Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Late for the Sky

Years ago I inherited a horse, an old appaloosa named Mo. He came with the farm. I had never had a horse before, or even been around horses, so I thought all horses were like Mo. If you sat down in the pasture he would come and lie down next to you and put his big head in your lap. If you were riding him, and started to slip off because you a) hadn't cinched the saddle properly and b) couldn't ride a lick (ask me how I know) he would slow down very gradually, and sidestep his way back underneath you, and just catch you before you fell off. He knew not to slam on the brakes. And then when you 'dismounted,' he would stand there, saddle under his belly, waiting patiently for your next astonishing feat of horsemanship.

The real estate agent told me, quite definitively, that Mo was 29. But one day not long after, a car broke down on the road in front of the farm, and I could see an older woman sitting in the driver's seat. This was before everyone had cellphones, and I went down to see if she needed help. As it turned out, she did have a cellphone, and her husband was on the way, but we got to chatting and she asked me, gesturing at Mo who of course was ambling over to offer his advice, "how long have you had that gray horse?"

There wasn't any other horse around, just Mo, white as snow. Well, I answered, I had actually just moved in, but he had lived here pretty much his whole life, from what I had heard, and he was 29. "Hmm," she said, a bit skeptically, "cause I've been here 30 years. And he's been here longer than I have."

Years later I found a picture of young Mo galloping in the front pasture. He was a beautiful dapple gray. I was so ignorant that I did not know that gray horses turn white with age.

Mo died when he was 32, if the real estate agent is to be believed. He would have lived forever, I think, except that his best friend, a crotchety old Morgan named Jobbin, colicked and died one terrible night. Mo was in his stall when Jobbin was put down. And still in his stall when the awful removal truck came and loaded Jobbin and took him away. This is one of the many ignorant mistakes I still regret; people told me later that when a horse dies the best thing is to let the horse's herdmates see and smell the dead horse. Then they know.

But Mo didn't know, and for the next two days he ran the pastures, back and forth, calling and looking for Jobbin, frantic. And after that all the joy went out of him. He decided to die. Two months later, in the first week of October when the rain started in earnest, he did.

Three days ago, Eo fell and couldn't get up. That night it started raining in earnest.

Eo of the legendary pedigree, the only living daughter of Promisedland D&M Elvis, brother to Promisedland Bewitched, Promisedland My Fair Lady (dam of perhaps the most productive doe in the breed, Promisedland MG Diva), Promisedland Saanen-Doe-A. She was born in Eastern Washington and came to this side of the mountains as a dam-raised week-old-kid, grimly determined not to be a bottle baby. It was the only point she ever conceded.

It's funny the little things you remember: I remember looking across the bench seat of the old Ford pickup as we got on westbound I-90 in Ellensburg, baby Eo glaring at me from inside her little cat-size kennel. Improbably, a Jackson Browne song from the "Late for the Sky" album came on the tinny AM radio. Feels like such a long time ago. Feels like yesterday.

No one pushed her, no one knocked her down; she was alone in her private stall. She had fallen before, I don't know how many times, but she always bounced back with a vengeance, using any short recuperation period to devour treats and snacks, to browse her private clover patch, to feast on licorice. This time she refused. No grain, no plums, no wheat bread, no gatorade, no hay, no willow leaves. Nothing. She just decided to die. This morning, she did.

The lyrics from that Jackson Browne song keep running through my head: Keep a fire burning in your eye. And pay attention to the open sky.

It was time, she knew that. She went out the exact same way she did everything. On her own terms. Some day that will make me glad. Not today.

Eo. Born in Walla Walla in February 2003. Died this morning in Home. 

Spenny and Eo, my two best girls.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Ran When Parked

Well the farmer went to start the generator to see if it was all ready for the winter storm and would start properly. It would not. 

"That's funny," the farmer said to Dolly. "it worked last time."

