Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Kidder's Guide, Part One

It is getting to be that time of year. Here we are calling it June-uary and the frogs started singing two nights ago. Because of the time of year and also because of my extreme kindness and generosity I would like to offer a word from the wise (me) to the hapless and the uninitiated (you).

In case you might want to know we have a birthing procedure here which most of you would do well to follow if you are considering having kids of your own, even small ones can be rather a headache to push out. You start in squeezing and you think, oh this horror will be over in a minute. And then sometimes it goes on for an hour or more, which can be quite taxing especially if it is your first time and you think you have a kidney stone or got hold of some bad Swedish Fish which if you are wondering actually there aren't any bad Swedish Fish so cross that off your list.

But even though there are no bad Swedish Fish some are better than others (the red ones) and if you don't know what this is, it's food for thought, which brings me to my next point which is that if you are going to be doing any deep thinking it is (usually) best to eat while you are doing it. This is called ruminating. And not for nothing.

Ok where was I. Birthing. Of course first you must find a suitable health care provider, I recommend getting one with ten small fingers and at least two credit cards. You don't have to be nice all year long but when you are getting ready to kid it is best to admire the health care provider in a fawning manner and try to favoritize yourself to it. Moldy is a master of this. This is not a time for subtlety or nuance. If you are going to fawn, fawn fawningly and unmistakably, like an lolcat. Some phrases you could use: I R CRYING CUZ I RRUVV U, Y U SO PRIDDY MOMMY?,  WIDDLE GOATY WWUVV FARMER, and so on. I'm sorry but it has to be done.

OK next: it might sound crazy but don't eat too much. After you kid you will get a lot of lovely delicious alfalfa and other food so just wait for that. If you get too fat before you kid it will be like you are trying to kid out a butterball turkey that is wearing an eskimo parka and what you want is for your kids to squirt out like the Olympic luge at 85 miles an hour so you can get right to the post-partum buffet.

Part Two coming soon but in the meantime if you have a question you can ask me but keep it short I have a lot of ruminating to do today.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Over in The Smellies

Ok well Moldy had a little baby, we already went over that. Then Jammies had a baby. The farmer examined the calendar extensively and there was no hint of a buck escape. The farmer never breeds for January.

Moldy and Jammies must have snuck out together. Maybe under cover of night, some moonlit August night, some enchanted evening, they took an amorous stroll together over in The Smellies where the bucks live. Or maybe they did it in broad daylight and no one was interested enough to notice. Anyway now there are two winter babies when usually there are zero. There they both are, indisputable, two little January neverlings.

Both are singletons. They are up in the barn with their mothers. You cannot imagine how fat they are already. One (Effie) is called The Guzzler for her style of constantly drinking milk and for her rodeo skills, she has been observed still drinking while Moldy is at a full trot trying to unlatch her. Eight seconds is nothing for her, she can really sit the trot. The other (Navajo) is called The Puzzler, on account of his mysterious unknown heritage. We know who The Guzzler's father is, only because she has blue eyes.

Now Jammies and Moldy are best friends. So are Guzzle and Puzzle. It's a strange thing, it's almost like Moldy isn't from Oregon any more. Jammies flat out denies that Moldy is from Oregon. If anyone says Moldy is from Oregon, Jammies shouts, "Maybe YOU are from Oregon!"

But if Moldy isn't from Oregon, what does that say about Fred? Is he not from Oregon any more either? Or maybe Oregon doesn't exist any more, maybe that is what happened. If Oregon doesn't exist, does Portland still exist? What about Portlandia?  What about The Terror? She is from Eugene. She is only one year old. So we know Oregon existed a year ago. Don't we?

Is it just a math problem? Is it a simple boolean?

moldys_birthplace == 'Oregon'

True? Or False?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

T137F

We had a sort of a half-sunny day which is nice in January. The farmer was off looking for the orcas. The farmer has gotten obsessed with the orcas, the Sound is full of them this year, and the T137s from the T-Pod spend a lot of their time trolling through the farmer's crabbing spot down between Longbranch and Anderson Island. The Orcas are looking for seals, hard luck for the seals, because they are easy to find down there. The Ts have a baby with them and the farmer is obsessed with trying to catch a glimpse of the T-Baby. The Ts in the pod are named after their mother, T137, so there is T137a, T137b, T137c etc, and so on like that until T137 stops having babies.

