Sunday, January 13, 2013

Follow the Leader

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

In the middle of February, 2008, the ground was covered with snow, so Ruth and I headed west to photograph in Sauk, Richland, and Vernon Counties. We always enjoy ourselves so much when we hit the backroads, and that day was no exception because it provided us with some animal antics that we will never forget.

Richland and Vernon Counties have a lot of ridges and valleys. As we drove through a valley in Vernon County, we saw a herd of goats gathered around a large bale of hay. The farm buildings were up on the ridge and, as I grabbed my camera to photograph the goats, an Amish woman came out of the house to feed the goats.

As soon as the goats realized it was time for some delicious grain, they looked up at the woman on the ridge and began to follow what appeared to be the “lead goat” as he headed up the hill. If there ever was a time that I should have had a video camera instead of a still camera, this was it. As soon as all the goats fell in line behind the lead goat, the lead goat decided to stop for some reason. And, just like in a cartoon, each of the goats bumped into the goat in front of him.

We started to laugh and then the lead goat resumed his trek up the steep hill towards the woman with the grain, with all the other goats following behind.

Soon they were halfway up the hill and we continued to watch as the last goat rounded the bend towards the top.

Did I say the LAST goat? Well, that’s what we thought, but then we noticed that one of the goats was still eating hay and was oblivious to the fact that everyone else had gone up the hill. All of a sudden he looked up and realized that he was all alone with the big bale of hay. So he began to bleat very loudly as if to say, “Hey, where’d everybody go?!”

And then he began to walk quickly, bleating as he did so. “Wait for me! Why didn’t someone tell me it was time for grain?!”

Then I think he must have realized that there wouldn’t be any grain left by the time he got to the top, so he kicked up his hind legs and broke into an all-out run.

And all we could do was laugh and watch him as he hurried up the hill in hopes of a morsel of grain.

Happy Shunpiking!

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