Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Betweenlands

Nobody really likes them very much and they just don't care. On the other hand nobody really dislikes them very much and they don't care about that either. Really they only care about one thing and that is each other.

This is the case of Blue Jaye and Dinky Dollarbird. They are mother and daughter. Each one is a little polka-dotted blue-eyed church mouse. Their church is the Church of the Third Cutting and the 16% Dairy Grain. They worship at the church as often as possible. They are very pious.

Blue Jaye is the daughter of my aunt, the late lamented Blue Umbrella, who was a daughter of the original Baby Belle. I guess she is my cousin but I don't really think about that. This is a strange branch of the Belle family tree, known for being quiet and mild-mannered. Even my own mother, Blue's sister, was gentle and kind. Possibly at some point they were adopted and the paperwork got lost. Or eaten by someone. Winjay loves paper especially those brown grocery sacks. Anyway Blue was always very polite and never once was put in lockdown. Which just really doesn't make sense to tell the truth.

Back to Blue Jaye and Dinky Dollarbird. Dinky Dollarbird had a nickname for a while, she was called Little Drudgery. This was because she was so morose and sad once she got to be Last Year's Baby and Blue Jaye forgot about her. But when her younger brother went to a new home she returned to Blue Jaye's side and stuck there like glue and her depression disappeared. No more moping and sighing.

Together they carved a life for themselves in the betweenlands.

Wherever they were put they would escape together and settle down right along the fenceline outside the pasture they were supposed to be in, always on the betweens between where they were supposed to be and where they were. This was so they could be around only each other and no one else, they do not like anyone else. When they were put in the fat girl pasture with the fat girls they escaped and set up a little tiny home under the overhang of the fat girl barn. The fat girls were inside the barn, two feet away, but there was a wall between them so that made it okay.

When they were put in the big barn they escaped about eighteen inches away, worming through the fence and taking over Dolly's dogloo next to the gate. It isn't big enough for two normal goats, but it is perfectly fine for them, since there is never any space between them.

When people visit they always ask, what about these two? Are they supposed to be out here? "No," explains the farmer. "But yes."

They eat, they stroll, they murmur and confer on important topics, they sleep. They never make a sound unless they are separated. Then it is Katy bar the door, the air raid siren goes off. Otherwise peace and harmony. Always in the betweenlands.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

She Was Warned

Ok June Bug got born and spent her days on 24-hour food service, traveling from the milk machine (her mother Faraway) to the hay feeder to the fat girl feeder to the old lady feeder to the fenceline feeder to the horse feeder. She remained pocket size despite her prodigious eating skills and she walked right through the holes in the fence Natty Bumppo style. Like the Leatherstocking she was a goat of many names, a spirit in the grain bin, ghostwalker, feedstuffer, micro-pig, disobediator, white fog. And so on like that. This went on day after day after day after day. After day.

The farmer's patience wore thin. Then thinner and thinner, until it was a sheet of fluttering angry gauze. It could not get any thinner. The farmer said, 'listen, I am not going to tell you again.'

She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

And now she is in the lockdown cell with her fellow criminal, Belle Starr. This is what happens.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Did You Fall from a Shooting Star?

As far as who is the most tiresome kid ever I always thought it was Crumpet being ferried everywhere in private limousine, dining toute seule by barnlight in the grain bin, taking private piano lessons, wearing dog coats with dog turtlenecks underneath, mewing for her chauffeur at dinner time, ratting out any friendly thrashings she might receive. Crumpet, hands down.

But just when you think the brat bar has been set so high that no one else will ever come near it, along comes June.

Along comes June. Homely monkey-faced hoodlum with ears like two kites.

That is all I can say for now because it sticks in my craw. I will have to tell more later.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Oaf of Office

Pinky has one ear now and it has gone to her head.

She was always large but she used to be reasonably humble.

