the goat who galloped

September 11, 2022

She was our initiation into the world of #crazygoatfolks , coming to us with one of the kids from her latest litter. A large Nubian mix, she captured our hearts from the get-go, slightly worse for the wear due to the wear and tear of mothering goat-kids (though never enough to keep her from getting wherever she wanted to get, whenever she wanted to get there).

In those days, as we learned what homesteading looked like for us, milking was a two-man job. Most of the time I would do the manual part of the milking while Peter held onto her back legs, holding the strong kicking at bay.

The first time I was on my own for the job, we both almost died. I’m not exaggerating. Well, maybe just a little bit; but it felt like it at the time.

She kicked, and somehow managed to do so with such force that the entire back end of her body careened up and over the brace of the milking stanchion. For an eternity-feeling several minutes, she was then caught, splayed over me while I frantically tried to free her neck from the stanchion.

Looking back at the event now, I’m actually not sure how I managed it, considering how large, and strong she is. As soon as I had, though, my adrenaline turned to tears and I crouched there on the floor of our shed with her, rubbing her sides and sniffling to her about how sorry I was.

I don’t remember many difficulties with the milking process after that day; maybe we both moved significantly forward from that point on in our respective skill/tolerance.

Lady was the inspiration for my foray into the world of fiction. I didn’t plan to write a middle grade story; the experience of falling in love with the quirks of this bizarre creature, however, made it feel impossible for me not to dream up a tale about a goat. A goat who longs to gallop like a horse. A goat who learns more than she expected from a horse named Harriet. A goat who galloped.

The process of writing this story, once I had begun, ended up being one of the most challenging writing projects I’ve ever undertaken…and probably consequently, also the most rewarding. The process also surprised me with its entertainment factor, as I found myself laughing out loud at some of the scenes I was writing.

That was a year and a half ago.

After quietly sitting with my completed manuscript for that time, I mentioned it, a couple of months ago, to a fellow writer friend. Thanks to her knowledge about, and help with, book formatting, and thanks to the talent of an artist friend, I am now putting the final touches on Glory’s story: The Goat who Galloped.

The final days of this birthing may, sadly, be the final days of Lady. Who knows for sure: we’ve had goats miraculously bounce back before. But we are preparing ourselves for the possibility of sending our Lady onward, with the deepest gratitude for the goodnesses that she has brought to our little farm. 

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