So anyway since it was a half-sunny day and since there was no wind at all the farmer was going to take the little boat out, the little 14-foot boat, which would be a great spot from which to see a 20 foot whale, especially the gigantic male of the T137 pod who likes nothing better than swimming right under a tiny boat and flipping on his back to take a good look at the occupants,  yes I certainly would love to see that while sitting inside a 14 foot aluminum boat with a motor that doesn't always start. It has always been a dream of mine, what little goat wouldn't love to go to sea and take a selfie with a gigantic whale in the background, especially one like the T male with his majestic dorsal fin, probably at least five feet high, yes indeed. Not.

Anyway there was something wrong with the lights on the trailer and so the farmer went down to the boat launch with binoculars and no boat and spent an hour or so scanning Drayton Passage and of course didn't see anything, not even a seal. While the farmer was gone Moldy laid down and had a baby. No one was more surprised than Moldy, because she wasn't bred, and nobody else was either, not until the spring, and so everyone looked on with polite interest. Moldy had the baby with no difficulty but Winnie had to notify her that it was hers because she was so shocked when she turned around and saw it.

"Somebody had a baby!" Moldy bellowed informatively.

"Yes," said Winnie. "You."

"I think I would know if I had a baby!" Moldy bellowed.

"Yes," said Winnie. "So would I."

At this point the baby advanced and began drinking milk from Moldy and Moldy began bellowing, "I had a Baby! I had a Baby!"

This was on a continuous loop for one hour until the farmer came back and saw what had happened and Moldy was rushed up to the barn with her new baby, which ought to have been named "Ihadda" but instead is being called Baby F, or Effie, just temporarily (forever) until the farmer thinks of a better name, since this is an F year. Amongst ourselves we call it T137f. The tiny whale.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dolly

Ok well what happened was the nice rancher lady knew of a puppy whose owners had to move. Her farm dog was the mother of the puppy, and the new owners of the puppy had to move somewhere where they couldn't have the puppy, which was very sad. It was a very good puppy, with a good personality. Supposedly.

The rancher lady had been trying to think of a good farm home for the puppy - because it was several months old and it was already a farm dog, it wouldn't like living in someone's backyard - and she happened to have the same horseshoer, the kindly horseshoer, as the farmer. And she mentioned it to the kindly horseshoer and he said, fatefully, that yes, as a matter of fact, he could think of a good home that needed a really good farm dog. Because he knew of a farm where the only farm dog was an undersized, wayward, incorrigible Boston Terrier - a boston terrier with a long tail, to add insult to injury, and an extensive collection of sweaters - whose usefulness in a farm setting was considerably below zero.

It wasn't very long before we got the bad news that a real dog might be coming to live here.

"A Texas Heeler," the farmer informed us.

The Texas part sounded okay, after all if you refer to my map of the universe you will see that Texas is on it, which proves that it is a real place and that they have credible Nigerian Dwarfs there. The Heeler part did not sound that good. It sounded ominous, in fact. It hinted at a lot of unnecessary exercise, of being obliged to move pointlessly from Point A to Point B. So we took a vote and we voted unanimously, except for Moldy who likes to make new friends and Binky who did not understand the question, that we did not want the Texas Heeler to come.

The Texas Heeler came the next day. That was months ago. It is still here.

I don't know what is wrong with it but it must be something very serious because it is happy every single minute of every single day. It cannot wake up in the morning without thinking immediately: what a beautiful grand day, it will probably be the best one yet!

'Life! The Key Peninsula! This Moment in June!' is what it goes around thinking. Can you even imagine how tiresome this level of exuberance must be for someone of my stature who might at any moment be called upon to give a speech about some matter of grave importance, Swedish Fish or something like that? With this PUPPY in the background lolloping around and rolling in the grass and grinning crazily with delight? Can you?

Its name is Dolly.


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year and if you don't know it is the Year of the Goat. People call me Millie, or Baby Belle, Jr, but my name is Million Belles. I am named after Million Bells the Flower, the beautiful cascading easy-to-grow flower that looks good anywhere and brightens any garden.

