{ Sunday Market , w/ the Goats }

Everything’s perfect.

We’ve been talking about strutting the goats around the Sunday farmer’s market for months, but never got around to it until just today. We figured it would be good to get them acquainted with more strangers, and dogs who we knew would be on leashes. Plus .. who doesn’t like to randomly bump into, and be able to pet, a pair of friendly Nubian goats?? It’s a really fun thing to see people’s eyes light up and kids come toddling over with both hands outstretched in that gimmie gimmie kind of way.

“Can I pet your goat?”

We don’t bring them out in public enough (normally just hiding off in nature … a place the girls say tastes better) .. but if we did, I’d totally make a shirt that said, “Yes, you can pet the goats : )” This way people could get right to it … 

By the way, I was smiling to myself, after the market, when the goats and I were posted up in the back of the Wholefoods parking lot (juwels ran in for sunflower oil) .. and as I watched ezzie curiously watching a raven two bushes over, I noticed that her fur was all running slicked back, from tip to tail, where people had been petting her.

But earlier, on the ride to the farmer's market, with the goats being good little babies, Juwels was complaining to her awkward view in the visor mirror.

“Ah .. I should have brought my hat,” she said, noticing the lazy side-flop of hair she’d twisted up with a chopstick.

“Nobody’s going to be looking at you,” I said, “They’ll be watching the girls.”

“My hair’s a wreck.”

She likes to hide out in sun hats and large plate glasses, like some diplomat’s wife leaving a war-torn country … can’t imagine why?

Anyway, fast forward 10 minutes in the truck, and we’re unloading the goats into somebody’s side yard for potty and snacks of wild weeds.

With leashes attached (not that they need them) we all walked off to the market. Stopping in the bright green grass surrounding city hall, which the goats would not sniff nor nibble, and the girls dropped more berries and watered the grass. “Goooooood potty, Chia .. . Goooood potty, Mez ..” 

We were ready. 

A big reason we wanted to bring the girls was to walk them up to the goat cheese booth, Fossil Creek Creamery, the farm we found them at.

“Chia … Are you ready to see your grandparents??” Juwels asked.

And another thing that ran through my mind was all the kids. All those kids who might’ve had nothing more to look forward to after the plate of melon samples, and then turning the corner to be staring eye-to-eye with Chia’s googly slit-eyes.

Our babies loVe being pet, so it would be a fun multi-sensory experience that would help show our little people that you never know what kind of exciting and unexpected thing might happen on the streets of the real world.

But it was interesting, and inspiring all the same, to see groups of adults with googly eyes and gimmie-hands. 

Passing their coffee over to their partner, they'd love it up with the babes, asked questions, talk between themselves about the goats as if they’d just discovered them in the woods, and smile like children.

From the first 30 seconds, we were like a tiny hoofed parade booth.

A guy from the Garland’s Apple stand caught my attention, “Here !! Hey, you can give your goat this apple slice,” He said, handing me one of his finest samples. 

I paused, but took it, knowing that Chia wouldn't eat an apple slice. 

I know that people say goats will eat anything, but it’s not true with our girls. Maybe they’re just spoiled. For example: I’ve never gotten Chia to eat an apple slice or an apple core, but I have gotten her to eat the tiny dried stem. She loves them. Ezzie doesn’t like apple unless we’ve given them to the chickens and she can bully them out of it .. that, or she’ll take bites out of whole apples if she’s raiding our grocery bag as we open the front door (she does this with onions, too. ) She’s a girl who enjoys the experience of getting rather than the final destination of having. Chip off the ol' block.

People stood back to watch Chia -not- eat the apple slice in my hand, but I held it under her nose anyway. She sniffed it … and I almost thought she was going to take it. Yes !! Take it !! Don’t be fickle.

And she curled her lip and turned away.

I shrugged and popped it in my mouth and walked off, thanking the man. 

Chia tried to grab the long green carrot tops from a lady’s basket while her back was turned, and I reeled her in, talking to three people at the same time. Ezzie-mez saw a dog .. a soft retriever puppy … and her hair stood up in that cool punk rock way, neck to tail, and they did their dance of mutual curiosity.

People with dogs wanted to talk and shoot pictures, and I didn’t want to ward them off just because the girls can get spooked, but this confused the dynamic as the goats looked like they wanted to head butt – ears straight forward, making the whole frontal plate look bigger.

This dog training was great, though, and they got to meet a lot of different shapes and sizes, all leashed, and never freaked but rather stood firm at our sides.  

A woman asked if she could buy the goats some carrots after I’d just told her about the old lady Chia tried to pick pocket, and then I had to explained that it was only the green tops they’d eat, and that they didn’t actually like carrots. So she asked if she could buy them some squash, and I went into a speech about their fickle eating habits and how they’ll almost never take anything from the hand unless it’s snack food.

“She likes Goji berries,” I said, almost thinking she might have some … “Or cashews or pecans ..” She shrugged, patting Ezzie’s little horn stub, thanked me and walked off. 

I have my routine set, “Yep .. they’re our little hiking babes. Best camping buddies ever. They sleep right beside our bags… or sometimes between them. They ride in the car, and they’re even potty trained.”

