Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Year of the Goat

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

Beginning on February 18, 2015, and continuing until February 7, 2016, it is The Year of the Goat in the Chinese Zodiac. It is alternately known as The Year of the Sheep or Ram. The picture in the traditional zodiac is clearly a goat, but the word in Chinese refers to goat, sheep, or ram, and the Chinese are not bothered by the discrepancy.

Each new year begins on a new moon sometime between late January and mid-to-late February. While researching for this blog post, I discovered that Joann was born in the Year of the Goat.

People born in the year of the goat, which occurs every 12 years, are said to be calm, gentle mild-mannered people who have strong creativity and perseverance. They prefer to be in groups, but do not want to be the center of attention.

According to ancient Chinese superstition, in your birth sign year (every 12 years), you will offend the God of Age, and will have bad luck during that year. The best way to avoid this bad luck is by wearing something red given by an elderly relative. It can be socks or underwear, or a bracelet or anklet.

In our backroads travels, we often see farm animals. In the spring, we find pastures with young animals, which is always a favorite. But, in my opinion, one of our best experiences with goats was in autumn on a dead end road leading to the back side of a Nature Conservancy property.

We probably wouldn’t have driven down the road since there is only one farm on it, but we knew the Nature Conservancy property was down there. The farm was a goat farm, and the goats were not fenced in.

There was a defined pasture with large round bales of hay, and probably at one time there had been a fence, but the goats were running free. We drove down the road to check out the natural area and once we got turned around and started back, the goats were all running down the road. It was feeding time and their owner was trying to call them home.

They were running back and forth along the road, and we stopped the car so Joann could get out and take photos of them as they ran.

Their feed was spread around the round bales in the pasture, and they circled it and climbed over and around the bales. Often, one would stop right on top as if they were playing the children’s game King of the Hill.

We stayed for a while watching the goats run around, and finally all moving over to the feeding area. It was a beautiful fall day, and watching them only added to the experience.

I hope you’re having a good Year of the Goat (or Sheep if you prefer).

Happy Shunpiking!


  1. This is one time I wish you had video to go with your photos. I would have loved to have seen them running, and heard their hooves on the road. You captured gorgeous golden colors in the trees.

  2. What fun it must have been watching and listening to them!