Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End is Near

The end of the year is near. And so is the end of the Goat of the Year poll.

Thank Goodness.

Happy New Year from me, Million Belles, aka Millie, aka Baby Belle, Jr.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cora Belle the Horrible, and How She Got Her Name

Cora Belle does not live here so I have to write her story.

Hannah Belle was going to do the story but she is completely illiterate.

Anyway, Cora Belle, how did she get her name?

When she was born her name was BlueBelle. She was very very pretty right from the beginning. Hannah Belle always has the prettiest kids at the farm. Except for me of course.

Her kids are Charzan, Orzbit, Boxcar Betty, Peanut, Goatzilla, Harley, Filbert, Cora Belle, Inky, and Shaq. You may notice that most of them are boys.

All of them, actually.

Except Betty and Cora Belle.

Well when Cora Belle was born the farmer said she was the prettiest Nigerian ever born here. She was also oddly obedient and cooperative. BOOORRRIIING. But after a few weeks she started to get more wicked like her mother. Soon she was ducking through fence holes and bounding up the stairs to the hayloft, and so on. Behaving in a much more Hannah Belle-like manner.

Well, thought the farmer, maybe BlueBelle is not the best name for her. BlueBelle is a name for the teacher's pet. Not for a dyed-in-the-wool hooligan.

Hannah Belle had always been called Hannah Belle Lecter for her devilish ways, and so the farmer changed BlueBelle's name to Cora Belle, so that in future, if necessary, she could be called Cora Belle the Horrible. She even learned to head-butt Wendell when she was only a couple of weeks old, making the farmer very proud.

But Cora Belle mysteriously reverted to cooperativeness as she got older, so she might as well have been called BlueBelle after all. She even allows little toddlers to lead her around by the collar, which is ridiculous.

Several people saw Cora Belle's picture on our web site and asked if they could buy her. Well, no, said the farmer, she is not for sale. But one person was more insistent than the others, and she agreed that she would show Cora Belle if Cora Belle came to live with her, and she also agreed that Cora Belle's brother Filbert could go with her. And so that is how Cora Belle went to live at prestigious Minter Bay Dairy Goats, and that is how she became the junior champion at the state fair, much to the dismay (click for a photo of the crowd's reaction) of the onlookers.

So that is Cora Belle's story. Very touching.

Vote for Cora Belle if you would like to vote for a teacher's pet. You better hurry, time is running out.

Uptown Melody

Hello my name is Melody. I like to be called Melody. I do not like to be called "Moldy" (people, please ee-nun-see-ate) or "Melanie." My name is Melody. I am very beautiful and so is my mother and so is her mother and her mother and her mother and so on stretching back endlessly into the history of beautiful goats.

I do not like podunk situations. I do not like one-horse towns or county fairs. I like state fairs and national shows; I will not exhibit anywhere that does not have an approved espresso stand.

If you are thinking of inviting me to one of your goat shows and your show does not have an espresso stand with a qualified barista (hand-pulled of course, I would not be caught dead near a pushbutton espresso machine), forget it. I won't come. Also the stand should have hazelnut biscotti but that can be considered on a case-by-case basis.

When people think of me the word that springs to mind first is "uptown."

I expect to win this sad little contest, and if I do not there WILL be consequences.

I dare you not to vote for me. Try it and see what happens. Thank you! Also, I want world peace and some nice REI tents for the homeless.

Marigold Wins Contest

Marigold has won the Goats of Christmas Past contest. Marigold, please send your mailing address.

The correct answers are:
1. April
2. Ginger Jones (we also accepted Jonesy although it is only half right)
3. Goatzilla

The bonus question answer:
1. Chile

A few guessers guessed the goats, but no one else got the dog.

Congratulations to Marigold. Remember to wash behind your ears when the soap arrives, Marigold.

Monday, December 28, 2009

GOTY FAQ

1. What is the point of the Goat of the Year Poll?

There is no point.

2. Does the winner win anything?

Yes, the winner wins a bag of swedish fish and is also featured on the cover of the annual calendar.

3. When is the poll over?

At the end of the year or when we remember to turn it off.

4. Has a wether ever won the poll?

Yes Peanut won.

5. Has a LaMancha ever won?

No.

6. Has any member of the Breezy family ever won?

No.

7. Has a mini ever won the poll?

No.

8. Has a Nubian or Nubian cross ever won?

No.

9. Has a Toggenburg ever won?

No.

10. Has anyone outside the Baby Belle family ever won the poll?

No. The Baby Belle family always wins.

11. Why?

They get the most votes.

Tangy

Hello this is tangy short for tangerine but tangy is not my real name. I can't remember my real name. my Mother's name is Big Orange, but that isn't her real name, I can't remember her real name. You may have read about my trip to the fair with corabelle and my special style of walking. I can't remember what it's called. I don't care if you vote for me or not in fact I hope I come in last, I like to do everything last, I am the last one in the milk room every day except for Jessie she is always behind me. I guess last doesn't mean what I thought. Oh dear. Please vote for me.

Windy Wednesday

Hello my name is Winnie. My real name is Windy Wednesday. I was born on a windy Wednesday. That's how they got the idea for my name.

I have received ten votes in the poll. That is out of 2000+ votes.

What have I done to deserve this award.

Well, I did not win a fancy rosette at the fair. I am not anybody's favorite, not even my own mother's. My milk does not taste like candy. It tastes like really nice milk, the way it's supposed to.

What have I done to deserve this award.

Well I am not the state champion of anything. I do not hog the limelight. I am a plain black and tan LaMancha with no flashy colors. I do not have blue eyes. I do not do a swordfish walk. I walk properly, like I am supposed to.

What have I done to deserve this award.

All I have done for the last six years is to show up for work twice a day every day rain or shine and give more milk than almost anybody else. All I have done is milk through two years when I was a yearling. All I have done is let all the people in the cheesemaking classes milk me.

"Get Winnie," the farmer says when they come. "Anyone can milk Winnie."

All I have done is give extra milk for Stacy's kids or April's kids or Breezy's kids or anybody else's kids when they weren't feeling well enough to milk.

"Get some milk from Winnie," the farmer says when someone else can't feed their kids.

All I have done is come when I am called and leave when I am asked to leave.

That is all I have done. I can see why no one is voting for me.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Goats of Christmas Past

HO HO HO!

Be the first to name these three Goats of Christmas Past correctly and win a free bar of our plain brown goat milk soap.

Tiebreaker: Name the Dog.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from HERRON HILL DAIRY the HOME OF BABY BELLE.

(And Baby Belle, Jr.)







editor's note: comments were supposed to be turned off so no one could see anyone else's answers. somehow one comment accidentally got published. for a clue: the comment that got published contains 1.5 out of a possible 4 correct answers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One More Thing


Hello this is Jammies again. We have heard that my half-sister Cora Belle has pulled out all the stops in urging everyone to vote for her. Well that is fine but it just reminded me that I forgot to mention that I am an orphan.

This is a picture of me with my dear mother before she passed away tragically.

You can vote for me here if you would like to vote for a kind, brave, unassuming orphan.

Please remember the rules of our annual (sort of) poll: there are no rules. Rules are for sheep, not goats. Vote as much as you want.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brandy

Hello. My name is Brandy. I am eleven. I used to be the herdqueen. Everyone thinks I am still the herdqueen. I was strict but fair. I did not waste time trying to get anyone to like me. I just did what I needed to do. I have two daughters, Wronny and Winnie. Winnie is older but Wronny is my favorite. That's just the way it is.

I had two other daughters, Sophie and Earlene, but they only lived a short while. Because of that, and because I milk way too much, I am retired now.

Now I rule the down-below pasture, which is very easy. It is all full of dry yearlings and simpletons. I do not have to do anything at all to rule it; I just give meaningful looks. By now even the simpletons take my meaning.

I am still watching the big barn, though. Wronny is ruling it now. She doesn't know it, but one day I will just nod my head and she will be the herdqueen.

For now, I am just watching her.

You can vote for me in the poll if you want, but it is your decision. Do what you need to do. And don't look back.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Take this Chad and Hang it

Hello this is melody i am filing a grievance with the elections commission because i have been unfairly excluded fropm the poll and this is a breach of my civil right i always pay my poll tax right on time and i am never late and there is also prejudice against me because i am from oreogon and i am a lot cuter than the goats here because that's just the way it is. anyway i think the whole poll is going to be thrown out and started over because i am all lawyered up and in case you didn't know this is what democracy looks like. also there has been a lot of complaints from right thinking people who want their fair rights to freep the poll and vote as much as they want if they can clear their cache or hide their ip address or eat their cookies which is how the Good Goat wanted online polls to work. so please be sure that you have not heard tghe last of me. in the meantime please boycott the poll thank you for your support. yrs in freedom, future goat of the year, melody.

