The day started out very ordinary. Out of bed by 8:00 am, breakfast, read the daily newspaper, then get dressed.
After the regular morning routine I head to the garage where I planned to install the mowing deck on the garden tractor. Marcia and I finally got all the sticks and broken tree branches cleaned from the field below the house, remnants of the trees that were cut down back during the winter, and now it’s time to mow the field. After a successful installation, and testing the PTO drive for the mowing deck, I went outside where Marcia was doing some painting.
Looking over her to the opposite end of the porch stood our neighbors billy-goat. “Who’s your friend?” I asked.
Marcia had no idea what I was talking about. She looked up at me then turned her head, seeing the goat she exclaimed, “Oh my God! Get the camera!”
I hurried inside the house, retrieved the camera, checking the settings, and turning on the power as I made my way back outside.
Billy, (I later learned this is what he is called) was busy head butting a small garden flag. Why he took offense to the flag is beyond me, but he was determined to show it that he was boss. After a couple of carefully placed head butts he clamped down on the flag with his teeth pulling it off the hanger. I thought he was going to eat it.
Noticing me, standing a few feet away aiming the camera he dropped the flag, locked his gaze on me, and stood up on his hind legs, waving his front hoofs as he stood. (I guessed this to be his most threatening pose.) He then dropped back on all four hoofs, lowered his head and charged toward me.
Within the ten or so feet between us he wasn’t able to gain much momentum, so I reached out and grabbed him by the horns, disrupting his charge. This turned out to be a mistake on my part because now the little bastard, (this is what I called him), became relentless in his attempt to ram into me. Whenever I loosened my grip on his horns, he lunged forward. As he lunged I would re-tighten my grip on his horns, stopping his forward motion. Now it was a contest of strength and will. His only thought was to hit me with his head, while mine was to prevent him from doing it.
At one point he was able to get his head past my leg, and with a quick turn of his head he hooked his horn behind my leg pulling it out from under me. Naturally I fell to the ground, but thought, (’ that was clever’.) While I was on the ground Billy (the bastard) seemed to recognize my vulnerability, and renewed his head butting efforts with vigor. As quickly as I could, (remember a goat is head butting me in the side), I got back on my feet.
Marcia, trying to contain her laughter while acting concerned for my welfare, said she was going to our neighbor’s house, to tell Dan, our neighbor, that his goat was out of the fence, and we had him captured at our house. She got in the van and drove off, still laughing.
The smart thing for me to do at this point would be to turn the goat loose, and go inside the house until Dan arrived. The problem with that was it made sense. (I’m smarter than a goat.) I was determined not to leave him alone outside to chew his way through our flowers. He, on the other hand, was determined to ram into me until hell froze over, because that’s what billy goats do.
Finally, exhausted, I realized, Billy was getting the upper hand. (Maybe I’m not smarter than a goat.) I let go of his horns and hurried into the house. Billy followed me onto the porch. After closing the door I fully expected him to run head first into it. He didn’t. As I watched him through the glass beside the door, he simply looked around, and went about tasting the flowers.
After a few minutes I was able to catch my breath, and wondered if I should just leave him alone outside. I could hear him walking on the porch, and I was worried he might break something. Oxygen was getting back to my brain and I was thinking again. (I’m smarter than a goat.) I went back outside.
Outside, and in Billy’s view once again, his obsession to ram me with his head into oblivion was vigorously renewed. Before he could get close I ran to the driveway because I didn’t want to wrestle with him on the porch. It didn’t take him long to mount a new attack. Again the only way for me to prevent him from slamming his head into me was to grab him by the horns. After a couple of minutes of wrestling with him I thought, (it would have been smarter than a goat to have grabbed a rope before coming back outside).
Finally Marcia pulled into the drive. She was laughing so hard I wasn’t sure if she could get out of the van. I asked her to go in the garage and bring me a rope. I planned to secure a rope to Billy’s collar, (a spiked dog collar), then lead him to the lower field I originally started out to mow. There I planned to tie him to a tree until his owner arrived. Marcia came back, still laughing of course, the large bull rope I hoped she would find in hand. This rope was about fifty feet long and had been carelessly coiled, (by me). While holding Billy by the horns with one hand I attempted to untangle the rope with the other. Finally realizing the futility of this effort I looked at Marcia saying, “It would have been nice if you hand unrolled it first.” Any other time Marcia would have followed my sarcasm with “Screw you, do it yourself.”, but realizing my desperation she took the rope, unwound a few feet from the tangled mess, laughed some more and handed it back. Finally I was able to get the rope tied to Billy’s collar.
Marcia said she spoke with Dan and that he would be here shortly. With the rope held close limiting Billy’s opportunity for head butting I relaxed a little. (I’m smarter than a goat). Walking to the lower field, the rope tied to Billy’s collar pulled taut at my side with Billy’s head lifted he continued to attempt head butting me.
It was a hell of a struggle but I finally managed to reach an oak tree large enough to hold Billy. Tossing the rope with my free hand loosely around the tree, close to loosing consciousness from exhaustion I left the rope looped loosely around the tree. I figured the little bastard would attempt to get at me, which if he came at me from the right direction he would pull the rope secure. Billy made a couple of attempts to lunge at me, which just as I suspected tightened the rope enough to make certain he couldn’t get loose. I backed away from the tree just far enough so Billy couldn’t reach me and collapsed to the ground.
My chest felt as if it would explode. I gasped repeatedly for air. After what seemed like five minutes, (probably less than a minute, actually), Marcia came with my rescue inhaler asking if she should call 911. With painful effort I was able to tell her I would be alright then sucked a couple of blows into my lungs from the inhaler.
After a couple of minutes Dan made his way across the field. He retrieved his goat and after a bit of chit-chat he apologized for the trouble and led Billy back across the creek. Billy attempted head butting Dan just like he did with me. ‘At least the bastard ain’t selective about who he rammed’ I thought. His attempts to ram his head into his owner led me to conclude it wasn’t personal. Across the creek I could see Dan tying Billy the Bastard to a tree near the creek bank, where he left him alone. I continued to sit where I had collapsed earlier. It was several more minutes until I felt I was breathing well enough to stand and walk back to the house.
Looking across the creek at Billy munching on briars I turned and headed toward the house. (I’m smarter than a goat.)
Goat wrestling is an exhausting sport. I was completely drained. After drinking a bottle of water I went inside and took a nap.
Bastard Billy the Goat.
Maybe I’ll mow later in the week.
originally posted August 2008 but removed due to excessive spam response