This has been the week of the goat, literally! We spent the week looking for a baby goat to add to our farm. Tuesday morning, we headed to Willard with our family friend, Sherm, to attend an animal auction. Sherm is the rancher that I grew up next door to. I have to admit that I have been calling him with greater frequency these days with silly questions about horses, goats, barns, and a lot of other fun things. I have great memories of Sherm and his wife Nanc from my childhood. We have been to rodeos, camping and hunting with them. We used to drive to “the hollow” where Sherm often kept cows in the summer. My brother, Preston, and I would pile into the back of Sherm’s old blue truck with his Australian Shepherd “Bear”. My mom and Nanc would sit up front holding boxes of hot pizza, and we would head up to the hollow across from Valley View Golf Course. If my dad, “Leroy” as Sherm called him, happened to be home, he would come along for the ride. The truck always smelled of alfalfa, dogs and cows, strange, but it’s a smell that I still love to this day. We would count cows, eat pizza in the back of the truck, watch for hawks, red and gray foxes, deer, and the occasional odd animal. We had so much fun!!!
Sherm...my rancher “grandpa”
Sherm was a huge part of my life as a child, he was another Grandpa that helped to fill the gap when my dad was gone. I learned how to drive in the fields in his old truck, I lost his checkbook in the middle of a field, and I have spent many nights helping to birth cows (sometime pulling with chains to save baby and mom) in his white barn on cold February nights. We have slept in the motor home, bottle fed lambs, chased cats and goats, baled alfalfa, oreo-ed his tractor, scared him with plastic snakes, carved pumpkins in his garage, laughed and sweat right along side him. All of this has lead up to this point in my life. He made me love ranching, and as long as I live, I don’t think I will ever regret taking this path.
Sherm’s doghouses, they say so much about him. He loves his animals, they each have their own house, makeshift, but functional. Dogs, cows, horses, goats, cats and rabbits are sheltered, loved and cared for.
As I sat next to Sherm at the auction, I realized how much he has impacted my life. I hope that he knows how much my family loves him and what a difference he has made for me and my kids. As the auctioneer rattled off words and numbers, Sherm would lean over and explain what was going on. It was great fun, until they brought in half starved horses. It was hard to watch as an emaciated horse was auctioned for twenty-five dollars. This is the reality of this life. As hard as it was to watch and not cry, I know that this exists as life for many animals. So many are abused, unfed, and unloved. How lucky are my animals that they are well fed, loved, brushed, cared for and exercised? The horses were sold to a man that transports them to Mexico where they are slaughtered and eaten. It’s better than starving to death. I am still quite shaken by the whole thing, that Utah ranchers would be so irresponsible. This is one of the things that I have been trying to teach the kids. When you have animals, they are dependent on you for food, water, exercise, and love; there are no days off. The animals have to be cared for whether it is Sunday or Christmas. There is no selfishness; the animals are our responsibility.
I did not buy a goat at the auction. I was leery about not meeting the goat prior to purchase. Sherm bought a miniature buck with long hair and horns. He is a funny little goat, he makes you laugh when you look at him. I did drive to Mapleton later that day to buy a baby goat that had been raised in an exceptional home with kids around him since he was born.
This is BaaaaRock, or Rocky, as the kids have named him. I had to name him a very politically incorrect name, I couldn’t help it. The kids are loving him, he is better than a dog. He loves our pugs, they all sleep in a big dog-goat pile in the garage. Rocky loves riding in the car and being held. Cory, the horse, adores him. Rocky visits Cory each morning, and when we leave, the horse whinnies and whines, he doesn’t want the goat to leave. Rocky is a little too small to be with the horse right now, he needs to grow a bit. I am hoping to get Rocky a girlfriend next spring, and who knows, maybe there will be goat babies in our future???