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What Were You Thinking on ></a><a href=Bob Tarte, host of What Were You Thinking on

Bob Tarte
Exotic Pet Expert & Author

Spooky, Bossy, Sneaky, and Quacky

........Georgiana Kotarski

Linda Tarte....................................Georgiana Kotarski


Where did that recording go? Bob talks to Georgiana Kotarski, author of the book “Ghosts of the Southern Tennessee Valley,” about her many flesh-and-blood animals, including a ‘practice cow,’ an escape artist donkey, and the inevitable house duck. Bob begins the show with a short excerpt from Georgiana’s forthcoming book about her critters, “Canoeing with Cows.” The excerpt hilariously describers her fear of chickens as a little girl. But the truly scary question is, what happened to the podcast that Bob recorded with her the previous day? It came out blank when Bob tried to play it back. Have ghosts been messing with Georgiana again?

Questions or Comments? Email Bob at:


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You’ve had a long day at work and you can’t wait to just get home take off your shoes plop yourself down in your favorite chair and relax. You walk up to your tranquil residential home and your neatly manicured lawn your quiet suburban neighborhood put the key in the lock open the door and yes the pets have gone wild! What where you thinking? Welcome to the show about everything you always wanted to know about exotic pets. Where to get them. What to feed them and how to care for them. You’ll even find out why some people live with a monkey. Now here’s your host exotic pet expert and author Bob Tarte. Hey Bob, What were you thinking?

Bob Tarte: Hi I’m Bob Tarte author of the books “Enslaved by Ducks” and “Fowl Weather” and I’m sitting up stairs with Maynard the cat sitting next to me and our other cat Agnes on the floor. In a couple of minutes, we’re going to talk to Georgiana Kotarski author and owner of multiple animals. I did want to say something before we do that.  I made an announcement a couple of weeks ago apologizing for claiming that “Enslaved By Ducks” my book was the number one pet book on when in fact I meant to say was the number one pet bird book. Well on January 22 Nancy Pearl a well-known librarian who goes on the radio she was on NPR Morning Edition and she reviewed my book “Fowl Weather”. I thank her so much for that review in the interview she said that, “some parts of the book she was laughing so hard she couldn’t catch her breath”. As a result of that, very generous review from Nancy “Fowl Weather” has just shot up the charts on and “Fowl Weather” is now the number one best selling pet book period on Amazon. So if you’d like to read a funny book about pet rabbits, parrots, geese, ducks, hens and also a number of humorous small town people I think that you would enjoy “Fowl Weather” and also my first book “Enslaved by Ducks” which is still the number one best selling pet bird book on I want to thank all of my listeners who have bought copies of the book, both books and I’d also like once again to thank Nancy Pearl it really helped “Fowl Weather” a whole lot. Moving on to our guest Georgiana Kotarski is a sustainable cattle farmer and the author of 40 magazine articles in one book. She lives in Dunlap Tennessee in a 120-year-old house. She and her late husband Dan renovated themselves. She shares her farm which is the subject of a humorous memoir she’s working on right now with one donkey named Poncho, Farkle the Duck and his flock, Bossy the Cow and her herd of 30 bovines, three dogs including Rabbit Ann, and Noodles, two turkeys Pearl and Earl Junior, a cat and four hens. Hi, Georgiana how are ya?

Georgiana Kotarski: Good morning, how are you?

Bob Tarte: Oh, I’m good. It seems like its been hours since I talked to you last. I think about 15 hours. What happened was I recorded this interview yesterday. At least I thought I recorded it but the ghosts wiped the recording clean. And the reason I say ghosts is because Georgiana’s book besides the one she’s writing now about her animals her book is called “Ghosts of the Southern Tennessee Valley” and we made the mistake of talking about that a little bit and this isn’t the first time that the spirits have played tricks with the recordings. Is it?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well not for me I had a whole recording lost that I was doing an interview for my ghost book and checked the tape recorder two or three times to make sure  it was running and it appeared to be running fine. When I got home, there was just really nothing much on it, but some strange sounds.

