Goats on Parade

The Black Hills Pack Goats and I are hoping to organize South Dakota's first 4-H Packgoat group. In order to recruit young people to join the group, we agreed to enter the annual Central States Fair kickoff parade. The Black Hills Pack Goats made a fine impression. Hundreds of people smiled big, rubbed their chins and uttered things like, "Hmmm....Goats. Who'da thought. COOL!"

We just hope some folks along the parade route will check us out at the County Extension Office. If you are interested, please contact Ms. Tana Clark at 605-394-2188.

For more about the Black Hills Pack Goats, see http://www.blackhillspackgoats.com/.


Heather's Family DayTrek to Little Elk Creek 'Water Park'

Heather and Greg and their two daughters, all from Illinois, decided to "do something different" for the family summer vacation trip. Boy did they. Heather said, "We all had a blast. We'd like to come back next year."

We hope they do. What a delightful family to get to know better. I hope they do come back, if only to stop in to say Hi to their new lifelong friends Harney, Custer, Sylvan and Sturgis.

(To Heather and Greg's wonderful daughters, a special thanks... You two young ladies are real troopers. Thank you for putting up with the heat, 7 MILES of hot trail, and never knowing quite sure what's around the bend. I really enjoyed getting to know this extra fine family.)
For more information on The Black Hills Pack Goats, please see
For more information please go to http://over-the-hillsadventures.blogspot.com


Goats Debut First Show Business Appearance

This July 4th morning, the Black Hills Pack Goats entered the Piedmont South Dakota International Independence Day Show and Parade. We live just outside Piedmont in the forest suburbs. Piedmont's population is 93 (when everyone is home). Check the photo f Piedmont's intersection.

Notice how the goats reacted to the (I swear) 8 foot high bull, who also had horns. The goats had a real hard time making friendly to another "goat" that big.

Notice, too, that once again the noble Custer positioned himself between his herd and the unknown intruder (that bull!). See too, how Sylvan has again taken up station to mark the escape route, should the situation turn south and ugly.

BTW: The Boyz did great. The parade had volunteer fire dept sirens blaring, motorcycles (Harley's) rumbling, horses bolting, ATV's revving, several dogs, and the chaos of an unrehearsed small-town parade. The Boys were absolutely solid. They got concerned a few moments, but they handled their leads fine. In fact, I eventually daisy-chained them, one behind the other at one point. No problemo.



Caprine Leadership Seminar

It's Custer. He's at it again. This guy is awesome.
Click HERE for the video. (Moderately large: 8.5Mb)
For more information please see www.blackhillspackgoats.com and www.skybison.com


Pack Goats' First Goat Packs

The Goats decided they were old enough for grown-up goatwork and wanted to hike with their new (never used) packs. They did GREAT! We all hiked about 2 miles with not a single hitch. Several times they got tangled with each other and a few times one or the other of them got hung up in tree branches. But they worked it out on their own. These guys are R E A D Y and anxious to get some serious camping gear* on their backs.
However, these were only "junior" panniers, stuffed with foam pillows. That helps the goats train for side clearance, deal with balance, etc. Later, they will start carrying real loads, and with full size panniers about three times this large. But...Sshhhhh...don't tell them that. "The Boyz" were rightly proud of what they did today, so let's not tell them they were carrying only training-load pillows. Heck, I'm still quite proud of how well they handled everything today. The 2008 GoatPacking season is going to be great, thanks to these four guys.
For more information please see www.blackhillspackgoats.com.


* Or ice chests for drinks. Or snacks for themselves.



London Fog

We've had more rain in the past week than the prior year. Even the rocks are soggy.


SPRING at last ! ! !

Like a free pass to the candy store for the Black Hills Pack Goats. And eye candy for their head goat. The entire forest has turned in to a limitless candy-buffet for the goats' every browsing dream come true.


Perhaps Custer has taken this Lead Goat thing too far?

We glanced over to see The Boyz all splayed out on "Muscle Bench," as usual. (It's an old workshop bench that the Black Hills Pack Goats use for sunbathing and jousting for herd rank.)

But this time, there was something just a weeee bit fishy. Custer, always seeking attention, was up to new antics.


A Classic Black Hills Blizzard

We awoke to a familiar late-spring ritual in the Black Hills. Two feet of snow, white-out, 100 miles of Interstate closed. However, our 9-month old Black Hills Pack Goats saw nothing familiar at all in this, their first spring season. They slept in, in stubborn denial of the whistling tundra trying to invade their lair. There's little doubt how the poor dog Sherlock feels about it, either.


Spring Training With Pack Saddle

Spring finally sprung. The Black Hills Pack Goats will begin their first year of real load bearing services this summer. Time to break out the saddle and start getting the boys used to it. They'll need to become familiar with the straps and cinch, the extra weight, and the new clearances when negotiating thickets. The other three saddles are still being made out of state. The pack panniers are at an embroidery shop to apply custom logo's on the bags. But for now, we just went out for a late afternoon spring hike. We started with the lead goat, Custer, to set the example. He is the smartest and most adventurous. Custer handled his saddle just fine. Notice in these pic's how the other goats accept Custer as their leader.

Sorry about Google insisting on randomizing and reversing the photo sequences.

Sidebar: We stopped on the hike for refreshments. While we were milling about, another hiker, a stranger, came our way with three dogs. (Dogs are the most common enemy of goats.) Custer was great. He assumed his proper role of herd protector and kept himself between the other goats and the hiker and his dogs as they passed by. Sylvan, in his role of Safety Warden dropped back to define a rear exit, in the ready to lead a retreat if needed, while uttering warning alerts to the others to keep their adrenline up. Harney and Sturgis huddled with me between Custer and Sylvan. Our herd is in order. I was greatly proud of Custer for his selfless heroism.