Thursday, August 20, 2009
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
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
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."
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
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
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.
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."
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
Also P.S. Zinnia is allowed out and she tried to eat a ball of baling twine.
Monday, July 27, 2009
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 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
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.