This has nothing to do with writing, except that sometimes research can take you incredible places. When my daughter expressed an interest in adding to her high school volunteer hours by becoming a “goat cuddler,” I figured that at the least, she would end up with an interesting line item on her resume. I decided I would be the parent of record for this one. After all, the parent who did the driving might get to cuddle a baby goat or two. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

The location is a petting farm nearby. The goats need to be handled from the time they’re small, so they grow up being used to people. As it turns out, it’s not really much of a hardship to spend some time snuggling with a baby goat. They’re very soft… like little, gawky teddy bears with hooves. The little fellow in the picture above is less than twenty-four hours old. I didn’t mind the adult goats, either. They’re friendly, curious little creatures who like to nibble on coats.

Daughter and I filled water containers and spread hay. We found some eggs — duck eggs and chicken eggs and one very large goose egg. We visited with bunny rabbits and guinea pigs, and oohed over the bright yellow ducklings. This was all useful; parts of my current story take place on a farm, and you can only get so far by reading about them. I loved being up close with the animals and the straw, paying attention to the smells and the sounds and the dimness of light in the barn. For the record, I get that visiting a couple of baby goats IN NO WAY qualifies as farm life, but it’s a tiny step closer than I was before.

But obviously, further goat cuddling research is needed. So we’re planning to go back next week. Writing. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.