We attended our final Farmers Market for the season yesterday (Saturday, September 12) in Franklin, where we have appeared twice this year. Both of those appearances gave us high volume sales, without which we would not have exceeded our total sales from 2019. Our performances in Franklin were a surprise to us, as our sales at the Grant County Farmers Market in Petersburg were not as strong as they were in 2019, and we were concerned that we wouldn’t do well this year. However, our Pendleton County sales salvaged our performance for the year and gave us a third consecutive year of record proceeds. We were discussing that fact on our way home from the Farmers Market, which led us to conclude we should devote more appearances to the Franklin Farmers Market next year.
However, as we turned into our driveway, we were stunned by the greeting we received. Our goats, Essie and Snowball, were standing in the driveway and approached us as we pulled up to the house. Somehow, they had managed to get out of their goat pen. When I looked over to the goat barn, I realized the main gate into the goat pen was open. Apparently, they had managed to jump up against the gate in just the right way to pop up the chain that kept it locked to the hitching post. Judging from the number of goat poops we found scattered around the driveway in front of the garage, they had spent the better part of the morning outside the pen while we were at the Farmers Market. They had even explored the garage while we were gone, as they had knocked some boxes off the storage shelf under my work bench and raided their hay reserves I stored in the milking area. It was a wonder that they hadn’t wandered off and gotten lost, but we found no poop piles anywhere else but in the driveway. Fortunately, they had been outside long enough that they were very willing to return to the safety of their pen without having to be chased around the yard.
This is just the latest example of their mischievous hijinks. I had noticed on several summer mornings this year that the big fan in the goat barn had been turned on during the night. At first, I wasn’t sure if I had accidentally hit the fan switch when I was trying to shut off the barn light switch just before leaving the barn the night before, because the two switches are mounted side-by-side on the same switch-box. However, after making numerous late evening checks of the goat barn before going to bed, I knew that wasn’t the case. Apparently, the goats had learned they could turn the fan on by jumping up against the wall where the switches were located. I decided to buy a plastic cover lid for the switch-box and, just as mysteriously as it had begun, the mysterious fan problem ceased to occur.
It always amazes me how our goats can figure out how to open a locked gate or turn on a fan switch in one minute and then poop in their own water bucket in the next. Whatever the reason for their actions may be, they sure do provide us with a lot of amusement. Their quirky behavior patterns only confirm to me that you can never completely outthink a goat—no matter how smart you think you are. We hope you’ll accept that as a lesson learned from Barb and I here at Peeper Pond Farm.