Monday, October 29, 2007

Good fences make good neighbors

Or in my case, good fences make good goats and bad fences make very bad goats. As many people know I live on five acres of the steepest, rockiest, brush covered ground. With these conditions, what better animal would there be to have around than a goat? My dad and stepmom have generously given me a nice little herd of five Nubian goats.

Four weathers (fixed boys) and one doe (girl). They are all named; there is Acorn, leader of the pack; Spark, the loud annoying one; Henry, the lovey; Charlie, the baby; and Molly, my sweet little girl.
These lucky guys get their run of the best black berry bushes and poison oak around. They have done miraculous work, clearing out acres of brush and leaving our property better protected against wildfire. They are lovely little creatures, tame, friendly, sweet and often a pain in the ass. You see, they not only eat the things that I WANT them to eat. They also eat the beautiful ornamental trees that I don't want them to eat. I can't blame them, I mean really who doesn't want to chow down on prickly poky holly bushes?
We have a nice picnic area with a fire pit, swing and horse shoe pits. It used to have five nice ornamental trees planted around it. We now have two left. They stripped the bark, girdling the trees and killing them. Above the picnic area is a deck, jutting out from the bank.

Along side that is a long line of stairs that takes you down to the meadow.

It really is a beautiful place, or used to be, before it was covered in goat poop and all the nice trees were stripped away. Here is my poor flowering plum, on it's last leggs. Notice the black wrap, my sorry attempt at protection from the beasts. They tried eating that too.

In an effort to keep these pesky critters out of this place long enough to clean it up we needed a fence. Now the thought of putting in a normal woven wire livestock fence made us have heart palpitations.. did I mention all the rocks? There was no way we were going to get thirty or so metal posts driven into this ground. I came up with the novel idea that all we needed was an electric fence. I mean really, the rancher across the road keeps in a hundred head of cattle with one barley visible wire. How hard could it be to keep in five goats?
Bug and I spent one day putting in the small fiberglass posts and stringing the three strands of white wire.

It was time to hook up the charger but I thought I should probably bring in reinforcements. I asked hubby if he would help me and he agreed, just as soon as he had time. Weeks past, he was busy with his racing guy stuff, more time past...
I'm a patient gal, but the longer I waited, the more times those damn goats stepped through the NOT so hot electric fence. Thus tearing the crap out of it. I believe, as you will hear later, that this was the reasoning for the impending failure. Hubby found the time one day last week to hook up the charger. Bug, hubby and I hopefully called the goats over. Some may say it's sadistic to wish uncomfort on an animal, but if you saw my Holly bushes you would understand why I wanted to see them zapped!
Sparky the annoying approached first. He touched his nose to the fence... ZZZZAP! He jumped backwards. We all laughed at his misfortune. It didn't phase the rest of the heard in the least. Henry was next, despite the success of the first zap, he ran through the bottom and middle strand, letting out a kind of howl on his way through. Yes, he was now on the other side. Crap, now what do we do? We stared, cussing under our breath as three more tried it and the same stinkin thing happened. UGH.. so much for keeping them out. Now how the hell am I going to get them back through??
Amazingly enough the little buggers zapped their way back across the fence. Letting out yowls as they got shocked on the belly. I'm hoping in time they decide it just isn't worth it. In the mean time, pray for my lone flowering plum, it will need all the help it can get.


Nap Warden said...

Oh no! I was rootin' for you and the fence...Good luck to the tree, I think it'll need it!

Corey~living and loving said...

somehow I just new it wouldn't work. goats can be very crafty...and hard headed....and pains in the hiney. ugh!