In all the brouhaha about adorable little Peanut, who I admit is the cutest thing on four hooves, some people seem to have forgotten that I have TWO new grandsons.
The other one is Goatzilla, aka Zilla, aka the prettiest blue-eyed buckling of all time.
My family of course is known for producing towering geniuses and kindly humble unaffected supermodels, but even by our standards Goatzilla is almost too pretty to look at.
Anyway, I'm sure you will see him on the covers of all the big goat magazines very soon, if you haven't already.
Like Cher, he needs only one name.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
For his first few days, Peanut was only able to walk in a straight line. If he came to a wall, he would just stop. Then, like a little wind-up toy, the juice would gradually drain out of him until he just stood in whatever corner he had fetched up in, head down and battery dead.
He couldn't turn his head properly to groom himself, and he couldn't scratch.
Today Peanut can do all these things. He can also jump and hop (very small hops.)
This morning for the first time he went to the baby corner where he sleeps with his brother and sister, and he saw that Boxcar Betty was lying in "his" spot. And he did something that all normal baby goats do, but he had never done before.
He pawed at Betty until she grudgingly moved over an inch or two so he could lie where he wanted.
Yes. That's right, world. It's time to make room for Peanut.
Friday, June 08, 2007
He still does not have the hang of getting milk from his mother, but he knows how to suck from a bottle pretty well. And he is nothing if not optimistic: if he is hungry and there is no bottle nearby, he just turns his head up and sucks from the air.
Yes, maybe a cloud of milk could be passing by. You don't know if you don't check.
But Peanut is still on Day One of the Nigerian growth chart. While his brother and sister nurse, jump, dance, caper, play, taste test bits of hay and grain, practice jumping up on things, fret their mother by socializing with Wendell, and plan for future trouble they might be able to cause, Peanut only sleeps and eats and walks in a straight line.
So he is a little on the slow side.
But still smarter than any Nubian around here.
And, if I say so myself, probably the cutest little teacup goat ever born.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
This is a picture of my grandson Peanut, just born.
Peanut did very well his second night. He did not have any more seizures, and he drank several small helpings of milk.
But because he isn't yet very good at getting milk from his mother without help, he came into the house to be a bottle baby at night. So for now he is bicoastal: bottle baby by night and Mama's boy by day.
Peanut is the smallest buckling ever born here.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
And she didn't.
But before she had any kids she extended her performance to an all-day marathon. She did some things that the farmer did not like, such as standing with her feet up on the ledge and lying with her neck flat along the ground to push. When the farmer sees these things, the farmer checks to make sure that the vet's number is still on speed dial, because often it means that the kids are in the wrong position to come out, and the mama goat is contorting herself to try to reposition them.
Around here it is called Snow Pea Syndrome - named in honor of my fat sister who had to have a c-section. Hannah Belle wasn't fat like Snow Pea, but sure enough she had some kids coming in the wrong direction.
The farmer went in to fish around after Hannah Belle had been in hard labor for a while, but could not find anything to pull out. There wasn't enough room to go all the way in, so Hannah Belle would have to be on her own. In the process, though, the farmer popped the first bubble, which usually speeds things up, and not too long afterward something finally made its way into the birth canal. It wasn't a foot or a nose, though.
It was a tail. Hannah Belle's first kid was breech, coming out butt first, not a good scenario. But before the farmer could try to reposition the kid, he shot out on his own, like a champagne cork.
He was tiny. Teeny tiny. He was the size of a peanut.
Meanwhile another kid was on the way, so Peanut had to wait. This one came out head first but with one leg back. Since his head was out, there was nothing to do but pull. Hannah Belle did some champion yelling, and finally the kid was tugged out, leg back and all.
He was HUGE. The farmer said, "look, it's Goatzilla." And the name stuck. Goatzilla got up and nursed. He was more than twice as big as Peanut, who still had not gotten any milk. And now Peanut would have to wait again, because another kid was coming.
Nobody knows how this one came out, because she arrived while they were all looking the other way. This was a normal-sized little girl, bigger than Peanut but not a monster. Boxcar Betty is her name. Like so many Nigerian doelings, she was drinking milk within a minute of birth.
Meanwhile, Peanut was finally up, and tottering around unsteadily, but he would not nurse. He didn't know how to suck. After a long struggle where Peanut almost had to go and be tubed, he finally took a little bit of colostrum. But not really very much. The farmer decided to take Peanut inside and make him a bottle baby.
And then something we had never seen before happened. Peanut had a seizure. A few minutes passed and Peanut had another seizure. And so on, until he had had eight seizures in two hours.
There was nothing the farmer could do about the seizures, so the farmer decided to bring Peanut back out to his mother. That was because the farmer thought Peanut might die in the night, and that he would probably rather die out in the barn, with Hannah Belle and Goatzilla and Boxcar Betty cuddled up around him.
After a few hours sleep the farmer came back out, looking grim, to see how Peanut was doing. Peanut was still alive. Hannah Belle had taken care of him through the night. The farmer went and got a bottle so Peanut could get extra milk with honey. Peanut gobbled an ounce of milk. The farmer went back in and brought back another ounce of milk with honey. Peanut gobbled it.