Bob Tarte: Wow

Georgiana Kotarski: It was embarrassing I had to call the people back and do the interview again.

Bob Tarte: Now were you at a site that was haunted or was it just because you were talking about the ghosts?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well I was at the Chickamauga battlefield, which is probably one of the most haunted places in the United States so I guess you could say yes it’s very haunted.

Bob Tarte: Wow. I saw a video on You Tube that purportedly shows ghosts at Gettysburg have you seen that video?

Georgiana Kotarski: I haven’t but I’ve heard lots of stories about ghosts at Gettysburg.

Bob Tarte: it’s a pretty scary video, but here’s something even scarier. I am going to read a couple paragraphs of something that Georgiana sent me, emailed me and this is from the book she’s working on. So if you think ghosts are scary listen to a little bit about cackle phobia. So this is what Georgiana wrote, “Chickens haunt my earliest memories visions of a small child clutching corn being run down by voracious hens. What sadistic adult would give chicken feed to a child? I was not surprised to learn forty years later that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs such as raptors and tyrannosaurus. Frankly, I had already figured that out as a two year old my dad ever the photo buff captured one feeding frenzy on film dressed in corduroy pants and red buckle up Keds I stood crying while dutifully tossing scratch or were my arms flailing in gestures of get away. The corn hit the ground regardless of my intentions. Dad like so many parents observing their children developing the neurotic tendencies for which they the parents would later be blamed thought it would be cute. While most children dreamed of ghosts witches bears and other monstrous creatures. I experienced the night terrors only chickens can bring. I awoke late at night flapping the covers and screaming the chickens were all over the bed. I had cackle phobia.” So that’s just a wonderful passage from the book that Georgiana Kotarski is working on. What’s the name of the book?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well Right Now, I’m calling it “Canoeing with Cows”

Bob Tarte: Canoeing with Cows and we’ll talk in a couple of minutes about how that title came up. Have you gotten over your fear of hens?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well I did and like so many little girls, the thing that got me over it was trying to impress a little boy. The little boy next door had some chickens and I certainly couldn’t let him see me being afraid of them. So that sort of got me over it real quick.

Bob Tarte: Yeah I would think so although I should point out that most small children are far braver than I am, but I guess you probably had a neighborhood reputation to uphold.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well I did I was quiet a tomboy and I certainly couldn’t have any of the boys most of my neighbors were boys I couldn’t have them saying I was a sissy so I had to get right with chickens.

Bob Tarte: And you have chickens now.

Georgiana Kotarski: I do still have two chickens huh.

Bob Tarte: Okay all right and you get along with them okay?

Georgiana Kotarski: I do. I get along with them quiet well.

Bob Tarte: How about roosters any rooster problems?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well I’ve had rooster problems on and off I don’t have one right now. My little rooster that I do have is a nice little rooster never gives me any trouble, but I’ve been attacked by roosters several times. I’ve never had roosters more than two or three is probably at least that attack once.

Bob Tarte: We had one rooster once and the person who gave us Teddy he was a barred rock swore that he was the most gentle being on the planet. And every time I’d go out to the barn to feed, the hens Teddy would attack me. It got so I would have to bonk him on the head with this little plastic picture. It never did him any harm, but it just told him to stay away. But it never discouraged him so finally…

Georgiana Kotarski: Oh so then indeed you are a rooster if you tried to defend yourself.

Bob Tarte: Well I didn’t know what else to do. What we did do we found a very tolerant soul down the street from us who took Teddy and so Teddy is living out his life in I don’t if know in peace or not but he is living out his life. But Tell me tell me about your book “Canoeing with Cows” your working on it right now is that right?

Georgiana Kotarski: I’m working on it I’ve probably written about 75 percent of the words and done 50 percent of the work because as a writer you know that the raising is a huge part of the work as well. It mainly covers the ten years that my late husband and I lived here on this farm where I am now raising cattle and so on, but it does start like you pointed out with the little excerpt you read. As a child, I was interested in farming not doing a very good job at it but interested in it.