Dolly made a face of deep dismay, she is very good at that. Well it is probably something simple like bad gas said the farmer and drained out the gas and put new gas and tried to see if it would start. It would not. The farmer put some Seafoam in it because of the mysterious powers of Seafoam. It would not start. Oh well maybe it has no spark said the farmer and took out the spark plug and looked at it and then hooked it up using YouTube methods to see if it had spark and oddly enough it did have spark. That's odd the farmer said and pulled on the starter rope to see if it had compression and the starter rope broke. This was very gratifying.

"Using our mechanical skills," the farmer explained to Dolly, "we can divine that it needs a new starter rope." Dolly nodded. Ah ha.

The farmer went to Home Depot and they did not have a starter rope and then to Wilco and they did not have a starter rope and then to Ace Hardware and they did not have one and then to O'Reilly Auto Parts and the cashier said they did not have a starter rope. "Really?" asked the farmer. "You do not have a starter rope?" and just then a manager walked by and she said "of course we do" and took the farmer to the end of a distant aisle and there was a starter rope. "I'm sorry," the cashier said to the manager - not to the farmer - by way of explanation. " I have a terrible hangover."

The farmer came home and put the new starter rope on and then wound it up backwards and then gave a mighty pull and thwacked the puller directly into the back of one thumbnail then said some curse words then went on YouTube to see how to wind it up correctly and wound it up correctly and checked to see if there was compression and there was. That's odd said the farmer and sighed. Well I guess we will have to clean out the carburetor.

But by this time the storm had passed and the farmer and Dolly decided to go inside and drink some hot chocolate instead of wasting any more time on the generator because after all what with its brand-new starter rope it had been restored to its original state of non-functioning so in a way it was as good as new. In a way, everything around here is as good as new. 

It's like when you go on Craigslist and there is an ad for an ancient pickup that has a blackberry bush growing out of its hood and the seller makes a lot of lofty claims about it being "all original" and wants $2,000 and says as if it is a deal clincher, "ran when parked."

Ran when parked. Like everything around here. Good little epitaph for your tombstone if you don't have anything yet.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Cherry's Magic Milk

Golly had her twins there were two of them. One was flashy with blue eyes and frosting. That was Pancake. One was as plain as the nose on your face, just a little black goat. That was Pixie.

They were small like most baby goats and they went freely back and forth between the fence boards, going in and out of their pasture where they were supposed to stay. Especially Pixie. Pixie was half LaMancha and half Nigerian but she had a certain Nubian quality, a surprised look that never seemed to go away. She wasn't shrewd like a Nigerian or managerial like a LaMancha. She was mildly astonished like a Nubian.

"My goodness," her expression always seemed to say. She walked down into the Old Lady pasture and looked at the Old Ladies, many of them down on their pasterns and looking a little motheaten and worse for wear, especially the very old ladies. But Cherry was there too, Pinky's twin, and she was more of a Middle-Aged Lady, and she looked at Pixie with an air of dim surprise. Pinky got the brains in the family, and Cherry got all the Nubian. They are Betsy granddaughters, and that makes them one-eighth Nubian. But Cherry got the whole eighth and Pinky is a LaMancha through and through.

Anyway Cherry looked at Pixie and she said, "My Goodness."

And Pixie said, "My Goodness."

They blinked at each other.

"Are you my daughter?" Cherry asked. Cherry didn't have any babies this year or last year or even the year before, because of everything, and she wasn't very pleased about it. In fact she did not believe it.

"Yes," said Pixie.

"I thought so," said Cherry, and she came into her magic trance milk.

Not a lot of milk, since Golly was bulging with milk. But just enough. Just barely enough. That is all you need anyway.

So Pixie has one mother, and she also has another mother, a mother from another planet.

The distant Planet Nubia, so near and yet so far. Twinkling out there in the Milky Way.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ask a Librarian

The Ottoman was captured and put in a holding pen, a 100% foolproof holding pen, because she was causing headaches. The Footstool ran around screaming. The Ottoman screamed back to the Footstool.

"Ottoman!" screamed the Footstool.