Now she stays in a private stall every night and gets first pick hay and extra peas. Everyone else gets in trouble when they stampede over the broken fence rail and into the front yard.

Yelling yelling yelling, then comes Pinky's turn and nothing but fond chuckles. Ha ha ha for Pinky, threats and promised thrashings for everyone else.

Pinky has been in her stall so long she learned how to open the door, even though she is 1/16th Nubian. Her stall is called Pinky Tower now and the way she acts you would think she is The Oaf of Office. Yesterday it was pouring so she would not set hoof outside the barn but she let herself out of Pinky Tower and started eating the third cutting alfalfa out of the haystack. She also berried freely all over the aisle and what happened. Nothing but fond chuckles.

When Hannah Belle used to do that it was quickstep frogmarch to the horse trailer, no questions asked.

When Pinky does it, ha ha ha.

Ha ha ha. I say bitterly. Ha bitter ha ha ha.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Affidavit of Probable Cause, or In Case You Were Wondering Why Tractors Have Headlights

Incident Report # 2017-01-06. Documented disaster involving: 8-month-old LaMancha doeling. Small brownish female ruminant with four legs. IQ: normal but no genius. Temperature: extremely cold. Name: Coco. Sire: Moony. Dam: Marti. Doeling was unsupervised by parents at the time of the disaster. They were busy with their own affairs, according to witnesses at the scene.

Ok the farm officer arrived for the evening feeding at approximately 1600 hours or something like that.  Maybe it was 1630. Or does it go by 50s when you do it that way? 1650? Ok I will just say it, it was 4:30. It was dark because it was winter.

Ok the farm officer arrived and began feeding. The farm officer looked around dully and then said "I thought I heard a distant screaming? Or maybe it was more of a distant moaning?"

What else is new, said the expression on Eo's face as she shouldered her way to the front of the line.

The farm officer trundled off to feed the bucks and then came back.

"There is definitely some sort of distant moaning. Or maybe more of a muffled screaming?" insisted the farm officer, then began spraying the flashlight over everybody. No one was distant moaning or muffled screaming as everyone was stuffing their face.

The farmer stumped out the back of the barn and began spraying the flashlight over the field and did not see anything. The farmer sprayed the flashlight over into the neighbor's field and did not see anything. The farmer turned and started back to the barn and then the distant moaning came distinctly from the little decrepit shed near the water tank. A sad hopeless defeated heartrending weak moaning.

The farmer stumped over to the tiny shed which was built with the uphill side resting on the ground and the downhill side resting on two pier blocks. It was built many years ago as a private home for Baby Belle. For 14 years the shed stayed on its pier blocks. Now it was off.

I do not intend to incriminate anyone but the reason it was off its blocks was because two lumbering oafish suspects Xie Xie and Schwinnie had a battle and they both t-boned into the shed simultaneously with their cinderblock heads and knocked it off its piers.  Unfortunately for Coco she was inside the shed when this happened.

The shed came off its piers, tipped up in the air on the uphill side as the downhill side moved, slid a few inches downhill, then dropped back down directly on Coco's head. From the looks of things she was lying flat enjoying a refreshing nap at the time the house dropped on her. According to the flashlight Coco was panting heavily but did not appear able to move any of her extremities (legs) and the farmer began swearing spectacularly but in a comforting tone, patting Coco and then finally saying, "it's okay, Coco, we will get you out."

Oh really how? We all looked on with interest. The farmer pushed on the shed and it did not move even one millimeter. The farmer left and in a few minutes was back, aboard the tractor, which was loaded with mysterious implements and 2-by-4s and blocks and shims and tools and the screw-on forklift forks.

And thus began the slowest rescue operation ever conducted. First the farmer took the wall off the back of the shed to make it easier to see. Then the lifting, then the shimming, shimming then lifting, inch by inch the shed went up into the air. In the distance we could hear the seals barking in the moonlight down in Joe's Bay. Finally Coco was free but she didn't move. Probably her neck was broken.

