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Texas Side of Things-Aug. 19, 2022

published: August 19th 2022
by: Jim Banner

When I was a little boy, we owned Angora goats that needed to be sheared yearly.  It was my job to jump into the hair sacks and tromp down the hair that the shearers were depositing into them.  In my opinion, it was a great time.  This was a great plan that my father had because it kept me out of the way and wore me down at the same time.  The only problem with hanging out with the goat shearers was that my cussing increased, and it isn’t very impressive for a little boy to show up at church cursing like a sailor.


     We got rid of our goats many years ago, when the mohair market went down and the presence of coyotes went up.  As I learned in Ag Economics 101, this does not work!  To say the least, I haven’t messed with goats of any kind for over 60 years until this last week.  My wife, Vicki, has a herd of Spanish goats on her ranch in eastern Llano County.  Now, when I say she has a herd, what I mean is that she inherited five Spanish nannies from her father because they escaped when he was trying to load them up many years ago.  So, these nannies would stay in the rocks and cliffs at Vicki’s ranch and would look down at you from about 200 hundred yards away like wild Comanche Indians and never come closer than that. 


     Last year, we bought a Spanish billy from a cousin of mine, and to tell you the truth, he was perfect for the job. We named him Fritz, a good German name and he was nothing but a big pet.  He was so tame that when we called his name he would start bleating and come down off the hill to feed. Fritz’s job was simple, get the nannies bred and tame the renegade nannies that we couldn’t.  We brought Fritz home and left him in the trailer over night and waited for the girls to come down and investigate this new visitor to their world.  Sure enough, the next morning there they were, close by the trailer containing Fritz.  However, as soon as we approached, they fled into the rocky terrain and just stood there starring at us from a safe distance of 200 yards.  I opened the trailer gate and let Fritz jump out and he stood there, let out a loud noise to announce his presence and let me tell you, those nannies took off like deer climbing the hill.  Immediately, Fritz took off after them in a slow trot, bleating the whole way. I didn’t know if they would kill him or what they would do when he finally caught up with them.  It looked like the cartoon with Pepe Le Pew, the skunk with a French accent that was always pursuing the female cat striped like a skunk.  Anyway, I guess Fritz finally caught up with the nannies because this past spring, two of them had kids and in time, Fritz managed to tame the group down enough that they would come to feed.


     In fact, the herd got so gentle that Vicki penned them and informed me we were hauling them to Fredericksburg to the auction.  I thought to myself that it would be a piece of cake, but for that I have never owned sheep or goats, let me inform you that they are sometimes crazy, dumb and if you are not careful, they can hurt you.  As I was backing the trailer up to the chute, I remember thinking about the day we brought Fritz home and introduced him to the girls and for a little while I was somewhat sad, but I knew this was the best thing for all of us.  My sentimental thoughts changed quickly as I was trying to load those damned goats into the trailer.  Their renegade attitudes emerged once again as they were running all over the pen trying to jump out and their pointed horns were like lethal weapons.  Finally, I got them into the trailer and while I was trying to close the compartment gate, they looked like atoms bouncing off the walls all over the place.  The only one that was calm was ole Fritz… he was still making his mating sound and oblivious of what was going on.


     I’m not going to miss those goats, at least not for a little while, because I’m still being reminded by the bruises and battered parts on my body.  Hopefully, Fritz was young enough to be purchased by some unsuspecting, new landowner that wants to raise goats because they are simple and cute.  Maybe he was purchased and taken to a new home where once again he can roam the rocky hills like Pepe Le Pew… chasing the nannies that got away!





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