Monday, March 26, 2007


In this photo, Atticus inspects Sammy the bottle baby to make sure Wendell is taking proper care of him. Wendell awaits inspection results in the background.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Rocky Road

The longest day on record has just almost come to a close.

The longest day came at the end of the longest week, which revolved around a major baby storm. It was a hurricane of babies here this week. I started the baby storm last Friday with my beautiful triplets. Then Wronny had a set of so-so twins. People have been very polite about Wronny's twins. "Aren't they cute?" everyone says.

Which translates to: "what a funny-looking pair, too bad they aren't as pretty as Belle's kids."

Then Winnie had the largest buck kid ever, his name is Samson. The farmer had to pull and pull to get Samson's big head out. There was lots of screaming. Samson belongs to Wendell, he is the first baby goat Wendell has been allowed to have. Wendell has been doing very well, pretending he is Sammy's mother and keeping both ends nice and clean. It is quite a sight to see Wendell and Sammy taking a walk together.

Sammy is a bottle baby, so the farmer has to get up to feed him every ten minutes or so, it seems like.

Well, after Sammy was born Mel the drama queen strung out her delivery forever, going for ultimate time in the spotlight. Then she popped out a set of triplets without batting an eye. She is a toaster, just like her mother Breezy. Those triplets all look the same, and they all look exactly like Mel, black with little patches of white here and there. One has blue eyes.

"Aren't they adorable?" everyone says.

Translation: "they are all the same color, they look like little four-legged priests, too bad they aren't as cute as Belle's triplets."

Okay. Penrose was the last one on the list for this week, and a certain amount of sleep deprivation was setting in. Penrose did not do so well. She was getting milk fever and went into a labor slowdown and wasn't pushing and wasn't eating and just stood around with her head hanging down. Well, the farmer got some calcium into her and along about midnight she finally popped a set of twins out.

Then the farmer stayed up to give her calcium through the night and make sure everything was okay, and those two babies ended up bottle babies too, so they needed to be fed, and pretty soon it was six o'clock in the morning and time to get up. Only no one had really properly been to bed yet.

Well, before I tell you about what happened next we have to tell you the history of raccoons around here. The raccoons hung around a while ago, really nasty raccoons, and they killed all the chickens in a bloodthirsty slaughter, and they were just in general bad characters and stone cold killers. People think they are cute but they will pluck a vein out of your neck in a heartbeat with those devilish little hands. They love to grab helpless chickens or baby goats.

But when Atty came the raccoons left, never to be seen again. Well, lately because of the coyotes, Atty has been spending a lot more time down in the pasture. He is behind the fence down there and can't get up to the barn at night. And we started to see a very insolent raccoon again.

This raccoon would be hanging around the barn in the morning. Wendell would see it and start shaking with fright. The farmer threw a rock at it and a stick and the raccoon didn't care.

The raccoon just turned around and gave the farmer a dirty look and then ambled away, as if to say, I was leaving anyway, I'm not afraid of you, and I'll be back too, whenever I feel like it, and you can kiss my raccoon rump.

Well, the farmer kind of forgot about the raccoon, but this morning when the farmer went to the barn all bleary-eyed, Spenny the border collie suddenly ran up the stairs to the hayloft and started barking like a maniac. The farmer went up into the loft and sure enough, the insolent raccoon had set up camp under a chair in the loft. Spenny ran around and around the chair barking like crazy.

The farmer ran inside and yelled for Lori to get up.

"Get up, Lori, there is a raccoon in the hayloft," the farmer yelled. Obviously it would take a two-person team to handle this vicious creature.

Lori has always gone on and on about her varmint-shooting prowess, so the farmer yelled to Lori to grab the pellet gun. The farmer thought of yelling at Lori to get the real gun - a .22 rifle - but no one had bothered to read the directions on how to shoot that and it didn't seem like the best time to start learning, so the farmer yelled at Lori to get the pellet gun.

Lori ran outside without her pants, possibly attempting to scare the raccoon away.