The farmer did the milking and feeding, watching Peanut the whole time with one eye. Peanut did not have any seizures. Hannah Belle nudged him and cleaned him and encouraged him. He stretched like a normal baby.
"Well," the farmer said to Peanut. "I guess you made it through the first night."
Now all we can do is wait and see what happens tomorrow. But I guess that's true every day.
Good luck, little Peanut.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I received many excellent suggestions for a name for Big Orange. Well, actually, I received many suggestions. Not that many excellent suggestions.
I received some suggestions which did not come from my blog, including Valencia, which isn't that bad (at least it's an orange). From my blog I considered a number of suggestions which were intriguing but not quite right, including Pretty Mogaryround, SunXist, BLOG, and Agent Orange.
In the end I chose Xanthoria Elegans for several reasons, listed below in no particular order.
1. It starts with an X.
2. It is an orange star lichen, and Big Orange's mother's name (on the papers, anyway) is Stacy's Starlight. Also, Big Orange is mostly bred on the awesome Lucky Star lines, a famous LaMancha herd out of Port Angeles.
3. There will not be a bunch of other goats in her kindergarten class with the same name.
4. She seems to like it. She doesn't run off when the farmer yells it out, anyway.
5. Lichen can survive where nothing else can. This will come in handy.
So thank you to the person who suggested Xanthoria.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The first fresheners in the down-below shack pasture are allowed to go out during the day and eat brush outside the back gate. The first fresheners are Betsy, Wronny, Cammy, Mabel, Peaches, and Mel. Well, Peaches is a second freshener, but for some reason she has it figured out where she gets to stay with the first fresheners. I don't know why. Peaches is always working some kind of angle.
The farmer came out to feed in the afternoon. And everything went okay feeding the horses. Everything went okay feeding Penrose and Hannah Belle and the babies in the barn. Everything went okay putting hay out for the big milkers.
And then all of a sudden the air was filled with a high-pitched screaming. The farmer looked all around and could not figure out where that screaming was coming from. It sounded like far away next door, but the farmer couldn't see anything. The farmer ran all around and climbed the rusty barbed wire fence around the neighbor's pasture to see better. There was a Nubian-esque quality to the screaming, I have to admit, even though all the purebred Nubians were present and accounted for and not doing anything besides their usual sighing and groaning.
After the farmer's pants got ripped on the fence there were a few choice words flung about, and then the farmer disappeared from sight, looking inside the neighbor's falling-down shack. Apparently the farmer did not find anything there because the farmer soon reappeared, to the tune of more high-pitched Nubianesque screaming.
Well along about then Wronny and Xie Xie hove into sight, a way far off behind the blackberry bushes in the neighbor's pasture. They were about a half-mile away from where they started, and they were quite a little bit worse for the wear.
Both of them were hot as the dickens and terribly lost; somehow they had gotten on the wrong side of the fence and they couldn't get back. Their mouths were hanging open and they looked like shipwreck victims.
Wronny is a little classic black-and-tan LaMancha yearling milker and Xie Xie is Betsy's little black daughter, and being a quarter Nubian Xie Xie was the source of the high-pitched screaming. She was in a state of panic. She was yelling for her mother nonstop when she wasn't busy panting her head off. Betsy, being half Nubian, was about a half a mile away, in the pasture she was supposed to be in, chewing her cud and daydreaming about corn chips, and not even raising an eyebrow as little Xie Xie screamed her lungs out.
Well, there were a few more choice words as the farmer scrambled around near Wronny and Xie Xie to try to lead them to the fence so that they could go back out and around to where they were supposed to be. The pants were further ripped and some festive red scratches acquired.
Wronny followed the farmer, and little Xie Xie followed Wronny for about twenty steps, then had a brain attack and raced back into the blackberry briars, which for some reason seemed to her the one and only place from which her Nubian 911 call could be transmitted. She resumed her screaming.
The farmer kept going, then realized Wronny had turned around. The farmer had to go back. Again the same thing was attempted, with the same result. And again. Wronny would not leave little Xie Xie.
Finally the farmer had to go and crawl into the blackberry patch and burrow down through the old burned-down-barn foundation to the spot where there is a gap between the barbed wire and the dry doe pasture.
And finally the two were returned to their rightful home, hot and sweaty and still in a state of near panic, and the farmer patted Wronny on the back and said, "well, you are a good mama, you wouldn't leave your baby."
And then the farmer did a doubletake and realized: Xie Xie may look like a little black LaMancha, but she is not Wronny's daughter. But Wronny wouldn't leave her behind.
There have been some complaints that my blog has not had enough pictures and posts lately, as if I have nothing else to do. For those who may not know it, the grass tastes very good this year and it does not eat itself. The same goes for the blackberries and the hardhack. If you think it is easy eating blackberry bushes, why don't you go out in your yard and give it a try.
Anyway, today will be a catchup picture day to address the concerns of the complainers, and later in the day we will also address, once and for all, the matter of Big Orange. Yes, Big Orange will finally have a name of her own, chosen from reader submissions. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First there is the matter of Aggie's new babies, two micro-Nubians with batwing ears. Their names are Petey (for Peter) and Vel (for Velveteen) because they both look like bunny rabbits. They are pictured above.