People want to know what kind they are. How old they are. Their names. (this question is normally first, perfect manners : ) They ask if we’re milking them, and learn that we'd have to breed them first. And if I’ve got somebody really planted there, I’ll tell them how I don’t feel comfortable just dropping my little one with some strange male goat, and how I think they should know each other first and perhaps fall in love. 

But it was fun for me, too, because I know all the answers, autopilot. The same thing can't be said about normal chitchat. And better yet, it’s all about a subject other than ourselves, and one that we can look at .. and pet : )

Even with that said, I wasn’t quite prepared for the two step, circled, performance, crowd .. growing. Exit. Two step, Dog, performance. Slide-on-dance.

But it worked for me because Juwels normally gathers the bounty in her baskets, and I have nothing else to do. At times, she’d hand me both leashes, and I’d block the aisle with these two strange creatures.

People were snapping pictures like crazy, and I’d forgotten all about juwels’ bad-hair day. But I'm sure she hadn’t. Pictures of the goats, us and the goats, their kids and the goats.

Juwels picked a good sized water melon and filled two woven baskets with apples, onions, eggplant, and other things with exceptional gravity alongside goat wrangling.

Ezzie was charging onward when juwels realized that we’d forgotten to stop at a booth, “Let’s go back. I wanted Steve and Kelly to meet the goats.” But I suggested that we just head on since I didn’t want to battle Ezzie into a wide U turn on the crowded cross section of walking traffic.

“We can do a loop and head back,” I said.

It’s true that it's possible to just cover ground and not stop to talk, but it's a thing that takes effort, and you have to actually avoid eye contact to stifle conversation, and that's an odd looking thing to do. Out of the way, people … I’m just trying to move my goats along and get my shopping done on this fine Sunday morning. Ha Ha Ha. I met a couple once sitting outside of a hip café here in town, and they had a very cute miniature pony, and when juwels and I walked up to look at it, the girl wouldn’t even look at us, and acted so rude when juwels asked the name. That girl did not deserve a pony … or maybe this is just what happens when you give a brat a pony, but in any case, if people want to talk and smile and soak it in, I’m more than happy to go through the shtick : ) It’s fun : )

So Ezzie is at the wheel, pulling us towards something … or away from something, and we’re all walking side by side, and I’m nodding and smiling but moving forward, and I notice a guy standing up ahead in the crowd, walking backwards and holding a camera to his eye with a giant lens pointed at us.  

Click, Click, Click. 

People were parting to get out of his way.

That guy’s got a nice camera, I thought. You see that a lot around here with all the tourists coming and going from Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Much more firepower than you’d really need at the farmer’s market or downtown, but I guess they didn't pack a point and shoot, too. 

And then the guy stopped us. 

“I’m sorry. I’ve gotta stop you just for a second.”

We stopped fully.

“So … are you guys from here?”

“Yep,” I said.

Juwels was frozen in her bad-hair day, and would later tell me that she knew he was a reporter. “He had his little notepad out and everything.”

I was on wind-up-play mode after the last ten minutes and didn't notice.  

“I’m from the Arizona Daily Sun,” he said, “What are your names? And what are the goat's names?”

Just then, Ezzie drops a batch of about fifty goat berries out from under her wispy tail, and they scattered on the ground at his feet.

“I’ll get those,” Juwels says, handing me Chia’s leash.


“Chia and Ezzie,” she said, digging the tiny pan and sweeper out of my backpack and then squatting awkwardly in a short dress.

“How do you spell that?” he asked me, and I half froze. 

That's not one of my questions .. 

I told him and he jotted it down.

The attendant at the information booth glared over at juwels, sweeping. At least I think she was glaring, but to be honest, we’ve never really seen her smile, so this could be her resting pose.  

“Well, thanks,” he said, “Great .. just great.” He smiled, with this scoop now officially his happening. “Local couple, Peter and Juwels, walk their goats through the Sunday market.”

We finally made it over to the goat cheese booth, and John was happy to see the girls and gave us a deeper discount than normal. Sadly, his wife, Joyce, wasn't there that Sunday, but he had us pose in front of the booth to take a picture for her. I wrangled Chia’s snoot out of his tiny trashcan full of sample paper cups. “Paper, yum!” And from there, I squeezed the girls between vendor cars and stood for a time alone in the grass. 

Beside the Bustle of old highway 66, the girls climbed rocks, while still on their leashes, and nibbled from postcard-looking aspens next to a life-size bronze statue of Davy Crocket or somebody else wearing a coonskin hat and settler’s clothes. 

I met Landen, a blonde toddler who said, “Goat. Goat. Goat.”

And juwels sent our farming neighbors back to see me. (the family from the bee hive relocation video)

Juwels finally came back, and we walked off, talking about her hair and what rotten luck she had with newspaper photographers (we’d only been in the papers once before, poached at out own wedding, and I’ll admit, the guy should have been given a good talking to over the picture he chose (must have been the only one, but boy it was awkward .. ha ha ha.).

On the way home, we saw a text from my visiting sisters saying that they were down the street at a park and playground if we wanted to hang out with them and their kids before they left town, so we cut over to the park, unloaded the goats and did it all again. 

There were more dogs and more kids and more curious adults. No more reporters and juwels showed the kiddies the magic of picking four (and five) leaf clovers in the hobbit-land green patch.

It was a good morning, but we had our hands full, and didn’t have the chance to take a single picture.

Spread the loVe, eat local, 


p&j .. & .. c&e

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