Some people live life in the fast lane. I live life in the goat lane. A lane that is, according to my husband, full of crazy drivers. Johnny thinks "goat people" are a little odd.

The goat project started out ratioanally enough. We both wanted a home milk supply. And I wanted a home milk supply that wouldn't permanently disable me if it stepped on my feet. So we bought a goat.

Angel quickly taught us that goats come in pairs, at the very least. They like company. They insist on company. We either had to buy a companion for Angel, or resign ourselves to having a goat in the house, dancing on the dining room table and sleeping in bed - between us. So we bought Merry.

From those first two flop-eared Nubians, things escalated, as things do with goats. Take one doe, breed her to a buck, and five months later you have milk... and more goats. Cute little kid goats that you can't bear to part with. Soon our two goats had become thirty.

By then, we had acquired our own buck and learned why goats have the reputation for smelling bad. Angel and Merry had no odor at all. Does don't. Bucks are a different story. The buck's musk glands are designed to attract every doe within fifty miles and repel everything else. And they do.

We also learned that some people (like me) get very attached to goats, and tend to spend all their time either with their animals or talking about them. Others (like Johnny) prefer a normal existence. Goat lovers are almost invariably married to goat resisters.

In a very few years, I progressed (or regressed, depending on your point of view) from mere goatkeeper status to that of full-fledged Dairy Goat Breeder. A Dairy Goat Breeder is someone who has too many goats producing too much milk who deliberately breeeds them together to create even more goats each producing even more milk. This is called genetic progress. The goat owner progresses from mere eccentricity to udder lunacy.

Then came the show bug. The show bug is an insidious insect that affects livestock breeders the world over. It causes them to spend many hours of hard work and much money dragging their animals around a dusty show ring while slightly saner people watch. I was bitten years ago. There is no cure.

For me and other goat crazies, life in the goat lane revolves around a four season calendar. Here in western Oregon, those seasons tend to run together: kidding season (winter and spring), show season (spring, summer, and fall), breeding season (fall and winter), and the-two-weeks-between-the-end-of-breeding-season-and-the-beginning-of-kidding-season.

That is, if we're lucky we have two weeks between the end of breeding season and the beginning of kidding season. That's when we reacquaint ourselves with our families. Sometimes, we're surprised to learn our families have grown up and left home while we were out in the barn trimming hooves.

Life in the Goat Lane is a collection of tales about my twenty, crazy, fun-filled years with goats. The first twenty.

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