"Great," wheezed the farmer. "that's just great."

By the light of the tractor headlamps the farmer slowly and laboriously dragged Coco out from under the shed. By this time it was about 25 degrees.  Gently the farmer stood Coco up on her feet. She held herself up for a couple of seconds, then sank to the ground shivering. Neck not broken!

Coco was rushed by Kubota ambulance to a private stall and covered with blankets and filled with warm drinks and propped between two bales to keep her upright and dosed with vitamin b and other goat remedies.

In the morning she was almost fine. "People would not believe the things that happen around here," the farmer said to Sammy after breakfast.

No charges were filed although they probably should have been but the witnesses would not cooperate.

Further your affiant sayeth naught.

Monday, October 31, 2016


Supposedly if the ear stayed on for ten days it would be considered reattached for good. So we started counting the days and everyone vowed not to mention anything about it being on backwards. But around Day Seven it started to come off.

"Pinky, your ear is coming off!" boomed Moony.

Pinky ignored this comment but Pebbles did not.

"No it isn't," she insisted. "It's perfect. There's nothing wrong with it."

"There is nothing wrong with it except it is on backwards and it is coming off," agreed Moony.

"Moony," gabbled Pebbles, "there is a reason no one ever listens to you."

"You're listening," Moony pointed out.

"No I'm not," shrieked Pebbles.

Around this time the Farmer came out and examined Pinky and soon an announcement was made that Pinky was going back to the vet. Pinky went back to the vet and several hours passed and then Pinky returned and this time she only had one ear.

Pebbles immediately sang the praises of Pinky's new look, she would not allow a bad word to be said about Pinky no matter what. "I love it!" she announced. "It's sleek! So sleek! Like a seal!"

Everyone else was pretty much tired of the ear topic including Pinky and no one jumped on the Pebbles earless-praise bandwagon. Moony of course had to put a few words in but you can hardly count that.

"They have a word for when you have one eye." mused Moony. "But what is the word when you only have one ear?"

"They have a word for when you are an idiot," Pebbles responded.

"What is it?" asked Moony.

"It's idiot." explained Eo.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Ear

Ok. Pinky went to the vet. The vet was very nice and sewed Pinky's ear back on and stitched Pinky back together with about a million stitches and staples. This took several hours. The vet left several parts unstitched, saying "I think I will leave that one," and "that one is probably better open," and "that is just a hole." Which didn't really make sense because they were all just holes.

The vet did not think it would be a good idea to give her any anesthesia so Pinky had to just stand there and be stitched. She stood quietly and did not complain.

The farmer came home and announced that Pinky would be staying in the VIP suite for the foreseeable future and no one must bother her and please keep it down and please do not make any comments about her staples or any jokes about TSA or metal detectors or anything like that. Pinky hobbled into the barn looking actually worse than before she left probably because all the adrenaline had rushed back out of her system. Her face had started swelling up, and now she was limping terribly, and she had lots of orange shaved patches where they had cleaned the bites with betadine, and she was glistening with staples. Underneath the orange she looked gray.

She was greeted with a hushed awe and no one said anything. And once the door closed we couldn't see her but she was moaning in the night when she would try to move.

"Oh dear," whispered Pebbles, when Pinky would moan. Pebbles was still thunderstruck. She hadn't said anything all day since The Dog and now in spite of being the world's biggest blabbermouth she never made a peep unless Pinky moaned and then she would whisper "oh dear," and shiver.

The next day was very grim and Pinky could not get up and she would not eat anything. The next day after that she went back to the vet and they discovered she had a big gash inside her mouth where the dog had bitten up from the bottom and the bite had gone all the way through her mouth and saliva was running out the holes. They sewed that up in two layers of stitches and seemed pleased and then they looked at the reattached ear rather skeptically and said, "hmm."

