Cuzco's Glamour Shot o' the Day
I have read every post I have ever seen you write about Cuzco starting back with the Packgoat Forum many years ago. Thank you and Cuzco for the years of wonderful stories. He will be missed. It was so fun to meet Cuzco at Island Park. He was more of a myth to me than real but there I was walking beside him, bigger than life, as he carried that Stihl chainsaw. Thanks again.
Thanks for the kind thoughts you guys. Whatever goats come into my life, Cuzco will always occupy his own very special place in my heart. He was our first and only goat for many years. He's the only goat we'll ever own who has taken a road trip in the back seat of our Buick. He's the only one who got to be Homecoming King at college. Hopefully he's the only goat who ever takes a high-dive off a 30-foot cliff and lives to tell about it! He's probably the only goat who will ever run alongside while I ride my bike. He's the only one of our goats who ever had unrestricted access to our wraparound deck and was allowed to make his bed on our doormat. Being an "only goat" gave him a lot of special opportunities that other goats will never have, and it also created a very special bond.

Cuzco was not happy when we disrupted his tranquil and privileged life by adding other goats and I don't think he ever completely forgave us for that injustice. He always loved it when I would let him up on the deck by himself or take him for a walk without the other goats. He was especially happy when I took all the other goats to the State Fair for a weekend and he thought we'd gotten rid of them. He also loved going to shows because he always got a private pen all to himself, and most passers-by stopped to visit him and not them. What a character!

Cuzco really showed his stuff on that hike at Island Park, Nancy. That was a wonderful Rendezvous. Cuzco loved every minute of it. He carried 35 lbs. in his pack that day, and it was the morning after a two-day trailer ride. At thirteen years old he should have been exhausted, but he was charged up to work and never flagged. He even had to drag one of our yearlings along for half that hike because the youngster was confused and upset when our "herd" got dispersed along the trail. He wouldn't walk willingly, so Cuzco had to physically drag that 125 lb. goat down some portions of the trail before he finally stopped fighting. For me, the highlight of that Rendy was when John Mionczynski gave Cuzco a long stare and then said, "That is a very fine animal."

A fine animal he was indeed.
While Cuzco's physical being may be resting below the totem pole his legend will live on forever in the many photos and stories we have read and for those of us lucky enough to have met him - the time we spent in his company.

There is no question that Cuzco will end up in Heaven.

Job 12:7

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind."
Goatberries Happen!
Thank you Taffy. 

You will all have to pardon my gross self-indulgence as I will probably post a lot of memories here over the next week or two. I enjoy remembering the good times and it helps to celebrate Cuzco's life rather than become depressed over his death.

My mom just sent me this photo which must have been taken in 2004 or June 2005 because he still has two horns. Cuzco would have been two or three years old. He always accompanied us on our horseback rides in those days and he always kept up the pace even when we ran. We were on top of the Continental Divide and Mom's horse is sweaty and Cuzco is panting because we'd just been galloping after a herd of elk as it disappeared over the horizon. Cuzco was very fit in those days.  

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Phil and I took a lot of photos of Cuzco's last happy day and I'm going to enjoy posting those as I go through them. I've also got a couple of funny "Cuzco eating junk food" video montages in the works.
Cuzco will love being the center of attention even after his physical passing. Keep the stories and photos coming.
Goatberries Happen!
It's been one week since we said goodbye to Cuzco. The herd has been going through a little bit of adjustment, but because Cuzco passed leadership to Finn beforehand, there haven't been too many ripples. There has been more head-butting between Finn and Sputnik and the goats have been wilder on our walks lately. 

But the power transition has not been completely seamless. The other day Phil and I watched through the window while a hilarious spectacle unfolded in our front pasture. Petunia (our herd queen) was really picking a fight with Jezebel (the lowest member of our herd). Jezebel looked like she'd rather not have any part of this altercation, but Petunia wouldn't leave her alone (which is unusual--Petunia is typically one of the more laid-back personalities in our herd). Finn, feeling the burden of his new position as herd king, saw his clear duty to step in and break up the fight. Sadly for Finn, Petunia didn't recognize her younger brother's authority and refused to stand down. Finn kept running into the fray and trying run Petunia off, but she would turn and hit him back or circle around behind him and come at Jezebel from the other side. 

Since Finn couldn't run Petunia off, he instead tried to engage her in a fight with himself. That's when Sputnik got involved. Petunia is Sputnik's mother and the two of them have remained very close. Petunia keeps Sputnik on as a kind of bodyguard, and when Petunia is in trouble Sputnik is always the first to run to her aid. Finn was partially successful at drawing Petunia off to fight with himself until Sputnik came charging in to rescue his mommy. 

