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, just one, a singleton, and then Sandy upped the ante with two little 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, 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 --




Friday, March 28, 2014

The Ugly Duckling and the Dark Secret

Binky had a little baby buckling and he was unfortunately quite homely.

"He has good posture, though," Belle Pepper said brightly and Binky t-boned her into the wall.

"His face reminds me of a bad dream I once had," offered Belle Starr. Binky t-boned her into the wall.

"Which end is the face?" asked little Hannah Banana pertly, scampering under the milkstand so that Binky t-boned her own head on the side of it, after which she staggered briefly, then returned to licking and admiring her little Frankenson with apparent sincerity.

"mmmyyy llllittttllle sssonnn," she murmured over and over, occasionally doing patented Binky muffle-screams of delight. Binky has a part-Nubian thing she does where she screams with her mouth closed. This is called a muffle-scream and it is almost always an expression of extreme delight.

"Wow," said all the Nigerian mothers, looking at their own kids, all of them so exquisitely beautiful, many with the faces of goat angels, and then at the little Frankenson. "Wow."

"Maybe his name should be Evander," suggested Abby. "He looks like he has already been in a fight."

"Wow," said Poppy, soberly.

"mmmyyy llllittttllle sssonnn," moaned Binky.

Oh dear, we ran out of time for the Dark Secret. We will have to do it tomorrow.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

This Won't Do AT ALL and the Dark Secret

There was something about Blue. She just didn't quite seem quite right.

Blue always has her kids unfailingly and invariably on Day 146 (if the kids are triplets) or Day 147 (if they are twins.) It was Day 151.

"This is getting old," muttered the farmer. Blue was eating and drinking and moving around and her ligaments were not softening but there was something about her. Something distant and preoccupied.

"Come up to the barn," said the farmer, and Blue went up to the barn to the kidding aisle. The farmer gave her some calcium. Later in the day she did start to soften. She started chuckling and nickering to the farmer. She looked around distractedly - wait a minute, this isn't the Nigerian shed. How did I get here? She almost seemed right.  

But there was something just a little bit glassy about her.

She made a little bit of a nest but didn't really paw it up or lay down to push. She ate dinner. At 10 o'clock she was fine. At midnight she was fine but it looked like she might be thinking of pushing, she had her back legs stretched out, but the farmer watched her for a few minutes and she didn't do anything.

"She never kids at night," the farmer announced to everyone in the barn. "Come on, Sammy, let's take a nap."

Oh really we all thought. No one mentioned that she never kids on Day 152 either.

The farmer and Sammy went to the cottage and set an alarm for 1 a.m. It did not go off. At 2:45 Sammy started scratching and scratching the farmer and the farmer woke up. "Do you have to go out?" asked the farmer blearily, then looked at the clock. The farmer and Sammy came bursting into the barn a few seconds later.

Blue was pushing hard and when the farmer finally got there it was something we had not seen before, three feet, two backs and a front, and a big head, all trying to come at the same time.

"This won't do AT ALL," the farmer said, or something like that only with a lot more curse words in it. The big head got stuffed back in, all the way back in, and the back legs got pulled out - they were attached to a gigantic buck kid - and then the big head politely re-emerged, again with only one foot but by this time there was plenty of room - and out lolloped another gigantic buck kid.

Blue gave a gracious nod, dismissing the farmer. Sammy got to eat some of Spenny's special boiled chicken. We will have to tell about the Dark Secret tomorrow.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Last Year's Baby

Is there anything sadder than last year's baby? Oh look, last year's baby, it used to be so cute. And now it is last year's baby. Blue Jaye's little daughter Dinky Dollarbird has been moping around trying to get attention. Her mother went up to the barn to have this year's baby, Edward Scissorlegs, and Dinky has been crying-for-me-Argentina ever since.

Rosie the grain hog came right out and told her: "look, no one is interested in you. So button it up."

"Waa," said Dinky tepidly. She was even losing interest in herself. "Waa."

If there is one thing sadder than last year's baby, it is The Most Famous Goat In The World not having its every last goatberry documented and applauded. It's true, Crumpet has been living her life as if she were a perfectly ordinary goat, a nobody from nowhere with nothing to say, she might as well be a Saanen wether, and not the potentate of a multinational organization with offices around the world and her own t-shirt. She got an idea for a startup company (goatLYFT) the other day, and nobody even heard about it, that's how hard it is to get your name in the paper this time of year.