Jammies' Story

Hello. My name is Jammies. This is where my story starts. I was going to write a book but it seemed too tiring, so I just wrote a paragraph. This is it. In the end I triumphed and became the farmer's personal milker with my milk that tastes like candy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Goat of the Year

It is time for the Goat of the Year voting.

These are the nominees.

1. Cora Belle. My cousin Cora Belle does not live here and I do not think she should be eligible but no one asked my opinion and I guess my cousin Peanut won one year when he didn't live here so there is nothing I can do about it. And Cora Belle is actually Peanut's full sister so I think it is a little redundant to nominate her but she is the Junior Grand Champion from the Washington State Fair. The judge said "this little goat really caught my eye," but so what, that could just mean she needs glasses. Cora Belle lives over at Minter Bay Dairy Goats. As far as personality she is bossy and self-centered with a high opinion of herself.

2. Tangy. Tangy the swordfish did not injure anyone at the State Fair and that is the one and only reason she is nominated. As far as personality I don't think she has any.

3. Jammies. Oh precious little Jammies, the Queen of Special Treatment. Does Jammies want a bonbon? Does Jammies have hurt feelings? Would Jammies prefer ginger snaps or licorice? Is Jammies warm enough? Is anyone bothering her? What does she want for her birthday? What about an iPod shuffle with goat folksongs on it? This is the type of thing we have to listen to all day long as regards Jammies, but the Farmer says Jammies triumphed over adversity on the BUB program and she deserves to be nominated as much as anyone.

4. Winnie. Winnie is six years old and she is one of our best milkers and she has never been nominated for anything because nobody likes her. Winnie and Wronny are considered professional goats and anyone off the street can milk them and often does. This year Winnie had triplets and she went down like a stone with milk fever and then after two days of coddling she got up and soldiered on. Big deal. As far as personality Winnie has the personality of an assistant principal at a reform school.

5. Brandy. Brandy is really old, eleven or so, and she is the herdqueen, so I don't see why she needs to be nominated for anything. It is not like you can get a promotion from being the queen. She is the mother or grandmother or great grandmother of almost all the LaManchas here. But anyway she is really old and she hasn't died yet so that is her main accomplishment, woop-de-doo.

6. Million Belles. Oh my gosh, that's me. How humbling to be in such elite company! My real name is Million Belles but everyone calls me Millie or sometimes people call me Baby Belle, Jr. As far as looks it is like a vision of a shimmering oasis on the desert when you see me. Sometimes people swoon when they lay eyes on me, why wouldn't they. As far as personality, the main word used to describe me is adorable. As far as hobbies I enjoy being carried around and admired. As far as food, I will eat anything, I am not fussy. Thank you for considering me! P.S. I will vote for you if I get a chance!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gracie's Strange Dream

Gracie came over to see Cowboy. Gracie used to live here with her sister Joyjoy. They moved away to their own house but yesterday Gracie came back.

Pinky didn't see her, thank Goodness. Pinky was very upset when Gracie moved away.

Pinky goes by a French name now, Zut Alors, so maybe she doesn't remember the old Pinky memories. She doesn't seem to remember anything to tell the truth, except dinnertime. Even if she doesn't remember dinnertime she is always checking.

"Is it dinnertime? What time is it? Dinnertime?"

Anyway, last night Gracie came over and in the morning she went out with the barn babies to enjoy the pouring rain after spending the evening with the three buckling boys. The barn babies are Zydeco, Zenyatta, Zapricot, Zedoary, and Joy.

Joy is called Big Joy because Gracie's sister's name is Joyjoy, and she is called Little Joy, although someday she probably will be bigger than Big Joy. But anyway Big Joy lives with the babies because she is too shy and retiring and if she goes around anyone her own size she never gets anything to eat because she just stands in the corner quaking. So Big Joy lives with the little babies so she can pretend to be a big shot.

Out they all went into the rain and then all of a sudden Gracie had a brain flash when she saw Cowboy because yesterday when she saw him she wasn't that interested.

But this time she goggled her eyes and gave a "WOWZA!" look and dragged the farmer to the gate to let her in to Cowboy's muddy love shack.

Tomorrow she will wake up and wonder if it was all a dream.

Anyway pretty soon her new family came to get Gracie. Melody of course tried to insert herself into the limelight when she saw the potential for a new audience but she was too fat to fit through the gate. So I was rightly picked up and carried around as befits me. Everyone remarked how adorable I am, although I did not get any treats.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One of Those Days, or, Everything Running Smoothly As Usual

It was one of those days.

First of all it was 12 degrees in the morning, which is too cold.

The wind had blown the roof and one of the walls off the rugrat barn, which is the sun chalet for the babies who live in the shed. They were confused when they came out of their cozy shed, but that is not unusual. They looked at each other cautiously, to see if the others were also surprised. Their expressions said: is it just me? Or did this building used to have a top part? And a wall in the back?

The consensus was inconclusive. After all, it is certainly possible that some of the things we take for granted never even existed. But maybe they did. Anyway, the rugrats pressed on gamely, accepting the new reality.

Zut Alors perched on her own tiny ice rink - the frozen-solid water bucket - to mull things over.

The farmer put a special coat on Wendell to go out for his six second piddle because it was so cold. It was a very stylish coat that the farmer's French Bulldog used to wear, black and sleek with a fake-fur leopard-spotted collar. Very European.

"Do not lose that coat, Wendell," the farmer instructed. Wendell zipped outside and was back scratching at the door in six seconds. Without the coat.

So that was how the day started and from there things just got worse, with the farmer spending most of the day toting water in buckets and chopping wood by hand, and trying to make cheese even though it was way too cold for the cheese to drain properly.

The big brown truck had a dead battery. The little brown truck had a dead battery too. Because it was 12 degrees. The farmer was also getting a dead battery, right around dusk. Which comes at around 3:30 or so these days.

Then suddenly to enliven things, a water pipe under the porch burst. Water gushed merrily under the house into the crawl space. The farmer huffed down to the wellhouse and shut off all the water. There is a lot of water here, water to the house and the barn and the dairy and the cottage and the greenhouse and all the outside taps, most of which were covered with a foot of pipe wrap anyway and completely unusable.

Then the farmer crawled under the house, where it was pitch dark by now, and where the previously gushed water was freezing fast into little ice puddles which took a lot of the fun out of crawling around in the dark under a house in 12 degree weather. The farmer was looking for the water shutoff so that just the house could be shut off and the cottage and barn and so on turned back on.

Because it's nice to have a little water now and then. You can't make tea without it.

The farmer couldn't find the water shutoff and so crawled back out to get a flashlight and to call the neighbor who is a plumber. First the farmer tried to go on the Internet to look up the neighbor plumber's number, but of course the internet wasn't working, it hardly ever does. On the plus side, the phone wasn't working either, so it didn't matter that much.

The farmer went back outside to use the cellphone to call another neighbor to ask the other neighbor to call back with the number for first neighbor, the plumber neighbor. Then went to examine the burst pipe and collect some good flashlights, because if you crawl under a frozen house with just one flashlight it is a dead certainty that the battery in it will expire as soon as you get within three feet of the water shutoff.

Before that was even finished the second neighbor pulled in the driveway with a full set of flashlights and crawled under the house and shut off the water. It was agreed that the burst pipe could probably be fixed pretty easily, and that all in all things could have been worse, but that the pipe fixing would best be left until after a couple of days of thawing.

Then finally the farmer came out to feed everyone in the pitch dark, two hours later than we were all supposed to be fed.

All things considered, everyone politely pretended that everything was on schedule and running smoothly.

Sometimes that is the best policy.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Big Orange Milk

The farmer started getting wild-eyed again as Jammies drip-dropped back down in production. Big Orange was ushered in to be the farmer's personal milker, and her milk was pronounced pretty good.

"But she is no Jammies."

You might think a comment like that would hurt Big Orange's feelings but not one bit. Her goal in life is to stay under the radar.

The temperature crashed down into the 20s which meant all the outside water had to be turned off. This caused a lot of cursing with water being schlepped around in buckets. Wendell retired to his couch cushion, only hurtling outside under duress to pee on the truck tires. Then dashing back into the house. He has perfected the six second sub-zero piddle.

Peaches of course got to wear Baby Belle's blue jacket which had been retired "forever" (six months) because Peaches is very sensitive to cold. Meaning that she forgot to grow her fur out because she is only half Nigerian.

Two visiting lady goats came over for the purpose of getting to know Cowboy, my father. After the introductions Cowboy made a few half-hearted attempts at romance, but one of the visiting ladies was a big red Nubian and before long she was chasing him all around the buck pen, with her little sidekick bringing up the rear, in a festive Yuletide parade.

He fled energetically.

