Community day. Again. It was fun.
Nice, bright, late-fall day. Still some orange in the trees. I am standing in the community wood workshop looking out the windows and I see a herd of goats wandering down the road. Coming up shortly behind are the two local women whose herd it is. A few of the goats stop now and then to nibble on trees and things as they pass down the hill. It is all very, very picturesque.
But I do spend a moment wondering why a herd of goats are headed for the dock………….?
Forty-five minutes later I decide to head home and I, too, begin to head toward the dock. I am half way down the hill when I see the ‘goat ladies’ tethering three goats and pulling them from the field of one of the local landowners. Seems the herd found some nice forage there and they had all stopped to snack. The goat ladies had other plans and schedules and they were now deemed pressing enough to tether a few goats and start hauling them down the hill.
I stopped to admire the scene: a group of fifteen to 20 goats living large off the land of whoever had the greenest grass and two goatherds trying to keep to a human agenda. It was entertaining.
“They are going for a ride!”
“Lotta goats for your small boat!”
“Only three are going. New home.”
“Oh. And the rest of the herd is just along to say good bye?”
“Yeah. They know. It’s happened before. They like to come this far, anyway.” And then the women pull on the chosen three and the rest of the herd reluctantly began to follow. We all walked down the last 200 feet to the public wharf. Twenty little goat bums ahead of me.
When we got to the end of the dock, the ladies hauled the three down the ramp. The rest of the herd gathered at the head of it but they did not follow. They just looked on as #1, #2, and #3 were readied for the boat ride. Then, after waiting for a respectful minute or so, they all turned on their heels and headed back up the hill to the neighbour’s pasture. The goat ladies just carried on with loading and preparing. It was a study in natural management.
The goat herd has a home. It has acreage. But the goat ladies think that goats should walk in herds to feel fulfilled and so they take them up and down the logging roads now and then for their ambulatory repast. The goats eat on the go, as it were. And then they eat on the come returning home. Seems to work out just fine. The animals are extremely healthy, quite beautiful in a goat-kind-of-way and quite obviously content in their surroundings. Nice to see.
And that, in a nutshell, is part of the draw of going to community day. There is always something of interest going on. Sometimes it is a new boat at the dock, or the mail plane coming in, maybe an encounter with a long unseen neighbour. Hard to know. It is always changing. Sometimes it is just seeing a herd of largely unfettered goats on the dock saying their goodbyes to a few buddies.