The Goatherder

_C1_8812I’ve been sitting on these photos for a while: This is Ella Kraft, a 10-year-old 4-Her and goat raiser in Fayetteville, feeding one of her animals as she prepared for this year’s Washington County Fair. Her grandmother, Wendy Walker, reached out to us at the newspaper back in June, saying one of Ella’s goats had just given birth to quadruplets, a remarkable feat among goat-kind.

I headed out to Walker’s house shortly after that with a notebook and a camera to see what raising goats is about. As I wrote in a story in Monday’s paper, Ella was caring but all business:

“They kind of grow on you,” Ella said with understatement one June afternoon as she tended to a small flock of bleating goats at her grandmother’s barn east of Fayetteville. She hugged and kissed the animals on their foreheads while feeding the little ones from a bottle as they wagged stubby tails and climbed over each other. Ella looked over the group with the cool and appraising air of one used to the commotion.




_C1_8823Devoting the time to raise and show animals as a kid these days seems more remarkable each year, even for someone as grounded as Ella. She’s one of thousands of people descending on the fairgrounds this week for the fair, which started today. Good luck, everybody!

Thanks for looking,