You know what they say. Cold hooves, warm heart.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Not So Cold Turkey

It has been repeatedly shown throughout history that those who dish it out cannot necessarily take it. This applies to Winnie for example who likes to think she is All That but scuttles away whimpering and twitching like Lady Macbeth if Wronny gives her the Evil Eye. And the same for Peaches the supposedly mild-mannered mini-Mancha who cannot even get a crust of sandwich bread from a tiny LaMancha baby. Since she was two weeks old Zydeco (aka Zydeco the Fearless) has stood her ground against Peaches.

Right now Peaches rules the three sad weaned boys completely by terror, a reign which certainly will end as soon as Mr. Jimmy realizes that he is already almost as tall as The Peach Fuhrer. Then Peaches will go back to cowering and wringing her hooves.

But anyway that is a roundabout way of saying that somehow primarily by sighing and moaning and producing exotic treats including Swedish Fish, some very large grapes, and a bowl of warm oatmeal with brown sugar in it, the farmer was able to get Jammies to eke out enough milk for a latte.

Meanwhile I cling grimly and milklessly to life, scraping by on orchard grass, local grass, peas, cob, maple leaves, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, and whatever other tiny smatterings I can glean from the cruel world.

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. Turkey, apparently, not so much.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Dark Day

Precious Jammies came in heat and went down and got bred to Cowboy. And now the farmer is wearing a black armband and a somber expression. Because as soon as Jammies got bred she somehow managed to shut off her milk. Just like that.

No more candy milk for the farmer. No more candy lattes. Nichts, Naught, Nothing.

The farmer is on weaning.

Everyone tiptoes and whispers.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Barn Nessie

As many of you probably know, the Northwest with its deep primeval forests is home to many strange creatures. There is Sasquatch of course. And the vampires of Forks.

And now there have been some chilling sightings around the farm. A medium-sized potbellied creature with four legs and a rustling eyeless paper head appeared INSIDE the barn on several recent occasions, throwing Walker the Talker into a panic. Lori was visiting and she was able to snap this photo of the creature before it burped loudly and laid down to take a nap.

Like a Moth


In this photo Melody sees a person with a camera and is drawn toward the limelight.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Many Thanks

We must be thankful for what we have. Even if it is horrible.

So I would like to thank the rain for coming down from the sky in torrents. I would like to thank the mud for filling the barnyard. I would like to thank Jammies for conserving her milk for future generations. I would like to thank my lucky stars that I am not a turkey.

I would like to thank my fans for not hating me because I am beautiful.

I would like to thank the farmer down in Chehalis who grew the pea hay.

I would like to thank Melody for all of her preening and simpering.

I would like to thank Pinky, Jr. for not biting my tail (yet) today. I would like to thank Joy for hogging all the hay. I would like to thank my mother for the milk she used to give me that I do not get any more. I would like to thank Walker the Talker for his many incomprehensible ideas. I would like to thank Tangy for her unique swordfish show walk. I would like to thank Zydeco for giving Melody a thrashing.

I would like to thank the farmer for giving me one tiny morsel of grain so that I would not completely starve to death. I would like to thank Wendell for sleeping on a cushion all day.

I would like to thank you, whoever you are, for whatever it is you did. Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jammies Rennt

Jammies the stingy mini-Mancha came in heat this morning. She stood at the fence and bawled like a calf.

"Come on Jammies," said the farmer. Off Jammies went to see Cowboy, taking her little bag of candy milk with her.

Jammies went in with Cowboy and their love came to fruition before the farmer could close the gate behind her. Jammies turned around and knocked politely at the gate.

"You are going to stay in there for a while, Jammies," said the farmer. "Just to be on the safe side."

The farmer went in the house and Jammies started running. She was almost always one step ahead of Cowboy, indicating to him quite clearly that she had gotten over her crush on him. Back and forth they ran all day, with Jammies trying to snatch mouthfuls of hay as she ran past the feeder.

I watched the little bag of milk bounce around.

I could have told Jammies how to get out of there. My Aunt Hannah Belle showed me one time.

But I guess if she wants to keep that milk for herself she can just figure it out on her own, using her keen mini-Mancha intelligence.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Got Milk? Me Neither.

As you know I explained to the farmer months ago that I did not want to go on weaning. This is where you do not get any milk. The farmer said, "fine, you are Baby Belle, Jr., so I am not going to put you on weaning."

I thought this was very sensible and civilized.

Then today my mother Belle Pepper - MY OWN MOTHER - put me on weaning! She would not give me any milk! NOT ONE DROP!

I told her PLEASE BE SENSIBLE! THE FARMER SAYS IT IS OK! I AM BABY BELLE JUNIOR!

She turned a deaf ear on me.

I said MOTHER! PLEASE BE SENSIBLE! I AM ONLY FIVE MONTHS OLD! I NEED MILK!

She turned a deaf ear on me.

I looked around and there was several others with plenty of milk they did not need, even Jammies had milk and so I said, "JAMMIES! WHAT ABOUT THAT MILK IN YOUR LITTLE BAG??!! I COULD DRINK IT FOR YOU AND YOU WOULD NOT HAVE TO CARRY IT AROUND!"

Jammies turned a deaf ear on me. Then so did Betsy, and Winnie, and Wronny, and Big Orange, and everyone else.

PLEASE! I said. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! I NEED MILK! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ALL OF YOU!

"You will get used to it," said my brother Zane Gray. "I am not even interested in milk any more."

PLEASE! I said. PLEASE!!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Melody


Several people keep asking me for a picture of Melody. Well I don't have one and I don't know why you would want one because she is just a little very plain whitish goat. She has a couple of drab brown patches to go with the white. Well people kept asking like she was a big movie star or something and since we don't have a camera that works I sat down and did a very good drawing of her. It is an excellent likeness of her even including the drab patches although I have to say it is by no means perfect. For one thing it does not catch the true simpering quality of her expression. She is quite a simperer. But anyway here it is and I hope you are all happy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My New Enemy

This post is private please do not read it.


Dear Diary:

The new goat Melody has been hogging the limelight. She has been crybabying also to get more food and attention. She pretends to be cuter than me which is impossible. She is my enemy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Snakes on a Plane, Goats Can't Even Get on a Bus

I guess this is supposed to a funny video or something, but 1) I think I might know these guys, they look like some cousins of mine and 2) what if they needed to get somewhere? Are they supposed to walk?

Goats Try to Board a Vancouver Bus

Cute?

Some people say LaMancha babies are not very cute. It is true they are not as cute as Nigerian babies. But I think they may have a vestige of cuteness, even the plain black and tan ones. This is Stuart Little, Winnie's little runt, showing off his single spot as one of the farmer's friends tries to engage him in conversation. You decide. video

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Mystery of the Shrinking Gate

Something else annoying happened today. I was running to help the farmer put the grain in the buckets when suddenly I was trapped in the swing gate. Every time before this I was able to squeeze right through the gap at the end but this time for some reason I stuck fast. Obviously someone must have come into the barn at night and shortened the gap. Possibly some type of intruder architect or carpenter.

"It looks like you are stuck, Millie," the farmer pointed out helpfully.

The farmer started filling all the grain buckets without me.

"I guess you won't get any grain, Millie," the farmer said. I thought it was a very sad and tragic thing, but the farmer sounded quite chipper. I only gave one little whimper; I am a very stoic goat.

But then the farmer said, "Come on, Melody, you can help me fill the grain buckets."

And the new goat went scampering to help in a very brown-nosed fashion. So then I started bawling. Louder even than Walker the Talker. No justice, no peace.

Monday, November 09, 2009

My New Friend

Something very annoying happened.

A new goat came here.

Its name is Melody. It follows the farmer everywhere and cries when the farmer leaves.

"Isn't that cute, Millie?" the farmer asked me.

The new goat is small and white and plain and lacks magnificence, unlike me. It lacks personality and style as well. When it first got here the farmer tried putting it with Blue Umbrella. Blue Umbrella gave it a thrashing and it started crying and the farmer came and took it out.

The farmer put it in with me and the babies and my mother. My mother gave it a polite, friendly thrashing and it started crying. Just a very kindly thrashing. Then Zydeco, one of the LaMancha babies, gave it a Soprano Family thrashing and it started crying like an air raid siren, even though it is a yearling and Zydeco is only about six months old. I never really liked Zydeco before that but I can see she has some good points.

The farmer came running like there was some kind of big emergency even though everybody gets a thrashing here at some point in the day. Society is built on thrashings and the promise of thrashings. Without thrashings there would be chaos.

"What is going on?" the farmer said, and took the little goat out and then gave a lecture on The Social Fabric. Can't we all just get along, bla bla bla, and how would we like it, etc etc etc.

We couldn't go out because it was pouring. The farmer gave me a gleamy look and the next thing I knew I was being settled in a stall with the new goat.