Okay then Pinky started eating. First she ate only willow leaves. Then she ate willow and grape leaves. Then she ate willow and grape leaves and actual grapes. And then she added applesauce and bananas. Then she ate some warm oatmeal with brown sugar. Then some Cheerios the farmer's friend brought over. Then she added nice soft grass hay. Then senior horse grain soaked in warm water. Pretty soon she was eating just about all day long, very slowly and carefully, but only stopping for naps.

Then she started taking short walks outside, and that was when everyone noticed one by one something strange. No one wanted to say anything but everyone looked at each other and it was clear that everyone saw it.

"Is it just me?" asked Eo drily.

"Don't say anything," said Betty.

"Pinky, your ear is on backwards," boomed Moony, who can't follow directions.

Pinky's ear was on backwards.

"I think it looks jaunty," Pebbles whispered gallantly. "I love it."

Pinky acted like she didn't hear. Or maybe she didn't hear.

"I just love it," Pebbles gargled. "I wish I had an ear like that."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Dog

I was not there I was in the other pasture so Pebbles is going to tell the story.

It was a nice morning. We were waiting for the hay so we were all standing up by the fence behind the barn. I was trying to decide on a good title for my TED Talk for when I am asked to do a TED talk which it's just a matter of time before that happens. Probably the invitation already came and the farmer accidentally recycled it. Anyway I had three good choices so I was just deciding. "The Story of Me," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," or "I, Pebbles."

Then I saw the dog. I had never seen it before. What is that stupid dog doing I thought. It was over on the other side of the fence by the maple tree and it was digging. Everyone clumped a little closer together and watched it.

It was whining a lot and digging fast and pretty soon it had made a hole under the fence. Eo got a funny look and ran like the wind down into the lower pasture. I never saw Eo run so fast. What is that stupid dog doing I thought. I moved over behind Pinky because she was the biggest goat. I was standing with Pinky's daughters and we were all watching the dog.

The dog squirmed in under the fence and stood up and shook itself and there was just one single moment when everything stopped and time seemed to stand still and then all hell broke loose.

The barking started and the dog began chasing and everyone ran except Pinky and me and Pinky's daughters. The dog grabbed Betty and then Big Orange and then one of Poppy's daughters. But they all managed to squirm away. I could see blood running down the side of Betty's face and Big Orange went down hard on one knee but then she got up and ran away. Then the dog turned around and came at us. We were in the corner of the fence near the barn, Pinky's daughters Ginger and Champagne and I. And Pinky standing in front of us.

There was nowhere for us to go.

I don't remember everything that happened then. There was so much chaos and barking. The dog lunged at Pinky's head. The dog bit Pinky again and again and again and still she would not run. Dolly was on the other side of the fence barking frantically. And finally after it seemed like forever the farmer ran up screaming. Screaming and yelling and throwing rocks. The only word to describe the farmer was that the farmer was enraged. I have lived here my whole life since I was born and I have never seen the farmer so enraged. And when the dog heard the farmer yelling the dog left Pinky and lunged at Betty again and then lunged at Poppy and by this time the farmer was in the pasture and hit the dog with the first rock.

The dog turned and ran toward the farmer and the farmer hit it with the second rock and it thought better of what it was doing and it turned and ran and squirmed back under the fence. The farmer rushed everyone out the gate into the horse pasture, looking everyone over and seeing stripes of blood here and there but everyone was able to walk and run and it did not look like anything too serious.

"Ok," said the farmer and started the head count and only then did the farmer turn around and see us. The three of us, still in the corner behind Pinky. And Pinky, miraculously still standing.

"Oh Pinky." said the farmer. And the farmer gave a look I have not seen since Hannah Belle died and the farmer came over to us, all of a sudden just quiet as a church, quiet and slow.

"It's ok now, Pebbles," the farmer said to me, because I could not stop shaking. And the farmer gently so gently took Pinky's collar and we all walked out into the horse pasture together, very slowly and carefully, me and Ginger and Champagne following Pinky as she hobbled along one small step at a time, blood rushing down her neck and her belly and her legs and one ear hanging by a flap of skin.