Just like me. I have been brightening gardens for years, I especially like brightening the vegetable garden every chance I get. The last time I was in there I brightened all the chard out of the garden and most of the kale too, so I am also responsible for the new garden gate which unfortunately has a much stronger latch on it.

I have also proved easy to grow and that is why I am on a torture diet involving a few meager strands of local grass hay and a smattering of grain. When I say smattering I mean you can count the little pellets as they ting sadly into the feed pan. Ting ting ting - that's about it. Every day is another three-ting-day.

A lot has changed here, so many things, way too many to even calculate, some of them I have already forgotten and they will pass into eternity undocumented. Wronny is no longer the herd queen but that is a long story, longer than The Upanishads and deeper than the sea.

The farmer swore all up and down that we would not be getting another farm dog because that is just too much grief and heartache and besides in any case we could search far and wide and we would never find another dog like Spenny because there isn't one and it wouldn't be fair to the new dog would it, always living in the shadow of the Mt. Everest of dogs, the spendiferous Spenny the Angel Dog....etc etc...I'm sorry there was more but I dozed off, it was all cut from the same velvet cloth.

Then a couple of months later the farmer started saying, we certainly aren't going to go out and LOOK for another dog, that is ridiculous. But maybe some day the phone will ring and someone will say, hello, I have the most perfect farm dog in the world but unfortunately I just got a job singing Abba songs on a cruise ship and I cannot take my dog with me, and I wondered if by chance you might have room for a perfect farm dog? So we aren't going to LOOK for a dog but maybe some day the phone will ring and a dog will FIND us.

We all stared blankly, all thinking the same thing: I hope not.

The summer wore on into the fall. My daughter freshened with the most beautiful udder the herd has ever seen. The Terror turned one year old with no improvement in her behavior. Ellie May continued the family's smarmy tradition of following the farmer everywhere, simpering and begging for pets and scratches. The hay was cut and baled.

And then one day the phone rang and it was the very nice lady from the beautiful farm up the road where they have the lush pastures and the Angus cattle and the lady said, "hello, this may sound a little bit strange," - wait for it - "but I have the most perfect farm dog,"

.....(to be continued)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hello World

Hello this is Millie known as Baby Belle Jr. My blog was put on hiatus without consulting me. This was so wrong in so many ways. Sure there is a lot of ugliness and sorrow and unkindness in the world. But there is also licorice and baby goats. I am coming back. I will be back on January 1 2015. Probably in a blaze of glory.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Right Puppy

In 1997 the farmer did not live in the country. The farmer lived in a duplex in Ballard, which has since become a hipster neighborhood in Seattle. At the time there were very few hipsters there. There were a lot of old Scandinavian fishermen. You could actually buy lutefisk in Ballard, real lutefisk, not ironic lutefisk. Bill Clinton was President of the United States.

But even then there was a hint of something in the air. An ominous hint of impending prosperity.

At that time - it is embarrassing to think about now - the farmer drove around in a vintage black Jaguar, having just gotten a job in what would later be known as the Internet bubble. Nobody knew it was a bubble then. So everyone bought vintage black Jaguars to drive around in.

But one day out of the blue, in spite of the vintage black Jaguar, the farmer drove to Tenino, a little bend in the road outside Olympia, to look at a litter of border collie puppies. "Just to look."

The puppies were all in a pen, and some children were 'playing' with them - poking them with a stick through the slats of the pen. Several of the puppies seemed to like this kind of fun, and they seethed around in a mass, following, on the inside, as the children ran around the outside of the pen. One very beautiful puppy did not follow the children; instead she observed them, watchfully, and moved neatly and efficiently in such a manner as to remain as far away from them as possible at all times.

The farmer bought this puppy, and named her Spenny.

Not long afterward, as the puppy looked with a pained expression at the farmer from the passenger seat of the black Jaguar, the farmer bought a thing they used to call a newspaper, and looked through it at these things they used to call classified ads, and found and bought a 1978 F-150, battered even then. The puppy was extremely pleased. This was the type of vehicle a border collie could be seen in in public.

Not long after that someone looked at the farmer and the puppy riding around in the truck and said, "well, you have a farm dog, and you have a farm truck, now all you need is a farm."