"I'm in here!" screamed the Ottoman, from inside the foolproof holding pen in the barn.

"Come out!" screamed the Footstool.

"I'm in here!" screamed the Ottoman.

Second verse same as the first.

This is the backdrop for today's agricultural adventure which is called The Owl and The Ottoman.

The Farmer had gotten the tractor repaired and was cleaning the down-below barn. The Boston Terrorist was riding shotgun in case anything interesting happened. Dolly was ensuring compliance to all the farm rules and regulations.

"I would sell a kidney before I would sell this tractor," the farmer remarked to the Boston Terrorist, as they bucketed out vast quantities of jet-black manure to the tune of the little Kubota engine.

In the background, the distant aria of the Footstool and the Ottoman screaming.

This gave Belle Starr an idea.

"I wonder if the Footstool and the Ottoman should write an epic poem."

Tangy blinked.

"A book-length poem."

"Something like this," Belle Starr went on:

"The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat
The Footstool and the Ottoman stayed ashore
and joined a herd of goats
They started screaming
and gave life meaning, and..."

"Meaning and screaming doesn't rhyme," thought Eo, but didn't say anything because what is the point. She was a poet, and hated the approximate.

"That isn't book-length," Moony interjected knowledgeably. "A book is at least two pages."

By this time the Farmer had piled up a small mountain of aromatic espresso beans.

"Moony should know what a book is," certified Tangy. "She is a librarian."

"I think you mean BARBARIAN," thought Eo.

Just then a surprising silence fell.

"What is that noise?" asked Moony. (Translation: why did the noise stop?)

The Farmer had turned off the tractor, and the rhythmic throbbing of the diesel engine was gone. But there was something else, some other kind of silence, something of an unscreaming nature.

Just then the Ottoman appeared.

"I'm out," she said cheerfully, referring to the 100% foolproof holding pen. She began looking around for headaches to cause.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Footstool and the Ottoman

Some funny things happened. Eo and Winnie both turned 15, one was decrepit with a bowlegged hitch in her giddyup. The other was fit and cuddly as a hyena, steely-eyed as ever. Tangy aka Tanjy aka Tangerine suggested a big fiesta with quinceanera dresses.

"Whuh?" said Winnie. Eo said nothing, as usual, but took a mental note to t-bone Tangy later, when she was least expecting it, ideally when she was standing next to a tree trunk, for maximum effect.

We also had these new imported twins who became the all-time name champions for having the most names ever that didn't stick. First they had some names that they came with. Then they had some new names. They were twins from Oregon, two Belle Starr granddaughters.

They weren't much to look at, one was very scraggly and sickly for a while, then perked up. They flew about like swallows, ducking through gaps and fence holes. They were the ones the sonnet was written about: if your fence will not hold water, it will not hold goats. That is not a sonnet by the way. It is something else. I will think of it later.

Anyway they were two little flibbertigibbets, the shape of water and the color of the wind, and the fence would not hold them, they flowed here and there, seeking their own level, and always arriving just in time for dinner. So for a while they were called Ebb and Flo.

They were too nimble and spry to ever be t-boned, and champion flee-ers. When in doubt they would flee, nimbly and spryly. So after their first few sets of names wore off they were called Nimble and Spry, but that sounded too much like a law firm.

They were both POGs, people-oriented-goats, and loved to be brushed. They would stand forever to be brushed, eyes half-closed and mouths hanging ajar. Typical POGs. For a while they were called Poggy and Sue.

They started to grow bigger but the spindly one still had a squarish, ungainly, boxy quality. Goats who are going to be pretty later often have this quality. The strapping one began to add padding, first over the rump, them over the back, then down under the neck, then everywhere. This happened gradually, then suddenly. Goats who are going to be fat later often have this quality.

Anyway they came into a new set of names with this development. The well-padded one was called The Ottoman. Ottoman like the Empire. The ungainly one was called The Footstool. Footstool like the thing you put your feet on.

Those names are just for now. Something better will come along. Won't it?