And when we were out the farmer shut the gate behind us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Well unfortunately there is a problem. The farmer has not gotten any smarter and the files for my book have to be reformatted having to do with something technical. Ok big surprise. So there is a delay of unknown duration. The book is still coming but there is a delay. Well in case you don't know the whole reason for the blog in the first place was it was supposed to help keep track of things the farmer would forget because the farmer was always writing things on scraps of paper and then the scraps of paper would blow out the window of the farm truck and that would be that, someone's birth certificate sailing into a ditch on I-5 near the Pe Ell turnoff or something like that and then the farmer would have to go back and guesstimate when someone was born. "Wasn't it a Thursday? I know it was raining." 

Or the farmer would put it on a computer and the computer would crash and nothing could ever be saved from the hard drive. Oh dear, is all you can really say. 

So there was a lack of quality facts in general, everything was a surmise. In fact it was quite dreary, the farmer was saying this all the time. "I surmise that Wronny's twins are about 6 weeks old," the farmer would say. "Or wait a sec, did she have triplets?" 

Back then before the cloud got to be The Cloud the blog was really just a kind of a big herdbook in the sky with birthings and demises and Important Farm Events (IFEs) enshrined in it so that when the farmer forgot the farmer could go in and look things up. 

But then there was a very bad year with too much happening and a very disheartening betrayal and the Blog got to seem to be just one more thing to do and the farmer finally said oh for goodness sake this blog is a lot of work and I can just put everything in The Cloud now and after all the age of blogs has passed, everyone is on Facebook now, so just forget the whole thing. Just forget it. So the blog got discontinued. 

But the Farmer never would take time to get things properly in The Cloud, and so once again there was a shortage of quality facts. Like for example at this point no one knows how old Sherbert is or when he was born because he was born After The Blog (AFB) and so no blog record existed and right about now you are probably saying Sherbert? Who is Sherbert? Which illustrates my point. 

Anyway only for the purpose of Fact Improvement the blog is going to be restarted but please don't read it because there won't be anything interesting in it, it will just be IFEs. Thank you. 

Curious George and Galloping Gertie and Georgia Boots were born on the last day of January. George and Gertie flew off on a jet plane to a new home. Georgia Boots is still here wreaking havoc. 

Lionel had 12 kids born this year and 11 were bucklings. "Hmm," said a visitor to the farm politely, "maybe his underpants are too tight?" 

Coco was born -- uh oh maybe the horse girl will know. 

Jupiter and June were born on June 6. 

Belle Starr's triplet bucklings were born on June 18. The farmer does not have favorites but if the farmer did have favorites Belle Starr would be the favorite, behind me of course. Not because she is beautiful and has a beautiful udder and milks almost a gallon a day but because she is so smart, so wicked, so irresistible, so like her mother, so like her grandmother, and reminds the farmer of how good it is to be lucky, and how lucky it is to be good.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


I know no one reads this any more but my book is going to the printer on Thursday or Friday I think. But they are saying they will cut the hay on Thursday or Friday so if that happens my book may not go to the printer until Monday. But anyway my book is going to the printer so if you are waiting for a copy you can can start getting on pins and needles. There could be more about me in it but it is pretty good, better than most books, which don't have anything about me in them.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Thank You

Thanks everyone for reading This Goat's Life. It will be available in slightly expanded book form in late May or early June of 2016. It will probably no longer be updated online. Thanks for all the fish and everything.

Friday, November 06, 2015

The Limelight

Crumpet. She only has one name. She only needs one name.

Crumpet has been out of the limelight for a long time. At least a year. It was a complicated time, happy but sad, a time of loss and new beginnings. For the farmer, not for Crumpet.

