walk along beside them, brimming with joy. They were our alternative to dogs, our surrogate babies, we even bottle-fed them and they’d snuggle up with the heads in our laps.
One night when we staggered home drunk at 4am (you see, we could still do that when our babies were goats, not real babies), we could hear the sounds of bleating in our spare room. It took us ages to work out the goats were no longer securely locked in the laundry. It also took us ages to work out how to get the key in the lock and how to put one foot in front of the other. It didn’t take us long to work out though, that the goats had had their own party while we were out. They’d skipped through the house with muddy, wee covered hoofs, they’d jumped on all the furniture and they’d lifted their tails and sprayed little pellets of poop everywhere. They’d slept on our bed and weed all over our gorgeous blanket we’d got as a wedding present. They’d even stopped to eat the flowers out of the vase on the table. Too drunk to care, we pushed the goats back into the laundry, pulled the spare mattress out and slept (passed out) in the lounge room.
The next day, hung over and gagging from the acrid smell of excrement (worse hangover conditions ever) we decided it was time the goats moved out of our laundry. Work on “Goatworld” began. The goats loved their own enclosure on the hill, where they ate a lot and grew to be absolutely massive. There was nothing miniature about them.
Sadly, Ollie went to the “Big Goat in the Sky” earlier this year. He spent his late few days back inside the house, being hand fed once again. It was awful. We dismantled “Goatworld” and moved Nelly closer to our house. She isn’t grumpy, but you can tell she misses her brother. And if she could speak, I’m sure she’d say: “That was me who pissed on your bed and it felt great”.
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