And so then the farmer bought a farm, and gradually became a sort of inept but oddly persistent farmer, and stayed on the farm when the Internet bubble burst, and bought a pair of LaManchas to eat some of the brush growing in the pastures, and then bought a little white Nigerian Dwarf goat named Baby Belle, driving in the F-150 to Eastern Washington to pick her up, with the border collie riding shotgun, watchful as ever, occasionally even standing up on the seat with her chin balanced on the dashboard and the tip of her nose against the windshield, the better to see every inch of the world passing by.

Time passed, many years, and the puppy grew old and frail. She began to fail badly, and was weaker every day. But she was watchful as ever, faithful as ever, keenly intelligent as ever, always looking to the farmer for a sign. The farmer would not, could not, let her go. Because it was spring, and turning to summer, the most beautiful time of the year. Because she might miss one more beautiful day. So Spenny watched and waited, as usual, for the farmer to figure out something Spenny already knew.

Would any day ever be beautiful enough to be Spenny's last day? Was there ever such a day? No. And so finally, yesterday, the farmer let her go.

It was a desperately beautiful, desperately sad day. And a desperately sad end to the story. But it was just the end of the story. It wasn't the heart of the story. The heart of the story was the fact - who knew? - that all of us, at any given time, are one border collie puppy away from a whole new life.

It just has to be the right puppy.



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Little Jennifer, or, be careful what you say to a farmer

Round 2 of the baby blizzard hit and Clover popped out a darling little buckskin doeling and a moon-spotted buckling, and then Sandy dropped two little wiseacre bucklings - already they are very mischievous, trouble is their middle name if not their first - and then a couple of days later Abby went into labor. She was as big as a house, and I don't mean a Tiny House, and you could just tell from looking at her that she was going to split her aces and double down. She doesn't go in for singletons or twins, what's the point of that. She is the only one here except for me to ever have quads.

She started in pushing and it wasn't good. She worked and worked and finally two feet appeared but they were back feet and the farmer set to pulling and out came an ENORMOUS buck kid. His cord had broken too soon and he didn't make it. Not a good start.

But Abby pulled herself back together and popped out a tiny doeling who rolled across the barn floor like a ping pong ball, so small that Abby hardly noticed she had had it. But Abby is a pro and she performed a thorough straw search in the area right behind her like all the expert kidders always do and she found the ping pong doeling and set to licking it and it was up and around in no time but here came the next one and this one was coming head first with one leg back which ought to be easy but it was a struggle the way it had its shoulders wedged, but then finally it plopped out, a good-sized girl. Abby was dog tired but this one was in nice shape too, up and around in no time. The farmer bounced Abby hoping that was all.

But it wasn't. Sure enough there were four.

Abby was starting to shake and wouldn't take her electrolytes because she wanted to get things done and the two little doelings were starting to cry because they hadn't had any milk yet what with all the pulling and rearranging and Abby laid down again to try to get the fourth one out and the farmer set the timer to 20 minutes because Abby had already worked too hard but before the 20 minutes were up the farmer went back in and a big giant downward-diving head was crowding the runway with no feet in sight and the farmer tried again but Abby was frustrated and moving around and wouldn't stand for any more inspections and so the farmer looked at the clock and sure enough it was after midnight.

Well there are very few people you can call after midnight in the country to come and lend a hand with veterinary obstetrics, especially on Memorial Day weekend. But the farmer's neighbor Jen had made the mistake that very day of saying, "if Abby has any trouble, you know you can call me."

She had forgotten to say "but not after midnight." And when the farmer went outside and looked across the fence, sure enough the light was on at Jen's. Who knows maybe it was only the porchlight that stays on all the time,  but anyway the farmer said to no one in particular, "oh good, Jen is up," as if that made it true, and ran for the phone, and the next thing you know Jen came over and held Abby's head and with a little bit of bellowing and rearranging the farmer was able to get in and grab one leg, and then two, and then to pull out an exceedingly round-headed doeling. The doeling was pancaked and a little bit hard to start but after some smacks she sputtered to life.

She got a lecture on tardiness which she didn't listen to, because her sisters were born yesterday. But she waited until today.

She was supposed to have a fancy E name but instead she will be called Little Jennifer.