For Crumpet it was a time of extreme Crumpetude. After officially being declared an undersized hood ornament, a long-bodied wiener dwarf, too tiny to breed, too microscopic to milk, too small to show, something happened. Nobody knows what. Maybe it was something in the water.

Anyway Crumpet, TMFGITW, sister of Crayola and Pebbles, daughter of Jackie and Abby, failed piano prodigy, goat show flop, inexplicably brimming with self-esteem - that Crumpet - continued to grow. Everyone else stopped growing once they got to be her age. She did not. She kept growing, stealthily, in tiny increments.

And in less than one year, while no one was watching, she grew three inches so that she was over nineteen inches tall. On certain mornings after stretching when she woke up, she was almost twenty inches tall.

She went around saying it, in lieu of more customary salutations:

“Isn’t the weather nice? I am twenty inches tall.”

“Please step away from the grain pan, Moldy junior. I am twenty inches tall.”

Twenty inches, Crumpet’s almost height, is a normal height for a Nigerian. It isn’t exactly towering, but it is normal. It certainly wouldn’t be considered Lilliputian, except maybe in the Belle family. But then on the other hand, Betty, the smallest Belle, is only about 21 inches tall.

In addition to growing three inches, Crumpet arranged to be bred, with no help or assistance from anyone else, and she became a milker, and she took to the milkstand like a duck to water.  At the peak of her milking she was milking three pounds a day. Wherever she went (in her mind’s eye) the invisible crowds erupted in cheers.

That is almost all we can tell you about Crumpet’s year out of the limelight, because she has requested that a veil of privacy be drawn across these twelve long bittersweet triumphant  months.

So all we can say is yes, it is true, she proved everyone (the farmer) wrong. She showed that where there is a Crumpet, there is a way. She built a ladder to the stars, and she hung the moon.

Because sometimes you are in the limelight, and sometimes the limelight is in you.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

A good spot for remembering.

Barnyard CSI, Episode 032215: Professor Poppy's Proof, or, Solving for X

Sometimes it is not possible to ask questions and so you must intuit or deduce using your faculties if you have any. Intuit is where you look at the half-finished puzzle and say to yourself, aha, the missing piece is in the shape of an ear of corn, so I intuit that it is an ear of corn. It is a kind of intellectual gymnastics where you add things up and arrive at an answer, solving for X, where X is the thing that is conspicuously absent.

Obviously if you are a Nubian you cannot do this.

But anyway we have been trying to solve for X in the matter of the tiny replicant now known as Eo 2.0.

There was a conspicious lack of volunteers when Poppy suggested that someone should ask Eo who was the father of Eo 2.0. Very conspicuous.

And so this led to a lot of wide-ranging deduction and intuiting, not necessarily in that order.

"It looks exactly like Eo," said Dinky, under her breath.

"Exactly," agreed Ivy the Crafty Dunderhead.

"It looks nothing like Chaos."


"Nor Lionel."

"Nor Jackie."

"certainly not Fred."

"Not Fred. Or Thomas."

"Look! A cloud!" (disregard - Part-Nubian comment).

This discussion went round and round until finally Poppy said, "I wonder if it is possible for someone to be the father AND the mother of a kid."

This had a goggling effect on the conversation as everyone considered the ramifications.

"Because we know who the mother is." Poppy went on. "And if it were possible, then this case would prove it."

"What you are saying," blurted my daughter Izzy, in a Barnyard CSI tone of voice, " is can X EQUAL X?"

There was a stunned silence as we realized that we had reached the border of a brave new world.

"Which of course it can," pronounced Poppy. "Because X IS X."

"And never the twain shall meet," one of the Butterball twins breathed, in a tone of awestruck admiration.

"X IS X," we all agreed. The proof is in the pudding. The answer is in the question.

If Dam = X and Sire = X, Kid = X

Eo is the  mother AND the father of Eo 2.0, because Eo is Eo. They said it couldn't be done, but they didn't know Eo.


