Goats at the table, and bobcats on (in) the grill…

Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

  • UTAH Sound advice.

    Greg Woodall
 

GOATLAND
Goats are enjoying the spotlight. Yes, goats. On YouTube, for example, you can join 28 million others in watching a video of “goats yelling like humans.” Thirteen million have watched “Buttermilk,” an excruciatingly cute kid — the four-legged kind, not your adorable nephew — abuse his yard mates by jumping over them or on them. It’s even spawned a video game, one of several involving goats. The “evil goat from hell terrorizes town” category is slightly less popular, but has plenty of followers.

NPR has a blog called Goats and Soda, though it doesn’t appear to be about either goats or soda, and the Washington Post’s Wonkblog recently came up with a map that purports to show the location of every single goat in the United States. And you thought they were keeping an eye on you, silly kid. It was the blog’s most-read story for a day or two, picked up by dozens of other media outlets.

According to the map, which was put together using data from the agricultural census, Sutton County, Texas, which boasts 55,000 billies, nannies and kids, is the goat capital of the U.S. Not far behind, though, are counties in northwestern Arizona that overlap the Navajo Nation. Apache County, for example, has 26,000 goats, more than one for every three humans. Churchill County, Nevada — home to a giant goat dairy — has almost 14,000 goats, and California’s Stanislaus County has 21,000.

Some of the nation’s 2.6 million goats are milked. Others, like the “Goat Grazers” in Nevada, are hired out to eat invasive weeds and even discarded Christmas trees — actual conifers, we hope, not plastic imitations. Still others are so famous that they are the honored guests of increasingly popular “Goats and Grenache” dinners. We’ve never been to one, but like to picture the billies and nannies dressed in formal attire, sipping fine wine and sharing the latest goat gossip. Though no doubt everyone is too polite to mention the main reason folks raise goats in the U.S.: For their meat. Not the kind of thing you bleat about at the table.


GRASSLAND
Surely you’ve heard about the glut of natural gas in the U.S., which has kept heating bills low and the gas patch economically depressed. And then there’s the oil glut, which has pushed gasoline prices so low that people are buying cars the size of houses again. But in Washington state, a similar glut has struck another natural resource: Weed.

When outlets began selling newly legalized marijuana this past summer, they couldn’t keep the stuff in stock, and prices skyrocketed. The growers responded. Now, there’s so much out there — 31,000 pounds, according to the Associated Press — that wholesale prices have crashed, putting farmers in a bind. (The price drop has yet to hit retail outlets, which still charge $25 or more for a gram.) Some farmers say that the low prices, combined with the high taxes, have forced them to sell their latest crop at a loss. In other words, they’re now in the same boat, or tractor, as all the other farmers.

Colorado, which also legalized recreational marijuana sales, has avoided the glut issue by regulating production. Demand remains greater than supply. But the state’s run into its own problems, namely: exploding homes. Seems that amateur chemists and would-be entrepreneurs are trying to create hash oil, or concentrated marijuana, by forcing butane through raw marijuana. The butane vapors concentrate, and, if someone lights a match, Boom. And no, not the economic kind.

 

THE URBAN WILD
A couple hit an unknown animal that bounded into the road in front of them in Scottsdale, Arizona on a Friday night. When they reached their destination, they realized that a still-living 7-pound bobcat was trapped in their Mazda’s plastic grille. State game and fish officials rescued the cat, which spent a week in rehab before being released back into the wild, no doubt still dizzy. Not far away, a 44-pound beaver wandered into Tempe Town Lake and was captured by wildlife officials. It, too, will be released into a wilder area. It is not known whether officials will use the same method used to relocate beavers in Idaho in the 1940s: Officials boxed them up, flew them over the wilderness, and parachuted them safely to the ground. We love to picture them wearing cute little WWII aviator outfits. In San Diego, a five-and-a-half foot, 5-pound snake slithered out of a toilet in an office building; it (the snake, not the toilet) apparently belonged to a resident, and may have turned to plumbing in search of water. And a Seattle dog named Eclipse has learned to take the public bus from its owner’s home to the dog park, without a human companion. Man walks dog. Dog walks man. Dog rides bus. We have clearly outlived our usefulness.

High Country News Classifieds