The Footstool & The Ottoman

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Pipes The Pipes Are Not Calling

Okay the Ceremony of the measuring of TMFGITW has been cancelled owing to it is supposed to get really hot and it is smoky and ashy from all the fires burning around here. It will be done when it is not hot and smoky and ashy. Also the goats who went to the fair are on quarantine because Golly for one was caught in the act of licking a really grimy barn railing probably covered in goat influenza germs so we are taking bets on when she will come down with the Fair Flu. Anyway if the farmer gets the truck unpacked there might be an eyeballing or a guesstimating of TMFGITW height later on in the day. Or maybe not. Also we need to find the bagpipes and someone to play them before we can do the official TMFGITW Measurements which are always done with "Danny Boy" whinging along in the background.

Sunday, September 03, 2017


On Tuesday after the Fair there will be a ceremonial measuring of Crumpet. Crumpet has been throwing down with Belle Starr and doing t-bonings on anyone who looks cross-eyed at her. She thinks she is all that. And she looks bigger. She will be measured.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bed, Bath and Opinions

Gilbert is thinking of opening an opinion store where he can sell his extra opinions. He has a lot of them. Maybe it could go in a mall somewhere next to Tanjy's opinion store and Moony's opinion store and Marti's half-price opinions, buy one get one free. Eo would have an opinion store too but it would just be called "No." Goats would come up and ask questions like 'in your opinion do I look good with my hair like this?' Or they might ask 'Do you think I could be Herd Queen some day?'

And Eo would say "No." Or possibly she might just glare at them. Possibly a large number of questions might not merit a response at the Eo store, which actually come to think of it would probably be more of a booth, if it was even ever open, which it might be one of those stores that is always closed with a sign that says 'Come Back Tomorrow, We're Closed!'  Fake cheerful like that, as if it is going to be open at some point which it isn't.

On the other hand the Tanjy store might take up several storefronts. I thought it was supposed to be spelled Tangy because her name is really Tangerine but now everyone spells it Tanjy. I guess that is the world we live in where spelling is a matter of opinion and not a matter of fact. But that's just my opinion. Anyway the Tanjy opinion store would be an old-fashioned five and dime type store with useless claptrap in every crevice because that is what Tanjy's opinions are like. They are random and numerous and not in any particular order. Slingshots next to egg timers next to fishing pole bobbers next to wax lips and candy necklaces with no rhyme or reason. Tanjy would be there 24 hours a day grinning like an Orc. On the back wall would be a huge banner with Tanjy's most fervent opinion displayed: IT'S TIME TO EAT!!!

Anyway Gilbert and Golly and Clover and Wembley are going to the Fair just to be display goats. They aren't going to be in a show or anything. They all got baths and the baths were graded on a scale of A to F. Gilbert got a B-. He did not notice he was being sprayed with water and shampooed until he ran out of food. Then he began making murmurs of dissatisfaction and by the end he gave one short yell of disgruntlement. And then the bath was over and he got a B- which is the highest score anyone here has ever gotten except Laddy the horse who loves baths.

Golly came next, Gilbert's twin, and she got a C. She is just average so it was the best she could do but still it is a very good score. Clover came next and she got a C+ which on the Nigerian scale is an A+++++. She only screamed and tried to knock the stand over at the end. Wembley came last and she got an F. First she could not be caught, then once she was caught she would not walk and had to be drag-carried, then once on the stand she immediately began screaming and performing the airs above ground and she did not stop at any point during the bathing process. This is an F on every goat bathing scale. Worst of all, Wembley does not care that she got an F.

In my opinion, this is a disgrace. No one has ever been able to catch me to give me a bath, but if they did I would behave with humble gracious dignity. I think.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Three Little Things

The three little barbarians lived in a stall with Wembley at night. There was something about them that made Moony keep asking: what are they?

Moony exists in a state of eternal surprise and she would see them and marvel: what are they?