"Millie will be your friend," the farmer said, and then went into the house. I tried to give the new goat a thrashing but I am only four months old. Then she tried to give me a thrashing but I am Baby Belle, Jr.

So now I have a new friend. And it's very annoying.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Z Report

Well as you know this is a Z Year. Not for us Nigerians, we do not go in for that type of nonsense. But the LaMancha babies all have to have Z names and there seemed for a long time to be very slim pickings, with a lot of waffling and do-overs, even more than usual.

The final results are in, and the names are going to the registry.

Zinnia's name is not going to be Zinnia. There are way too many zinnias in a z year. Her name is going to be Zenyatta, even though she is not 17+ hands tall and isn't a very fast runner. It is just a good name for her, and she does have a white blaze on her forehead. GO ZENYATTA!!!

Pinky's name is not going to be Pinky. It is going to be Zedoary. This is a kind of ginger, and we could call her Dory if we wanted, but honestly we will probably just call her Pinky. Even though her name is now Zedoary. It doesn't really matter, because she will never know what her name is.

Pinky, Jr. is going to be called Zapricot because she bites.

Pinky, Jr's sister is going to be Zamora, which is a city in Spain that is famous for its cheeses.

Ziggy is going to be called Ziggy. She won't stand for any other name.

Jimmy (Joemma Beach) is just going to be Jimmy, she is exempt from the Z rule. And plus she is already confused about a lot of things, so why make matters worse.

Please start thinking of A names now, it took eleven months to do Z.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?

I have not been here that long but nonetheless I have noticed certain things. One thing I have noticed is that nothing ever stays the way it is.

Things go along and everything is fine. Everyone acts normal. The food comes fairly promptly. Nobody berries in the water bucket. The screaming is kept to a polite minimum, mostly from Walker the Talker, the world's handsomest minimancha wether, who always seems to be yelling, "I may be the world's handsomest minimancha wether, but I am PART NUBIAN!"

Anyway that is to be expected and nobody notices it any more, it is like living near an airport, after a while you can sleep through a Dreamliner taking off in your living room.

So for the last couple of weeks we have just been having normal days. Then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose and the bats shoot out of the belfry.

Today it started with Aunt Hannah Belle going into heat, finally, and performing several eye-popping maneuvers which will be documented on the Flip video camera in 18 days when she does them again as she surely will. Anyway, as fat as she is she pushed her rubber bones through the pipe gate, under the railroad tie, through the back pasture fence and back up the other side so that she could stand outside the buck pen with her fanny wiggling in a most unseemly manner.

Since Aunt Hannah Belle was in heat, Jammies went into heat too and started bawling like a calf up in the milker pasture. Even though she could fit in Aunt Hannah Belle's back pocket she couldn't even get through one gate. So she just bawled.

"I am OVER HERE!" she was bawling to the bucks.

Since the other two were in heat my own mother Belle Pepper went into heat which was very embarrassing. I followed her when she tried to run down to the buck pasture but the farmer caught us both and we got detoured into the old buck pen.

The bucks were all blubbering and running in circles.

"Can someone help me?" my mother was yelling. "Could one of you gentlemen possibly help me?"

"This is ridiculous," said the farmer. "Can you all please be quiet?"

" I can't help you, " screamed Walker the Talker, "but I am PART NUBIAN!!!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pinky's Lament

Just when the milkless boys had almost reached the bottom of their ocean of tears, everybody here is getting a headache because Pinky has been wailing all day long. That's because of Gracie and Joyjoy. Gracie and Joyjoy, Bertie's twins, were very lucky and got picked to go to a nice new home. That's fine except nobody read Pinky the memo.

The farmer thought maybe Gracie and Joyjoy could be snuck out while Pinky and the other LaMancha doelings - aka "the piranhas" - were distracted with hay and grape leaves. That seemed to work. Then this morning Pinky's brain caught up with reality and she started in hollering.

"Wait a minute, where is Gracie?' she has been bawling all day long. "Wasn't she just here? Gracie? Gracie? Are you behind me? Gracie?"

She wasn't that attached to Joyjoy. Or maybe she thought Gracie and Joyjoy were the same goat. Who knows.

The good news is it has been established through sophisticated experimental procedures that Pinky cannot remember anything for more than eight hours. So by dinnertime she should have forgotten about Gracie.

We are counting the hours.

Friday, October 16, 2009

One Day a Year

Fabulous Last Place Wronny is one of the farmer's pets because she never causes trouble and is absolutely silent. Even when Wronny is having her kids she hardly ever makes any noise. Once or twice if it is a gigantic buck kid with a head like a beach ball, a muted peep of dismay might tumble out. Like if you stubbed your toe at a fancy cocktail party. More likely though she would just raise one of her eyebrows, indicating extreme agitation.

This is as opposed to, say, Tangy, who would start screaming if a raindrop touched her.

To give an example of the extent of Wronny's stoicism, the farmer has been asking the grief-stricken milkless boys on weaning, "why can't you be quiet like Wronny?"

Anyway today is Wronny's one-day-a-year.

She is standing at the fenceline, in the steady rain, bellowing across the pasture like a foghorn. If this sound were recorded on CD it would outsell all the whale song tapes. It is long and mournful and endless, having been bottled up for 364 days.

"I WANT TO SEE MY BOYFRIEND!" it says.

"AS SOON AS POSSIBLE PLEASE!"

"RIGHT AWAY IF IT CAN BE ARRANGED!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

News, Old and New

Some people came last weekend to take a cheese class. It was very boring, they did not bring any treats for me.

Zane Grey and Mr. Jimmy and Franco are on 'weaning.' This is where you do not get any milk. Their sorrow is very sad. Their cries fill the air. I am thinking of writing a poem about it.

I am not on weaning because I am Baby Belle, Jr. I signalled to the farmer that I did not care to join the weaning club. Maybe next year.

Aunt Blue went on the milkstand today for the first time. Except for coming in the milk parlor through the back door, which is normally not allowed, she was a complete professional. The farmer is going to start sending the milk to the test lab again.

I am sure some of the LaManchas will get a lecture when the results come back, because Aunt Blue will have the highest butterfat as usual unless Jammies the sad-eyed minimancha is able to beat her. I am rooting for Blue because she is my aunt, although Jammies is my cousin so I may switch and root for her if she wins.

The farm store is supposed to open soon selling cheese and eggs and a few other things. But we will see if that happens, things don't always happen on schedule around here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Why?

Why is there no justice? Why is the world filled with grief and heartache? Why must bad things happen to good goats? Why did I get banned from the grain bin?

"Because you are getting too fat, Millie," said the farmer.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Boxcar Betty Goes Bad

Boxcar Betty, my cousin, used to be sweet and adorable like me.

She followed the straight and narrow path of the Captain January side of the family tree, instead of the Hannah Belle Lecter side of the tree.

If the farmer would say, "Betty! Betty, come here!" Betty would come.

When the yearlings and fat girls went down below, Betty went with them. Then Hannah Belle got sent down there. Aunt Hannah Belle stayed there for maybe fifteen seconds and then left, because the food up at the big barn by the milker pasture is much better.

Betty watched with dismay but did not attempt to escape.

Then Hannah Belle came back because the fat girls were going out in the big meadow where there is free meadow grass and brush. Betty started hanging around with Hannah Belle, who is her mother after all.

Or should I say loitering. Betty started loitering around with Hannah Belle.

Hannah Belle went back to the big barn when the meadow was closed for the summer.

Betty watched with dismay. Then attempted to escape. Unfortunately for her she did not have her mother's cat burglar skills.

Aunt Hannah Belle looked on idly, chewing her cud like a baseball pitcher watching for a sign from the catcher, as Betty scrambled and pawed in an attempt to duck under the fat girl fence at the blackberry hole. No luck. Hannah Belle looked on with cool detachment as Betty attempted to head butt the gate open. Sad, said Hannah Belle's expression. A sad effort.

Hannah Belle dozed serenely as Betty made a sorry little jump at the field fencing. It was almost embarrassing. Like something you would see from the Breezy family.

Betty began twittering to Hannah Belle, little birdcalls of affrontery and indignation. Hannah Belle stood up and yawned and went and stole some alfalfa from the LaMancha kids. Then Betty began running the fenceline and yelling.

Hannah Belle finally got up and sauntered off toward the fat girl pasture.

I did not see what happened next, because it was time for me to go to the grain bin.

When I came back, Betty and Hannah Belle were up in the milkers' pasture, sunning themselves on top of the tank cover.

"Betty!" called the farmer. "Betty, come here!"

