I found myself thinking over the years that maybe, just maybe, Esther would beat the dying rap and live on forever. On one very frustrated day, I looked up the life span of goats, and though the average is 10-12 years, the number 30 jumped out at me. If she wasn’t immortal, then certainly 30 wasn’t out of her reach. But the reality of life which is death caught up with her. And I mean literally ‘caught up.’ Esther wasn’t easy to catch, either by us or the grim reaper. The night before she died, Tom was exasperated for the zillionth time when she snuck in the front door of the barn, knocked the top off the grain can, and started eating. And the very day she died, she was out of the pasture roaming around the lawns. Then Tom came in and said she was down. We called the vet and Tom brought her up to the office and Esther was given that last shot.
The first photo we have of her is this one from 2002 with Bracelet and Annie, all gone now.
You’ll notice that Annie the white one is much smaller. She was a pygmy goat, our third. Those were great goats. Small, friendly, companionable. We bought Bracelet and Esther sight unseen. The people said they were pygmies, but we knew the minute they hopped out of the truck that they were not. They were regular sized goats. And they were nothing like the malleable, naturally well-behaved little pygmies we had known. From the start, they were trouble. They lived life on their terms. If they wanted to leave the pasture, they did so. The electric fence didn’t faze them a bit. If they wanted to eat down the 55 day lilies Tom planted in his 55th year, they did so. One of my own personal favorite blog entries is about the goats.
After Bracelet died two years ago, which I noted in this post, Esther only got worse, though I didn’t think it possible. She was an unstoppable force. She was on the move all the time. I would watch her as she took a bite here of daylily, and a bite there of yellow bean leaves, and wondered why she didn’t stay put and enjoy her meal. I looked it up and found out that goats learn about something by eating it. They learn about a plant for a while, and then move along to learn about the next one. She wouldn’t touch tomato leaves or onions, but most everything else among the flowers or vegetables was fair game.
Tom and I knew that when (if) she died, we would feel a sadness, simply because she was such a personality. And we do. We used to call her our outside dog, because she really liked to hang around us when we were out. But we also feel relief. We have some new ideas about the gardens for this summer, and I have been wracking my brain wondering how on earth we would keep her away. Last year she did some big damage. Several flowers never blossomed because she ate them off while in bud. We had to replant the yellow beans because those leaves were a special favorite.
The last picture of her was taken Christmas eve day out the window as she walked out of her pasture, across two lawns, and out into the north pasture. Just ‘cause.
So yes, there is relief. But yes, we shall miss her.