"They are just from Oregon is all," I tried to explain but talk about deaf ears. Ok during the day they learned immediately about hole-seeking and they would be put out with the elderly and the infirm and they would eat blackberry leaves for a few minutes and then they would find a hole or a gap in the fence and they would skedaddle back to the barn like true believers where they would inspect for hay and grain in an extremely professional fashion.

Binky thought they were very annoying and tried to t-bone them but they are small creatures with large brains whereas Binky is the reverse and the results were far from satisfactory from the Binky side of things. All in all they were born skedaddlers and Belle Starr began giving them inquisitive looks.

"Wait a minute," she would say, looking especially at the little white one.

"What are they?" Moony would ask again, as if it were a new question.

After a few weeks the three barbarians were introduced to the concept of weaning and their shrieks filled the air. We did not need a translator to know that they were calling the Milk Police and protesting that there is no such thing as weaning in Oregon.

One of them, the little white one with the pretty face, pulled a commando raid on Wembley and got a few ounces of milk before Wembley could gallop away.

"Wait a minute," mused Belle Starr.

"Those three little things," asked Moony. "What are they?"

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Well the farmer called a staff meeting and everyone clumped together.

I don't remember the exact words of the speech but it was something to this effect: "Now there is some new doelings here and they are going to come out in the herd soon and I want everyone to know that these are ivy league goats and they come from a high-class background where everything is nice and not just a bunch of ramshackle sheds and they are used to a civilized atmosphere and I am just warning everyone here that if there is any type of..."

I missed the next part because Moony t-boned me just for standing in a shadow she liked because she is so fat she gets overheated at the first hint of sunshine so she has certain shadows she likes to stand in because she thinks some shadows are better than others and provide a more cooling atmosphere for the overconditioned which is how they say it when goats get too fat.

Okay then there was another chunk that I remember: "...exactly what I am talking about and there will be SERIOUS repercussions if one of these doelings..."

Then another gap where June Bug started screaming because she was stuck in the feeder which was just specially repaired to keep her out of it so now when she goes in it she gets stuck briefly for a moment before popping through and that is when she gives the scream, which is a real Jurassic Park type scream. I think when she lets the scream out it reduces her lung size so she can pop through but anyway it is an interesting phenomenon. Probably in the Amish country they have a name for it, screamspringen or something.

"And so this will be your only warning."

And that was the end of the speech. The three doelings came bounding out, just like they were on their way to a birthday party with free ice cream and cake.

"What?" puzzled Moony. "Is there going to be a meeting or not?"

Then, as she was able to focus her beady eyes: "who are those three?"

Friday, June 02, 2017

New in Town

The farmer went on a road trip in the little red truck and and when the farmer came back there were three Nigerian doelings in the back of the truck.

"Probably someone put them in there at a rest stop," Clover surmised. Clover has been to the state fair so she is an expert on most things.

One was mostly black, one was mostly white, and one was black and white. The black one was screaming in a hoarse voice which seemed to indicate she had been screaming for a fairly long time. She did not betray any plans to stop screaming.

"Good lungs," Pebbles noted admiringly. Pebbles is our top screamer. When she had Ellie she screamed for twelve hours starting from before she was even in labor. Pebbles style of screaming is a "Godzilla-is-coming!" style of yell-screaming whereas this doeling had an edgier higher-pitched tone. More operatic.

Incomprehensible though. No one could understand what she was screaming. Eo gave a dark look. "Uh oh," she muttered.

"What about that white one?" mused Betty. It looked kind of familiar. You couldn't put your finger on it, but there was something about it that rang a bell.

They stayed in the barn in a stall for three days. On the fourth day Wembley was put in with them. Wembley is not a jumper but she jumped out. So they went back to staying in their stall alone. On the fifth day the farmer took them out in the front pasture with the elderly and the infirm. By this time the black one had given up round-the-clock screaming for intermittent screaming. They did not understand about grass or blackberries, but they saw Pinky eating them and learned how to do that. They did not understand about tree stumps but they soon learned to jump on them.

