• Sage Webb

A Wonderland of Goats (and a Mini-Horse) in Pickrell, Nebraska

Libby, the old Jeep Liberty that pulls The Pryde, runs on diesel. Not every fuel station sells diesel, of course. So I find myself playing a little game of Find the Diesel each day when the trip meter dips down around 230 miles. Today, the game got a wee bit frustrating, but after finally finding a diesel pump, I reached the oasis of Shepherd’s Rest, another Harvest Hosts win: a goat rescue and goat-therapy farm amidst Nebraska cornfields.

Some 62 lovable friends call Shepherd’s Rest home, and some of these hoofed chums give comfort to people with Autism and dementia as goat-therapy animals (they generously offer their services to “weary” travelers, too). Walking paths along a brook soothe and bird calls provide background music. A wee snake startled me and reminded me to open my eyes and ears wider.

In their barn, my new goat buddies untied my bootlaces, chewed the cuffs of my pants, and gently butted my legs, suggesting I pick them up and cuddle. I obliged.

My welcoming hostess educated me about goats, local fauna, and issues with wind-generated power (apparently, a big thing here in the middle of the country; I’ve passed a lot of turbines.). (One example of issues: wind turbines/generators apparently kill hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year, which creates problems with pollination and insect control. Farmers end up using more insecticides, with the chemicals running into streams and rivers. Not good. It seems that “solutions” often come with complications.... Seldom do we get easy answers.)

The visit’s only downsides? A couple tenacious mosquitos that snuck into The Pryde and the significant temptation to donate too much of my travel budget to these cool causes of goat rescue and goat therapy.

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