"Get your pants, Lori," the farmer yelled, " it is a raccoon."

Lori returned with her pants on and started asking the farmer where the safety was on the pellet gun, which did nothing to allay the farmer's doubts about Lori's much-touted gunmanship.

Finally the crack team reassembled in the loft, staying on the far side of the insolent raccoon so that it would have plenty of room to run for the exit without feeling trapped.

But Spenny the border collie, the only one with any guts, had other ideas. She ran right for the raccoon and chased it into a corner.

"No, Spenny," yelled the farmer, meanwhile throwing sticks and brooms and screens and any other thing that came to hand at the raccoon to try to get it to run down the stairs. Spenny was fearless and kept right at the raccoon, which started moving rather creakily toward the exit.

"Get out of the way, get out of the way," Lori began yelling in a masterful voice. It was unclear to whom she was speaking. She put her gun aside momentarily and picked up a shovel and hit the raccoon on the head, and the raccoon tumbled down the stairs, with Spenny and the crack two-person raccoon-hunting team in hot pursuit.

Spenny chased the raccoon toward the porch and by this time the raccoon, still moving at a snail's pace, couldn't think what to do and turned around for a showdown. Lori was about five feet behind, and from this range she was able to swing her pellet gun into position and "Thunk!"

Well, the man at the sporting goods store said that the pellet gun was a dangerous weapon and no toy, and not just something he was foisting off that wouldn't do any good. No, in fact, it was pretty much a world-class firearm, one step down from an AK-47, and in truth this wasn't just any pellet gun but a super-duper .177, which is much more powerful than a regular one.

Anyway, Lori thunked a pellet into the raccoon from about four feet away, which appears to be the outside limit of her range of accuracy. She hit the raccoon in his tummy. The raccoon looked down at his tummy in an offended manner and then up at Lori, as if to say, how unnecessary and how uncouth. Judging from his expression, the pellet shot hurt about as much as a stubbed toe.

Luckily for everyone concerned, the pellet gun is not a repeater. It takes about 15 minutes to get another pellet into it, if you can find one. And just then, as luck would have it, Atty came beelining up from the pasture.

Well, thought the farmer, I guess that will be the end of the raccoon. But when Atty got to the raccoon, he began smelling and nudging it in a very polite manner. Clearly he knew the raccoon and was on friendly terms with it. And in the clear light of day, something else became apparent. The raccoon was extremely elderly. His apparent insolence was probably just arthritis. He didn't run away because he couldn't really run any more. In fact, he looked like he needed a walker.

Everyone stood around, kind of embarrassed, and the raccoon - Lori calls him Rocky now - slunk wearily under the porch.

Spenny had disappeared, but reappeared a moment later barking madly: unnoticed in the confusion, the dog groomer had arrived to fix KT the border collie's hair, which is a mess. The dog groomer made no mention of the shovels and guns strewn about the barnyard, but did ask, quite alertly, "why is Spenny's nose gushing blood?"

Everyone looked at Spenny, and sure enough Rocky had bitten her on the nose, and it was gushing blood. Off Spenny went to the vet for a rabies shot and a hamburger at McDonald's.

We don't know for sure, but we think Rocky may still be under the porch.

The farmer asked him politely to please stay out of the barn and don't bite anybody else and there won't be any more trouble.

Sorry, Rocky.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Minimancha Twins

Oh, I almost forgot, Wronny also had twins on Friday. Here they are, Buttons and Cappy, both have blue eyes.

Cappy is the one in the picture with her mama, Buttons is the one staring into the camera up close. Buttons is already a dickens, in fact her name was Dickens for a while but now it is Buttons. She was jumping on Atty's back while he was guarding them in the shed.

We laughed when we saw Atty because he was lying in the doorway and would not let anyone in the shed without permission. Wendell came down and wanted to see the babies but Atty would not allow him in. Wendell was crying and crying, but Atty knows he is a terrible pest and wouldn't let him in.

Buttons and Cappy look almost just alike except for Cappy's white cap.

