Five years ago, while bringing Anne home from a stint on the EPA vessel Lake Guardian, her car, a seven year old Toyota we bought used to begin with, gave up the ghost in dramatic fashion. As we came into Findlay from the east, the car gave a thump and a shudder and began belching thick, black smoke.
We limped into town and into the first car dealership we came to, then walked the roughly half-of-a-mile down to a second, having seen nothing we were interested in at the first. There Anne spotted a Scion xA and almost immediately fell in love. We had her old Toyota towed to the dealership and used it as a downpayment on what she now fondly refers to as her “little rollerskate.” If you’re unfamiliar with the xAs, they’re a smaller version of the current xD and similar in shape to the Honda Fit. In short, they’re microSUVs.
We’ve hauled just about everything in that little car: hawks, falcons, vultures, pigs, dogs, cats, ducks, geese, foxes, opossums, crows, owls over a dozen species of songbird, 55 gallon aquariums, bales of hay and straw and the list goes on. Most recently, Anne’s Little Rollerskate faced what we thought would be its greatest challenge: three pygmy goats.
We’ve talked for years about maintaining a small herd of dairy goats, but the closest we’ve come are Marsh and S’more, the two Nigerian Dwarf wethers that have lived on The Quarry Farm for nearly three years now. So, when we were told about these three goats, an intact buck and two does, we contacted the woman with whom they lived. As with so many others, the recession had hit her hard. Having been without work for months and still recovering from a necessary surgery nearly a year ago, she found herself without the means to care for her herd of goats. Most went to a local farm (she lives in Rootstown, south of Ravenna in eastern Ohio), but she was left with these three until she contacted The Quarry Farm.
It was a miserable day for a drive when we left Putnam County. There was just enough snow to make the roads treacherous and it took nearly four hours to make a trip that should have taken only three. Add to that some skepticism on my part that we’d be able to fit three adult goats and ourselves in Anne’s little subcompact and it made for a tense trip.
As it turns out, I should have left my doubts at home.
Once we arrived at our destination, we were delighted to discover that the goats were even smaller than we’d imagined. The older doe and the buck, Willow and Madmartigan respectively, stand no taller than eighteen inches at the shoulder, while Elora, the younger doe, is even smaller. Even with a full set of horns, horns that we initially padded turban-like with a towel, Madmartigan could easily stand up straight in the car, and all three were able to move freely around the cargo compartment.
The ride home was uneventful and we introduced all three to their new living quarters. Now they’re permanent members of The Quarry Farm family. And you’re all welcome to come and visit them and the rest of the facility. Just give us a call. We’ll be happy to show you around.
NOTE: Before anyone tells us that we have the wrong kind of goats for milking, we know. The animals that live here on the conservation farm of The Quarry Farm are here because, in almost all cases, they had nowhere else to go and we could offer them a home. Most do carry their weight: goats eat invasive plants, chickens give us eggs, Buddy and the geese guard the property, etc. The pygmies will make it possible for school groups and other visitors to see goats being milked. And we’ll have goat milk.