Depression, goats and car crashes: How I spent my summer

I had a pretty great summer. My family and I visited Boston again to finish up things we didn’t do during our spring visit. We went camping with some friends. We’ve had cookouts at the lake, kayaking trips, road trips to nowhere for no reason, and my goats kept me busy with their crazy antics. It was a great summer!


And yet, I posted very few pictures, and I posted very few blogs, and the blogs I posted were not the funny day to day experiences my blog intro promises. So what was the problem?

A fellow blogger, John Floyd unknowingly pointed it out to me when he told me that he and his wife had been following my blog from Pennsylvania before they moved to Maine full time and that his wife was a fan of my goats and their antics.

And there it was. The problem I was ignoring. I have unresolved issues, that all the fun times in the world can not erase. Problems like this never really go away.

A brush with disaster back in May has been sitting out in the open in the chaos that is my mind, but like the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ could not be ignored.


 A drunk driving accident was a key player in my need to re-home the three goats that had been the stars of my of my blogs.010

If I needed blog material, all I had to do was spend an hour or so with my goats, and have more material than I could ever possibly compact into a tidy blog.

But although the original three are gone, I still have two others, and they are wonderful goats! One is so tall, lanky and goofy that he can’t get out of his own way, and the other is so dainty, graceful, and intelligent that I can not keep her penned up. She will find a way out!

Elsa came to me in Dec.  She managed to escape an 8 foot fence to somehow get up on the shed to munch a maple branch some 10ft off the ground!

Elsa came to me in Dec. She managed to escape an 8 foot fence to somehow get up on the shed to munch a maple branch some 10ft off the ground!


But for the most part, my readers don’t know about them… because how can I write about two new goats, when Kramer, Billy, and Smeck, are no longer here? They did nothing wrong. I never stopped loving them and their craziness. I never wanted to lose them. But for reasons outside my control, they are gone, and will not be back.

I didn’t know how to go forward because to do that, I needed to go back, and back is a bad place, where a selfish person got behind the wheel of a car and came crashing into my life.

My yard is no longer a haven where my family and pets can live and play. So all summer we played somewhere else.

My blog is no longer a place where I can share all the goofy and crazy things my life is full of, because now, my life is full of anger, fear, and shame…Yes, shame.

I am ashamed that my three little goats had to go away because I could no longer ensure their safety, or make sure they would always have enough to eat. All of the work I had put into their care was not enough, when an incident that took only a second or two erased the hours of work I had put into a grazing pen for them.

When there were only three they didn’t need an extra space to graze, but when they became five that needed to change.

Now the two new goats are still here, and Billy, Kramer, and Smeck are gone. And although I did nothing wrong, somehow it all must be my fault. I could have done something. Maybe I didn’t want to. Maybe all along I had bitten off more than I could chew. I can’t keep goats on an acre of land! Who was I fooling?

And yet? And yet there are still two healthy, happy, crazy goats in my yard keeping me on my toes every step of the way. They have provided me a whole summer full of laughter, and smiles I could have easily shared in my blogs if only things were still the same.

I haven’t spent a single minute in my hammock. My blackberries blossomed by the thousands, ripened, rotted, and fell off their stalks unpicked. My bird feeders sit empty. Tomato plants still sit in their pots unplanted and withering away beside the driveway. Grass grows tall in the fire pit, and throughout my yard. My mower, still under warranty, sits where I last tried to start it.
My BBQ grill has not been used since April. The clear plastic sheeting of the greenhouse I was building, flaps tattered and torn hanging from the framework. Pallets and skinks litter my yard from the potting benches I never built.

It must be because it was too hot to grill. There is plenty of food for the birds in the summer? Who was I fooling to think I could build a greenhouse?  Besides I’m not a very good gardener anyway!  Calling the warranty center for the mower is too much hassle.  Maybe I am just too lazy?

But the greenhouse, although incomplete still stands, as does the first potting bench I ever made. Camping, kayaking, and touring the zoos and streets of Boston are not the activities of a lazy person.

All the plans I had for the summer, were swept away by the selfish woman in Dodge Nitro that came crashing through the yard I loved, but for the whole summer, I have avoided.

How could I move forward, if it meant I had to go back?

By the way. The drunk driver? I was told by the investigating officer that her blood alcohol content was .31 and that she had been coming home with a take-out order of Chinese food.

I called the district attorney’s office and learned that she pled guilty and was sentenced to: three days in jail, a loss of license for 150 days, and a fine of $800. Somehow I feel like my punishment was more severe…And I didn’t even do anything!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.