LJ
LJ shows off her big round head



Friday, May 23, 2014

Blue Jaye's Rapid Redemption

The incursion has not been fixed yet but it has turned out to be not as bad as I thought because of speed and wits. Here is how speed and wits works: the farmer comes out and feeds the fat girls in their feed alley. They lumber over to eat. Once they are engrossed in stuffing their faces we shoot through the incursion doorway and eat part of their breakfast. Meanwhile the farmer is dawdling toward our feeder and once we have finished some Fat Girl hors d'oeuvres we spin and dash back through the incursion hole to eat our own breakfast too. We eat prestissimo as they say in Italy, achieving double breakfast through speed and wits.

Ok Blue Jaye's son Edward went to his new home on Saturday. On Sunday Blue Jaye went on the milkstand for real.

Day One: Blue Jaye milks a reasonable amount of milk then kicks the bucket across the barn aisle, then screams in a high overdone falsetto, then lies down on the milkstand. This is the Triple Crown of milk malfeasance.

We all agree that the scream was overdone and we watch with interest to see what the farmer will do. Nothing. The farmer hums and throws some bedding pellets on the spilled milk to soak it up.

Day Two: The farmer has a talk with Blue Jaye before she goes on the milkstand, explaining that yesterday was her free day and she used it up and today is not a free day, does Blue Jaye understand. Blue Jaye blinks rapidly in alarm. The farmer gives her a vanilla wafer, then says, "Uppity Ups," which means get on the milkstand, then Blue Jaye jumps on the milkstand and the farmer starts milking. Blue Jaye milks a good amount of milk and then lifts one of her legs as if to kick.

"No," says the farmer politely. "If you do that again, you will get a smack."

Blue Jaye milks some more and then lifts one of her legs one inch off the milkstand and instantly gets a loud smack. She puts her leg down, and ponders the situation scientifically. She lifts her leg again, a quarter of an inch, and gets another smack like a bolt of lightning. The Light of True Understanding breaks across her face. She is not a Nubian, after all.

Day Three: Blue Jaye milks like an angel. She is her mother's daughter.



Monday, May 19, 2014

The Wheel

A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show its head. Orangina, Hannah Banana, and little Eskimo Joey went to their new home yesterday. Edward left the day before. Tomorrow the wheel will turn again. But this is today. Today the farmer milks Binky with no Seal Team. Today Belle Starr is crying again. This is today, don't ever forget that.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Problem with Doorways

There was an incursion. This was caused by Little Drudgery repeatedly slipping through a small hole in the fence between our pasture and the fat girl pasture. Finally the seams popped completely as Little Drudgery went back and forth back and forth back and forth. She is a born waffler and can't go anywhere without coming right back. Anyway then there was a gaping hole. A hole so large that it really couldn't be considered a hole any more. It was more of a large doorway. And I want to repeat when the history books are written that this was caused by Little Drudgery.

Once you have a nice doorway probably the first thing you say to yourself is ah, now I can go out. What you don't think about is the Fat Girls, massing on the border with their beady eyes gleaming. Some of them are not thinking anything. They are part Nubian. But some of them are thinking, "NOW WE CAN GO IN!"

So there you are minding your own business and one of the Fat Girls bellows "INTO THE BREACH!" and the next thing you know you are bobbing in a sea of Fat Girls as they stampede down to the far corner of the pasture near Lost Beaver Lake where there are still some sprigs of blackberries we were saving for summer (GONE), washing over the swath of canary grass we grew out for after-dinner dining (GONE), steamrolling into our shed to scour for hay and nibbles set aside for later (GONE).

That is the Problem With Doorways. You can go out. Sure that's fine. But Fat Girls can also come in. You might think this problem could be corrected with a neatly placed sign - "Exit Only" - or something to that affect. You would be wrong in so many ways, so wrong.

And thus it will be written in my history book, the Ballad of Baby Belle (Jr.), in the Chapter titled The Battle of Lost Beaver Lake, with the addendum on The Problem With Doorways, and a footnote on Little Drudgery's Lament. "Beware the Gaping Hole: Fat Girls Can Come In."

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Seal Team #1

Homer went to his new home where he is living with a Nubian wether and eating blackberries. This meant that the farmer had to milk Binky a minimum of three times a day or Binky would explode and the farmer had a very sore wrist so the farmer looked around with a certain look that the farmer gets when the farmer is hatching a plot.

