This summer, my teenage daughter and I took three of her Nubian goats to several out of town goat shows. We went to
Torrington, WY, Douglass, WY and , in addition to several local shows. For the first big drive, we took our truck and trailer but after spending $120 to fill my diesel pick-up truck with gas, I got to thinking maybe those 3 goats could all fit in my more economical minivan! It certainly would be a quieter and more comfortable ride for us, be easier to navigate in parking lots and at drive-through restaurants, and the goats could enjoy the comfort of air conditioning while listening to music. Sure enough, by taking all the back seats out and packing carefully, we were able to fit three large dog crates, a milking stand, a bale of hay, a bag of pine shavings, buckets, hay bags, grooming equipment and our suitcases. We even had room for two folding chairs and a cooler! Pueblo, CO
Now I wasn’t originally planning on going to all these “away” shows this year, but I figured that with my daughter being so passionate about showing her goats and the fact that she actually wanted to spend time with me at the very peer-influenced age of 15, I'd better make time for these getaways with her while I still could. It’s hard for me to fathom, but I really only have her home for 3 more summers before she’s off to college.
The great thing about these road trips is that they’re sort of boring. What I mean by that is there is plenty of time to chat. Any of you who have teenage kids know that opportunities to really connect with them seem to get more and more fleeting as they grow up. Friends, homework, sports, cell phones, computers... these all compete with parents for attention during the high school years. But sitting next to each other on a long, boring stretch of I-85 through Wyoming with no other distractions allows for some pretty good conversation time. We talked about college and career choices, God and religion, goat breeding, driving laws, healthy eating, and lots of fun fantasy conversations about future houses and farm set-ups. It was great.
The goat showing was pretty fun and successful, too. When we started out with goats three years ago, we bought a small little Nubian doe named Skittles. She was spotted, cute and compact. Well, turns out “compact” is not highly desired in the dairy goat show world where terms like body capacity, height, strength and stature are frequently used to describe the winning does. Once Megan began to get serious about showing beyond 4-H, I offered to buy her a show-quality doe, but she insisted that the only truly admirable and respectable way to get a better show goat was to breed your way there. So, she selected a local breeder whose goats had the traits she was looking for and began to improve her line. Imagine her thrill when Skittles’ third doeling took Reserve Champion Junior Doe at the Colorado State Fair this year. Talk about a mother’s pride – mine and Megan’s (and maybe Skittles’, too!).
The only real downside to our summer goat road trips was the smell that was left in my mini van as a reminder of our journey. In spite of laying tarps down under the crates that housed the girls, the distinct smell of goat still permeates our family car. The vanilla scented car air freshener helps but now it just smells like we’ve been baking cupcakes in the barn. A suburban friend of mine was recently lamenting the fact that her minivan was such a mess, with candy wrappers, Happy Meal toys and miscellaneous drink cups everywhere. “Oh yeah?,” I said, “I bet you don’t have goat poop in your van!" Do you think Toyota would want to make a commercial about that?
Life Lesson: Look for unconventional opportunities to connect with those you love