I never met the landowner. My dad told me that he’d secured the place by agreeing to tend the goats and the land. There was a little dirt road that led off the main road ending several hundred feet in, with the metal shell of a large shed sitting empty at the end of it. Just to the right and slightly below the shed was a trailer, disconnected from any electricity, water, or sewage. We slept in the trailer most nights, under a pile of sleeping bags and blankets. Sometimes when I needed a change or some privacy, I’d go down in the valley and sleep in the tipi.
About 50 feet from the trailer stood a tree, barren of leaves for the most part and too tall and thin to climb comfortably. It was enough to hold our makeshift shower, a small container held upside down by a rope looped over a branch and filled with water. I would fill it with cold water from the stream below and dump it on myself for an icy and brisk lather and rinse. We had a fire pit nearby. That’s where we cooked our food, heated water when needed, and used to try and keep warm at night.
Land of Goats
Further down the hill, 5 goats were held in a pen: two Billy Goats, two females and a kid. The little kid was actually pretty cute, and the two females were pretty good natured and provided fresh milk each day. The two billy goats, one much younger than the other, made the task very painful. They were always going after the females, sticking their tongues out for a scent. They were constantly fighting with one another, jumping on the does, and fighting me every step of the way. I would have to bind the senior buck with a rope. He would often end up running around and knocking me down as he tried to assert himself. They were the most stubborn and disgusting animals I’d ever seen. Luckily, I had my dog, Chelsea, a Cocker/Springer Spaniel, for company. She helped me keep those unruly goats in line.