Rural American Know-How: Pygmy Goats, a Propane Torch and an Arkansas Ice Storm

K.C. Compton shares the latest in rural American know-how content from Grit, including topics on pygmy goats, a propane torch and an Arkansas ice storm.

| January/February 2007

KC Comptom

K. C. Compton, Editor in Chief.


Grit's rural American know-how articles this issue include topics on pygmy goats, a propane torch and an Arkansas ice storm. 

It was a blustery winter morning here in eastern Kansas when I decided to check on my neighbors' pygmy goats. After a hectic harvest season, and just before an equally challenging planting season, my friends Ken and Nancy had headed south to the Cayman Islands for some R and R, leaving me to watch their place.

Usually when I rounded the corner by the goat pen, the little goats — Mommy and Billy (no prizes were given for originality in this particular operation) — would trot out to poke a curious nose through the fence. Today, however, Mommy was nowhere to be seen. When I peered in the door of their shelter, I could see why.

As I have come to discover, any goat baby pretty much defines adorable, but pygmy babies are adorable's superlative. There in the straw was a teensy creature that looked like a stuffed animal trying very hard to stand up. I looked over to congratulate Mommy and saw that Baby No. 1 was about to have a sibling.

I also realized soon enough that the shed was quite cold, and Mommy was distracted by Baby No. 2. So I took the first kid into my house and rubbed her with towels to get her circulation going while Mom took care of baby brother. Bob Dog sniffed the goat once and looked up in complete bewilderment. This was the strangest-smelling puppy he'd ever encountered and why, exactly, I felt called upon to bring it into the house was beyond him.

Cay and Cayman, as the twins came to be called, opened up a new world for me. If you have never seen baby goats frolicking in lush new pasture grass, you owe it to yourself to find or buy a few before another spring goes by. For one thing, they'll expand the verbs in your vocabulary. Kids don't walk or run: They careen and leap and bounce and sproink like overheated popcorn kernels. Some days, I'd just sit on the grass outside the pasture and watch Goat TV. I especially liked Cay's trick of jumping up on Mommy's back and riding around like the Queen of All She Surveys while Mom cropped the pasture.

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