Bob Tarte: Yeah.

Georgiana Kotarski:  But the bulk of it is about raising the cattle here in the Sequatchie Valley in Tennessee.

Bob Tarte: So you did not grow up thinking that you would end up on a farm did you?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well I always loved being out doors and I grew up in the outdoors and always wanted to be outdoors. I didn’t think I would be a farmer so much as a I just love to hike and be outside. And I just wanted land so I could do that and enjoy nature. I never thought about raising cattle. I never thought in a million years  I be raise cattle.

Bob Tarte: And here you are.

Georgiana Kotarski: And here I am and I just love cattle.

Bob Tarte: Well the excerpts that you sent me those are absolutely wonderful. When do you expect that people might be able to buy the book?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well I don’t want to presume that my publisher who did the ghost book is going to buy it. I hope they’ll like it. If they do like it probably can be completely written by the end of this year and perhaps summer of 2009 might be able to come out. But again, that would be up to them.

Bob Tarte: I can’t imagine them not being on their hands and knees grateful for you to turn in something so marvelous. Judging from

Georgiana Kotarski: I know I feel the same way.

Bob Tarte: Yeah let’s mention the publisher of “Ghosts of the Southern Tennessee Valley”.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well its John F. Foyer

Bob Tarte: Do they have a website?

Georgiana Kotarski: They do I believe its... I can’t remember the name of the website but if someone typed in John F. Foyer, they would find the website.

Bob Tarte: Okay you have a website don’t you?

Georgiana Kotarski: I do

Bob Tarte: Okay what is your website?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well its, which is, quiet a mouthful.

Bob Tarte: Okay that’s K-O-T-A-R-S-K-I. Ok and its Georgiana with one ‘N’ Okay we will put a link up on the Pet Life Radio website so people will be able to find that.

Georgiana Kotarski: Oh, well thank you.

Bob Tarte: And also as I mentioned when I talked to you yesterday that on my website if you click on “Fowl Weather” which is the name of one of my books and then click on the link that says blurbs you will see a picture of the cover of “Ghosts of the Southern Tennessee Valley” and there’s a link to Amazon so that you can buy 10, 20, 30 copies Ok All right.

Georgiana Kotarski: That sounds good.

Bob Tarte: Lets talk about some of your critters and lets start with Farkle the house duck formerly a house duck. So what’s the story with Farkle? How did you end up with this duck and why on earth did you raise a duck in the house?

Georgiana Kotarski: Farkle is really a miracle duck because he just shouldn’t have ever hatched the circumstances seemed to be conspiring against him yet he still managed to hatch and live. One mallard mother duck was sitting on a large clutch of eggs and she tried and tried for six weeks to hatch those eggs and as you know it takes four weeks to hatch duck eggs and she continued to try even after the four weeks were up. We had given up on those eggs because obviously they’re not going to hatch at six weeks. One day we discovered she was missing and we knew that a predator had gotten her because there she was. I’m sure the predator was very attentive had watched her for days and days.

Bob Tarte: Oh dear.

Georgiana Kotarski: And we thought well and you know we were very sad about it and we figured the eggs were useless she had tried so hard and so we kind off ignored the eggs. Well the next morning we let the ducks out I could not see the ducks. I had to hurry off to work for some reason I told my husband go out there and check the ducks and give them some food. So he went out there a bit later in the day than normal and as he walked by the duck house, he heard a little peeping sound and that sort of caught is attention. Like you, he was a big bird watcher so he didn’t know if it was a little bird or what.

Bob Tarte: Maybe some Yeah maybe some new species in the barn.

Georgiana Kotarski: So he stopped and said did I hear what I think I just heard what is it. So that caught his attention and he realized that the peeping seemed to be coming from the duck house. So after looking at all the eggs he finally heard the one peeping and picked it up and there was a little crack in it. Well you’re not supposed to help eggs hatch you know but he could not just help himself he peeled back a little piece of shell and there was a little eye.