Winnie kindly explained to them how an electric fence works but they would not take her word for it or probably they did not understand what she was saying. They wanted firsthand confirmation which they got. Okay after the shrieks everything seemed ok and they were at the point where you might almost say "what could go wrong?"

Just then the little black one probably emboldened by the stump hopping took a running jump and a flying leap right into the horse water tank. For once when some screaming might have come in handy she said nothing but "glub" as she swam around very ineptly in the tank. Fortunately (I guess) the farmer was standing right there and fished her out dripping wet and set her back on dry land.

Eo witnessed all this shaking her head and finally said. "There is only one place where goats like to swim and scream incomprehensibly."

The suspense was killing us and finally Moony asked "where?"

Where else.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Posse of One


A silence like goatberries in the water bucket fell.

Or should it be: a silence fell like goatberries in the water bucket?

Anyway, a silence fell. Like goatberries in the water bucket.

Finally Crumpet spoke. "Trumpet," she mused. "I see."

"It's brassy," explained Belle Starr.

"I see," said Crumpet, squinting her eyes like a conqueror: "Trumpet."

"Would this mean that Crayola would have to change her name to Trayola?" Dill Pickle inquired. Crayola is Crumpet's mild-mannered quadruplet sister.

"And it's also victorious-sounding," Belle Starr elaborated.

"Trumpet," repeated Crumpet, thoughtfully.

"What if someone's name was Curd?" Moony asked. "What then?"

"Why is Moony still here?" asked the little gray one. "she is not in our posse."

Just then Crumpet's mother Abby strolled over suspiciously.

"What is going on here?" she asked.

"Crumpet is changing her name to Trumpet," said Moony.

"But people will just call her Trumpy Dumps," added the little gray one. "she will be a heroic figure. A heroic embattled figure. Someone will probably make a big statue of her riding a horse and put it in a square somewhere."

"No, that is not going to happen, " said Abby, definitively. "That will not be allowed. None of it." And then she walked away. Just like that. QED.

Another silence fell. Like goatberries in the water bucket.

Then Crumpet yelled, "this posse is cancelled! This posse is now a posse of one!"

And she flounced away. Fuming. Because some people always ruin everything.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crumpet 2.0

Crumpet, aka Crumpy Dumps, was getting sick and tired of sitting in the second fiddle section. She had gone to the trouble of growing to an almost-normal height while remaining supremely adorable and she just wasn't getting the right amount of attention or anything close to it. She thought things might improve if she changed her name. You know, a rebranding.

Crumpet 2.0, only it wouldn't be Crumpet it would be something more victorious-and-important-sounding. Crumpet was a little too cute, especially for TMFGITW. She needed a nom de plume.

She also needed a plume, she used to have one but it seems like Moony might have eaten it. What is the point of having a nom de plume if you don't have a plume.

"What is a plume?" asked Moony.

"Be quiet," Eo explained.

Crumpet had developed a ragamuffin posse of outcasts which included Dinky and Blue from the Betweenlands, Belle Starr, that little gray one, Sasquatch the Bold, June Bug part of the time when she wasn't busy thieving and skedaddling, and Dill Pickle. They surged around together like a rogue Girl Scout troop, sneaking food from the unsuspecting, t-boning babies, performing complicated commando raids requiring split-second timing.

"Is there another kind of timing?" asked Moony.

"Zip it up," snapped Eo.

Crumpet discussed with the posse the need for a new name, something powerful and triumphant -- something brassy. But easy to remember.

"If you change your name how will people know who you are?" wondered Moony.

Eo walked away. She couldn't take any more.

"By looking at me," said Crumpet.

Belle Starr had an idea for a name. It was perfect, like all her ideas. A name that was victorious-and-important-sounding. And also brassy, very brassy. But easy to remember, and really not much different from Crumpet.

"How about Trumpet?"

---to be cont. ---

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Running Up That Hill

Sometimes there isn’t really anything you can say. Tommy was 32. 

For some reason the farmer told everybody that he was 31.