Too bad they aren't as pretty as my babies, but I guess they are okay if you like that kind of thing.

Baby Gallery

Well, here are some pictures of the most beautiful baby goats in the world. My children are named AnnaBelle, RubyJane, and Sgt. Bell Pepper.

The tiniest one is AnnaBelle, first she was called Dandelion because her hair was sticking straight out.

Then there is RubyJane, with the blue eyes.

And then there is Sarge, you can see him standing in the back with floppy ears in this group photo.

I think you will agree they are all supermodel babies.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Birthday Party Continued

It's a beautiful day for a birthday party, Wronny agrees with me. She just popped out a pair of blue-eyed minimancha does in record time. Those girls are like two vacuum cleaners, they already drank about a gallon of milk. Now they are snoozing in their shed in the down-below pasture, and Atty is guarding the door.

Happy Birthday Little Belles!

Well you probably have been wondering what I have been doing and I'm here to tell you I have been very busy. Gestating is no easy job. It requires your full attention.

Anyway, I am done gestating now. Yesterday the farmer said, "well, you are probably going to have your babies today, so come up to the barn."

We went up to the barn where my suite had been prepared nicely but I was more than a little perturbed to see that the big tub of grain I had planned on receiving was nowhere to be found.

"You are a little bit chubby, Belle," said the farmer, "but here is some nice alfalfa to tide you over."

Imagine! Alfalfa instead of grain!

Then a couple of hours later the farmer came back and said, "you know, it might be a good idea for you to get some exercise, since you aren't going into labor yet."

And then I was obliged to walk all over the farm for practically an hour without stopping.

Imagine! The indignity! In my condition!

Well, come along night time and the farmer stayed up for a while, then said, "since you're not doing anything, I am going to bed."

Thank you at last for some privacy. When the farmer went to bed I had my babies, and guess what! I outdid myself once again with triplets, two girls and a boy.

The farmer was very surprised at five o'clock in the morning to find us all just finishing our first meal together. The farmer was very apologetic at the sight of the triplets - no wonder I looked chubby - and rushed to get some grain and molasses water for me, which should have been served immediately when the kids were born, and not half an hour later when the farmer felt like getting out of bed.

But anyway, all's well that ends well, and now I can eat almost anything I want, and my beautiful triplets are enjoying their first day on Earth.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jules T. Jones

The T stands for Trouble, can't you tell? That's her middle name.

The Little Peaches

Let's not forget that Peaches, April's daughter, also had two babies on Friday. They were both girls. Their names are Ginger Jones (aka Jonesy) and Jules Jones. As usual, one has nice LaMancha ears, and the other has full Nigerian ears. Oddly, the Nigerian-looking girl (Ginger, with the blue eyes) is much bigger. That is what always happens.

Gus and April

This is Gus, asking April if she feels better yet.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Long Story About a Rainy Day in Gorst

And when it rains, it pours. If anyone should know that, we should.

Well, on Friday it was pouring down rain and seven kinds of trouble.

In the morning the farmer got up and April and her daughter Peaches were both starting into labor. The garage up in Gorst, about 45 minutes away, had called the night before to say that the horse trailer was ready after being in the shop for two months with a broken axle, which is another story about seven kinds of trouble but that will have to wait for another rainy day.

Anyway, the farmer really wanted the trailer to go and get some hay and the trailer place is closed all weekend, so the farmer looked at April and Peaches and calculated that there was no way they would kid before noon, and then made what we'll call:

Mistake Number One:
The farmer decided to run up to Gorst and get the trailer as soon as the garage opened and then run back home.

This left Lori home alone babysitting April and Peaches.

The farmer hurried up to Bremerton, paid for the trailer, pulled the truck into the garage parking lot to hook up to the trailer, put the truck in reverse, stepped on the gas, and the truck died. The truck died and remained dead. The farmer looked at Spenny the border collie who was along for the ride as usual and said, "the truck just died."

Spenny the border collie nodded; she knew. Spenny actually had thought something like that might happen but didn't want to say anything.