Bob Tarte: Oh dear

Georgiana Kotarski: And then he knew there was a live duckling in there so he called me at work right away the mother was gone he just wasn’t sure what he should do. So I suggested he put it in the car it was July the sun had come up enough to warm the car up warm but not too warm because obviously we didn’t want to bake the little critter. He did that and just as he was getting every thing under control here came the cattle trailer bringing the bull for our cattle.

Bob Tarte: Oh

Georgiana Kotarski: And so he had to help that guy find the cattle and take the bull out. And he has this little duck he’s trying to take care of at the same time. Because you know when you have animals, everything always happens at once. So it was very questionable a duck hatching under those circumstances could even live because after all he had been with out a mother for hours at this point. But he did we brought him in the house and of course he thought we were his parents and followed us everywhere and pretty much as tiny as he was took over everything.

Bob Tarte: Yeah they will do that. Wont they?

Georgiana Kotarski: They will.

Bob Tarte: How did you enjoy having a house duck?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well it was really fun I mean ducks are cute when they’re babies and of course, they’re cute when they’re adults as well. They’re just so, they’re very curious and they’re very busy. So we enjoyed it but it was exhausting too.

Bob Tarte: They’re very messy creatures aren’t they.

Georgiana Kotarski: Extremely messy. That was an issue we had to deal with.

Bob Tarte: Yeah we had somebody on the show a couple weeks ago and she was telling me about her pet house duck K.D. and this was a woman name April and she buys duck diapers for K.D. Now did these duck diapers did you ever check into that when you had Farkle in the house?

Georgiana Kotarski: I did check into it at first I tried to make some duck diapers out of old socks.

Bob Tarte: Oh, I would’ve loved to see that. How did those work?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well it didn’t work very well because Farkle did not want to put his little rear end in those old socks. His little feet were going like a garden tiller on full blast in trying to avoid the socks. And then I tried those elastic covers that you put over bowls you know to store kitchen food in your refrigerator and those really didn’t fit him very well and his little tail was wiggling so much I couldn’t even really keep em you know they wouldn’t stay on at all.

Bob Tarte: Ducks are willful little creatures aren’t they?

Georgiana Kotarski: They are. So I pretty much gave up. I did discover that there were duck diapers on the internet but I never actually bought any I was very tempted to though.

Bob Tarte: I’ve gotten emails from other people who have used duck diapers and swear by them. We never had a house duck but I guess its something to bare in mind.

Georgiana Kotarski: They don’t seem to be able to be potty trained. Like I understand, you can do some animals.

Bob Tarte: No and about every 20 minutes nature calls with the ducks. So how did Farkle do adjusting to being a duck again when you finally integrated him with the flock?

Georgiana Kotarski:  Well it took literally months for him to learn he was a duck and when he could live outside with the flock and didn’t have to follow me everywhere. So we started very, very slowly just by taking him outside. Often I would take him out side and he would follow me right on my heels so didn’t have to worry about that at all and I would just take him to where the ducks were and that’s how it started. And then eventually he got to live on the back porch so that when the ducks made their rounds around the yard they would stop and check on him.

Bob Tarte: That’s good of them

Georgiana Kotarski: And then they really got together when I put out a small, like a little a little feed bucket with some water that he could swim in. That attracted the other ducks so they wanted to come up and check out that fun activity. And then they, they pestered Farkle a lot because he was the baby and they were older but they were still building a relationship with him. Over the months, he finally went with them full time and accepted that. He still looks at me when he sees me come out and he’s always the last one in the duck house at night he stops and poses on the door. Then he finally goes in. So he does still remembers me as his mama but he knows he’s a duck now.

Bob Tarte: Oh, that’s wonderful. Somebody gave us a white peking last spring named bumpkin. And bumpkin was a house duck and the story was a lot the same as Farkle’s story and it took bumpkin. Amy Peterson gave us bumpkin and her husband Mark and it took bumpkin quiet a while to get used to living out in the barn and then it also took her or I should say her quiet awhile to realize that she was a duck and you know what do I want to say bond with the other flock members. So it takes em a while.