“How old is he now?” people would ask.

And the farmer would say, "he's 31."

Who are those people anyway, they don't know Tommy. What business is it of theirs how old he is. They don't know how he went up that hill that time. That hill that was way too steep to go up, and he went right up it plunging and springing and snorting and farting and at the top the farmer couldn't stop laughing because it just wasn't safe to do something like that, that was not sensible. But so much fun.

That time he pulled the Volkswagen out of the snow. What about that? Those people don't know anything about that. All those times the little children would climb up on him, and he would turn around and look at the farmer, asking do I have to do this? And the farmer would nod yes and off he would go, not exactly good-natured about it, but completely safe and trustworthy. And then afterwards he would be so pleased. That's right, he - Tommy, the one and only - had been chosen to give the little children a ride. Not Willen. Not Laddy. Because he had become, over the years, completely trustworthy. The farmer could count on one hand the people in the world known for a fact to be as trustworthy as Tommy.

Something was very wrong with him and it was the lovely kind young vet who came out to see him, the one who fixed Pinky's ear, and she examined him without saying a word for a long time, and during that time the farmer tried not to think anything.  

Then she started to explain what was going on, the swelling, the rapid breathing, the pulse that you could see skipping in his jugular vein, the murmur. Heart failure. 

But how was something like that even possible? How could a heart like that fail? And he had seemed better the past couple of days, and he was eating again after losing so much weight, and he had complete free run of the farm, he could go in his stall or stand in the barn aisle, he could sleep in the front yard or in the garden, the farmer even pretended not to notice when he trampled the kale, who cares about kale anyway, kale is like a weed the way it grows everywhere at a moment's notice, it is a public service getting some of it trampled.

The farmer couldn't think of anything to say, and so the farmer said, "he's only 32."

The young vet nodded. Then Tommy looked at the farmer and for the first time the farmer could see how tired he was, bone tired. The farmer didn't want to see that before, but now it was so clear. Of course.

Sometimes there really isn't anything you can say. And there is only one more thing you can do. 

Later that night - what time was it anyway? Two in the morning? Three? - we saw the farmer walking all over the farm. Looking for something. And not finding it. But just looking. Into the tack room, where Tommy's bridle, the English bridle with the Kimberwick, hung on a hook on the wall. And there was his saddle, the fifty dollar stock saddle from that used tack store in Spanaway, the one that always seemed to fit him even back in the days when he was so fat. So much better than the expensive saddle. Go figure.

Dolly followed the farmer everywhere, two steps behind like an altar boy. Peering into the stalls where the baby goats were sleeping. Down into the fat girl pasture. Then into the front pasture, where the round pen is. The farmer and Dolly sat in the round pen for a long while, side by side. It was such a beautiful night. The lilac was finally blooming, and you could smell it everywhere.

After a while the farmer laid down in the grass, looking up at the sky. There was the bright beautiful moon looking down, almost full.

"That is the Flower Moon, Dolly," the farmer explained, pointing. Dolly looked up, somberly.

"He went home under the Flower Moon."

there is thunder in our hearts.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Crumpy's Tender Heart

Crumpy enjoys a delicious breakfast whilst the unwashed masses wait foodlessly in their muddy mud pit. How sad for the UM in their MMP, thinks Crumpy. I wish there was something I could do to help them. Maybe a GoFeedMe or something? Or people could donate little crocheted mud socks they could wear? If only they had gotten more famous, like me, the public might care more. Oh well. A few more peas, please.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Outside the Lines With Belle and Crumpet

Butterbean was getting a lot of attention just for the simple fact of not having a tail which can hardly be considered an accomplishment and June Bug was still making headlines and Coco luckily had that shed fall on her which made her famous for what seemed like a long spell - hello! I am Coco! The shed victim! I accept your admiration! -  and Gilbert was learning to pull a cart and the Wembley babies gambolled about picturesquely and all in all Crumpet came down with a touch of Last Year's Baby and so she went in with Belle Starr and together they started a crime spree.