Unless you are a baby.

Babies. Even TMFGITW cannot compete with the little devils. They do not even know how much they love the limelight. They will find out next year, in the springtime, when they wake up one morning to discover that they are last year's baby.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Two Wrongs

They say two wrongs don't make a right.

But I don't know.

Belle Starr was not like some other does. Two or three days went by and she was still looking for her babies. Everywhere she went she looked for them. In the bushes, under the porch.

Meanwhile Terra Belle, never known for her mathematics skills, could not keep track of her triplets. She even asked Poppy: "how come you have three triplets, and I only have two?"

"Because I'm smarter than you," said Poppy, chewing her cud.

Anyway, everyone except Terra Belle knows what happened next. The farmer came and took Terra Belle's tiny triplet, and gave her to Belle Starr. Everyone looked away, and when Terra Belle asked Poppy the next day why Poppy had three triplets and she only had two, Poppy had a new answer.

"Because they're quadruplets."

It isn't really right to steal someone's triplet. But was it right for Terra Belle to have three triplets, and Belle Starr to have none?

I ask you, was it right?






Sunday, March 16, 2014

Starts With E....

Ok we got a lot of excellent OGG* names for the Pebbles twins (Pebbles x Promisedland Chaotic Bliss) and the boy is going to be called Electric BamBam. The girl we can't decide: on the one hand is the OGG* name Elegant Mayhem (Ellie), on the other the farmer's names Euphoregon (Euphie) and Thunderegg (Eggie), which has the e in the middle so I don't even know if it should be allowed. A thunderegg is a kind of rock found in Oregon, in fact it is the state rock of Oregon. You can look it up if you care. Elegant Mayhem is also good, because it is part Imperious Elegance and part Chaotic. Euphoregon is a long walk on a short pier, it does have a little bit of Bliss, and then it just has Oregon, portmanteau style but not really going anywhere, sort of a staycation of a name, but no other goat will ever have it, kind of like Secretariat.

Ok then we have the three orange triplets and one is already being called Orangina, so they obviously are in dire need of naming assistance. One is called Eric the Red, which could be worse because at least it starts with E. The third little orange girl is just being called "the third little orange girl." Someday soon, if no one intervenes, she will certainly be called "Thirdy." She has the personality of a basketball, just bounces around and off things, not a thought in her head.

Edward Scissorlegs
As far as Terra Belle's triplets, the two boys have no names at all whatsoever and the third tiny precious pet is Hannah Banana, which doesn't even have an e in it, much less start with an e, and she is being carried everywhere on a satin cushion and I think I know where that road leads. Okay then Blue Jaye's little son is being called Edward Scissorlegs for his way of standing, or should I say "standing," and the Belle Pepper doeling is ee velvet, same spelling as ee cummings. She is very poetic and has black curly hair and the disposition of an angel, and looks like she comes from a pretty how town.

So you can see, just as usual, some help is needed in the naming department.

*Ozarks Goat Girl

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Pebbles started in bellowing but she didn't know why, so at first she just bellowed randomly.

"Oh my!" she bellowed. Then, "the end is near!"

Then "death and taxes!"

"My innards!" she bellowed, as it began to dawn on her that something was happening to her but from the inside out. How diabolical. Usually when things happen to you they happen from the outside in, like when you step on a fence staple, that happened once when she was helping the farmer, my goodness that hurt and she had to get a shot afterward but in the end she got a lot of nice treats and went on free range for two days so the fence staple incident could not be considered entirely a bad thing and maybe this would turn out the same, with her getting a lot of special snacks, maybe Lori would even come over with the real fig newtons, not the knockoff convenience store fig newtons the farmer always buys that she eats out of politeness.

"Dios Mio!" she bellowed, lapsing into her native Oregonian.

Unfortunately her cries did not fall on deaf ears.

"Can you please put a sock in it?" the brutish Terra Belle asked threateningly, all pretend safety-patrol courtesy.

"I cannot hear myself eat," frumped Poppy.

"Zip it," insisted Belle Pepper.

Just then Pebbles spotted her BFF Ivy through the gate. Ivy alone seemed to care.

"Ivy!" she bellowed.

"Pebbles!" bellowed Ivy.

"I am going to kill both of you," seethed Eo.