Betty turned her head, like a femme fatale in a movie, and looked at the farmer, and blinked a couple of times. And then looked away, down at the meadow that was closed until spring. Where Hannah Belle was looking, watching all the canary grass grow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quid Pro Quo

It is getting late in the season and because of that and for other reasons the milk production has been dropping off. I do not like to name names but Wronny, Winnie, Winnie, Jr., Xie Xie (of course), Lucy, Jessie, Tangy, Maddie, and Betsy have all been milking a lot less. Peaches stopped completely and has been excused from the milk parlor. Only Big Orange has been keeping up production, no one knows why. Jammies of course always milks the same amount because it is her policy.

Anyway there was a staff meeting involving the farmer showing the milkers some charts and spreadsheets and explaining about revenue projections and late lactation milk and our goals for the fourth quarter. Several of the milkers fell asleep. Not Jammies, of course.

"The bad news," said the farmer. "is that everyone needs to work a lot harder. Not Jammies, obviously."

"The good news is because we are out of pea hay we will be getting alfalfa."

This waked a few of them up. Jammies gave the farmer a polite but skeptical look which seemed to inquire whether it would be nice alfalfa or that awful stemmy alfalfa from the place in Port Orchard.

The farmer explained that it would be beautiful leafy 4th cutting alfalfa from Moses Lake in the Columbia Basin, the kind that has just a sprinkle of orchard grass in it for added flavor. It would be only for the milkers.

"And Millie, of course."

The milkers consulted and agreed that they would milk more, effective as soon as the 4th cutting was served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not Jammies, of course; she was already doing her best.

And they did.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let's Talk About Me

A lot has been written about the infirm (Xie Xie), the elderly (Spenny), the unproductive (most of the milkers), the conceited (Cora Belle), the overweight (Tangy), the ill-behaved (Tangy again), and the extremely annoying (Wendell). But hardly anything has been written about me.

So here are a few facts about me.

1. I like to be carried around. It saves energy and the view is better.

2. I like food and food-related items.

3. I like milk. Milk is delicious, it tastes like candy. While milk is a food-related item, it is also milk, so I include it in a category by itself.

4. I do not care for water or rain except if it is in a bucket.

5. I like to do everything by the schedule. For example, we are supposed to come in from the pasture and eat dinner by 5:30. I start crying at 5:31, because why wait?

6. I am getting prettier every day, which is kind of unbelievable, because I was already so pretty when I was born. I am also adorable.

But that's enough about me, because I am also extremely modest and humble. Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Take Me To The World

Today we went in the big meadow again. It was a beautiful Indian Summer day. Then I enjoyed a few minutes in the grain bin.

"That's enough, Millie," the farmer said, although it really wasn't. Then carried me out to sit on the porch in the sun.

Zane Gray wanted to go in the grain bin but he wasn't allowed because grain isn't good for wethers. How sad.

The horseshoer came last Friday. The kindly one who loves dogs, not the gloomy adorable one with the gloomy sayings. The gloomy one does not shoe mules, because he says "a mule will work for a man for ten years for one chance to kick him."

The gloomy one is not that crazy about dogs either, because he used to raise sheep. Dogs are the bane of sheep. Neighborhood dogs, anyway; they are always after the sheep.

The gloomy horseshoer has a saying about that, too, about what to do if a pesky neighbor dog is bothering your sheep. "Shoot him, bury him, and help the neighbor look for him."

The kindly horseshoer would never shoot a dog, even though he raises sheep. He got the sheep so his border collies could learn to herd them. And they did.

Times have been hard, everyone knows that, but the horseshoer has a spring in his step because he got a new dog, a "grand dog." He thinks maybe the new dog is going to be the best dog he ever had, a dog with heart and soul and relentless drive. And biddable but not too soft.

He wouldn't say that if he didn't mean it.

The new dog brings tears to his eyes, just talking about him. "You know," says the horseshoer, who has had dogs forever, "You might get one dog like that in your life."

"A dog who can take you to the world."

Everyone was feeling misty-eyed that day, I guess, because after the horseshoer left the farmer made our border collie, Spenny, sit with us on the porch for a long time, even though Spenny doesn't really like just sitting.

We looked out at the goats in the meadow, just like we did today. It was a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ok

Xie Xie was in a stupor for four days, not really eating anything and with a blank look on her face. She walked around in slow motion.

Yesterday she looked at the farmer in surprise. Her expression said, where have you been? Did you get a new hat?

The farmer gave Xie Xie some alfalfa. Xie Xie started eating it. Then she stopped and looked at the farmer. Ok, her expression said. Let's go on.

Ok.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Herron Hill's Weeping Camel


On Wednesday several of the milkers got very sick from eating some bad grain. Jessie and Wronny are fine now. Winnie, Jr. is doing pretty well. Peaches was in terrible shape but she has perked up. The farmer is going to let her dry off. Xie Xie is still a little glassy-eyed and looks like she lost about fifteen pounds in three days. We will have to see if she can keep milking.

We lost Cammy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yesterday

Yesterday was a very sad and happy day at the farm. Since it is so gray out already I am going to tell the happy part. My cousin Cora Belle won Grand Champion at the State Fair in Puyallup.

From what I have heard there were a lot of beautiful doelings there, so Cora Belle started acting conceited before she even got out of the ring. By the time she got back to her pen, she had stopped taking personal calls and hired Tangy as her assistant. I think that is a mistake because in my opinion Tangy is not that much help. But who am I to tell the state champion how to conduct her affairs.

For the rest of the day Cora Belle would immediately strike a pose whenever she saw someone with a cellphone camera.

Tangy also won a blue ribbon but that was because she was the only one in her class. The judge kindly remarked that she was a perfectly presentable goat or something to that effect, and Tangy was delighted to go back to her pen without even performing any of her patented "swordfish" airs above ground. As soon as she left the ring an army of beautiful giant Saanens with ten gallon udders came supergliding in, making Tangy look like an apricot-colored miniature poodle.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

You Can Do It At a Gallop

This morning there was a strange honking noise and we all looked up to see a flock of little pink pigs flying over the barn.

"Ok then," said the farmer. "Tangy is going to the Fair."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Wendell Has His Day

You know what they say, every dog has his day. And it is true. Even Wendell.

There has been a big bold coyote coming around and he is called B.D. for his habit of sauntering insolently into the goat pasture in broad daylight. Every time he comes, he comes a little closer.

The farmer runs at him and throws rocks and shoots at him with the pellet gun and he just doesn't care. He is an excellent judge of speed, which let's face it the farmer lacks, and he stands his ground until the last minute and then bounds away as if he was just leaving anyway and it is a coincidence that the farmer is running pell mell toward him hollering and throwing rocks.

The farmer always calls for Atty but usually Atty sleeps during the day and it takes a while to wake him up and let's face it once he is woken up it is pretty much a tie between him and the farmer as to who is the slowest. But Atty definitely puts on quite a display of woofing, I feel like clapping every time I hear it, it is very authentic.

The other day B.D. came right up to the fat lady pasture, leaving only the fence between them, and he looked the fat girls up and down as if he were peering into the lobster tank at a seafood restaurant. He comes around so often that the big ones - Bertie is a good example - don't even have sense to know they should stay far away from him. Bertie and Binky, in fact, were crowding up to the fence line to see if he maybe had some pockets with vanilla wafers in them.

Anyway the farmer caught sight of him and hove into view hollering and hucking rocks and calling for Atty. The farmer came on down the hill like a battleship being tugged out to sea, stopping now and then to pick up rocks, and yelling for Lori - "get the gun!" - and Atty - "ATTICUS!"

The farmer opened up the gate, thinking Atty was on his way, and grabbed some more rocks. But it wasn't Atty coming. It was Wendell flying like a little black bat out of hell and he shot past the farmer as soon as the gate opened and went straight for the coyote. The farmer was terribly alarmed since Wendell was maybe - maybe - half the size of B.D. But Wendell apparently didn't know it, he just went on like a dervish and scared the coyote so badly that it turned around and ran right into the fence where it caught for one scary moment with Wendell jumping at its throat like a good bulldog will do and then it sprang free and shot out through the hole in the fence where Melly goes out to eat hardhack in the meadow. Wendell was hot on his heels and acting like a true berserk.

Wendell and the coyote ran about a hundred feet along the fenceline and then both of them disappeared into the high grass, with the farmer lumbering along helplessly behind, yelling for Wendell to leave the coyote and come back.

Atty finally appeared, huffing and puffing, and ran along the fenceline in the wrong direction. "This way, Atty," the farmer yelled, pointing toward the canary grass into which Wendell and B.D. had vanished. But Atty flopped down next to the gate, spreading his paws out like a lion. He had used up his quota of running energy for the day.

"Wendell!" hollered the farmer, over and over, and in between yells it was all deathly quiet for several long minutes until you might almost start to wonder whether the coyote hadn't lured Wendell into a trap, but then we heard the wet snuffling of an overexerted boston terrier and a couple of seconds later Wendell's head bobbed up out of the grass, wearing a big delighted grin. I never saw a dog look more pleased.