Georgiana Kotaski: It really does and I think some people might have been tempted to just simply say well its warm outside I’m going to put him out there. But that would have caused incredible emotional trauma I’m sure.

Bob Tarte: Yep absolutely. Well we’re going to talk more to Georgiana Kotarski about. We’re going to talk about her pet cow and also about her pet donkey. But were going to take a break right now just incase there are any corporations whimsical enough to sponsor this show. So we will be right back.

What Where You Thinking will be right back after Bob gets the ducks out of his living room. Don’t go away.

Okay ducks are in the pond, rabbits in his hutch and monkey’s, oh in my car! Oh Okay while I go check my insurance policy we’ll turn you back over to Bob.

Bob Tarte: Hi your listening to What Were You Thinking I’m Bob Tarte, and I’m talking to Georgiana Kotarski author of “Ghosts of the Southern Tennessee Valley” and her fourth coming book which is called…

Georgiana Kotarski: “Canoeing with Cows”

Bob Tarte:  And you have to share the story of how you came upon the title because I don’t think you could get a cow in a canoe. Maybe a calf? I wouldn’t recommend it.

Georgiana Kotarski: My pet cow Bossy would probably like to get in the canoe.

Bob Tarte: How much does Bossy weigh?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well she’s not a very big cow but still 800 pounds at least

Bob Tarte: So how did the title come about?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well you know like you we live very close to a small river. It’s a few hundred feet away and were in valley, flood plain area and so we get floods sometimes in the wintertime and one winter we were having quiet a bad flood and I was worried that the cows maybe didn’t have enough high ground. So I decided to go ahead and canoe out and check on them just to be sure, that everyone was the fences weren’t keeping them from where they needed to go. So I canoed out I looked at em made sure everyone was fine. They all seemed fine to me so I got back in my canoe and started paddling back and all of a sudden I heard a lot of splashing behind me and I looked behind me and hear they all came.

Bob Tarte: Oh my gosh!

Georgiana Kotarski: And I thought well they’ll just go in the water for a little bit and then they’ll go back but no as the water got deeper and deeper the water was so deep that it actually covered up some of the fences that I had to go through to get to them. As the water got deeper and deeper they swam and they were catching up with me boiling water herd of cows is very freighting because if they had caught up with me they could have possible turned me over not with any malice at all. They just wanted to follow me you know because cows do like to follow. And so I paddled as fast as I could go for my life floodwaters as you know because I know you get some floods too they’re very muddy. Had I fallen in even though my husband was not that far away I don’t think he could’ve found me to pull me out if I had been knocked unconscious by a cow hoofs flying.

Bob Tarte: I suppose we can’t hope that he was there with a video camera?

Georgiana Kotarski:  Well unfortunately not he didn’t have any kind of camara with him and the neighbor was there too they were talking and neither one of them had a camara we didn’t expect any problems at all.

Bob Tarte: Have they ever seen anything like that before?

Georgiana Kotarski: No the neighbor was pretty startled. My husband was so startled he couldn’t do what he needed to do and the main thing he needed to do was call the cows so they would come towards him and I could canoe off in another direction and get away. They always came to his call he said come on girls, they swam toward him, and I cut off to the right and was able to get away from that dangerous situation and live to see another day.

Bob Tarte: Wow so you were a cowgirl in a canoe?

Georgiana Kotarski: mhmmm.

Bob Tarte: That is just amazing that could open up a whole new I don’t know job for somebody I guess I don’t know. Now you were talking about the fences and I understand that you have two animals that are escape artists and that’s Bossy the Cow and Poncho the Donkey.

Georgiana Kotarski: Right

Bob Tarte: And what happened when you first brought Bossy home as far as your fences?