This went on no joke I am not kidding for the next twelve hours. The farmer came and made a nest for Pebbles in the barn aisle, then went to look for the chainsaw ear muffs. The rest of the day the farmer walked around wearing ear muffs while we all suffered, but not in silence, the blessed Sound of Silence, in restless dreams I walked alone, and the vision that was planted in my brain, etc and so on.

Finally it got dark and Pebbles dropped her decibels down into the tolerable range.

"Ivy," she burbled.

"Pebbles," whispered Ivy, hunched under the feeder where she could not be t-boned.

Then Pebbles really went into labor, while the farmer tried to read "The Goldfinch" on a Kindle. At 4 in the morning she popped out a pair of fat buckskin twins, identical to their mother in every way, except for one being a girl and one being a boy.

"Oh," she said. "I see."

"Pebbles!" cooed Ivy. The farmer snored in a chair.




Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Sisters

If this were a movie, in the background of every scene you would see Pebbles, eating, eating, eating like a house on fire. In the foreground would be the frogs, making an ungodly din with their singing, they have never been so loud, and in the background would be beer-barrel Pebbles, wolfing the new alfalfa. In the next scene, three horses dozing in the sun. In the background Pebbles: gobbling the heads off the dandelions and scarfing some old leaves that blew off the roof of the shed.

Well Terra Belle had everyone on pins and needles because she went to day 150, and then she went to day 151, and all the time she was silent and uncomplaining and held her cards very close to her vest. The farmer moved her up to the kidding stall, but she escaped - slowly and inconspicuously, the way she does everything - and nobody even noticed she was gone until she had already made it back to the decrepit down-below shed, her beloved homeland of Tara, with its chewed-up siding and flapping roof and its landmark visible-from-Space Goatberry Mountain.

"Wait a minute," said the farmer, and went down to get her, accidentally letting Pebbles through the gate. Pebbles went about two inches then stopped dead in her tracks so she could start tearing at the new sprouts of grass. Terra Belle trudged back up, silent and uncomplaining, with the farmer frowning at her.

"You are just going to have a gigantic single buck kid on Day 160, aren't you?" sighed the farmer. The farmer tucked her in the kidding stall and turned to go back into the house, but something caught the farmer's attention for once and it was Belle Starr, Terra Belle's sister, down in the other pasture. Belle Starr had been twittering and twittering all morning, which isn't unusual, because she always calls to the farmer to serve her breakfast separately in her own private bowl, but yesterday the farmer moved the bowl to the buckling pen and told Belle Starr she would just have to eat out of the feeder with everyone else, and so that morning Belle Starr had been in what seemed like a state of high indignation.

Only she never got over it, and so the farmer went down to check on her, and in two seconds it was apparent that she was kidding, and the farmer rushed her up into the kidding stall with Terra Belle, leaving the gate open again. Pebbles galloped alertly back into the barn and buried her face in the hay, eating with her eyes closed because that seemed to make things go faster.

The farmer trotted arthritically to the house to look at the calendar and sure enough Belle Starr was not due until March 31. The farmer ran back to the barn and turned Belle Starr around to take a look, but what was coming was placenta, and that only means one thing, and so the farmer ran - wheezing - back down to the Nigerian shed, knowing what would be there, and sure enough in a far corner were three kids, two handsome bucklings and a beautiful tiny doeling, born too early to live.

One of the bucklings, tiny as he was, was twice the size of the others, almost the size of a normal baby. Years ago the farmer would probably have said, "I might have been able to save him if I had been here," but what is the point of that, if you had wheels you might be a bus. So the farmer picked them up and carried them to the cottage and washed them gently and then laid them in a little box, side by side, and covered them with Sammy's puppy quilt.

The farmer milked Belle Starr out, and she had a beautiful soft udder, just like her mother. Terra Belle watched stoically, and the farmer checked her again, and she still wasn't thinking of kidding. The rest of the day passed grudgingly, with Belle Starr being milked every few hours. Her crying grew softer, and took on an absent quality.

The next morning the farmer came out and Terra Belle had kidded in the night without a peep or a stitch of assistance, and tucked in the straw next to her were three kids, two handsome bucklings and a beautiful tiny doeling, brothers and sisters to Belle Starr's triplets. The two sisters were lying in opposite corners of the stall, looking at each other quietly.

Terra Belle with her triplets, Belle Starr alone.

And just then - of course, how could it be different - the good ship Pebbles began bellowing, at the top of its mighty lungs.....

(Stay Tuned)....