Penrose, the farmer's favorite Toggenburg, comes from a long long line of Swiss philosophers. As you can probably tell from this photo, Penrose will give almost any question thoughtful consideration and an enlightened reply.
In fact, through her practice of pure dairy goodness, Penrose has achieved a higher state of consciousness from which she only descends when she tries her best to t-bone that god-a-mighty pest, Wendell.
Each day when she sees him, Penrose sends Wendell a telepathic message: "thank you for helping me grow, my little teacher." And then she tries to kill him.
If not for Wendell, Penrose would probably be the Buddha.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
And of course being bucks and being part Nubian, they did not quite get going strong until about 2:30.
So that is clearly an infraction, and I would recommend withholding cookies from Aggie for several days so that the next time she will know better. I will eat them so they do not go to waste. Just a suggestion.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I do feel sorry for the other goats, but that's the way it goes. The cream rises to the top. See you later, suckers.
On another note Willen the yellow pony is about to begin his driving training again. He has a new cart purchased from the Small Farmer's Journal spring auction and a new harness. This harness is so pretty I almost think I would consider pulling a cart if I were allowed to wear it. Almost, but not quite.
These items were purchased by the farmer's friend down the road who knows how to buy things, especially horse things, and when to buy them and how much to pay for them. That may sound like something anybody can do, but believe me it is not.
In any case the farmer's friend is a horse nut and knows everything about horses. She is over sixty and still breaks all the young horses at her farm. When she comes out into the field all the horses move their butts away from her to show respect.
Horses are like the Mafia. They have all kinds of marks of respect. Moving the butts away when she comes by is one of them. It is to show that they would never consider kicking her. Some of the baby horses think they don't have to move their butts, but they learn different in a big hurry. So if you ever want to see a horse butt ballet you can watch the farmer's friend walk through the horse pasture. And if any of the butts don't move, then you will see a very interesting lesson in horse manners.
When the farmer's friend was a little girl she didn't have any horses and dreamed of them all the time. Her father told her that "if all the horses in your head stampeded, you couldn't see for the dust."
And now she has all the horses she could want. So you see if you just hold on to your dreams they will come true.
So take some advice from me, Baby Belle, and please remember the horses in your head.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Tux, Top Hat, and Turkish Delight, Mel's trouble-seeking triplets (aka the three little priests), are almost but not quite too fat to squeeze under the down-below pasture gate. Here they pop out the other side of the wardrobe into Narnia, where they will march toward the barn to see if the door to the grain room has been left open.
Onward, fellow triplets! If we cannot find any trouble, we will make it from scratch!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
It happens every year and this year it is the sad case of Betsy's big orange daughter. I don't particularly care for a big orange goat but everyone else says how pretty she is.
Betsy is half Nubian and half LaMancha, and she was bred to a beautiful LaMancha buck up the road. She had two very pretty daughters, a little black one and a big orange one, as I already mentioned. So the two daughters are three quarters LaMancha.
The big orange one (B.O.) has a LaMancha body, for the most part, but a Nubian brain, which I think is sad. She will likely be taken advantage of by telemarketers in the future; I foresee her wiring her life savings to Nigeria in response to a spam email about a large estate and the need for a much esteemed American goat partner. But oh well, we can't all be Mensa caprines.
Anyway, B.O. has had a string of names but none of them stuck. First she was called Clementine (for that cute little orange that comes from California). This is an okay name, but it did not take. Then she was called Cointreau (for the orange liqueur), but a goat like B.O. with a fancy French name was just not the ticket. Then she was called Mandarin Orange, which is an awful name and besides that it doesn't fit on the papers.
However, while she was called Mandarin Orange, her little black sister who was also not sticking to any of her names acquired the name Xie Xie, which is Mandarin for "thank you," (pronounced Shea Shea, like the Stadium). And that name has stuck, unlike Mandarin Orange. So Shea is now called Shea, instead of "the little black one," which seems like an improvement, albeit probably a modest one.
Anyway, back to B.O. Next she was called Red Ryder, after some kind of comic strip no living creature recalls. Then, in an acknowledgement of defeat, she was simply called Red, or Big Red, which isn't any more dignified than B.O.
So please help, before it is too late. She cannot go to the fair without a name. It's too disgraceful. And considering the size of her brain, it is going to take a long time for her to learn her name, whatever it is, so the sooner the better.
To review: she is big, she is orange, she is pretty, she is the daughter of Betsy (aka Stacy's Starlight). She needs a dignified name. If there is an X in it somewhere (this is an X year) so much the better, but to tell the truth we really don't care about that any more.
Friday, May 11, 2007
1. Pay Attention
2. Be Careful
3. Fix It Yourself
4. Pinkeye is very contagious
5. A Leader Leads
6. Harmony is better than tyranny
7. Tyranny is better than chaos
8. If a horse steps on your foot, it is always your fault (see #1 and #2 above)
9. Goats do not give good haircuts
10. The hay will not walk into the barn
11. Remember why you are doing that
12. This is today. (or, as Mike Ditka says, "the past is for cowards.")