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We have started taking the goat children for “walks.” They got so wrapped around me the first day that Adrian said, “Mama, they think you’re a maypole!” Trapped in a tangle of colorful leashes, I reminded him of the maypole at his school’s Mayfaire celebration.

Like puppies, they get their legs wrapped around the leash and the leashes wrapped around each other. But they’re already getting the idea and enjoying an occasional change of scenery. They’re nibbling curiously at cedar and Douglas fir branches, tasting sword ferns, sampling salmonberry bushes, and delicately eating grass one blade at a time.

We don’t get far on these walks. Right now, the point is mainly to get them used to feeling the tug when they reach the end of the leash and to let them browse a bit. Unlike farm animals that survive mainly on grass–such as cows, sheep, and horses–goats eat a variety of plants, including bushes and trees. They are much adored for the enthusiasm with which they eat invasive plants such as blackberries, and for their ability to clear brush.

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                                         Photo by Chris Pollard