Friday, March 28, 2014

The Ugly Duckling and the Dark Secret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Wow," said Poppy, soberly.

"mmmyyy llllittttllle sssonnn," moaned Binky.

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

This Won't Do AT ALL and the Dark Secret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Last Year's Baby

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

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

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

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

Unless you are a baby.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Two Wrongs

They say two wrongs don't make a right.

But I don't know.

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

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

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

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

"Because they're quadruplets."

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

I ask you, was it right?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Starts With E....

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

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

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

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

*Ozarks Goat Girl

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

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

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

Then "death and taxes!"

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

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

Unfortunately her cries did not fall on deaf ears.

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

"I cannot hear myself eat," frumped Poppy.

"Zip it," insisted Belle Pepper.

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

"Ivy!" she bellowed.

"Pebbles!" bellowed Ivy.

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

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

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

"Ivy," she burbled.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Sisters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terra Belle with her triplets, Belle Starr alone.

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

(Stay Tuned)....