They were both sick and tired of being ignored.  Since they are both criminal masterminds, together they became almost unstoppable. All of their crimes were focused on grain-robbing, switching only temporarily to alfalfa-robbing when the third cutting from Ellensburg came in.

Butterbean would come waddling around in the morning showing off his uninhabited backside and the farmer would chuckle - how cute - and look away for an instant and just as the barn door opened Belle Starr would dart in front of the farmer so that the farmer had to take a step back and when that happened Crumpet would dash in from the other side hellbent toward the grain bins.

The grain bins are locked of course since the farmer is weak-minded but has learned some things the hard way, so when Crumpet got there she would start rapidly circling the grain bins like a little hummingbird while Belle Starr darted in from the other side and began circling the grain bins in the other direction, both running at a good clip and in such a manner that the farmer could not get close enough to open the lids and finally the farmer would sigh loudly and say, "All Right," which was the established checkmate signal and Belle and Crumpet would stop circling and the farmer would open the bins and give them their breakfast in a private dish while everyone else waited outside.

Because otherwise the circling went on forever. And forever is too long to wait for breakfast.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Tail of Woe

The sun came out and Beanie and friends forgot about their horns. The horns they used to one day be going to have. But not any more.

They went outside with their mothers on full display to the rest of the herd. The herd watched from behind the fat girl fence.

"That one looks okay," said Winjay, referring to Nelly. "Not great but okay."

"That one is reasonably presentable," said Belle Starr, referring to Bluey.

"I have seen worse looking kids than that one," allowed Abby, looking at Blacky.

Then came Butterbean and an uncomplimentary silence fell.

"I have not seen that before," Cherry finally said.

"That is a new twist," remarked Pebbles.

"Maybe it will come in later," postulated Crumpet, optimistically.

"Even Pinky used to have two ears," blurted Moony.

Beanie proceeded hopping about, ignoring his critics. Because after all everyone is a critic. Throw a rock, hit a critic. He looked perfectly fine after all. From certain angles. When you couldn't see that he didn't have a tail.

Friday, March 24, 2017

All Good Dreamers Pass This Way

Today is a day of bitterness and regret and we will not say anything further about the secrets of Beanie Baby until the sun comes out again and the fog of remorse has lifted. On this day in the Year A.D. 2017 Beanie, Nelly, Blacky* and Bluey* all had their horns removed. They have no comment on anything today. They don't want nobody coming over to their table, they got nothing to talk to anybody about. Over and out.

*temporary names, just for now

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beanie Baby

So that makes four kids, three bucklings and one doeling. Two of the bucklings are extraordinarily handsome, and the doeling is very beautiful, a cou clair with big glassy frog eyes. Her name is going to be Nelly, short for Cochranella, which is a kind of glass frog with big glassy frog eyes, like an amphibian china doll. If you are guessing that her mother is Froggy you are on the right track.

There are two black and white boys, both belong to Wembley, and they are currently being subjected to the farmer's naming scheme for simpletons - "just for now." One is being called Blacky, and the other, the one with the blue eyes, is being called Bluey. Aside from their names they are excellent specimens. And so is the girl, even if she is a little on the jittery side.

And then we come to Butterbean. That is the last buckling. His name is Butterbean. He got his name right away. The farmer looked at him and said, "hello, Butterbean."

He also belongs to Froggy. But he looks nothing like her. And he looks nothing like his sister, either.

He is a pale drab orangey white, suspiciously like June Bug, his half-sister. He also has her bat ears. He runs like a burlap sack full of old sneakers being thrown down the basement stairs.

"He has a good personality, though," the farmer says, watching him canter about with an expression that says, 'oh, dear.'

He is very chubby and likes to cuddle, and after calling him Butterbean for a while the farmer started calling him Beanie, and it didn't take long after that that we would hear, "Beanie Baby!" and then see him galumphing toward the farmer in all his orange splendor.

Oh dear. And that isn't the worst of it. Worst is yet to be told.