Yesterday, a Prado rolled down the gravel driveway which was white, originally, but looked as though it had been sprayed with red dirt. It had a trailer attached, and inside were three little goats.
I was putting the little boy down for his nap when I heard my older child gasp and then obnoxiously open the bedroom door. “The GOATS!” he whispered loudly. Naturally I told him to shush and close the door.
The next two hours was spent altering some existing accommodation to accommodate the new friends. Weaned, six months old, two girls and a boy. They were flighty after having travelled 170km and quivering, the winter’s day not being too kind to their lean bodies and young coats.
We enclosed them in a disused vegetable garden, which had most fences already intact. The husband turned Farm Man in his red flannelette shirt, which he insisted was absolutely necessary now that we live on acreage, was literally handed a small goat to move from trailer to pen, and it seemed to attain a relative sense of calmness in his arms.
They started nibbling grass straight away, and we set up a piece of colourbond scrap against one opening. Having seen them run, it would not be a pleasant experience to have them free on seven acres set between two roads and not properly fenced. Writing this now, I feel like we were somewhat unprepared for their arrival. In fact, I found out they were coming a mere 36 hours before – not a lot of preparation time.
They seemed quite content, and when I told Shane they needed a shelter, he set up a makeshift one for the time being. I then disappeared for a few hours to clean our other house, and it was only after dinner and once the kids were asleep that I got down there to check on them. I was worried about them in the rain and the cold, so wanted to make sure they were using the shelter.
Now, I have a thing about living “remotely;” we are not at all remote because we have neighbours within walking distance BUT being surrounded by trees and darkness at night has certain a creepiness to it, which reminds me constantly of the last scary movie I saw, YEARS ago whereby a woman who is living on her own is attacked by a free range murderer who actually first kills her friend, having just left her place to walk back to her own property next door. There are several pretty huge dissimilarities with myself and this woman, the big one being that the main character is actually deaf, BUT going out in the darkness puts me on high alert for lurking murderers.
Shane knows about my unreasonable fear of being murdered. I think that it’s for this reason that he approved me going down to check on the little goats before bed, in case he was ever out and I had to do it all alone. “Practice,” I believe they call it these days. AND OF COURSE. When I’m down there, a car pulls up outside the fence and remains there with its high beams on me – the only moving object for many many metres around. It was obvious that once the lights hit me, they decided not to continue driving. I turned my torchlight off my phone, and froze in the darkness hoping someone wasn’t coming to kill me. I sent Shane a quick text. I remained there for several minutes and so did the weirdos in their car, engine running alongside my growing suspicion.
I decided I couldn’t stay there all night, despite knowing that moving to the gate would put me in direct line of sight of the headlights. Bravely, (I know) I took the plunge and moved to open the gate, squatting down then quickly twisting the wire back through and hooking it as firmly as I could under the pressure of Flight Mode. As I was finishing what I thought was a stable closure and preparing myself to run, MF, run, who appears but my husband. In his new Nike slides and pyjamas. Gratefully, I hurriedly pointed out the car still parked with bright lights shining, though I needn’t have done so because in the darkness it was as clear as day that this wasn’t normal.
It was wet, cold and dark and accessing the exterior of the property would involve ducking and weaving through dirt and bush, so after trying to to signal the car by using our own phone lights pointed in their direction, we retreated to the house and checked that all the doors were locked. I also then called Crime stoppers (131 444) and reported this little occurrence. The car remained there for some time – we checked every few minutes from the house, and I continued to wait for some creepo to appear at one of my windows.
We found it funny that of course, something weird happened when I went down the back, given my aforementioned trepidation. Anyway, the rest of the night passed uneventfully – unless you count several wake ups courtesy of two small boys, one husband snoring very disagreeably and one toddler trying to sleep literally on top of your face. We weren’t killed, and that’s a bonus.
Scene set: Monday morning. Work day, school day, daycare day. One human trying to get herself and two small ones out of the house dressed, fed and prepared for the day. New goats in the backyard…let’s take them some vegetable scraps and check in on their welfare. Long shot: Goat pen. Close up: ONE goat in the pen. Close up: Gabrielle’s face – despair. Two goats had escaped the pen, the girls, actually, and our boy was inside the enclosure clearly forlorn at his mateys having exited. Panic. Time was lapsing literally by the moment, and the goats were foraging in the scrub. I glanced up at my bedsheets hanging on the Hills Hoist and wondered how long it would take the goats to realise they could have something other than grass for morning tea, given the clichéd and popular notion that “goats eat EVERYTHING!”
Following this, I sent several spam-like texts to Shane conveying the sense of alarm I was feeling, and when he didn’t immediately reply or call me, I called him…twice. Because he didn’t pick up the first time. And then the second time, he answered with a somewhat exasperated tone, as I had clearly inflicted a disturbance upon his morning ritual. Absorbing the information that the goats were loose, however, Farm Man threw on his imaginary Akubra and galloped home to save the day. He and our five year old spent the next hour low to the earth, channelling their inner goat in order to herd the chicky babes back into their pen. Wild.
To think that two weeks ago, we lived on a normal suburban block with the biggest issue being our neighbours disliking the dachshund barking is a little bit mind blowing. It’s real and true that now, we are facing a different reality entirely, which is certainly going to evolve rapidly. An interesting adventure, it’s sure to be. Stay tuned!