I don’t like anything even resembling exercise. Hate is such a strong word, but possibly appropriate here. I hate exercise. That said, I do seem to get quite the work out here on our little farm… against my will.
I was thinking about it all this morning as I literally wrestled goats. All four goats are locked into what I lovingly refer to as “the goat shack” every night because of the predators we have here: coyotes, mountain lions, bears, bobcats, stray dogs and the smaller evils– skunks, racoons, children. Locking the goats in at night also means that come morning, I have to let them out. Unchecked, this would be a stampede.
I have a brilliantly McGyver’ed leash (two tied together) that allows me to take two goats out at a time. Lately I have been anchoring them to trees around the immediate front and back yards to eat the weeds down. This wouldn’t be so bad except that the two Nigerian Dwarf goats are like wild boars. They push, the shove, they eat everything in sight, and worst of all– they have a very low center of gravity.
So here I am, trying to follow Goat Ediquette and let Freyja, the herd queen, out first along with Heidrun (her adopted kid who is now higher on the totem pole than the Nigerians). Then scuffles insue because the Nigerians want out first. They start pushing me out of the doorway and saying some nonsense about equal rights among goats. I push back so that I can grab the taller goats in the doorway long enough to clip the leashes onto their collars and then I shove the little ones back far enough to get the first two goats out.
That right there is my endurance and arm strenghening exercises. There might also be an exercise or two in swearing like a sailor.
Next are my squats and bicep work. This is acheived by trying to keep traction and my feet on the ground while the goats do their best to pull me to where the juiciest acorns drop under the oak trees. I pull and guide them as well as any human could, but they put up quite the resistance when food is involved. By the time I head back to the goat shack, I am usually huffing and puffing like a chain-smoker.
The Nigerian Dwarf goats make round two an even bigger challenge. I have to block the doorway with my whole body (just legs don’t cut it) and keep my balance while Bridgit tries to suck in her belly and squeeze past me. Luna is an angel though, and never head butts me to get me out of the way. Thanks Luna. Once the little ones are out, they are on the run. These ladies could pull a car! My new trick to lessen the brutality of my “morning exercise” is to make them weave instead of run straight forward. My arm curls and squats aren’t quite as hard if I just keep their leash weaving back and forth, left to right.
That is, until we get out of the pen. Then I look like I am training for the World’s Strongest Man competition where they pull the huge semi-truck using a cable or rope or something. It’s those acorns! No goat can resist them.
Once the goats are hooked up to their chain leads, then I have to carry over two 5-gallon buckets of water while avoiding stepping on chicken feet in my big work boots. For some reason the chickens insist on stalking me while I do chores. I keep telling them that I do not have chicken scratch in my pockets. I think the lack of exterior ears helps them to better ignore my claims.
After all my morning chores are done, I go inside and complain about it to the internet.