Site icon Vero News

You ‘herd’ it right: Bonz meets his first goats!

A goat chews on the leaves of a Brazilian Pepper plant. The invasive plant is one of the most aggressive and wide-spread in the State of Florida[Kaila Jones/32963]

My final 2019 column was another first for me. I’ve innerviewed hundreds of dogs, cats, a rabbit, a parrot, even a zebra. But this was the first time I’d ever innerviewed – a goat. I KNOW! Right?

A fellow reporter old me about a herd of goats working on an Important Cown-ty Project, an I thought, what the Woof! It sounds interesting. Can’t hurt to ask.

After a few calls, I scored an innerview with Nuby Slatem, a Nubian Goat, a liddle more than 1 year old in human. (I Googled and found out that’s a liddle over 5 in goat.) We met at his jobsite, an Undisclosed Location in the Boonies, a former citrus grove, where he’s in charge of nine fellow goats. Knowing basically zilch about Goat Etiquette, I was a liddle nervous.

Me an my assistant parked under some trees an met a nice lady named Beth, who is in charge of the cown-ty project. She led us to the fenced-in work area, about 5 acres, with a big pile of branches and a buncha mostly munched-on trees and bushes. A sign on the fence said “CAUTION, GOATS AT WORK.” An there WERE: all sorts of goats, lotsa different colors, some with curvy horns. An all busy munchin’ on the vegetation. A goat with a soft golden coat, light colored floppy ears and a white patch on the tummy approached us.

“Good afternoon. You, I assume, are Bonzo-the-Dog, yes?”

“Yes,” I replied, relieved he spoke a dialect I could understand. “And you must be Nuby. It’s my pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure is mine,” he replied. “Oh, an here is coming our goatherd, Papa Steve.”

A tall man came tromping across the muddy stubblefield, an all 10 goats ran up to him joyfully, greeting him with bumps and head butts. He hugged them, picked them up, patted their heads and tumbled around on the ground with them, by way of greeting, I assumed. After all the greeting an tumbling about concluded, Nuby trotted back. “What would you be wanting to know, Bonzo-the-Dog?”

“First, where you’re from, what your job’s all about.”

“I am being one of the three original goats of our company, InvasErad: myself, Lamone an Enano. Papa Steve rescued us when we were baby bucklings, 2 weeks old an without our Mother. Papa Steve raised us from the bottle. Myself an Lamone shared a bottle, but Enano was always preferring to have his own. My job title is Fence Stress-Tester-in-Chief, principally because I can clear 4-foot-high fences with great ease, an because I’m the most adventurous, an strongest, which is why I’m the buck herd’s Lead Buck, a quite prominent position, which on occasion Lamone wishes to challenge.”

Lamone, of similar color but more white splotches, turned from a green leafy branch on which he was snacking. “So says you,” he addressed Nuby, in a teasing sorta way. “You know we can go head to head any day of the week.”

“Bring it on, Lamone-head,” replied Nuby. They bumped and nudged each other briefly.

“We’re best frens,” Nuby explained. “Keep each other on our hooves.”

“Tell me about your job,” I suggested.

“This land we are calling a conservation area, with wetlands and uplands, where native plants enjoy living. As you might be knowing, certain plants that come here from far-away places do not play well with the natives. They are Brazilian Pepper, Peruvian Primrose Willow, Turks’ Turban and other equally tough, rude plants, who are very greedy and taking over the native plants’ space an food. Then things are getting out of the natural balance.”

A stocky blue/gray an white goat hopped gracefully from atop the hugh pile of sticks. “That’s where we come in, right Nuby?”

“Exactly, Kozi.” Nuby turned to me. “This is Kozimodrak, the fourth buck in our herd. He’s a Spaniard from the Devil’s River bloodline. Very rare.”

Kozi gave me a frenly bump. “Hey, Bonzo-the-Dog, did you know Kozimodrak means ‘blue goat’ in Czech?”

“Why no. No I didn’t.”

“So,” Nuby continued, “we got hired for an Important Pilot Project. Miss Beth an the cown-ty wanna find out whether us goats can gobble up enough of these x-odd-ick species to save the native plants. They buh-leeve it’s better than puttin’ a buncha chemi-culls all over the place or havin’ lotsa humans mow for hours when they could be doin’ other stuff. We’re tryin’ to, you know, think outside the box.”

“Makes sense. So, how’s it goin’?”

“Check it out,” said Koz, lookin’ around at the goats munchin’ away. “We’ve been munchin’ our sox off since August. This place used to be wall-to-wall x-odd-icks, so thick with Brazilian Peppers you couldn’t be seeing across, never mind walking across it. Now look how clear it is becoming.”

I was impressed.

“Come, meet the rest of the herd,” said Nuby. A couple of black-an-tan goats wandered up. “These are Phoenix an Victor. They’re San Clemente Island goats. And cousins.”

“Afternoon, Dude,” said Victor.

“Were you aware,” Phoenix asked, “that, unlike other goats’ cheese, OUR San Clemente goat cheese melts? Cool, right?”

“Why, YES, ab-so-LUTELY!”

Nuby next introduced Estaban, a brown, black an white bottle baby buckling too shy to speak, but he gave me a little bump; then came Multicojo an his liddle brother Beeleebro, from a ranch in Missouri. “We were driving 1,000 miles to get these guys,” Nuby explained.

Bruno, a Spaniard, had a Crispy Dog Biscuits black, cream an white coat and a face that I thought looked like a star, with two pointy horns, ears that stuck out to the side and a nice pointy nose. Super cool.

One goat really stood out, with a silvery gray coat that looked bunny soft. Nuby saw me staring. “This is Silvio Azulado,” he said. “He also has the Devil’s River bloodline.”

“Yo, Dog, whatcha lookin’ at?”

Oops. “I was just admiring your very handsome coat,” I quickly replied.

Nuby whispered, “The very first day Silvio joined the herd, he battled it out with the lead bucks, an held his own. Earned their respect right away.”

Heading home, I was still excited that I’d ackshully met a herd of goats. I hope their project’s a big success. Who knew goats were so Cool Kibbles?

Till next time,

The Bonz

Exit mobile version