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Big Ideas, Naughty Goats, and Bright Lights

Many times I get asked if my goats cause any problems; since popular opinion is that goats eat everything and are quite mischievous.

I’ve always said, “No, they’ve actually never destroyed anything and they can be picky eaters.”

That is until this past weekend! Our youngest son had been working on lighting our house up with Christmas cheer, so much so I’m sure it can be seen miles away. He’s worked on it for three weeks, all during Thanksgiving break, weekends, after school, during the evenings working with a headlamp, well, you get the idea. He even entered our home into a local Christmas Decoration Contest!

He was putting the finishing touches on everything (he staged the nativity scene silhouettes that he cut out himself from plywood!) and flipped the switch for the hundreds of feet of lights on the farm fences ... no light. None. The fence had lit up beautifully the evening before. What happened? As we walked the fence, we came to the pasture of the bucks (our male goats) and the problem became clear. The perfectly swagged string of lights were no longer swagged ... rather, sections of the dark Christmas light string limply hung. In fact, the string was no longer a continuous string! What do I mean? Well, chunks of wire were actually missing as were numerous light bulbs. Just gone. Those naughty bucks!

Chewed through and parts possibly eaten! Seriously?! I wondered if they had gotten a zap while chewing! Eating wire could be deadly. Eating light bulbs could be deadly. Good grief. However, all three goats were acting fine and none were glowing with a Christmas glow and all were curious what we were doing along the fence.

My husband placed an emergency call to our local hardware store hoping to hear that they still had some lights in stock. Nope. Not a single string of lights to be had. Not. One. We had bought them out strand by strand in previous weeks. Our son was getting a bit discouraged as dusk approached and it would be time for the judges to make their rounds. All hands on deck! Time for us parents to gather round and cheer him on. So my husband scurried out with him to make sure the rest of the lights were shining bright. I sat on the floor of our dining room, painstakingly wiggling, pulling out and replacing out each bulb in the one remaining string that wasn't chewed but not working. I had no idea what I was doing and prayed that somehow the lights would start working. Our 13 year old had worked so hard but sometimes life lessons learned are tougher than others and the lights were just not meant to be. However ... prayers were answered! No, the light string I was bent over did not start glowing. Isn't that the way with our prayers most of the time? They get answered in an unexpected way. The local hardware store called and one of their employees had stumbled upon a box, yes a box that contained not one but six light strings, in the back corner of the storage room. What? No one remembered how that box got to be there. After an emergency trip to town to pick up the much needed replacement string of lights, all lights were speedily swagged just so (the son said all swags along the fence were 46" from the ground) and stapled to each fence post as the sun dipped below the horizon.

And, I'm glad to report that all three naughty bucks are acting healthy ... locked away from the lighted fence til after Christmas. And, no, our farmhouse did not win the Christmas decorating contest. But, yes, goats CAN be naughty ... once in awhile.


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