"Come here, Orangina," said the farmer. "Come here, Hannah Banana."

Orangina and Hannah Banana are two of the most greedy little piglets we have ever bred here at the farm and both of them are fat as little baby harp seals.

The farmer put Binky on the milkstand and started milking and then surreptitiously moved aside and Orangina and Hannah Banana galloped onto the milkstand and started sucking away and in no time at all the farmer's job was half done and Binky none the wiser.

So then every day the farmer would put Binky on the milkstand and call for "Seal Team 1!" and out would race the two little butterball commandos and they would leap onto the stand defying all danger and gulp down a half gallon of  milk in record time.

Then the farmer thought of expanding the program, and Edward and Ellie May were recruited and they became Seal Team Two but after a couple of days it was apparent that one team was vastly superior probably because Edward is a single and already gets 10,000 calories a day from his own mother, and the same with Ellie May, so they got fired after a couple of days and Seal Team #1 reigned victorious.

Semper fi, Seal Team #1.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AD (Artistic Description) #2

AD #2 is Dinky Dollarbird. Dinky Dollarbird comes from a family of whingers so keep that in the back of your mind as you are reading, as if there were a soft chorus of waawaawaa gently washing over everything like sands through the hourglass.

OK Dinky looks like a Halloween costume left out in the rain. She is black and white spotted but the spots are kind of runny and then she has washed-out blue eyes like the day after Noah set sail and her hair sticks up in patches like a half-blown dandelion. It never really grew back in right after she got her horns off so it has a Hair Club for Men (waa waa waa) effect. Dinky Dollarbird is the epitome of Last Year's Baby and she goes around crying softly and right now we don't call her Dinky Dollarbird any more we call her Little Drudgery.

"Where is Little Drudgery?" asks the farmer. Where do you think? She is at the fence gazing at this year's baby, so handsome and strapping, the apple of his mother's eye. Everybody knows the trouble she has seen. Waa waa waa.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

News Update and Artistic Description #1

Ok I am going to do an update on what happened during the Internet disruption.

Crumpet started going in with the tough girls all the time like she wanted to be a tough girl. But then at dinnertime she would realize she did not want to be a tough girl and she would run back to the coddle-baby pasture and stand at the gate meowing to be let back in.

"One of these days I am not going to let you back in," the farmer said darkly. Crumpet shivered to her bones and stopped going in the tough girl pasture, marking the end of TMFGITW's tough girl era.

Ok Homer like his mother has an excellent disposition but only a very small part-Nubian brain. When he is going forward he likes to keep going forward because that saves a lot of decision-making which puts a strain on the brain. So that is how one day, still being quite small, he got into the buck pen. It was right in front of him - how could he avoid it? - and he was small enough to just slip through the 3-inch gap between the gate and the post.

Ok well when a new buck, even a very small one, comes into the buck pen, the bucks like to do a big Burning Man celebration where they all dance around naked and t-bone each other in a festive jamboree and take turns t-boning the newcomer from all sides and rearing up and galloping around and in general making the Earth shake as much as possible.

So even the farmer said, "oh dear," mildly and we watched as Homer kept walking until he reached the back fence of the buck pen and then instead of turning (see above) he simply laid down and went to sleep and after a moment's hesitation the bucks did their Burning Man Celebration all up, around, and over Homer as he took a nap. Homer woke up when it was over and walked back out the gap. It was very well done I wish we had a video.

Now Licorice went into labor. The farmer said, "are you in labor?" Licorice got up nonchalantly and strolled to the hay feeder. "I guess not," said the farmer. As soon as the farmer left, she laid down in the pasture and had two speckly blue-eyed grass babies. Unfortunately the babies did not blend into the earth tones of the surroundings and the farmer noticed them immediately and came down and picked them up and gave them a little shake to set them squalling and up they went to the horse trailer with Licorice trotting behind. They are going to live there for a couple of days.

Ok that is the end of the update but now I am going to do a new feature. This is where I do artistic descriptions of goats because the farmer always forgets to take pictures.

The first artistic description is Derringer, Clover's daughter.

