On our farm we had quite a diverse range of animals with new ones showing up from time to time. On the 20 acres we called home there were many features such as a creek, pasture, apple orchard and woodlands containing various unique trees and vegetation.
One distinctive tree near the house was a holly tree. Prior to moving to the farm I had never seen a real holly tree. I had just seen the occasional holly wreath. I never thought about where the holly leaves actually came from. If you’ve never seen one, they can be quite large, bushy and of course covered with sharp pointed holly leaves. A tree you would generally stay clear of unless you wanted to make a holly wreath or something crafty like that.
Growing up in this natural setting provided many hours of unique entertainment and quite a view into the interesting behavior of animals. One day a new animal arrived on our farm, a white billy goat. I don’t recall exactly what his name was so I’ll just call him Billy.
Billy had quite a rack of horns on his head and of course a cute little beard. He would let you pet him but oftentimes he would put his head down and look pretty serious about being on the verge of charging you. If you didn’t know any better this could look pretty scary. We knew he was all bluff and bluster and paid him no mind. Billy was known for two deeds that were his claim to fame on the farm.
The first deed happened one summer morning. That morning Julie was coming over to visit. I could hardly wait to show her our new pet goat. When she visited, Julie would ride her bike over and leave it at the end of our long gravel driveway and walk up. Our house was on a hill so you couldn’t see our house or yard till you crested the hill and then you were in our front yard.
Julie arrived and took a few steps on the lawn. I was just going to introduce her to Billy, when she got a funny look on her face and before you could say good day, she was off like a shot. She sprinted across the yard and then propelled herself up the closest tree, which happened to be the holly tree. Right behind her with his head down ready to butt, was Billy. I had never before or after seen Julie move so fast. Somehow Julie made it up (and eventually down) the holly tree without a scratch from all those holly leaves. She was fine from that experience and we were able to have quite a few laughs about it later, although she never did take to Billy.
After that we liked to keep Billy in the front yard as he kept the grass under control and the extra bonus of him being able to chase any unwanted (or wanted) visitors.
Billy’s second claim to fame was on a hot summer day. That day our big front living room windows were wide open. I guess he wanted to visit because Billy jumped right thru one of the windows into the house and had a look around. My Mom didn’t like this visiting idea one bit. With a couple of swift moves with the broom and some choice words she had Billy out the door in no time. Billy had the last word though because he managed to leave his calling card on the floor just in case we ever changed our minds…