Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Junior Channel

We have two LaMancha bucks here. One is Viceroy the Nice Boy, he is older so he is the boss. He is a nice boy and he does almost everything nicely. The other is Junior. Junior seemed to be kind of boring when he first came here. He never did anything, didn't try to escape, didn't jump over anything, didn't knock anything down, certainly didn't eat any rosebushes.

The only interesting habit he had was he wouldn't walk with the farmer. If the farmer put a hand on his collar he immediately dropped on the ground like a pancake.

"Oh, really?" the farmer said, the first couple of times he did this.

"Oh, really?" is something which if you hear it it is your last chance to avoid reaping the whirlwind. When Hannah Belle hears the farmer say "oh, really?" she immediately stops what she is doing - eating grain from a knocked-over garbage can, usually - and goes to stand by the door to the punishment stall to be let in. She stands in a posture of mock humility and regret - head down and deflated, humble and apologetic.

Really, it's quite convincing. Utterly fake, of course.

Junior isn't dumb and he soon learned that his style of 'walking' would prevent him from ever going to meet any girls. So then he walked tolerably well. Not perfectly but tolerably well. He stopped his pancaking ways and returned to being dull as dishwater.

Until recently. Maybe it's because he's two years old now, but anyway Junior has started developing a personality.

His favorite thing to do is pretend he is scared, kind of like a Haflinger. If he sees the tractor he sometimes, depending on his mood, runs around dizzily, puffing and snorting. He isn't really scared, just pretending to be scared.

His new hobby is to pick up his feed bucket when it is empty and put it on his head upside down so that he can't see. Then he pretends he is scared and runs around in a circle, carefully so as not to bump into anything. Then he takes the bucket off and looks around to check if anything changed while he was invisible.

No. Then he puts the bucket back on and trots around for a few more minutes. Off again. No change in the visible world. Back on again.

When he does it now and people ask if he needs help - "look," they usually say, "that goat has a bucket stuck on his head" - the farmer says no.

He doesn't need help. He is just watching the Junior Channel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hello. I am today’s guest goat. My name is Winnie Junior. It is pronounced Winnie JUNIOR. If you are calling me, call out “winnie JUNIOR!” Actually you do not need to call me. If I see you I will run over and attach myself to you. I am one of the velcro goats.

I am the captain of the hiking team because I will follow you anywhere you go except into the shower although on a hot day I might do that too if the shower is cool and refreshing.

I have an assistant. My assistant’s name is Binky. Some day I would like to saw her in half but for now she just follows me around assisting me and I tell her to calm down if she falls in the creek which happens more often than you might imagine.

The creek is like a magnet to Binky. I think her bones are made of willow which makes her get attracted to water but this is just a theory. She is very springy though, just like a good willow switch or a divining rod. Anyway for future reference if you are hiking with Binky do not go by any deep creeks because she is only two feet tall. Also when she falls in if I am not there when she starts screaming just yell, “Calm down, Binky!”

She is my assistant and I do need her so don’t just leave her in the creek. If she gets a brain freeze you might need to find a farmer to carry her out. A logger could probably also do it if there is no farmer nearby. Just someone with boots and common sense.

Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

Captain Who?

There is a new gentleman visiting us. He has beautiful blue hair and a beautiful fringe and a beautiful Superman-style spit curl over his forehead. He also has the beginnings of a magnificent snowy beard. Did I mention he is beautiful?

Hmm. I may need to do some stretches in case I need to jump anything.


Friday, February 06, 2009

The Princess and the Pea

It is possible for someone who is extremely good-looking to have funny-looking relatives. You probably know this from your own experience looking around the dinner table at Thanksgiving at some of the pasty-faced chubby-cheeked flat-haired thin-lipped single-eyebrowed (etc) family members who share (can you believe it?) your DNA. Brad Pitt’s brother for example looks kind of like a gerbil. I have nothing against gerbils, I just wouldn’t want to look like one. And then there is my half-sister Snow Pea.

Snow Pea looks like a footstool with ears. In fact, she looks like someone bought her at Ikea and put her together with one of those allen wrenches you can never find when you need it. A footstool that people would look at and say, “is it supposed to be that low to the ground? Why are there two screws left over?”

She completely lacks what the Goat People call “dairy character.” She is square and very well-padded and her legs are only a couple of inches long. This comes in very handy when scarfing up food dropped by others, which is one of the reasons for Snow Pea’s impressive upholstery.

Snow Pea also has a little bit of a personality deficit. When she first came here with me years ago she was very shy of people and would run away squeaking miserably if anyone tried to pet her. She got over this because of her Achilles heel: she loves to be scratched so much that she soon becomes very attached to anyone – the farmer for example – who will sit down and scratch her shoulders. In fact, it is possible to put her into a hypnotic trance by doing this.

But among us goats, she is down at the bottom of the pecking order and a little bit of an outcast. She doesn’t seem to care; she likes her little niche. And she only has two interests. Food, of course. And her boyfriend Captain January.

If you know anything about Snow Pea you know that years ago she had one set of twins. Well, she had all kinds of problems because she was really too fat to kid, and she ended up having a c-section. Since then she has not been allowed to have any kids, and so when she comes into heat she shows astonishing initiative in her special brand of low-to-the-ground escapery.

The Pea is too short and fat to jump anything, so the farmer was very surprised to find her wagging her tail outside CJ’s honeymoon suite yesterday, since it is two high fences away from her pasture. The farmer put her back where she belonged and then watched from a distance as she burrowed under the fence into the neighbor’s pasture, scuttled along inside the blackberry bushes, crammed back under the neighbor’s wooden fence where Wendell the Pest has worn his little wormhole, and burrowed again under the garden fence adjacent to CJ’s pen.

Not even Hannah Belle has thought of doing this.

Anyway the horse trailer is full of grain so the farmer frogmarched her right into my stall. I am tolerating her, but she has to sit in the corner and not touch my food.

Sit, Snow Pea. Stay.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Saddest Day of the Year

Every year we mark our calendar for the saddest day of the year. It came two days ago. After struggling mightily through several milkless days and exhausting the Christmas Starbucks gift cards, the farmer finally bought a quart of milk at the store.

Cow milk of course. Awful stuff. Just awful. I pity the calf who would even consider drinking it.

That brings us to the kidding countdown: the farmer's special pet Wronny, the world's most perfect milker according to the farmer, even though she has come in last place at every show she has ever been to, unlike my family, which always brings home scads of ribbons, most of them blue, but anyway we can't all be beautiful, will be the first to kid.

The fabulous last place ("I prefer to think of it as fifth place," the farmer insisted this year after the fair, since only four other goats showed up in Wronny's class) Wronny is scheduled to kid on April 3rd. She has never had a buck kid so we are laying odds on that, and even though she has always had twins, I am going to go out on a limb and bet she has triplets.

And speaking of long odds, the farmer has vowed to keep showing Wronny until she doesn't come in last. Then she will retire in a blaze of mediocrity.

So the world will be waiting with bated breath for that wonderful day when Wronny comes in next to last. Personally, I would take the Cubs in four games in the World Series first.