Ivy the Crafty Dunderhead

Pebbles and her BFF Ivy got separated into different pastures and now Ivy has somehow assimilated herself in with the Butterball family and the Poppy clan. Not exactly IN, but they don't t-bone her any more unless she gives them some kind of reason for it. And once in a while she will even t-bone someone else.

So everyone kind of forgot that she is the new girl. It only took about a year and a half, probably because she is not from Oregon and speaks fairly intelligibly.

The thing about Ivy is that she has all kinds of plans and schemes, rows and rows of little saplings of ideas, but she cannot see the forest in front of her. Because she is a dunderhead. A crafty dunderhead.

How she got her name is every morning when the farmer comes to feed Ivy does the same thing. Ivy doesn't know it but she is on low-impact Friendlies which means that the farmer is going to pet her while she eats every morning and if she doesn't want to be petted she won't eat. So when the farmer puts the grain in the tray in the fenceline feeder and Ivy shoves her head through, the farmer pets her. This happens every morning. Ivy runs to her spot next to Crumpet and starts eating and the farmer starts petting her.

She squawks in alarm and pulls her head out and runs around to the other side of Crumpet, about eight inches away from where she started, and sticks her head in again. The farmer does not have to even move, the farmer just pets her with the other hand. She squawks and runs back to first position.

Second verse same as the first.

At first she kept doing this until all the food was gone, maybe 15 times per feeding. Now she has it down to three.

"That's very crafty what you're doing," Poppy said the first time she saw it.

 And that is how she got her name.

Mother of Dragons, or It Took So Long to Bake It

Eo is supposedly retired from everything except ruling the world with an iron hoof. She is twelve or thirteen or something like that, no one knows because she doesn't celebrate birthdays, but in any case she is a bona fide VCP. She is a miniature Toggenburg, which sounds very cute, but she isn't cute, and even though the Toggenburg is a Swiss goat there is nothing Swiss about her, no Heidi, no edelweiss, no Saint Penrose, no fancy chocolates wrapped in silver foil, no yodeladyhoo, no cuckoo clock, no colorful folk outfits or ten-foot-long bugle horns, she is more like a shrunken-down Polizei officer from East Germany before they tore down the wall, when you see her the first thing you do is to try to walk casually to the nearest exit, doing your best to look innocent, but once you start there is a terrible itch in your legs and pretty soon you break into a sweaty gallop and just as you get to the tall grass you yell "Fire!" or "Free Alfalfa!" to create a diversion.

When she swivels her head and looks at you with her Robocop eyes you will understand the meaning of fear. She is one of the farmer's favorites, of course.

Anyway a few weeks ago Eo announced to everyone in particular, "I am going in the shed and no one else better come in." So we all went and stood bunched up against the fence, which is as far away from the shed as you can get, and we turned our backs for good measure just to prevent any stray accidental eye contact in case Eo came to the door and looked out.

After a few minutes it started raining and Dinky Dollarbird aka Little Drudgery who is thin-skinned wondered if it might be okay to go and stand under the overhang of the shed, not anywhere near the door, but just under the overhang.

"Go ahead if you want, " said Poppy drily, "But I will wait here." Rain streamed down her face and dripped from her beard.

Just then we heard two loud screams from the shed.

"I guess I will wait here," said Dinky.

It stopped raining and began pouring instead but we stayed rooted to our spot and pretty soon Crumpet started in humming. Ivy the Crafty Dunderhead joined in, and then one of the Butterball twins, and then Winnie. It was a low and mournful someone-left-the-cake-out-in-the-rain humming.

Then came another barking businesslike scream from deep in the shed, and a couple of minutes after that Eo appeared in the doorway. She looked from side to side, just like a character in a movie checking to see if the coast is clear, and then she went back in. The rain stopped immediately.

A couple more minutes passed, and then Eo strolled out into the sunshine. Hot on her heels came a tiny, exact Eo replica, its hair neatly combed, but still steaming damply.

