"Nanno got run over by a packgoat..."
..."Hauling home a new-cut Christmas tree." 

That's how the song will be sung in the Hassey Household from this day forth! 

After an unseasonably warm December, we finally had some snow on the ground to make the atmosphere feel seasonably festive enough to cut our tree. I usually bring a horse to haul our tree home, but I spent a lot of time this year training team of goats to pull, and by golly it was time they did more than follow the tree home while stripping it bare! The day was beautiful but bitterly cold! 

Our "Christmas tree lot" grows on a very steep ridge behind our house and is almost impassable because of the thick scrub oak, but I've cut a few paths so we can access the stands of fir trees that grow there in abundance. Finn and Sputnik were not particularly happy to be out there with us. It was late afternoon and high time for supper in their opinion. The other goats were all snuggled down in their sheds. But I put leashes on the boys so they had to come.

Finding the right tree was not too hard this year. We found one conveniently located near my widest path, and it was nice and full with a quirky, crooked trunk--just the kind we like! We'd brought the yoke and doubletree so we could hitch the boys to the tree. I enjoy coming up with a unique Christmas card every year, so I had every intention of capturing a quaint, country Christmas scene like these:

Unfortunately the goats had other ideas. Finn was in a rip-roaring bad mood. He wasn't happy about being dragged into the wilderness and forced to stand next to Sputnik. He kept snapping viciously at Sputnik's ears, and Sputnik kept trying to run away from him. Finn was not happy about being made to stand in the cold snow and wait for us to hitch him to a tree. He was convinced that the other goats must be having dinner by now (never mind that I wasn't there to feed them, but goats don't seem to think very logically about these things). We got the goats hitched without too much trouble other than Finn trying to tear Sputnik's ears off, so I thought the rest would be easy. All I had to do was lead them home. Finn, however, had no intention of following sedately behind me. He wanted to run home even if it meant dragging the tree and Sputnik all by himself!

For a brief moment I made the mistake of holding Finn's leash between my knees while I rigged up a rein from Finn's halter to Sputnik's harness--an attempt to keep the goats somewhat even and force Finn to slow down. Finn saw his opportunity and made a break. Sputnik went with him. 

We were on a narrow path lined with oak brush. I had nowhere to go and no time to move anyway. That tree barreled over me like a freight train and all I saw was a rooster tail of snow shooting behind our tree and two wildly bobbing tails retreating gleefully into the distance. That tree was ten feet tall and heavy, but you'd think it weighed no more than a pillow the way those goats were running with it! My cries of "Whoa Finn! Whoa Sputnik!" went completely unheeded. 

Luckily Phil had gone ahead of us with the camera and was able to head them off. I got control of the lead rope and we somehow managed to make it home with the tree intact. We even got a few decent photos! But I don't believe our Christmas card is very honest about what really went on this afternoon. Unfortunately, the most exciting moments could not be captured on film as the photographer was too busy wrangling our wild, runaway goats!
Oh my goodness, that sounds hilarious and awful at the same time. I hope you're ok! Great pics!
Happiness is a baby goat snoring in your lap
Oh I'm fine. Didn't hurt at all. Christmas trees are pretty forgiving.

In hindsight I would have done better to bring the reins instead of trying to lead them. They've had enough practice working as a team that I thought there should be no problems with them pulling together. With reins it's much easier to control both goats at once.

Another option would have been to have Finn pull the tree home by himself. I thought it would be heavy enough, especially being dragged uphill through snow, to slow the boys down and force them to pull together. But I think Finn would have had no trouble managing it alone, fired up as he was. I've found from working with horses that there's nothing like a bit of hard work to take the edge off an attitude.
That's quite the adventure you had! Glad to hear you survived. It'll definitely be a Christmas tree excursion to remember!
Goatberries Happen!
Pay attention Charlie Horse! This morning I'm sure we had a visit from the Krampus! About 6:20 Phil and I were awakened by a horrific, crunching CRASH! We went out to investigate and our tree was lying on the floor, ornaments scattered (and shattered) in every direction. There was nothing to have caused it so it must have been old Krampus sneaking around our house, looking for a victim. Well, he obviously found one.

We set the tree back up, picked up the carnage, and I'll be gluing a few things back together today, but all told the damage isn't as bad as we first thought. Not much damage to the tree itself, and only 2-3 ornaments broken beyond repair. Two were the 70-year-old ones from Phil's grandma who died last year. She'd gotten this box of a dozen glass ornaments for .87c back in the 1940's or so and there were 9 or 10 still nestled in their yellowing tissue paper in the original box when we inherited it. I believe she'd put them on her tree every year until she died and had obviously taken very good care of them to still have so many. Well, now the box has two less.

"Way to go Nan and Phil--Grandma keeps something that survives for 70 Christmases, four kids, and a bunch of grandkids, and you break it the second Christmas you own it!"

I guess stuff can't last forever. I'll just blame Krampus.
As a general rule it is never wrong to blame the Krampus. Except in like, July, of course. Its time to bring back the old traditions, even if they're politically incorrect (Trump won, after all). Santa's elves were originally a bunch of black midgets that slaved away on the toys, if you look at old depictions. The toys kids get should be wooden trains and cloth dolls, speaking of that. Bad kids get a lump of coal which is a great gift even still, because they can keep warm for a night. The really bad kids not only don't get toys, they get hauled away by the Krampus in a bag on a goat-drawn sled. I suspect that Santa and the Krampus were uneasy friends, like a settler and the Indian warrior that comes over for dinner now and then. Santa has to let the Krampus take a few kids every year regardless of whether any are even bad. So Santa ends up just saying "This kid has a stupid name" or "I don't like freckles". Frankly both Santa and the Krampus are pretty shady. For all we know it was Santa that tipped your tree!
I had never heard of a Krampus so I just Googled it - very interesting Smile
Happiness is a baby goat snoring in your lap
(We live sheltered lives here in the Antipodes) Wink
Happiness is a baby goat snoring in your lap

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