The truck was dead, stone cold dead, and the only good thing about it was that it was already at a gas station. The garage man said he would be very happy to have one of his mechanics look at it.


The farmer tried and tried to call Lori but Lori was out in the barn and didn't answer the phone. The farmer called a reliable friend who answered from her car. She was on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (half an hour away) and headed in the opposite direction. She asked if the farmer wanted her to just turn around? Then the farmer made what we'll call:

Mistake Number Two:
"No, that's okay," said the farmer. "I will call my neighbor."

The farmer called a neighbor who is very nice but in retrospect not the most talented navigator. The farmer explained the situation. The neighbor obligingly agreed to go over and tell Lori what was happening and then come and pick the farmer up.

"I'm in Gorst," the farmer said, speaking very clearly. "Do you know where Gorst is? If you take the Belfair Highway up north, it is right where the Belfair Highway meets Highway 16."

"I know where it is," said the neighbor.

Two hours later the farmer was still standing in the rain outside the gas station in Gorst. Something, to point out the obvious, didn't seem right.

The farmer called Lori, who now had her cellphone turned on. "Where are you?" said Lori, sounding very rattled, "are you almost here?"

Peaches was hard in labor by now and having a difficult time. In the next stall over, April's water had broken an hour ago and now nothing was happening. Not a good situation at all.

The neighbor was lost; he thought Gorst was south instead of north and had driven the wrong way on the Belfair Highway, then had to turn around and come back. The 45 minute trip took over two hours, then 45 minutes more to get back home.

The farmer arrived just as Peaches managed to get her second baby on the ground. She and her daughters were tired but doing well.

April was in deep trouble and getting deeper. The farmer scrubbed up and went in and it was a forest of legs, no heads to be found. The farmer tried to get one of the babies out backwards but couldn't get the baby turned around. The other one was upside down and there is no way to deliver a live baby upside down.

The farmer called the first vet on the list. He couldn't come. The farmer called the second vet on the list. He wasn't in the office on Friday. The farmer called the third vet on the list. She was out of the office until 2:30. The farmer scrubbed up again and went back in and tried again; April was breathing hard and shaking and starting to get shocky. No luck.

Lori went inside and called the fourth vet on the list. The fourth vet couldn't fit the farmer in. The third vet's receptionist called back and suggested calling the emergency vet up near Bremerton.

The farmer had never heard of it. "Where is it?" asked the farmer.

"In Gorst," said the receptionist.

Within a few minutes April was loaded in the van and headed for the unknown vet in Gorst. By this time she was shaking and panting with her mouth open. It was a long drive back to Gorst.

When April arrived at the vet she had a temperature of 105 degrees and no color in her gums and by this time certainly the babies were dead. The vet had nice small hands but couldn't get the backwards baby out. But she was young and not conceited, so she asked the vet tech to try.

The vet tech had been raising Alpines for 20 years and within a couple of minutes she had the backwards baby out. He was not only alive he was very feisty; he soon got up and went for a drink of milk.

Now for baby number two. Baby number two would not come out, even with more room to maneuver. He was stuck fast. He had his feet forward and his head tucked into an armpit. Again the vet tried and tried and could not get the head around to pull him out. Again the vet asked the vet tech to try. It wasn't easy but soon she had him out.

He was stunned but alive. After a good slapping (sorry, little man) he sneezed a couple of times.

April was panting and very weak but starting to feel much better. The vet loaded her up on pain meds, and she finally accepted a drink of water and some grain. Her temperature started to come down. Soon the new family was headed home in the van.

April had a rough night then began to perk up. She is doing pretty well now. The farmer thinks she is probably retired from having babies.

The boys are doing well. It has taken a few days for the second baby to get his legs straightened out, he was jammed in so tight. But he gets around pretty well now, and all that oxygen has done his little brain a world of good.

His brother's name is Gus. His name is Come and Get Me I'm Stuck in Gorst and I Can't Get Out.

But we just call him Stuckey.