I have painted a lot of goat pictures through the years. I like goats, they are smart and make good pets. Well maybe not so good but who can resist. They will climb on your car and eat the nice plants in your yard. They bother the neighbors, stand around on your front porch and look in the windows. Sometimes they come inside. If you only have one, they will be your best buddy. They like to be with someone or something, they need a companion. There is nothing as cute as a baby goat~
Sometimes I feel like a ranch hand except I have never ranched~unless you count taking care of pasture cats and wild life. But many times I have had to stop on the road and get a goat out of the fence and I felt like a real rancher woman. Reciently I had to do that job, I was on my way to San Angelo to see the tax man and do some banking business. The wind was blowing a gale, I didn’t have my head scarf so my hair got really big~ you know like having to walk through a door sideways. Not good at all. There is a trick to getting a goat out of a fence, they all want to stick their heads through the wire to eat the same stuff that is on their side, it works fine until they try to pull back, then their horns hang and they are stuck. They will bleat and fight all day until someone finds them. To help them get lose, you have to pull their head toward you as far as you can and twist it around and poke their nose back through (nose first~if you manage that, then the horns will follow). It looks like it would hurt and sometimes there is a little blood but you keep talking to them and telling them you like them and they are going to be fine. When they are finally free, they take off running. My ‘used to be neighbor Joe Max’ had Spanish goats and he solved the problem by cutting a broom stick wider than the head and wiring it across the horns, there was no way they could get that new head gear through the wire fence. I thought it was ingenious, it didn’t hurt the goat at all and it kept it out of trouble. I love goats, especially the little kids. They have boundless energy and are the most entertaining creatures, maybe something like the pasture kittens~ By the way, a man in a pickup stopped to help with the goat that day, that is usually what happens.
I painted these two goats in 1969 down near Camp Wood, some of the roughest country in this part of Texas. Goats do well there, (it might be a problem with predators though). I wonder how they round them up to shear them or doctor them~ not a good place to drive a four-wheeler. I like goats, they are the cutest of all little ranch animals. The kid goats play and climb trees and just can’t stay still. They make good pets but they will get the top of the car.
We raised Hank from a baby, he was an angora goat and ag project at school. He was smart and sweet, the boys even brought him in the house a few times when I was not home. He took up with our neighbor’s horse Polk, and from then on, they were always together. The first time Hank got sheared, he disappeared for three days. Polk ran circles around our fence looking for him and was terribly upset. We looked all over the place and thought maybe Hank had been stolen. We finally found him hiding in the barn behind a pile of boards, he was ashamed that he was naked. Someone told us that happens sometimes. Anyway when he got back with Polk and was happy again~ Polk didn’t even recognize him for a couple of days~ those two were together for years~I like goats, I loved Hank.
Texas is the largest producer of Angora goats in the US and third in the world. They are raised for their fine mohair. They are shorn twice a year, in February, just before kidding and then again in August. It looked like they were penning about 50 goats at a time, while a large number were in other pens near by. It took about 5 days to do the job.
The shearing crew showed up at the Pfluger Ranch early to set up and get started. It takes about 4 minutes to shear a goat, with lots of bleating and protesting, but then they calm down and and happy to be rid of all that hair. Temperatures have been triple digits this summer, in a few months when cold weather rolls around, their hair will have grown back.
The hair is collected and graded, then stuffed into large wool sacks. It was interesting to watch. Ranch work is hard work but no one would trade it for anything~