Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Time Traveler--Yes, There was a Three-Legged Goat

We don't have a lot of family photos, due to a house fire in the 80s, but someone, somewhere thought it would be worthwhile to take a photo of Rosemary, our three-legged goat, back in the 70s.  And I found it.     Amazing.

Dad and Rosemary, 1976ish.  
In today's politically correct words, Rosemary would be called a "rescue pet".  We got her from a guy who was tired of her always jumping on his Jeep, so he shot her leg off.  Actually, I think his *story* was that he was trying to scare her off the Jeep by the loud noise of firing a rifle, so maybe he didn't have a good grasp on the concept of always aim away from things.  My 6-year-old self wasn't buying it.  I remember wondering, "But, how'd she get ON the Jeep in the first place? Are you SURE he wasn't trying to shoot her?"  Where was this guy parking?  Did she really jump that high? Wasn't it slippery? Did it scratch the paint? So many things to wonder.

My grownup self hopes vindictively that he also shot out his windshield, but we'll never know...

I remember deciding, when I was 6, that I wanted to change my name officially to Rosemary.  I don't remember why I chose that name--maybe I was really attached to our goat?  Or maybe it was my favorite name, and then we brought this goat home, and she needed a name, and I probably insisted on giving her my favorite name?  Chicken-or-egg kind of question.

She was pretty cool, even with her poor little stump of a thigh instead of a back leg.  I remember learning how to milk goats with Rosemary, and the particular sound of the milk hitting the pail. We'd put her up on a perfect little stanchion that my dad had built, where her head fit through a V slit to a bucket of oats on the other side, and of course she was easy to milk, because without that back leg, hello--no kicking.  It turns out I hated goat milk, and goat cheese, (still do--EW), but I sure did love hanging out with our goats as a kid.

I remember bottle feeding the babies on my lap.  I remember being fascinated by their floppy ears, their little stubby, nibble-y muzzles, and their funny square pupils inside dark wood-brown irises.

They were also really good at getting untethered, or getting out of their goat pens (notice she's loose in the picture?) and destroying my mom's garden plants, so eventually Mom must have gotten tired of dealing with them, packing water to them, keeping them safe from mountain lions, chasing them, and dragging them back, screaming, to their pens.  If you can't imagine "screaming goats" --yeah...they're exactly that loud.

Eventually she gave up trying to fool us into drinking the milk, too, so that was the end of our goat years.

We had several more Nubians over the years, including one that rode in a playpen in the back of our van on our move from California to Idaho in 1977, but that's another story.  


  1. I can say with certainty, that you are the only person I've ever heard of who had a three legged goat as a pet.

    Awesome. I wanted my name to be different when I was little as well, I convinced a few people to call me Missy and Shelby.

    1. Pretty cool, huh? I like your name options! My insisting on wanting to be called Rosemary never did catch on, lol.

  2. I. Love. Goats. There's a farm fairly close where we can buy raw (cow's) milk and the have a dmall are with goats and sheep, and I. Love them all, but I'm so taken eith their goats it's not funny. And the chickens. I hope to someday live in an area where I can have chickens and goats. And I need to start gardening. I'm a little at a loss as to how to start.

    1. We have chickens and pigs, and always had horses, but not any more. Shane keeps teasing about getting us a goat or sheep. It's like a joke here. Him: "Guess what I'm bringing home?" Me: "No. No GOATS".

      I love goats, but I don't want any here. Fair-time, though...I am ALL ABOUT THE GOAT BARN. I'm the one crouched by the goat pens with all the kindergardners, petting the goats. lol

      I'm happy to help with the "how" part, if you ever need advice. :)