Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Novemberest Month

Well, last night at midnight, after our predicted snow turned to rain, this month broke the record: it was already the rainiest November ever on record, now it is the rainiest month ever, beating out December of 1933. And it will probably rain some more today.

But the funny thing was that in the weeklong break from the unending downpours, this was also just about the coldest November ever. We had temperatures well down in the teens, and up north a little bit they were in single digits, with wind chills below zero.

It was so cold that Hannah Belle, who had been paroled from the horse trailer to the previously escape-proof yearling pasture, went out of heat, escaped from the yearling pasture (we still don't know how) and ran up to the barn, where she stood demurely waiting outside the baby stall. She didn't break anything, eat anything, knock anything over, or do anything objectionable. She just stood waiting politely to be let IN to the baby stall, which she spends most of her time getting OUT of. If she had had a white flag, she would have been waving it.

Why? Because that's where all the babies are, and they sleep together in a big toasty baby ball, which Hannah Belle usually wants nothing to do with.

But she was ready to join the furball sauna.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hannah Belle Gets Her Groove Back

Who doesn't want love?

For almost a year now, since the last breeding season, my daughter Hannah Belle, a former world class goat high jumper, has been pretty much strictly earthbound. Oh sure, now and then she would jump up on a cable spool. Or she'd jump up in the old apple tree. Normal type jumps, two or three or three and a half feet high.

She could hardly even be bothered to jump out of the big-girl stall, which has no upper doors, unless there was a grain party or something on the other side. She didn't jump the four foot fence, or the five foot fence, the way she used to. She didn't move magically from pasture to pasture, at will.

Now that she is almost three years old and a tad zaftig, we all thought she probably couldn't jump seriously any more. Not that she just didn't feel like it.

Well, we were wrong. Hannah Belle has come back into heat, and like Popeye with the spinach, she has her superpowers back. She jumped the four foot wall, trying to get to visit her boyfriend. So the farmer put another rail up above, at a little over five feet. It took some figuring, and some calculating - she backs up and steps off the distance, like those field goal kickers you see on tv, then does a couple of practice runs, then makes the jump - but that was no problem either.

From there she squeezes under the upper pasture gate, then goes down and jumps the lower pasture fence, then squeezes through the marsh-side fence at the bottom of the lower pasture (filled with holes courtesy of Willen the bad pony), squeezes back under the fence on the other side, and sashays up to the buck pen, where she parades nonstop in front of the bucks, driving them a little further, if that is possible at this time of year, insane.

Anyway, if you would like to reach Hannah Belle for the next couple of days this is her address:

Hannah Belle Lecter
inside the Logan Horse Trailer
c/o Herron Hill Dairy Goats
Home, Washington

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Holy Hip Boots!

We have seen a lot of rain but the rain we got this week this was really something. November is the wettest month of the year here, and averages 5.9 inches of rainfall. That's for the whole month. On Sunday alone we got seven inches, and then three more on Monday. Down in Shelton, about half an hour away, they got 12 inches in a single 24 hour period. I am not a meteorologist, but I can tell you for sure that when you get 12 inches of rain in a day, it's pretty soggy.

The farmer was engaging in some colorful vernacular, because water was coming into the barn and a trench had to be dug to get it to run out. The farmer asked if any of us would care to help with the digging of the trench, since we are the ones who live in the barn. But I believe that was what is known as a rhetorical question. Anyway, I pretended not to hear just in case.

And since it was a pineapple express, it was warm, too, which made everyone feel like they were in a really unpleasant sauna. Some flies who thought it was next year already prematurely woke up and staggered around the place drunkenly.