Georgiana Kotarski: Well Bossy was our only cow at that time and we bought this old farm that hadn’t been used in at least ten years had lots of very old, old barbed wire fences on it and covered up in brush so we couldn’t see it very well and so it was full of holes that we didn’t know about but she found them. She’d find one she’d come back to the house and stand outside by the back door and moo and his friend would throw his tools in the back of the old truck and run out there and find that hole and patch it up. And then a few days latter she’d come to the back door and moo she never ran away she always came up to the house to  announce the hole.

Bob Tarte: So she was very helpful in that way.

Georgiana Kotarski : She was she helped us repair at least seven holes in the fence.

Bob Tarte: Now would Dan just go and look for the first gap in the fence he found and then assume that, that was it or how would you wouldn’t necessarily know which one she came out through would you?

Georgiana Kotarski : That’s a good question I’m not sure how he figured out where she had come from but some how he did manage to find em and patch up quiet a few pieces of fence.

Bob Tarte: Now the manuscript that you sent me the pieces from your manuscript you referred to Bossy as a practice cow. Is that right? Now who’s Vincent that you mentioned in the manuscript?

Georgiana Kotarski : Whose fences?

Bob Tarte: Who’s Vincent?

Georgiana Kotarski : Oh Victor.

Bob Tarte: Victor I’m sorry.

Georgiana Kotarski : Victor is our neighbor whose been farming his whole life. He lives up the road and I think we were quiet shocking to him we nothing about cows but we were doing all this farming and we had some weird ideas because we were sustainable farmers.

Bob Tarte: Okay why don’t you say what that is because I don’t know the difference.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well sustainable farmers try to take the environment into account for example we try to fence off the river and we do management intensive grazing so that the grass we can get more grass without lots of chemicals and fertilizer and that sort of thing we try to have breeds of cattle that do well in our climate. We don’t feed any grain because grain is really bad for the, growing so much grain is not good environmentally and it’s really, not what cows were meant to eat. I mean actually I could probably talk for hours about sustainable farming. But it definitely is something that you shouldn’t hurt the land when sustain-ably farm the land should actually get better over time.
Bob Tarte: Oh that’s great.

Georgiana Kotarski : Traditional farming the land becomes weaker over time.

Bob Tarte; And how is that continuing to go?

Georgiana Kotarski : Well it’s going pretty well the last year or two has been really rough because you may have heard on the news we had a terrible drought.

Bob Tarte: Yeah

Georgiana Kotarski : and fortunately, I have a lot of bottomland here, which does hold moisture that helps a little bit, but even the bottomland has dried out because of this drought.

Bob Wow, Then what’s the outlook?

Georgiana Kotarski : They’re talking about potentially another drought this coming year but since they’re often wrong in predicting the weather, I’m hoping they’re wrong again.

Bob Tarte: Yeah you told me you’ve had some good rains lately.

Georgiana Kotarski : Yeah lately, we’ve had some rain so hopefully that will recharge the water table. My well has not run dry knock on wood, but its nerve racking to think it might because I water my cattle out of the nice well. I like to give them nice clean water.

Bob Tarte: Yeah, good luck with that boy. Now Bossy as good as getting out of the fence, as she was you have another animal who’s really a Houdini when it comes to escape artistry. Is that right?

Georgiana Kotarski: Right it started off by physically finding ways to get out by using his rubbery lips to undo all the latches my husband would get a certain type of latch the donkey would watch him and eventually figure it out and he’d let himself out. Then my husband would get a different kind of latch thinking he had foiled Poncho and Poncho would watch again and eventually figure it out.

Bob Tarte: Wow, that is amazing, so Poncho the Donkey would watch your husband and then be able to just using his lips, which I guess they can manipulate almost, like fingers and then he would open the gate.

Georgiana Kotarski: He’d keep working at it because what else would he have to do. I mean we fed him so he really didn’t have to really look for food or do anything so he entertained himself by finding ways to escape.

Bob Tarte: Well they must be fairly smart.