And B.D. hasn't come back since then.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Goats


My cousin Cora Belle came over yesterday for more fair walking practice for the goat show. It is incredibly dull and boring. The goat and the person walk around in a circle and that's it. That's the whole show. No popcorn or anything.

Just a goat and its person walking around in a circle joined by a few other goats and their people walking in a circle. Once in a while they stop and the person pokes the goat around a little bit, "setting it up" and making it look good. It's completely ridiculous.

I am very glad it has been decided I am not going to the fair. Anyway the whole thing was rather odd because Cora Belle seemed to enjoy it and she would let any person walk around with her, even a three year old, and would allow herself to be posed like a Gumby. I find it very strange that she is Hannah Belle's daughter; Hannah Belle will not obey anyone, not even the farmer.

But Cora Belle paraded around extensively and it was very dull until she was joined by Tangy.

Tangy used to be known as "the swordfish" for her style of walking, which is to throw herself up into the air and flap around like a marlin on a sportfishing show. We were all very impressed by it. But she has even outdone herself now.

Yesterday she was doing fair walking practice and she had a full-blown tantrum and threw herself up into the air and then flat on the ground. The farmer's friend who is a very very good showman did not let go of the collar as Tangy expected, just held on patiently with Tangy flopped completely on the ground.

Tangy refused to get up, turning her body into a boat anchor, which wasn't hard since she is the fattest yearling here. After a few minutes an ordinary goat would have gotten up, but not Tangy; instead, since she was already lying down, she took a short nap.

The farmer says she isn't going anywhere much less the state fair but I hope they do take her to the show because it was a lot more interesting than Cora Belle's style of white glove perfection. Cora Belle must get that from the Shirley Temple side of her family.



PS I forgot to mention all photos were taken by PETA representative Wendy Webster. No animals were injured but the farmer's elbow was slightly wrenched, not that anyone cares. In future we will try to get an observer from the Human Fund to insure that human injuries are kept to a minimum although there is no guarantee they can be avoided entirely since Tangy is part Nubian. Thanks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marty


The farmer unexpectedly found an old picture of Marty, the kindest Nubian who ever lived. But you can probably tell that just from looking, even though she is asleep in the picture. She loved to sleep with her head on her little daughter Marigold.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pipe Gate Massage

Sometimes you can come within an inch of your life and not even know it.

And that is what happened yesterday.

Not to me, but to my Aunt Hannah Belle.

It was a red letter day. The farm had been rendered spotless. This was because the dairy inspector was coming for a visit. He came right on time and inspected all around the barn.

Even Walker the Talker, the little minimancha buckling who has something to say about everything, had been instructed to keep quiet.

The dairy inspector nodded at everyone in the barn. We nodded back, pretending to admire him. Then he put on a hairnet, which meant he was going into the dairy. The farmer went with him, and they were gone for about five minutes.

While they were gone Aunt Hannah Belle mysteriously appeared. She had been 100% banned from the barn during the inspector's visit, owing to her incorrigible behavior. In fact the farmer had put her down below with the fat girls and mended the little hole in the fence that Melly had made.

"That ought to hold you," the farmer muttered with satisfaction, having woven the field fence back together with an attractively rustic snaggle of baling twine.

Maybe the farmer shouldn't have said that.

We watched in shock and awe as she sashayed down the aisle toward the grain cans. She hannahbelled all three of them in rapid succession, spilling 150 pounds of dry cob and 14% dairy ration onto the barn floor in a seven foot swath.

She ate with lightning speed, like one of those people turned loose in a grocery store for ten minutes. Even Betsy was impressed.

Then for a change of pace she jumped onto my mountain of pea hay, knocking a few bales out of the stack while she searched for hay with the peas still on it. Even Winnie was shaken by her audacity.

A gasp went up as everyone heard the door of the dairy open. Aunt Hannah Belle scuttled away, moving like a worried crab with her feet seeming to rotate underneath her. She ran around the corner toward the pipe gate into the front pasture, and it seemed she had time to make a clean getaway, but then there came a familiar grunting noise.

She was stuck in the gate, too fat to squirt through from the angle she had chosen. Stone cold busted. The dairy inspector, three feet away, popped his eyes in surprise to see a fat little goat teetering between the pipes of the gate.

"What is that?" he said.

"Oh she gets stuck in the fence sometimes," we heard the farmer say nonchalantly. "She is a little bit fat."

"Isn't that cute?' said the dairy inspector.

"Yes," agreed the farmer grimly, looking daggers at Aunt Hannah Belle, who had shrewdly adopted the attitude of someone enjoying a nice relaxing pipe gate massage.

"Well, I better get going," said the dairy inspector. And he turned around and walked in the opposite direction. The farmer took a step into the barn, saw for the first time the hannahbelled cans and the wanton destruction of the one-goat buffet, and smoothly pirouetted back out.

"I'll walk you to your car."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let a Smile be Your Umbrella

The camera is broken. If it wasn't there would be a picture here of me standing in the grain bin eating all I want.

Anyway today there was a 'cloudburst.' This is where the clouds burst and the rain comes drenching out. The farmer had just gone to the store when it happened.

We were locked out in the pasture because the farmer says the milkers are too lazy and they need to stretch their legs and eat apples and not loll about in the barn all day. So the farmer locked everyone out and went to the store.

The clouds burst and everyone scattered. Aunt Blue and Mr. Jimmy and Senor Franky went running down to the fat girl pasture where they stood in the cabana screaming and taking enemy fire from the fat ladies who do not appreciate outsiders coming into their little cabana which they seem to think is some kind of luxury resort in spite of its extremely dilapidated condition.

We watched with interest as they ran in and out of the cabana. First they would run in and take enemy fire from the fat ladies and scream because of that. Then they would run out to escape the enemy fire and scream because of the cloudburst. Then when they couldn't stand the cloudburst any more they would run back in. And so on.

Up above Tangy was running in circles for no apparent reason except she is part Nubian. Winnie the Hun ran back and forth between the wellhouse and the apple tree. She couldn't decide which one blocked out more rain. Everyone else ran back and forth trying to get away from Winnie.

Did I mention us. Me and my mom just went into the barn. I am very small so I go where I want. My Mom is a Baby Belle daughter so she knows how to push on the locked gate in a certain way so she can go through it. When we got inside Aunt Hannah Belle was already in there eating pea hay.

Hello she said. Stand over there and eat only the hay that falls from my mouth onto the floor. Okay we said.

Outside the cloudburst and the screaming and running continued while we ate pea hay in a thoughtful manner.

After a while the farmer came home and let the drenched milkers back into the barn. But not before running and calling for me. I signalled to be picked up and the farmer carried me over to the grain bin to eat all I wanted.

"I'm glad you did not get wet," said the farmer. "You might catch cold."

I looked over at the milkers. They were angry as hornets and sopping wet to the bone. Drowned rats is one phrase that comes to mind. How sad, I thought, eating my grain.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

HRH MILLIE


Yesterday we got to go out with the big goats. We went to the orchard pasture and then we all went out into the summer meadow where there is free grass and brush. The grass was over my head so I started crying in a dignified fashion.

No one came for me probably because they were all stuffing their faces with free hay.

So then I started screaming at the top of my lungs because what else could I do.

None of my friends or relatives came. Later my mother said, "I heard you but I could tell you weren't hurt and I was busy."

Busy eating.

There was a big crashing noise of a large creature running through the brush and then the farmer picked me up. I was way up in the air and I could see everything. Down below in the meadow all the goats were eating buckbrush and canary grass.

Winnie the Hun was eating hardhack. Big Orange was snuffling around the pears that had fallen off the pear tree. Zane Gray was up on the old oil tank that had rolled down the hill. How did he get up there?

I could see everything. I was like a Queen.

Later we were up in the front pasture playing and I saw the farmer. I ran over to the farmer so that the farmer could pick me up.

I looked out and down below I could see the fat ladies crowding along the fenceline clamoring for pea hay.

The farmer carried me into the barn and put me down in the grain bin so I could eat all I wanted. I was standing on a mountain of goat candy. I was like a Queen.

Then the farmer carried me over to the stacks of pea hay which no one is allowed to touch because it is like gold. The farmer put me on top of one of the bales so I could eat all I wanted. I was like a Queen.

The farmer's friend from Longbranch came over and saw me standing on top of the wall of pea hay.

"You better be careful," said the farmer's friend. "You will spoil her. She is just a little goat."

"I will try to remember that," said the farmer, brushing the pea hay out of my beautiful coat.

I was like a Queen.

Friday, July 31, 2009

From the West


The Wind came! The beautiful beautiful sweet ocean-cool wind from the West! And we were turned free!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Big Sizzle

Today was a frightening day. It was the hottest day ever in Seattle, 102 degrees. In the shade on our porch at 6:30 it was 103 degrees.

