Earlier this spring I showed you a bunch of sticks that we planted that would grow up to be fruit trees.

Well, the goats played with the chain, and managed to unscrew the bolt. This allowed them access to the budding daffodils, tulips, and the yet to bud trees. They managed to munch off a few lower branches of the Peach tree, and nibble on the multi-apple tree before I found them. My dear husband was furious. Never in all of the years had I ever had a goat unscrew a bolt. (I blame the LaMancha, he is the newest breed added to the farm.) So I made sure that would NOT happen again. I fetched the padlock off of the storage shed and locked them in. The key is kept in the house. So they would need an inside accomplice to get the doors open and handle the key, at least until they develop an opposable thumb.

We installed a new section of fence. I did not immediately apply a hotwire to this section, and neither did anyone else. A couple weeks ago, several of the heftier ladies stood on it (No Maggie & Ella, I did not use your names.) and bent it to the ground. This allowed them to get to the yummier section of new grass growing along the area where we now park the trailer. I was alerted to their escape by a bellowing husband. I rectified the situation and the fruit trees only lost a few leaves, and the dark purple tulip magnolia had a few branches pruned up from the bottom.

Maggie the Muncher

While I installed the hotwire, my now fuming husband took up the weed eater and went around the pasture perimeter to cut back the grass that was sapping the energy out of the hot fence. Apparently he opened the padlocked gate and did not immediately re-lock it once he went through, but merely slung the chain through the gate panel. The goats were now in the barn, happily munching fresh hay and some grain that I used to bait them in with. The weed-whacker wielding husband left the pasture by coming through the small gate inside the barn. I determined that he didn’t want to wrestle with unlocking the gate from inside the fence, and let it go at that.

The next morning it was raining, so the ladies were all inside waiting for their breakfast. After farm chores I headed back inside for a rousing game of Candyland, a fabulous load of dirty laundry, and some other equally glorious household tasks. When the husband called at about 11AM I picked up the phone and walked towards the dining room, looking out the window. At this point I used words that are not really family friendly, said  “I gotta go!”, and hung up.

There were goats on the back lawn.

The sun had made an appearance and the girls headed out to their favorite place to rub. The gate. When the first goat had made the pass down the mesh, it popped the chain loose and gave them free access to the back yard.

This was the peach tree. Yes, that little brownish twig. They knocked down quite a few rocks too.

Girdled apple tree.

This was the multi-variety apple. There is no way it will live since it has no bark to move nutrients to and from the leaves. Wait, there weren’t any of those left either.

When I was finally able to call my dear husband back, all I had to ask was if he had padlocked the gate.  There was swearing.

I removed the tree carcasses before he got home. I thought that might be just too much for him to take. We are still holding out hope that the pear tree will make it. I have another apple tree or two that came from the seeds I started when we first moved in. This one was the biggest and the healthiest of course. It might make it, it has all the bark on the trunk still intact. None of them have leaves though.

I suppose that the good thing to do would be to try to find him a few new trees for Father’s Day. If I can’t find some, the girls & I will get him an IOU to Costco for next year’s crop of trees. Perhaps it might be better to finish out this season with the already crippled trees to make sure there aren’t any other security breaches in our system.

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