Notes from Windward: #68


Future Pack Goats

Annie wins the trust of our two whether goats

     Since we have two wethers looking for someway to spend their time and I love to hike…why not try to turn them into some decent pack goats? We have the gear, of course, but the goats needed some names. First on my pack goat training list was to think of some suitable names. After our conversation about possible names for the pack goats, we gathered to watch Moonstruck starring Cher and Nicolas Cage (I know it seems odd, but this does have relevance). That night I had a dream; it was to name the two goats Sonny and Cher. I thought, WOW, what a revelation (It must've been a full moon that night)!!

Slash and Sonny looking for something interesting to do

     Later on in the afternoon, I thought of how ridiculous my dream was, but the name Sonny stuck with one of the male goats. Cher was dismissed, first of all it was a male goat and also he didn't really look like a "Cher." Days went by and the poor whether goat still had no name, he sulked and would not let me pet him, unlike the friendly Sonny. "Not Sonny" was how he was referred to at the time. Walt suggested that in html coding (the code that produces what you're reading now) the programer indicates that some function is turned off by putting a slash before the code that creates the function. In that context the two goats would be <Sonny> and </Sunny>. That last would be read aloud as "slash Sonny." or Slash for short. That seemed to fit, and now they have good working names of Sonny and Slash.

[Walt: animals can learn to recognize their names and some simple verbal commands, but the words used have to be clearly different. For example, the words "gee" and "haw" have traditionally been used with working with animals to refer to right and left.]

     When Slash finally had his new name, and was plyed with a few extra apple cores…and some greens, he started to warm up to me. They are both sweethearts.

     Sonny and Slash are whethers (castrated males) destined for the table, so they hadn't had a lot of human contact. They spent most of their time in the pen with the rams over the winter, so it was tough at first to get them to trust me. But after a week or so of hanging out with them in the afternoon, and after gorging them with apple cores, they slowly gave me their trust.

     Little by little, I took a reluctant Sonny out on short walks. We now have a routine. I take Sonny with me to the garden so he can get his fill of grass munching while I mill around watching the new seedlings pop up. Then I take him for a walk around Windward and back up to his pen. Eventually, we will take him on morning walks with us and then put a pack on him and take him hiking.

Sonny and Slash ready to go for a walkabout

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68