Now all three goats were going hard at it until Petunia took off running full blast across the pasture and out of sight. Finn panicked. His herd was dispersed and he didn't know what to do! He ran calling after Petunia, but about halfway across the field he stopped and looked back at the rest of the herd. Should he leave them? Were they safe without him? But what about Petunia?? The herd must not be separated! Finn began running back and forth between Petunia and the herd, calling and cavorting angrily. Eventually Sputnik went to retrieve Petunia, but Finn couldn't let Sputnik act in a leadership capacity alone, so he continued racing back and forth between the two factions, brandishing his horns in frustration while the hair stood up on his back. He's definitely taking his new leadership role very seriously! 

Cuzco was usually more content to sit back and watch from a distance. If a fight needed breaking up the only thing he had to do was step toward the offending parties and give them a "look" and the fight was immediately over. Finn clearly has some proving up to do. Right now I think the herd is viewing him as a sort of Barney Fife, but luckily Finn does not usually overplay his hand so I think they'll start taking him seriously before too long. There's also a kind of dual kingship going on with Finn and Sputnik. Finn is undoubtedly the more dominant of the two, but they have become fast friends and are sharing a shed, sharing the feeder, and largely sharing responsibility for the herd. I think Finn is trying to avoid a direct confrontation with Sputnik because Sputnik is currently the bigger and heavier of the two and he also has the herd queen on his side. Finn seems to know that if he gets too pushy those two will rebel and dethrone him. Finn is a wise goat who I think will choose his battles carefully once he gets used to this new role of his.       

But I digress! Our final day with Cuzco was a beautiful one and I took lots of photos. Cuzco came onto the patio for a few powdered donuts and I made sure to get a shot of his face in the doorway. This is the eagerly expectant look that greeted me every morning at feeding time for many years. Cuzco always got fed first, and he always ate on the patio where the other goats couldn't pester him. There are a lot of Cuzco noseprints on this window!   

"Mmm... donut! Gimme gimme donut!!"


Cuzco also ate a lot of peanuts that day. They're not as good as donuts, but they're still yummy. 

Beautiful, noble goat. Cuzco always did know how to strike a pose. 

"Got an itch! Got an itch! Got an itch!"
My two handsome boys. 

We didn't go far and we walked very slowly, but Cuzco seemed to really enjoy his final stroll through the pasture. He spent time grazing the soft spring grass in the dappled light and shadows beneath the pine trees. He couldn't chew it very well, but I'm sure it tasted good.  


I will never again be able to eat Pringles without thinking of Cuzco. These were his favorite. He ate almost the entire can in one sitting. Pringles are a very rare treat around here, but I have a feeling I'll be buying a few more cans than usual this summer. Great... a yummy, expensive feel-good food just became irresistible! "This is your fault, Cuzco!"           


Cuzco's final resting place. His baby portrait is carved at the top of the totem pole. 
The best thing about having lots of animals is that they don't let you wallow in grief over the ones you've lost. No sooner had we laid Cuzco to rest and wiped the dirt from our hands than the rest of the herd was clamoring to be let out of their pen and taken for a walk.  

Goat stampede!!

The goats always know when I'm carrying my goody pouch! 

Miss Tigerlily is carrying her pregnancy very well. Much like her grandmother Lilly, she barely looks like she's expecting. But there's a tell-tale bit of warmth and swelling in her udder area, do we're guessing she has to have at least one in there. Smile

Phil and I call these clouds with rays falling through them "Jesus clouds" because they look like those paintings of Christ's resurrection or return. Very fitting for the day Cuzco went to heaven. I don't think the goats noticed or cared.  
This middle-aged gray gelding named Jet was once the little black colt who started it all. I had no horse companions for our expected foal to frolic with (other than his exhausted mother) so Phil and I went on the hunt for a suitable goat companion that would be there for him when he was born. And that's when we found Cuzco. Jet and Cuzco were fast friends until Jet grew up and joined a proper horse herd, and Cuzco grew up and joined me and Phil's "people herd".   

Sometimes I feel like the Pied Piper but with goats in my entourage instead of children (and with this outfit, I think it's appropriate!)



Beautiful! I love that totem, what a great idea. It looks like the weather's improving too. Had you already moved to that block before you got Cuzco and other goats Nanno? Seems ideal undulating country with rocks for look-out posts and entertainment for the goats.
Happiness is a baby goat snoring in your lap

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