Artistic Description of Derringer: Derringer is Clover's daughter and she looks like someone with shifty blue eyes wearing a pair of harlequin footy pajamas that are a size too small.


I Am Not a Figment

The Internet went out owing to an evil company we have around here. There is no point in naming names but the Company Name starts with Century and ends with Link and they are truly a terribly company. If you can choose any other company please do for your own good. How the company helps you when you call because you are having a problem is they start out by saying there is no such account. Read the account number again, they say. So you read it again, from the bill that comes from the company that the farmer has been paying for years, having called the "customer service" number listed on the bill, and they say the same thing again, in an indignant tone, "there is no such account. Our accounts do not have numbers like that."

So that is where the "customer service" begins. It takes two weeks and 17 hours on the phone but finally the farmer gets them to admit we have an account with them, which when they admitted it the farmer said right away, ok good, please cancel it effective immediately or actually effective a month ago when the problem started that nobody will fix and they say to the farmer we can't cancel your account. You have to speak to Retention to cancel your account, will you hold please I'll transfer you. And before you can say anything back to the endless loop menu as if the world were not waiting on pins and needles to hear about what Crumpet has been doing or the two little babies Licorice had in the horse trailer or Homer's adventure in the buck pen, news items which cannot be published because there is no Internet and you can't cancel the Internet that isn't working and get one that does work because you don't exist and what's more you never did, you are just a figment of your own imagination.

Anyway this is not a blog about the Internet. It is a goat blog starring me, and I am not a figment. I AM NOT A FIGMENT!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Your Own Good, That's What It's For

Crumpet went on hijinks since she was not getting any attention. She squirmed through the coddle-baby gate from the pasture where the coddle-baby Nigerians live into the down-below pasture where the tough girls live.

"I am here! I am here!" she announced. She went up on her hind legs, offering to headbutt anyone.

Maddy the Sheriff of Crazytown turned on a dime and came loping toward her and Crumpet, apparently still in control of some of her faculties, turned and ran and squirmed back into the coddle-baby pasture.

"I am here! I am here!" she announced. Betty t-boned her into a fencepost.

Crumpet trotted a little bit downhill to where there was a conference of last year's babies going on, Dot and Derringer and Dill Pickle, discussing ways of getting more grain now that the hole in the fence had been patched, preventing them from skedaddling up to the feeders where the mothers and the this-year's-babies got their highly delectable buffet of grain and peas and wheat and sunflower seeds.

"I am here! I am here!" she announced.

The last-year's-babies took turns headbutting Crumpet and it turned out they were a lot bigger than she remembered so she went and squashed herself between the panel gate and the post holding it up and she was luckily still just small enough to get through and she cantered up to the feeders where the this-year's-babies were waiting for the mothers to finish eating and after announcing "I am here! I am here!" she t-boned as many of them as she could while the mothers were still stuffing their faces, taking special care to t-bone 4-inch tall Hannah Banana lest she get too big for her britches.

"It's for your own good!" she announced cheerfully, then scampered back down to the coddle-baby pasture when the mothers started arriving and even broke into a full gallop when the Good Ship Binky, shaking its anvil-shaped head, hove into sight doing its patented muffle-scream as it scanned the horizon for its good-natured son Homer, God Forbid The Good Ship Binky should witness any malfeasance involving its little hammerheaded son Homer, woe betide even TMFGITW if The Binky should see something like this, provided that The GSB should comprehend what it was seeing.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Every Family Has One

It was a dark and stormy night. Somewhere. Not here. Here it was beautiful, a balmy night in early spring, for once not raining but with a gentle breeze. From the West. That is the good breeze. Not enough of it to rattle the roof, just the right amount of breeze.

Everything was normal. Perfectly normal. Nothing strange. Everyone was sleeping peacefully inside Tara, all of the down-belows. There was nothing to raise an eyebrow until right before dawn. Right before dawn my mother got up quietly.

"Where are you going?" I asked her.

"Go back to sleep," she said, and she tiptoed over the snoring bodies toward the little strip of pasture at the top of the down-below hill. This is the spot from which you can see everything. No one can sneak up on you here.

I went back to sleep and did not wake up until I heard the farmer coming out in the early morning light. Cherry snapped awake when she heard the feed in the bucket and the stampede to the feeders was on and the farmer did the morning head count, around all the feeders, then did the count again, then turned to me and said, "where is your mother?"

