|Article Index||"Billy Goat Encounter"||Article Index|
|BILLY GOAT ENCOUNTER|
It finally happened. Out of the clear blue.
Billy, our LaMancha mix buck is about full grown now, which puts his shoulder about hip high on me, and I'm no leprechaun. His horns are about three inches across the base and about nine or ten inches long. I've been warned about mature goat bucks.
"NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A BIG BILLY GOAT."
I'm sure that's engraved in stone somewhere. Maybe even in the holy grail. I mean, goats go back a long ways.
I have heeded that warning, and when I walk past him, I have one eye on the way ahead, and one on him at all times. Except today. I was busy. I was trying to get Baby and her kid Ruby moved out of the hen yard where I'd put them for extra protection. Ruby's big enough now that she can look after herself, and I needed to get Baby out and back on weed detail.
I knew Billy was standing close by, but since he's never done anything even remotely threatening, I was no more paying attention to him than I would a fly.
Then out of the corner of my eye I saw him go up on his hind legs and cock his head to the side. Much like my dad used to do when we would sass him.
"WHAT'D YOU SAY?!"
He was all bowed up and ready for battle. I saw him coming for me but there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I had the handle to the hen yard door in one hand, and one of Baby's horns in the other. I can only assume that he did not approve of me handling his woman, and she wasn't helping matters any by bawling like I was trying to kill her. The only thing I could think to do was offer him the side with the most padding.
He came down on his front feet and lunged, with his head down, catching me on my right butt cheek. For once in I don't know how long, I did not fall down or get knocked down, but held my ground. I'll admit, the impact did bend me in the middle a little bit, but since I normally bend there anyway, I came through it with nothing more than a throbbing butt.
First my feelings were hurt, but that emotion was soon replaced with anger. I was gritting my teeth so hard I think I cracked a molar. There I was minding my own business, doing what I always do and he had the nerve....
I yanked Baby on through the gate and locked it. Just about the time I let go of her, Billy was up again and ready for another ramming. This time I was ready for him. There he was teetering on those two skinny back legs like some obscene ballet dancer, that head cocked over to the side again. When he came down, I came up with my right foot and kicked him under the chin. If I've learned anything about cows or goats or pigs, it's that you can hit them on top of the head all day long, and all you'll do is give yourself a miserable case of tennis elbow. You want to get their attention, you have to go for something that isn't protected by horns or an inch thick skull.
He said something that sounded like...
And I had a tense moment where I thought I had broken his wind pipe. I didn't want to maim him, just show him that I could give as good as I got, but in the process I realized that my right big toe was singing and howling in pain. After his 'blaaaaccck' proclamation, he started circling to the right, while I jumped around on my left foot circling to the left, and I'm sure that it probably looked like we had reached the point in the square dance where the caller hollers...and allemande left and allemande right!
After that things pretty much calmed down. He went straight after Baby the way he always does when he's been separated from her for awhile, making that stupid ...huh?...huh?...huh?... sound he makes when he's trying to impress her.
I went back to trying to catch Ruby and put her out with her mother, limping, cussing, and just generally being disenchanted with goats for the time being.
I know he will butt me again. We have reached a turning point now. Crossed a hurdle. Reached the point of no return. If there is nothing else in life that I can be sure of, it's that we will go through this again, and I just imagine that the only thing I accomplished with my self-defense technique, was to make him wiser, sneakier and faster. Next time he won't let me see him coming. Next time he'll be expecting that kick and will dodge it. I've always heard that the best defense is a good offense, so next time, maybe I'll just walk straight up and kick him first.
About the author: After growing up in Texas, C.J. Mouser and her husband, Fred, eventually found home on a small farm in west central Florida, where they and children Jenny, Jill and Jake grow oranges and raise swine. A collection of goats, cats and dogs also call the farm home, along with the occasional rattlesnake, alligator or "marauding wild hog intent on a little romance" in the sow pen.
Other columns focus on family. "Sometimes the threads that hold the family together are as fragile as spider silk, and as convoluted and complex as the main switchboard at the IRS."
Mouser, who is also a freelance writer and columnist for her local newspaper, followed her own path to become a writer. "I have no formal education. In fact, I'm 43 years old and haven't finished high school," she says. "I am a prime example of 'don't let this happen to you'."
Faithful readers who can't wait for her next column, however, would say she's done just fine.
C J can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org