A couple of days ago, I arrived home from work as the storm clouds were gathering in the sky. The wind was tossing the tree limbs to and fro, and I could smell rain on the way. The goats called to me from their shed, begging for dinner. I rushed to toss the chickens some grain, and then to grab the goat halter, so the goats and I could take a quick stroll and they could fill their bellies with green leaves.
I put the halter and ten foot long lead rope on Peaches, the big goat, and if Peaches and I walk swiftly toward some brambles, the River brothers will follow. If I don't have Peaches on the leash, then the herd will start eating the first thing they come to (my fruit trees!) and I can't persuade them to follow me to more appropriate forage.
I call "come on goats! come on goats!" and pull Peaches along until we arrive at the overgrown fence-line where there are weeds and brambles aplenty. On the way, the Rivers express their excitement by leaping onto the trailer and threatening to head butt the dog. Their playfulness makes me laugh.
The goats get busy stuffing their faces, and I stay busy keeping up with the lead rope. Leading a goat on a rope is like playing goat jump rope, only the goats don't jump. Instead, the rope goes over and under their bodies as they step over it, and on it, and wrap it around their necks and legs, while I constantly untangle them. It's very interactive.
When it started to rain, the goats seemed a little nervous, but were fixated on food, so we stepped beneath a shaggy cedar tree and enjoyed the sound of the drops hitting the vegetation and the chewing and ripping sounds of the plants being eaten. The donkeys ventured out into their pasture despite the light rainfall, so they could keep on eye on our progress, and began to nibble grass. I stood under that fragrant tree, watching my animals do what they do, and I listened to the rain, smelled the fresh leaves, and could feel myself let go of the work thoughts that had occupied my mind all day. Plenty of time to pick those thoughts up tomorrow...
and then CRACK!!!, a brilliant bolt of lightning arched across the sky! Thunder rumbled and the donkeys kicked up their heels and raced for the shed. The goats and I were right behind them, running across the wet grass just as the sky opened up and the rain poured down on us like getting splashed by buckets. Whew! We scrambled back into the stall, out of the rain, and everyone was excited to be safe again. I stayed in the stall with the animals for a while, waiting for the rain to let up and watching the world get a shower. All that wet fur has an aroma of it's own. It wasn't long before everyone was happily eating dry hay. By the time I got back to the house, Brandon had dinner in progress. It always good to be home.