Having paid for what was now my goat, we worked quickly to load her into the bed of our red pickup truck. With most goats, once you get their front half up there, the rest follows. Not so with this girl. She fought us with whatever strength she still had; blowing and snorting loudly. Her eyes flashing anger and fear. Finally, the man went back into the decrepit barn and brought out a bucket of grain. I watched silently as the poor goat zeroed her gaze on that bucket, and with no help at all she scrambled into the truck bed; eating as if it was her last meal. Just before climbing into the truck to leave, I turned and asked the man if she had a name. He was silent for a moment, as if trying to remember if she did or not. Then he looked at me and said, “Tina. Her name is Tina.” And with that, we parted. He with one hundred dollars in his pocket, and I with a bedraggled caprine named Tina.
The ride home was fairly quiet. Tina seemed too busy trying to stay upright, than to be voicing her opinions on being shanghaied. Forty minutes later, we pulled up to the barn. My barn is certainly nothing fancy, what with its metal walls and roof. Not to mention it leaks on the left side and floods on the right. But it was good enough for me, my goats, and my rogue Jersey calf whose name was Poppy. I opened the main door and hollered to my goats whom I affectionately call “the girls”. “Girls! I have someone new for you to meet!” At that time, there were only two other does: Capri, an Oberhasli/Nubian cross who was my star milker, and Ivy the purebred, registered Nubian. Capri was the color of rich chestnut, with ebony accenting her legs, face and spine. In the sunlight her coat shimmered and rippled like rays of light dancing upon a brook. She was my sweetheart, with her placid temperament and perfect manners. Milking over one gallon a day also helped increase my appreciation for her. Ivy was still a gangly yearling, but managing to put ¾ of a gallon into the pail each day. Her strawberry roan color clashed somewhat with her two buff hued “badger stripes” on her face, but I didn’t mind too much. Her fancy pedigree and potential as a show goat were enough for me.
As I walked in the barn with Tina bucking and thrashing at the end of my lead rope, it hit me, just what a stark comparison there was between her and my two other does. Capri and Ivy were plump, sleek, elegant, and had their own unique style about them. Tina looked like a crow among the swallows; a dandelion with the roses. A Volkswagen Beetle next to a BMW. She was as out of place as a draft horse at a race track. Capri, Ivy, and Poppy pushed against the flimsy wire fencing that created their pen inside the barn, trying to get closer to the newcomer who was infiltrating their home. Getting Tina inside the pen proved to be a challenge on its own. With the two milkers trying to nose the gate out of my hands so they could escape, Tina still plunging to get away, and the cow bellowing for her evening bottle of milk, the moment was anything but reflective and calm. But somehow, in a moment of supernatural strength, I managed to charge through the little gate, drag Tina with me, and keep Capri and Ivy within the fenced premises. HA! Victory is mine, you mischievous fiends! I barked at Poppy to be quiet, who then slunk into a corner and batted her big doe eyes at me. I untied the rope that was still anchoring Tina to me, and anxiously wondered what this wild gal would do now that she had her freedom. Her first move was to get as far away from me as possible. I could see her indecision as she tried to decide if she should run to the farthest part of the pasture, or stay inside and eat hay. She chose the latter, and began stuffing her face; eyeing me warily the whole time.
Family members came out to the barn, excited to see the new addition to the herd. They came in with smiles and questions, but stopped short in steps and words when they saw my miscreant. “You paid how much for that thing?” They all asked. Other comments floated around as they each came and went. “That is the ugliest goat I have ever seen.” You’re actually going to keep her?” “She’s so thin, why did you even bother with her?” On and on the opinions came; like torrents of water, they eddied and swirled around me and Tina. I was a little sheepish at this point; slightly regretting my purchase and wondering if I had been too rash in my actions. But it was too late now. I had to make the best of the situation I was now in. I looked Tina up and down, trying to figure out what I should do first about her looks and state. Perhaps I’m a vain person, but one thing that was really bothering me about her was her six inch long beard that she was sporting. Something in me just doesn’t like beards on my does! It almost seemed to be throwing the symmetry of her face off, seeing as it was so long but her ears were so short. In the end, I let the beard stay as it was for the time being. She had been stressed enough already; there was no need to overdo things.
But there was one thing that I DID want to do before the night was over. She needed a different name. The name Tina really didn’t seem to fit her, and it harbored memories of her past in those two syllables. What we needed was a new name for a new start here in her new home. We needed to start completely over. Unfortunately, when it comes to names, I tend to get so overwhelmed in the process, that it takes forever to make a decision. Should I name her Pfeffernusse? Snow White? Lily? Greta?
Like I said, I’m bad at names. One name, however, kept on coming back to me: Heidi. She reminded me so much of the Saanen goats in that Classic tale, “Heidi”. I figured Heidi was better than Pfeffernusse (which is a kind of cookie, by the way), so it stuck.
Heidi had landed at Goat Song Farm. What had I done? And what would become of this adventure?
This is yet another excerpt from my growing story. :) This chapter is perhaps not as good as the first, but it's serving as the bridge into the rest of the story. It gets better. ;)