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December 10, 2017: It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Last night, around 6 p.m. I had finished cleaning up the goat pen and had let Stormy and Ranger back in the goat shed. I watched the two for a moment. Ranger was sticking the tip of his tongue out and Stormy was turning her butt towards him. Oh oh. Then he mounted her. Double oh. I was reasonably sure that Stormy was in season.

I went inside and told Pete that we’d need to get her to Suzy and Mike’s in the next few days, and get her bred. He told me to give Suzy a call. I called Suzy who reminded me that goats are only in season for a short period of time, like eight hours. I hedged because it was getting late, asked if we might bring her over today. Suzy

Baby goats at Mike and Suzi's

made it clear that the time was now. She and Mike were milking, but said to either bring Stormy over at 7 p.m. or 10 p.m.

Pete was in the middle of making dinner – quiche – so 7 p.m. was out. That left the 10 p.m. time. I wasn’t up for this, but Pete said that if we wanted Stormy to again go into production that we’d need to get her bred. I have said that I’d be okay with her being just a pet, but he’s repeatedly said no, no, no – he enjoys making the cheese and the yogurt.

So we loaded Stormy into the Tundra at 9 p.m. we put the rear of the truck at a base of a hill, and the mounting block in front of the tail gate. I pushed, and Pete pulled on the dog leash, and in Stormy went.

On the way to Cottonwood Creek Farm we talked about goat names. Naming is the best and most fun part of animal ownership, and Pete and I are good at it. The dam is Stormy’s Aerial and the sire is Phoenix. We came up with some excellent possibilities. Female names – Perfect Stormy, Gale, and Sue Nami. (that’s Tsunami) Male names—Force Ten, Hurricane Carter, Perfect Wether, and the best of all NOAA (the name of the weather service.)

Suzy and Mike’s office is their basement. Here they milk the goats and store the milk. Suzy keeps this area absolutely spotless. I enjoy hanging out in this room and watching the goats being milked. The goats themselves are friendly, inquisitive, and very well mannered. I also enjoy talking goat pedigrees and production. The latter reminds me of taking dairy cattle management classes at Cobleskill Ag and Tech. And Suzy’s charvet soft cheese is the absolute best. I was very careful when I picked my goat mentors. I have not been disappointed – Suzy has been a wealth of useful information. And she has excellent stock and keeps excellent records.

It was quite late (11:45 p.m.) when we introduced Stormy to her date, Phoenix. I followed Mike and Pete outside. It was a dark and not so Stormy night. It was warm, temps in the high 30s – and drizzling just a little bit. Mike let Phoenix out of his pen (he shares it with Tuxedo), and he swaggered over to Stormy and began sniffing her butt. Bucks smell goaty, and this guy was no exception. His coat was also very thick and perhaps matted. Pete held on to Stormy – she turned and looked at Phoenix – and he hopped up on her.

He didn’t quite connect the first time, but did the second. It was a lightning fast copulation. He went back to sniffing, then in a bit, mounted her again. We waited a long, long, time for the third mounting. Stormy is 5 and has been through this at least three times before. Like most things, she took it in stride.

I of course made jokes for a while. I became increasingly more impressed with how respectful both Mike and Pete were, which is why I finally shut up. How nice, I thought, to be in the company of two highly enlightened guys. Every so often the Marimba guard dogs barked. And we could hear traffic. But otherwise, it was a quiet, peaceful breeding.

I think it was Pete who said that it was good that it was not a stormy night because otherwise we humans would have gotten cold and chilled.

Phoenix finally finished up doing what he was supposed to do, and we loaded Stormy back into the truck and drove home. Ranger was quite glad to see her, and resumed where he left off, what with the humping and tongue sticking out. And Stormy wiggled her tail at him.

This morning, I went into the goat pen – I let Stormy and Ranger accompany me down to the horse pen. I watched both goats carefully as I was scooping poop and feeding. Both seemed very tired to me. Ranger was no longer interested in her in “that way.” And Stormy in no way was interested in him.

So, most likely we will have goat babies running around here next June. Stormy’s due date is May 28, 2018. Pete is hoping that she gives birth to three does. This way we’ll be able to sell two offspring. I want her to have just one doe because I’ll have a hard time parting with additional kids.

Next: 342. 12/11/17: A Conversation with Raudi

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