Georgiana Kotarski: They are pretty smart I think some people would say they’re dumb because they do things like Poncho and his girl friend Juanita. Both stood out in the flood and refuse to come to dry land they had to be lassoed by horses, which make people think they’re stupid because they do those sorts of things, but I think they’re pretty smart in general.

Bob Tarte: Well he might have had a really good reason for that. That made perfect sense to him.

Georgiana Kotarski: In his mind he did.

Bob Tarte: Yeah we just don’t understand it.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well the water got a little deeper before it got shallower and I think that he didn’t want to walk in water that was an inch deeper in order to get to land.

Bob Tarte: Oh well that sure yeah. Now you sent me a section about Poncho where your husband Dan was sort of gloating because he had finally made an escape proof latch is that correct?

Georgiana Kotarski: Right we were standing outside it was night, we were looking at Poncho trying to get out of the latest latch, and we both said he’ll never get out of that. And as we stood there saying that he suddenly undid the latch and before we could do anything threw the gate open and ran off down the road through the subdivision that someone had just put out in our rural area. He couldn’t go down the driveway or through the pastures around us; he had to through the subdivision manicured lawns and so on.

Bob Tarte: I like your description of the subdivision in the manuscript you sent me. You call it the small subdivision that some hit and run developer had dropped on our rural landscape in the middle of the night.

Georgiana Kotarski: That’s what it felt like it seemed so out of place.

Bob Tarte: Where did Poncho end up?

Georgiana Kotarski: He went on down the road we thought he was going to the neighbors who had horses because all equines like to be together you know but instead he couldn’t be predictable you know he turned in the other neighbors who had goats and some how he got into their pasture I don’t know if he jumped into the pasture or how he got in the pasture. But he did.

Bob Tarte: Was this a fenced off area?

Georgiana Kotarski: it was and so we went into the pasture basically trespassing into someone’s land.

Bob Tarte: Did you know these people?

Georgiana Kotarski: Not really, I mean we knew their name but we didn’t really know them and they didn’t really know us.

Bob Tarte: Did they know of you as the?

Georgiana Kotarski: They probably know of us. They did not come out in the pasture they just stood on the porch in a little huddle because they did not know what we were doing running around in circles in their pasture.

Bob Tarte: Oh boy. I wonder if they had a little talk latter and said oh yeah those are the people Victor told us about.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well actually, this was our neighborhood before we moved down here. It was our smaller farm before we moved down here to the larger farm. So I’m sure they would love to compare notes if they knew each other.

Bob Tarte: Now you told me that Poncho loved to run away just for the fun of it and for the fun of teasing your husband.

Georgiana Kotarski: Right he seemed to want my husband to chase him it was like a game and a lot of times, I had to catch Poncho because he would actually let me approach him with a lead rope and catch him. But he wouldn’t let my husband because that was part of the fun.

Bob Tarte: It wasn’t much fun for Dan was it?

Georgiana Kotarski: No one time he got really disgusted and said well heck you can just stay run away I don’t care if you come home or not and he started walking home and then Poncho started to following him home. He realized the game was up.

Bob Tarte: On this particular night when Poncho was in the goat pasture Dan tried chasing him didn’t he.

Gerogiana Kotarski: Yes

Bob Tarte: But you ended up catching Poncho

Georgiana Kotarski: I ended up catching him. Dan was just totally out of breath and I said ok just let me try and I tried to act as bored as I could just very slowly acting just bored, bored, bored walk up to him. And that’s how I caught him if I had acted to intent on it I think he would have even run from me.

Bob Tarte: You said he was all ready wearing his halter so you just clipped the lead.

Georgiana Kotarski: Yes

Bob Tarte: Yeah and then once, you put the lead on him you didn’t have to drag him home I take it.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well he doesn’t lead very well. He doesn’t really understand leading, but yeah he didn’t really resist. He knew that it was over. So he wasn’t to hard at that point to get him on home.

Bob Tarte: Now this Poncho was a Christmas present for Dan.

