A Herd of Goats in the Road

A herd of goats in the road, the corner of Greenwood and Meshoppean Creek Road, Dimock, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, 14 June 2008

I’m up in Pennsylvania for the weekend. Under pressure of rising energy prices, this region is being invaded by companies seeking to tap the area’s deposits of natural gas. S.’s parents are going to get a well on their property so we spent a drizzly afternoon driving all over the Pennsylvania countryside trying to see some of the existing wells to get an idea of what was going to happen to the W. farm.

Some of the wells are tucked away in some pretty secluded locations so we ended up driving through some surprisingly remote parts of Pennsylvania. At one point, we were driving down a single track dirt road through fields and forests, scarcely a human settlement around. We were following some switchbacks down a hill into another wooded area when around one of the switches we came to a sudden halt because a man was sitting in a chair along the roadside tending his flock of goats who ranged up and down the road.

It was bizarre, like a foreign country. We all piled out of the car, butted heads with the goats, petted the kids, exchanged pleasantries. He explained that he had so many goats because you’re supposed to sell off the males for slaughter, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He liked them too much. Sensitive types don’t make much of farmers.