I looked over right away to the top of the down-below hill, and there she was. The farmer looked too. She was just lying down, and turning sideways to push, almost like you would do if you were having a baby. That's funny, I thought to myself, it almost looks like she is having a baby, but you would have to be bred to have a baby, and my mother hasn't been bred since she had me years ago, what a pretty baby I was, really just completely darling - just then the farmer rushed past me and the next thing I knew my mother was being frogmarched up to the barn.

Inside the barn the farmer quickly made a makeshift nest in the aisle and grabbed the towels from the tack room and within a couple of minutes there were two feet heading out which seemed to make it even more likely that my mother was having a baby.

The feet came out and then the legs, which isn't unusual in fact the legs almost always follow the feet. You can make a note of this if you are keeping a detective chart: where the feet go the legs will follow. These legs were jet black and they seemed to keep coming, and the farmer said, "this is going to be a tall one, it must be a buckling," and the legs kept coming and coming and finally there was the nose, jet black too, and the farmer gave a couple of gentle pulls and out slid the Dark Secret.

The farmer gave a little gasp, probably because it was definitely a baby goat. Or maybe because it was a doeling. Or maybe it was something else? There was something about the baby, I couldn't quite put my finger on it, I knew the baby was my sister, but she looked nothing like me. She looked nothing like my mother either. But I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

Lori came over later and the farmer asked did she notice anything different about the baby.

"Well it's quite tall," said Lori. This was true, it was very tall and elegant, much taller than any of the other doelings. Yes but that's not it, said the farmer. "Well it seems to have sort of wavy hair," said Lori. Yes but that's not it, said the farmer. "It's very black, quite black," said Lori. "It's one of the blackest goats I've ever seen, except for its white cap." Yes but that's not it, said the farmer. "It isn't chubby like the others," Lori proposed.

The farmer gave up. "Did you notice," the farmer asked, "that it doesn't have any ears?"

"That's it!" said Lori.

The Dark Secret was my mother's idea. No one knows how she did it, and it was a very dangerous thing to try. Things could have gone very wrong. But they didn't. So I suppose all is well and everyone got what they wanted. Except the bucks. The bucks have new no-climb fencing around their pen, and double hot wires coming soon.

The Dark Secret is the prettiest mini-Mancha we have ever had here. And the most beloved, not least because she will be my mother's last daughter EVER.

Nonetheless, all you does listening out there, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.











Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Long Lunch

Sorry there has been a delay. The dark secret is coming soon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Dark Secret

Every family has its dark secrets. Our family is no exception.

But our secret is very dark. Darker than most. In fact it is black. Jet black, the blackest true black, as black as the velvet lining of your violin case.

Anyway maybe you don't know but the Baby Belle family now has only two known living daughters. They are Blue Umbrella, the blue-eyed candy milker, and Belle Pepper, my mother.

My mother has only been bred once and she had me and my brother. We were born right after the original Baby Belle died, and I became Baby Belle Jr. My brother went to live with an artist. He lives in a sumptuous goat shed with a copper roof and diamond-paned casement windows. If Martha Stewart ever does a magazine issue on goat sheds his shed will be on the cover. Our shed will be on the "DON'Ts" page if they have that. I don't think they will have that page, though. Who wants to see Tara with the flapping roof and the chewed up siding boards (it wasn't me) and the mile-high Goatberry Mountain. There are never any berries in Martha Stewart Living. Not that kind. That's why they invented Photoshop.

Anyway I got off track. My mother had me. And she was never bred again. The reason was supposedly that she did not have a good udder. But really in reality I think she was too dear. She is the dearest goat, and what if she should be bred and something should happen. There are only two Baby Belle daughters left. But anyway for public consumption the official reason was that she did not have a very good udder.

Every year when she came in heat my mother would go to the farmer and volunteer to be bred. "I don't think so," the farmer would say. "Maybe next year."

And so on. I am five years old and I have never had any other brothers and no sisters at all. Not a single one.

"Wait a minute," you are probably asking, "not even one?"

No. The answer was always no. Until the dark secret.

--- lunchtime, part 2 tomorrow --