"I wonder who that is," mused Ivy.

The tiny Eo replica flicked its gimlet eyes at Ivy, and Ivy actually took two two steps backward, gasping.

"I wonder." said Poppy. Drily of course.

Eo and the tiny Replicant performing synchronized maneuvers.




Out of the Blue

Well for many years it has been promised that our ancestral home, the Cabana, located atop Goatberry Mountain, which we made ourselves through the fruits of our own rumens, the Mountain part anyway not the actual cabana, would be demolished and torn down and stricken from the face of the Earth and so on. "This place is an eyesore," the farmer would always say, "and it is going to be torn down."

"What place?" the Nubian crosses would say. "Not THIS place?" and then they would look around with all-encompassing looks of alarm, at the meadow with the frogs, the madrona forest on the other side, the hill leading up to the big barn, the buck shack, the willow trees along the creek.

"No," Wronny would explain for the umpteenth time. " Just THIS place."

"Oh." They would say. "Oh. Okay."

"Just this place," Big Orange would murmur.

"Okay then," Moony would repeat."Just this place."

Nubian crisis averted.

Anyway a few weeks ago after 12 years or so of unveiled threats a man named Charles arrived out of the blue and looked at the Cabana appraisingly with the farmer standing next to him, both of them staring with arms crossed and blank faces.

"So this is the place." he said.

"Yes." said the farmer.

He did not seem like the type for idle chitcat, certainly not of 12 years duration. He had with him a large black box on wheels.

"Ok." He said. "Let's get started."

He opened the box and took out a sledgehammer. And thus it began.

The Black Box

Inside the Black Box

The Eyesore Meets Its Match

So Much Things to Say

It was March 11th. Or possibly it was March 12th.

We knew it would happen. We all knew it. She knew it too, of course.

She wanted to go and lie against the fence at the bottom of the hill, looking out into the meadow. Whenever something important is going to happen, she likes to get away from the herd. She did the same thing last year when the Dark Secret came. I lay down next to her. We both went to sleep.

I did not know that I knew it, but when the morning came and she did not get up, I did not try to wake her up, the way I might have done when I was younger. Because I knew. I did not say, "not today," because I knew. I just waited beside her.

The sun came up slowly. It seemed to take forever. Maybe it did take forever, maybe that's what forever is. There was a blanket of fog across the meadow.

Finally I heard the farmer come outside.

I heard the chain clinking on the gate. I heard the grain buckets rattling. I heard everyone stampeding to the feed alley. I waited. I knew the farmer would come and find us in a few minutes. So I just waited with her. It was the only thing I could do.

My mother is gone. My mother passed over the border to infinity.

Herron Hill CJ Belle Pepper, 3/16/2007-3/12/2015.
when the rain falls, it don't fall on one man's house.

the Hill, the Fence, the Meadow, Infinity

the Hill, the Fence, the Meadow, Infinity

the Hill, the Fence, the Meadow, Infinity. And a Buttercup.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Kidder's Guide, Part Two

Okay now you have had your kids. They are 'on the ground' as the farmers like to say which I don't understand because where else would they be, they aren't pteradactyls. They are walking around yelling and searching for milk, unless they are bucklings. If they are bucklings, they may be laying limp and dazed in the straw, wondering why they got ejected from their comfy hot tub. If necessary you can go Jammies on them and give them a couple of kicks in the ribs. This will usually get them started. (That is where the 'kickstarter' web site gets its name, fyi.)

Anyway, your job is done.

Let's say you had a lot of kids and they were kind of tangled up and one of them has twisted legs or is walking on his knuckles or something like that. What should you do?

Nothing. He will be fine in a couple of days. Your job is done.

Now you must concentrate on eating. Eat as much as you can as rapidly as possible. Complain loudly if they try to foist grass hay on you. Demand 4th cutting alfalfa.

No need to fawn any longer.

Your job is done.

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.