Georgiana Kotarski: He was

Bob Tarte: Could you tell that story.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well he had always talked about how when he was a little boy he had heard about a little boy and his donkey. I can’t remember if the little boy was named Poncho or if the donkey was named Poncho. But that had really caught his attention as a child so I decided. We had a couple of small goats and your not supposed to just put goats in the pasture because we had lost a goat before that to a dog a domestic dog coming through and getting in our fence and killing the goats. So we felt like we needed a guard so really the purpose of Poncho in the beginning was to guard these two little goats. So I found him and but I had no way to get him home so I had the neighbor help me with the trailer. I wanted it to be a surprise so it was very difficult to plan all this and not have my husband find out.

Bob Tarte: Yeah a donkey as a surprise Christmas present is kind of a tough secret to keep.

Georgiana Kotarski: Even a baby is still pretty large so on Christmas Eve he got Poncho and took him to his house and then we had to think of an excuse to get my husband over there to see em.

Bob Tarte: How could you do that on Christmas Eve How could you come up with an excuse?

Gerogiana Kotarski: Well it was hard because most people on Christmas Eve do family things. And Johnny our neighbor had plenty of family things going on in his life and we had plenty of family things going. But we owed Johnny a lot because our house had burned to the ground a couple of years before and Johnny had helped us rebuild it. So Steve that’s what I called my husband Dan he felt like he owed Johnny a lot. So when his son came over and said dad needs some help unloading some metal he got his gloves out and said well I’m going to help him I don’t know why he’s doing that on Christmas though that’s a crazy thing to do on Christmas Eve, but I’m going to go help him. So he went over there, we opened up the horse trailer, he expected to see a lot of metal in there, and there was Poncho there sitting down not laying down, and not standing up, but actually sitting down in the back corner with a great big read bow around his neck.

Bob Tarte: Oh what did Dan think?

Georgiana Kotarski: He said something I can’t repeat. He was truly shocked but in a good way.

Bob Tarte: I was going to say you can’t repeat it but it was a happy word in context.

Georgiana Kotarski: he was very happy and they bonded and be came best friends.

Bob Tarte: How long did you have Poncho before he started doing his escapes?

Georgiana Kotarski: Oh my probably not very long. Probably just a few months I think even when he was still quiet young he started getting in mischief.

Bob Tarte: Yeah, well these are just terrific stories. And I want to remind people that I’m talking to Georgiana Kotarski and these animals are in her fourth coming book “Canoeing with Cows”. Look for it in... You figure in probably 2009?


Georgiana Kotarski: Well I’m thinking so that’s what I’m hoping.

Bob Tarte: Oh, this will get published this is just absolutely wonderful. And please pick up Georgiana’s “Ghosts of the Southern Tennessee Valley” these are just. Not only are these really spooky true stories of ghosts but the book is so beautifully written. That my wife Linda called Georgiana back yesterday and was telling her that this is a book she wants to read over again so Georgiana you’re just a wonderful writer. And I know you’re going to do great and once the book is published if by some fluke I still have this pod cast you’ll definitely be invited on again so that we can promote the heck out of it and sell a lot of copies. Thanks so much for being on the show.

Georgiana Kotarski: Well Thank you.

Bob Tarte: ok we’ll talk to you again.

Georgiana Kotarski: All right bye bye.

Bob Tarte: So that’s it for this weeks episode  of What Were You Thinking and let’s hope it doesn’t disappear. I’d like to thank Georgiana Kotarski author of “Ghosts of the Southern Tennessee Valley” for being on the show. Please check out Georgiana’s website it is Georgiana that’s If you’d like to be a guest on What Were You Thinking, just Send and email to Thanks for listening and thanks to our verrry mysterious producers who are in a hut in Antarctica this week. Bye bye.

Thinking about buying a monkey, how about a ferret, or a skunk then check out the show that will answer the burning questions. Where do you get them? What do you feed them? How do you take care of them? And most of all What were you thinking? With exotic pet expert and author Bob Tarte every week on demand from


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