Wendell the pest is a boston bulldog and he started having a heatstroke and had to go in the shower where he knocked over all the shampoos and conditioners not to mention the sea salts and loofahs in an effort to escape from his life-saving treatment. Then he had to wear a bag of frozen peas around his neck. Nobody looks very good in peas, and Wendell is no exception.

But that wasn't the frightening part. The horses also had to have showers and then they rolled in the dust completely coating themselves with dusty mud so that we went from a blond horse and a paint horse and an appaloosa horse to three black horses.

But that wasn't scary.

The scary part was when we were lying in the cooling center in the middle of the afternoon and we suddenly saw a large albino creature approaching in the distance. The creature was huffing and puffing and Zane Gray and me quickly hurried over under our mother to stay out of its way. But it came right for us on a beeline and then it bent over and picked Zane Gray up and I closed my eyes in fear. Oh dear, I thought. Why couldn't it take Frank, the little pill?

But I didn't hear any screaming so I opened my eyes after a minute.

"Don't be afraid," said my mother. "It is just the farmer. In a pair of bermuda shorts."

Very very frightening.

The Dangerous Case of Mr. Jimmy



Because of the horrible unprecedented heat here in the Northwest I am once again stuck inside with my two cousin-brothers Jimmy and Frank. They are a few days older than me and Zane Gray. Frank is handsome, he is blue-silver with blue eyes and black boots. But as far as personality he is called "the little pill." This is funny because he isn't little. He is very chubby.

On the other hand Mr. Jimmy has the personality of an angel, which happens quite frequently in my family, which is known as the Baby Belle family if you have never heard of us. Usually though it is Aunt Hannah Belle's sons who somehow manage to develop the highly refined family sweetness, perhaps because Aunt Hannah Belle is not only a Baby Belle daughter but also a Marquee daughter.

But anyway Mr. Jimmy is gaining fast on some of the classic sweet Baby Belle Boys of yesteryear, and this is making the farmer very nervous. This morning the farmer was scratching Mr. Jimmy's back and he closed his eyes halfway and snuggled up under the farmer's chin.

"Stop that, Mr. Jimmy," the farmer said. "You know there is a strict policy of no wethers here."

Welcome to Phoenix

Well they said it is going to be 103 degrees today which will smash all previous records for the highest temperature. Not only that but it is going to stay hot all through the weekend after they had promised that the temperature would go back down on Saturday and Sunday. This causes the farmer to milk the milkers at 10 p.m. which previously was an hour past the farmer's bedtime. And this also causes a great of anguished screaming in the morning because previously the breakfast time was 6 or 7 and now the breakfast cart does not come around until 9 or 10. Which frees up two or three hours for complaints and whining.

Some aren't that noisy about it but some must always bellow their outrage to the bleachers. Aggie the plus-sized miniature Nubian who looks like a tiny beached whale is one of the loudest complainers. She gets into a panicky state whenever her blood sugar drops below 100,000.

She is down there right now hollering "I FEEL FAINT! I FEEL FAINT!"

"Well," said the farmer this morning, "we have the cheese, so I guess we could also open a whinery."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cooling Center

Zane Gray and me forgot to act sensible yesterday when we went out, so we haven't learned our lesson. We are going to be confined to the barn. This is our cooling center. Jimmy and Frank are also confined. I don't understand it because Bubbles and Pinky are running free and they haven't got a lick of sense. Yesterday Bubbles ran headfirst into the feeder. And Pinky is a well-known special needs goat, no offense to her because she is part Nubian, but Ziggy has to head-butt her inside when it starts raining. If this is called sensible then what can you do. Anyway tomorrow they say the heat could be triple digits, unlike Pinky's IQ, so we won't be allowed out then either.

Also P.S. Zinnia is allowed out and she tried to eat a ball of baling twine.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interesting Times

It is interesting when you find out things. I just found out my brother zanegray's name is really Zane Gray. Interesting.

Also, I thought we lived on a nice cool farm where the main kind of weather would be patchy morning fog. It turns out where we live is actually stifling hot and no one can stop talking about it. Interesting.

People came over and they were saying things like. "Goodness it's hot," or "is it hot enough for you?"

One lady came over and she said, "is it hot enough for you?" and then she laughed and laughed. I guess this is some kind of joke, although I noticed the farmer did not laugh. I think it must be hot enough for anyone, certainly for the farmer.

I have not seen a lot of farmers, really only one, our one that lives here. But I noticed our farmer is somewhat on the round side, and does not seem to like the exceeding hotness we are having, which is predicted to last all week. They are saying that it is going to be 100 degrees in Seattle in the middle of the week.

The farmer's friend came over and told the farmer that even though it was 92 today it was going to be much hotter in the middle of the week. I wondered what the farmer would say and sure enough, just as I would have guessed, the farmer said, "that's interesting."

But with a stony stony stony face.

Hmm, I thought. Interesting.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Atticus Pupicus




Atticus Pupicus is our guardian dog. He used to let all the babies jump on him like a trampoline. But now he doesn't like it any more, those sharp little hooves in the ribs. He has aches and pains now and jumping makes him grumpy. He woofs anybody who jumps on him. Zanegray jumped on him and got woofed.

When he woofs you it really gets your attention.

Oh ok, you say to yourself, maybe I will not jump on you any more. Note to self.

Anyway Atticus Pupicus has been very hot and short-tempered lately because he didn't have his summer haircut. It was blazing hot several days in a row, and Atty lay around panting and gulping water and digging a hole under the porch to try to find more shade.

The farmer had tried to give Atty a haircut, but the clippers died going into the first turn. They were no match for Atty's magnificent dingleberries and his woolly ruff.

Really there was only one person who could help Atty, and that was the kindly neighbor who really knows how to clip and has super industrial sheep shears.

She came over and fixed Atty up. It was not an easy job. And when she was done, they had to get the tractor to take away all the hair.

Atty is in heaven.

His hair is in the tractor bucket.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All The Way or So

There was a ruckus the other day.

My Aunt Hannah Belle had two sons this year and the other day they went to their new home. This left Aunt Hannah Belle with a lot of milk and no one to drink it.

"Come on Hannah Belle," said the farmer meaningfully. "You have been on the dole long enough. It is time for you to go to work."

Hannah Belle kept mum and did not betray anything by her expression. Instead she watched the fat milkers trundling over toward the milk parlor. She could tell by the way Jammies was bobbing and weaving toward the head of the line that there was sure to be food inside.

All right then, Hannah Belle agreed, and when the farmer took her by the collar she marched along docilely. She didn't have any gum so she just chewed her cud, eyeballing the whole operation like she was the regional manager.

"Here is the ramp," the farmer explained. "Go up it when it is your turn, and on the other side you will find a nice buffet of free grain."

All right then, thought Hannah Belle, shrewdly staying out of striking distance of Winnie who likes to t-bone everyone in the waiting room who dares to look her in the eye. As long as they are a lot smaller than she is.

Hannah Belle got in line, choosing a sensible spot near the end. When it came her turn, she went right up the ramp, through the sliding door, and into the milk parlor.

I never saw any of the rest because they closed the door, but I heard it, and so did everybody in the next few counties.

Some of it went like this: "PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN! I MEAN RIGHT NOW! DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN!"

Meanwhile this whole time was a festive sound of hopping, like maybe some leprechauns doing a riverdance in the milk parlor, and in the foreground the loud sucking noise the milk machine makes. Then was followed a series of questions.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME? DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT MACHINE COST? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

Sadly the only answer was more hopping.

Then came a pronouncement: "YOU ARE GOING TO BE MILKED OUT TODAY YOUNG LADY! I MEAN ALL THE WAY!"

Followed by more jolly hopping and then the sound of the exit door sliding open, and then Hannah Belle appeared in view on the down ramp, hair slightly awry but overall I would have to say in an unfazed condition. She proceeded into the barnyard chewing her cud with an air of satisfaction.

I am something of an expert on milk and I did notice that while she had been milked, I would not say that she had been milked out ALL THE WAY.

No one mentioned anything about it and everyone pretended not to notice.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hello Again.




Hello. It's me again.

This is me with my mother, Belle Pepper. She is growing a snowy beard as you can see. Also she has the Baby Belle topknot, which is the hallmark of our family. I do not have the topknot yet or the beard.

We have to stay inside today because it is too hot and we aren't sensible. If we go out we lay in the hot sun panting and the farmer says, "be more sensible," and picks us up and carries us into the shade.

My brother Zanegray is with me. And my mother Belle Pepper. And my Aunt Blue. And also my two cousin-brothers, Frank and Jimmy.

And me.

We are all here. We are carrying on.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hello.






















Hello. I just got here yesterday. There was no Nigerian doelings born this year which never happened before. That was before I came. I am the last baby of the season.

