Tag Archives: Ozark hills

Finding Goats in Woods

Winter is a dull time for botany. The plants are hunkered down or dormant. Finding my goats in woods makes a walk interesting.

The strange thing about goats foraging in the woods is how they vanish. I wanted to check on the new kids. I knew where the goats had gone up into the woods. I followed the trail.

And I found no goats.

The trail winds across the hill, crosses a couple of ravines and continues back across another hill. Four deer bounded off as I approached the first ravine. No goats.

The leaves were scuffed. There were hoof prints. I saw no goats in woods.

The trail disappeared. I could look down into the big ravine. The herd probably went down and crossed to the south pasture hill. I turned around to start back.

The bare, brown trees were silhouetted against the deep blue winter sky. Dry leaves scattered or crunched under foot. A few green plants hid under the leaves. A sedge with frost yellowed blade tips stuck up.

I remember walking this trail when wildflowers scattered themselves across the hill. This is where I took the shooting star picture on the “My Ozark Home” cover.

But no goats in woods rewarded my walk. I decided to take a side hike up to some big rocks and turned.

goats in woods

Someone is coming, say the goats. They are on alert, ready to run.

The herd stood there looking at me. On the way out I scoured the hills as I walked and saw no goats. Now they stood poised to bolt toward home.

I called and started up the hill. They went back to foraging. Acorns are still thick on the ground here.

Rose, Agate, Pamela and Spring came over for petting. Drucilla warned her kids to stay away from me. She was ignored.

The herd moved on. I trailed behind amused at how goat in woods appear and disappear.

Kids First Day Out

The Nubian doe kids are two weeks old. They run and play, jump up on the gym, the hay trough, the sleeping bench. They want to have a first day out in the big world.

Two weeks old is very young. The herd is going far up the hill pasture hill. The kids will get tired and go to sleep. I won’t be able to find them.

The day dawns cold and frosty, but bright and sunny. The grass is short, easy for kids to see the herd and their mother. The herd wants out even before milking is over.

I could wait until the kids go back in the barn and go to sleep. The frost will melt by that time. If I hide in the house, I won’t hear the goats calling, asking why they aren’t out yet.

goat kids first day out is for exploring

Nubian doe Drucilla doesn’t get much eating done as she tries to keep up with her kids.

Drucilla is a wonderful mother goat. She stayed in almost two weeks with her kids. Most stay in only a week before trying to sneak out the gate. She has a big Nubian voice. Those kids will hear her a quarter of a mile easily. Her kids have big voices too.

If not now, when? How old is old enough? Winter kids have advantages with the short grass and bare branches of bushes.

The goats are calling. They are standing in the barn lot looking at me and at the pasture gate. “It’s a beautiful day to be out,” they seem to say. “Please let us out.”

kids first day out in woods

The goat kids are having a wonderful time going up and down the hills. It’s much more interesting than being stuck in the barn all day.

I’ll snag the kids as they try to go out the gate. I go to the gate with the herd and open it. The herd pours through.

Drucilla has her kids beside her. If I snag them, she will turn around and stay in crying mournfully all day. They are bouncing, so excited at this first day out.

I watch as the three get to the bridge. The kids won’t cross. Drucilla goes back and talks to them. And the three are min the middle of the herd as it winds its way up the hill pasture.

I do want to go out for a walk later today. If I happen to wander up the hill pasture, that’s a good walk.

Early Morning Walk

Last night rain poured down for a few hours leaving four inches behind before the clouds moved on. An early morning walk is important to see what damage the water has done.

Surprisingly the water stayed where it was supposed to. The road didn’t wash onto the fence.

pasture in early morning

A layer of mist still shrouds the north pasture and glows white as the sun rises. Behind the pasture the trees on the hill are beginning to turn color.

Up in the north pasture the sun is starting to light up the mist hanging over the grass. Wisps of mist are high enough to obscure the hill behind now turning colors for the fall.

creek in early morning

At the beginning of the north pasture, Whitaker Creek makes a big bend as it heads toward the upper Meramec River. It’s a peaceful place. Fish, frogs and crayfish inhabit the area. Great Blue Herons stop by, but fly off at any disturbance.

Time is sliding by on the crests of ripples on the creek. I turn back to check the south pasture.

The creek is up, but not flooding or even up to high water stage. I saunter across the bridge.

yellow jelly mushrooms

Dead wood as this older plank on the creek bridge is a good place to find jelly mushrooms after a rain. They come in several colors. The brown and white ones seem almost translucent. The yellow doesn’t and is smaller.

Crunching gravel underfoot masks the occasional plop of walnuts hitting the ground. The rushing of the creek keeps me company. It’s so easy to let my rushed feelings tumble downstream with the water.

The gravel is still on the culvert. No trees toppled. There is no real storm damage.

south creek in early morning

Near the south pasture the creek spreads out into a broad moving pond. The creek is split above the area by a small gravel bar.

This is now an early morning walk to simply enjoy the time away from tasks. Shadows still darken the south pasture. The mist is thin and white.

Still, morning chores are calling. For now the calls of the goats are quiet. There is no noise from traffic or whatever projects the neighbors are up to on top of the hill behind the house.

fantasy dragon

The remains of fallen trees can take on interesting shapes that change from different vantage points. I looked up from the creek and saw a dragon heading for the hill pasture across a sea of leaves.

The air is crisp, washed clean by the storm. Early morning walks are special times. I stand and linger looking up across the hill pasture.

Warblers are greeting the day with their songs. Some are quarreling in the trees along the creek.

The sun is peeking over the hills. Reluctantly I turn back to retrace my steps back to the house.

road in early morning

The road goes a tenth of a mile and dips down to a wet weather creek. On the east is the north pasture. Only in the fall does the rising sun stream out across the pasture and light up the road past the dip.

The sunlight is streaming across the north pasture as I walk up past the barn. I stop on the road to look down between the trees. It is tempting to continue my early morning walk.

A rooster calls. My cats Tyke and Cloudy call me. It’s time to serve breakfast.

There are so many special times at “My Ozark Home.” This is one of them.