In the 1960s, the cure for eczema was goat’s milk. One of my brothers had really bad eczema so we got a milking goat. This was in addition to hundreds of pigs, sheep, ducks, chooks, a few dogs and the odd cats who decimated any mice that made a (brief) appearance. We also had a couple of cows but they had to go when they were superseded by the goat. We spent days trying to think of a name for her and finally came up with the name Nanny. The name really suited her.
Nanny was more than a goat. She was a member of the family. She loved to have a chin rub and a chat. She loved to be milked and Mum loved to milk her. When Mum and Dad went out shopping on a Saturday morning they’d always be gone for at least two hours. That’s when we’d ‘accidentally’ leave the backdoor open and Nanny would wander inside to the loungeroom and watch “Wrestling from Great Britain’ with us. Besides watching TV, she loved to climb on the firewood stumps, on old tractor tyres and up trees. Especially the pear trees for feasting purposes.
Nanny’s humongous appetite made her a very useful helper on the farm – and sometimes not. She’d eat everything in sight. She was pastured on any land that needed clearing for crops or firebreaks. She chomped her way through kitchen scraps and any household garbage that took her fancy. She ate her way through Mum’s straw hat. Dad discovered Nanny’s love of chewing tobacco when he was working under a tractor one day. Nanny got down low on her knees to get the packet of Champion Ruby tobacco out of his pocket. When he got out from under the tractor, Nanny’s jaw was still chomping like mad with only a small piece of the plastic packaging left hanging out of her mouth.
There came a time when Nanny needed some male attention so Dad called ‘Rent a Stud’ – Goat Breeding Services. A few days later a beat up old ute chugged up to the farm with Billy tethered in the back. Billy smelt foul and was completely out of control, bucking and ramming everything. Nanny and Billy were led into the pear orchard for a romantic liaison. Billy’s pheromones and aggression did nothing to provoke any feelings of lustiness in Nanny. Instead she tried to run away while he was busy head butting the pear trees. It was obvious he was not a suitable suitor for our Nanny at all. All of us kids had an impromptu birds and bees lesson as we watched the performance from the kitchen window. That was until Mum ordered us to ‘Get away from that window’. We were all relieved when we heard the ute chug away with Billy on board.
Well Billy must have had his way with Nanny because she was getting huge. About five months after his arrival (and departure) Nanny gave birth to twin kids. They had little chunky dangly bits under their necks (called wattles) and they were oh so adorable. Nanny was a great Mum. She provided enough milk for not only her own kids but the Leishman kids as well.
Sadly Nanny’s love of blackberries caused her demise. One day she was climbing through a barbed wire fence to get to the blackberries on the other side and got stuck. Dad found her and was distraught – we all were. She had obviously tried so hard to get unstuck and ripped her udder so badly that the vet couldn’t save her.