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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson


Updated: Aug 30, 2019


It was the name of the new playlist Nils created and shared with our family, and it was me who asked it. Why GOAT? I have a history with this particular animal, and I wondered what it could possibly have to do with the worship songs I was enjoying. He explained in a text-message, eye-roll emoji. AH, I see…

Greatest Of All Time. (Explanation given for any others not cool enough to understand, which most likely includes the Great-Grandmas reading this blog.)

It was just a week or two later when it came up again, this time in a conversation at Caribou with Angie. Someday in the not-too-distant future Angie and I are hoping to be neighbors of sorts, living on either side of the same smallish town. The Campbell family moved “up north” a while back, and they’re ahead of the game in taming their own acreage of wild. We have Poison Ivy. I explained to my friend about how our new parcel of paradise has this wee touch of the curse. “You need goats.” She said it without batting an eye. I half-laughed. Not sure if I’d heard her right.

Angie went on to tell me she’d first learned of this solution from Curious George. As in, the monkey. I sat there drinking my latte and listening with skepticism as Angie went on to explain about goats being the best solution for invasive plantlife, and maybe you could rent a herd.

For sure.

Like I said, I have a history with goats, going all the way back to junior high, and it isn’t pretty. I told most of the story in a former post, but what I maybe didn’t mention is that we actually raised our own small herd down in southern Minnesota on our family farm. Gert and Blackie, and a half-dozen or so others, including my own little nanny which I showed in 4H.

Unfortunately my memories of these frisky little pets are clouded by a cruel nickname I received in the seventh grade, which followed me right up to graduation. I can still feel the sense of dread in the pit of my stomach when I think about being the only girl eating alfalfa sprout sandwiches at the lunch table, and – You drink what kind of milk?! Well, yes. My mom was something of a health-food nut, which is in vogue now, but not so much in the early 80’s.

Despite these scars, the benefits of drinking goat’s milk were not entirely lost on me. I admitted this to Kiana last week, watching the new mama suckle her tiny girl-baby, my granddaughter, and she’s a good little eater. A miracle to be sure, and I remember again how the newborn’s daddy was NOT. Never quite sure if it was him or me who struggled most to figure it out, but we never got it. Two months of trying every imaginable solution, more conniving than thriving, finally admitting it was time to throw in the towel. My daughter-in-law has heard the story before. So you fed him goat’s milk? That’s right. A year or so of driving weekly from our little Cape Cod in northern Illinois to that big old farmhouse in southern Wisconsin, bringing home milk for the baby. I shake my head now at the memory.

And now. It comes back again, full circle. You need goats. You don’t say.

My husband, as I write this, is at Urgent Care, covered in rashes. Poison Ivy boils oozing up and down his legs. Hives, most likely his body’s response to the prescribed solution, covering most of the rest of him. He is, shall we say, a miserable sight, and desperate. And so, just before leaving, he hands me this scrap of paper, my own handwritten notes. Goat Mitigation. There’s this guy who lives halfway between here and Green Lake, and he says he can help us. I laugh again to myself. You’ve got to be kidding. But what choice do we have? I may as well admit it. The GOAT. Just might be. Greatest Of All Time.

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