My mother’s name is Belle Pepper. Her mother’s name was Baby Belle. Her mother’s name was Domingo Millie.

My name is going to be Million Belles, like the flower except with an e.

So I thought they might call me Millie like my great-grandmother.

But right now they are all calling me Baby Belle.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Note From the Farmer



Baby Belle died this afternoon.

Thanks to everyone who read her blog and to everyone who wrote publicly and privately sending her good wishes and good thoughts.

I knew we would miss her right away. I did not know how much.

Oh, Baby Belle.



#####

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Betsy

Betsy is still Betsy.

Some goats grow up and when they get big they get a new personality. Lucy for example was a fun-loving tot in her youth, but now she is a milker she has turned ruthless and scheming. She wants to move up the milker ladder and become top milker someday. This is a lost cause, because no one will ever unseat the Brandy family here. There is a reason we call them The Sopranos.

Lucy, if you are reading this, remember: Never go against The Family.

But Betsy is still Betsy. She doesn't care about being top milker. She just wants more food.

That would be her platform if she were running for governor. MORE FOOD NOW.

This has always been her policy, since she was a tiny bottle baby. And that is why she comes running at a hard canter every time the farmer calls out "Betsy!"

It might mean food, if she gets there first. It might mean MORE FOOD NOW.

When we see the herd coming around the greenhouse turn into the barnyard, Betsy is always in front or closing fast (if she got a bad start), running with her head up and a far-off Nubian gleam in her eye.

If the farmer wants Winnie, the farmer calls Winnie. If the farmer wants Tangy, the farmer calls Tangy. But if the farmer wants everybody, the farmer just calls Betsy.

Because when the rest of the herd sees Betsy running, they don't ask any questions. They just turn and run.

It might mean MORE FOOD NOW.

The Pasteurizer

IS HERE!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Newsletter

Well, the farm newsletter has been done for a while but we are having some problems getting the mailing list to send out properly. So anyway for now you can just read it here and we will try to get the list fixed for next time.

Oy. It's always something. It's never nothing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fool Me Twice

Well, the farmer had to go and pick up hay in the field, and Betsy used the opportunity to kid. She had a gigantic single buck kid (again) in the peace and quiet of a private kidding stall.

His name is Bubbles, but he acts like he doesn't know who you are talking to when you say, "hello, Bubbles." That's a bit odd.

Anyway, this year the score in the Stealth Kidding Campaign is Betsy family 2, Farmer 1.

Speaking of hay it is almost time to bring the hay in, probably in a week or so. Because of the freakishly hot weather and the ample spring rain, the hay is weeks ahead of schedule, and it is looking very beautiful.

Many people probably would love a chance to swelter in the hot sun bucking hay. My goodness it is a fantastic workout, I love to watch them doing it from under a nice shady tree. If you are ambulatory or even reasonably ambulatory you are welcome to help The Farmer bring in hundreds of bales from the field when the time comes.

No, seriously, don't be shy. Just send us your email and we will let you know when and where to come.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fool Me Once

Xie Xie was not able to fool the farmer. She delivered a set of twins in plain sight. They are both mini-Manchas, and both blue-eyed. As far as the "mini" part goes, we are not so sure they got that memo.

Both of them are butterballs and if anything they weigh more than Big Orange's Lamancha kids. One of them, the boy, is a terrible whiner. He cries just like a little baby. All day long.

Where is the milk? Waa waa waa. Why is it in a bottle? Waa waa waa. Shouldn't it be on tap? Waa waa waa. Is someone stepping on me? Waa waa waa.

He has already cried more in one day than I ever cried in my whole life.

So the trifecta is out, but Betsy still has a chance at a stealth kidding.

You're Getting Verrrry Sleepy...

The Betsy family excels in stealth kidding, as you know. Apparently this is done partly by ESP. Betsy and her daughter Big Orange were in the pre-kidding stall for several days doing nothing. Then Monday morning as the farmer was getting ready to feed the fat girls down below, a series of telepathic messages arrived in the farmer's head.

"They are so fat," the first message said. "Why don't you feed them later."

But the farmer already had the buckets out and proceeded to ignore this suggestion. A second message arrived, this one in all caps: "WOULDN'T IT BE NICE TO HAVE A BREAKFAST OMELET WITH THOSE FRESH EGGS YOU GOT YESTERDAY."

How odd, the farmer thought. I really do not usually eat breakfast. But by this time the farmer was under Betsy Family mind control, and went inside to make an omelet, leaving the feed buckets in the barn, and forgetting to check on the pregnant ladies, who were quiet as two mice in their stall. That should have been a tipoff right there.

Twenty minutes later the farmer came out and instead of two girls in the Betsy/Orange pre-kidding stall, there were three, one of them pale orange and quite small but very angry. Shortly, a large dark sidekick arrived to go with the tiny, furious little bumblebee.

This marks the third year in a row that the Betsy family has snuck in at least one unattended kidding. Last year they had two. And since Betsy and Xie Xie are still pregnant, this year they have a chance to go for the trifecta.

Anyway, Big Orange had twin does. One is very pretty. The other is very very pretty. Don't worry, you don't have to do anything. We will use up any leftover Z names on them.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Science Fair

Well the Farmer went around and around and around and the final two name contenders for Pinky are Zedoary - which is a kind of ginger - and the late inning surprise name Zapricot - which is Apricot, with a Z in front of it. So those are the final two choices left from all the many name suggestions.

And if it can't be decided by next Monday we are going to flip a coin. Who cares anyway we are just going to call her Pinky.

Little Pinky is not getting any smarter, either. Even after the head-bashing episode she still runs into things for no apparent reason. Or as the farmer used to say when trying for the umpteenth time to teach Pinky's great-grandmother Stacy to jump on the milkstand, "she is not going to win the Science Fair."

On the other hand my daughter Hannah Belle has finally been able to teach the farmer that she doesn't want her kids in the barn. She was coming up three times a day to feed them but when the farmer had the stall door open for cleaning the other day, Hannah Belle swooped in out of the blue and gave Inky and Shaq the high sign and the whole family skedaddled.

Now everyone is happy and Hannah Belle doesn't have to trudge up to the barn all day long, which was very tiresome for her.

In other news it can now be announced with certainty that both of my other daughters - Belle Pepper and Blue Umbrella - are going to kid in July. These will be the first kids from our new buck, the debonair and handsome but not particularly manly Cowboy.

There was some doubt about whether Cowboy, being just a wide-eyed teenager at the time, had been able to perform his buckly duties last winter. But it appears that the girls were able to educate him. Blue Umbrella in particular is an excellent teacher, like Hannah Belle, even though some of her pupils, as mentioned previously, are not going to win the Science Fair.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer Days

It isn't summer but it feels like summer. One crazy guy down the road is already cutting hay.

We are counting the days waiting for the pasteurizer to arrive. Only we don't know how many days it's going to be, so why are we counting the days? We think it will be here in about two weeks.

Hannah Belle is very fond of her two sons Inky and Shaq, but she finds it quite boring hanging around the barn with them all day. They don't really do anything besides twitter and hop around like little birds, and Hannah Belle prefers directed activities, ideally of the sort that culminate in the acquisition of tasty food products - grain, peanuts, sweet canary grass in the meadow, red licorice, et cetera.

So she goes up to the barn three times a day, lets Inky and Shaq drink all the milk they want for about three minutes, then returns to her monomaniacal foraging, sunbathing, and intellectually superior ruminating.

The Betsy Family is almost ready to kid, all three of them. Betsy herself is quite huge, but so is Big orange, and so is Xie Xie, who is even prettier than she was last year. Betsy went on the milk bench for the first time today, and then she got trapped in the exit area because she couldn't figure out how to push open the gate.

Just PUSH IT, BETSY! LIKE THE TEN OTHER GOATS THAT WENT BEFORE YOU!

Dios Mio.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Inky and Shaq



Here they are.

They're Here

Well Hannah Belle underdid herself this time, producing only two kids, both of whom are luckily extremely gorgeous. Since they are fine flashy strapping boys with no apparent physical defects, she already ditched them to go free-ranging in the garden.

When that didn't sit too well with the farmer she went back in with them for a few minutes, looking pious and motherly while the cameras were filming, then re-ditched them to go sit on the cable spools in the horse pasture.

In regards to her previously quadrupletesque figure, she still looks like she could have twins at a moment's notice.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Zero Hour

The farmer has finally had it with Hannah Belle. Hannah Belle is being moved to the kidding stall, like it or not.

And she better like it.

This means the LaMancha weaners, all of whom have been crying hysterically for four days as they adjust to a world without milk, will be plunged into a new reality show called "Outdoor Living."

Or, as I like to think of it, "I'm a LaMancha Baby, Get Me Out of Here!"