Randy De Jong and his little piece of Iowa in Snohomish. His herd includes dwarf panda cows and Nigerian goats. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)

Randy De Jong and his little piece of Iowa in Snohomish. His herd includes dwarf panda cows and Nigerian goats. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)

Impromptu livestock-on-livestock rodeo is a thing at Snohomish farm

At the De Jong place, miniature goats often hop on the backs of cows — and hang on for the ride.

The email subject line looked straight out of a tabloid: “Miniature goat looking to join the rodeo circuit.”

It stood out among the slew of newsroom emails about closures, collisions and collusion.

The sender, Randy De Jong, included a photo of his goat doing a balancing act on the back of a petite cow with markings that resemble a giant panda.

“Star seems to enjoy the free massage,” he wrote of the cow.

Tiny farm animals? Goat tricks? Panda cows?

What’s up with that?

I went to De Jong’s farm in Snohomish, expecting to find some bizarre lilliputian barnyard-circus-massage parlor.

It’s more his version of “Honey I Shrunk the Iowa Farm.”

“When I was growing up, it was corn and soybeans, dairy cattle, hogs,” he said.

De Jong, 57, left the family farm in Iowa to pursue nursing. He’s a nurse practitioner in chemical dependency treatment at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where he’s worked for 32 years.

“It’s like that saying you can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy,” he said.

De Jong missed being around livestock, so he talked his city gal wife, Kathi, into moving to the 3.5 acre farm on Fobes Hill five years ago.

He originally wanted beefy cows like in Iowa.

Kathi forbid him from getting animals that would end up on the dinner table.

“City girls don’t eat their pets,” she said.

He went for the minis, so he could get the farm fix.

There are five Nigerian dwarf goats and five assorted cattle in his care.

They are pets. Outdoor pets. Not the kind to snuggle in your lap or take over your bed.

The bovines are about 40 inches tall and 700 pounds — the size equivalent of three or four Great Danes rolled into a cow. Two are panda cows. Another is a red Hereford. The bull is a rental stud.

“They eat grass, drink water and look at you,” he said. “They don’t do anything.” Well, except maybe the bull.

The goats like to get frisky, so he built them a playground. It’s the launching pad for getting on the cow’s back.

De Jong said the cow-goat rodeo performances are random. “It happens or it doesn’t happen.”

Sure enough, it did when I was there. Bibbity the goat hopped on Star the cow’s back and stayed there for about 15 yee-haw minutes. (See video at heraldnet.com.)

Kathi has adjusted to farm life and the big pets, with one exception.

“I don’t like it when they step on my feet,” she said.

The garage is her quilt studio. She designed a wooden quilt for the barn. It combines two symbols of Midwest heritage — barns and quilts.

“This is my piece of Iowa,” her husband said. “Now I get to do this kind of stuff and don’t feel I have to go back. Being able to farm here and still be around my kids and grandchild is the best of both worlds.”

Are there things you wonder about or do you have some wonders to share? Let me know at abrown@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3443 or Twitter: @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

COVID-19 updates for parents and guardians

Public Health Essentials! A blog by the Snohomish Health District.

Shouts and joy: After 75 years war’s end still unforgettable

Machias native, author of “Pilchuck Reflections,” was watching a movie in Everett when the news came.

Everett man identified after being stabbed to death in fight

A man reportedly stabbed Sophan Phal, 35, Sunday night near Everett and fled the scene.

Soper Hill roundabout and pedestrian trail work wraps up

Lake Stevens and Marysville worked together on the traffic infrastructure because of nearby development.

Oak Harbor Public Schools decide on plan for fall opening

Conditions which must be met for a combination of in-person education and distance learning.

Police dog nabs, nips man suspected of burgling smoke shops

Monroe police arrested a man after two smoke shops were broken into Monday morning.

Rep. Larsen tours small businesses given federal PPP loans

The congressman said leaders in Washington D.C. continue to negotiate for further COVID-19 relief.

Deputies: ‘Abnormal strength’ led to forceful arrest in 2018

Newly released reports give Snohomish County deputies’ side in a case that’s now central to a lawsuit.

Local families praise state’s online early education program

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program found creative ways to reach kids during COVID.

Most Read