Monday, June 25, 2007

Peanut's Progress

When you used to see my grandson Peanut running, you would say to yourself, "run, Forrest, run."

This was because Peanut had a very wooden way of running and not the usual ultra-nimble baby goat caper. The baby goats do not need any half-pipe for their aerial stunts and displays. And they do not need a skateboard either. They just naturally know how to fly.

But Peanut went sort of squeaking along like the Tin Man, like there wasn't enough oil in his joints.

I don't know why but when the visitor humans all saw him, they would say, "Bless his heart." Which I guess is some kind of human insult, because they don't say that when they see the regular baby goats doing 360s off the barn wall. But when they saw Peanut they used to say, "Bless his heart."

Now when the visitor humans come to see Peanut the miracle baby they look at Hannah Belle's triplets for a while and then they say, "which one is he?"

Because it is very hard to tell Peanut from a normal baby now. First of all he has just about tripled in size. And second he walks and runs and capers and tries to jump on his mother's back and chews her beard when he gets a chance and wiggles under the stall boards to go outside with the big babies, which isn't allowed but of course all the little babies do it.

Only the farmer insists that Peanut is not normal. I think this is because the farmer agreed with Lori that Peanut would have to stay here and couldn't ever go to a new home because he wasn't quite normal, in spite of there being a strict rule against wethers here. And so the farmer points Peanut out to the visitors and says, "if you watch him for a while you will see that he is not normal. But you have to watch him for a while."

And so the visitors stare at Peanut. And the farmer says sadly, "Bless his heart."

Cheese Flavors

The farmer has been trying to think of new flavors of soft cheese and I have offered to help but none of my suggestions have been taken. I suggested perhaps a new alfalfa-flavored cheese or possibly a peanut cheese. Another thing that might be good would be a cheese with hints of cob, or a pea-vine cheese, or a banana-peel cheese (this could be marketed to Nubians, they would go crazy for it), or a ginger-snap cheese or a vanilla-wafer cheese with notes of ordinary garden weeds (those spindly ones with the ugly little yellow flowers that nobody knows what they are but they taste good). Then I suggested blackberry-leaf cheese. Blackberry leaves are one of my favorite meals, also salal. None of these suggestions have been taken which puts me at my wits' end. Perhaps you have a better idea.

But I doubt it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Giude for Young Muthers

hello this is hannahbelle. I am t6he motehr of goatzilla peanut and boxcaR BETTY. i have some suggestions for those of you entering teh condition of motehrhood.

get a box to stand on or a stool.

you will feel a lot happier.

this way you can look at your kids and make sure they are still alive and everything without them coming up to you and drinking all your milk and making you feel drained when you need a few moments of alone time or just want to think about ginger snaps or something else important. because they can't reach you because you are standing up on a box. but they can see you so they dont cry or make a big fuss.

just a tip frmo me to you. thanks you.

please sned ginger snaps by the way now that I am thinking of it.

Hannah Belle's New Leaf

When my daughter Hannah Belle was a young mother, let's face it, she wasn't very good at it. And she didn't like it much. It was a lot of trouble.

So most of the time what she did was just go do what she wanted, leaving her two sons in the care of the farmer or anybody else who happened to be standing around. To the boys she would say, "Love ya! See you when all the bars close! Bye!"

And then she would be on her merry way, hopping over the stall wall to see if the grain room door was open, feasting on carefully tended rose bushes in the lawn, eating the leaves of expensive pawpaw trees imported from Virginia, kicking at the kitchen door to see if it would open, and so on. All the things any self-respecting goat feels obligated to do.

Well, this was actually fine because her two boys were very lighthearted and spent a lot of time frolicking with the other babies, and they only really noticed that they were essentially orphans when they started wanting milk. Which of course was all the time.

But anyway it wasn't too bad.

But now Hannah Belle is older and wiser and with her second set of kids - beautiful triplets - she has completely turned herself around. She will probably be voted mother of the year, not an honor to which I personally have ever aspired, but then there is no accounting for taste.

To tell you the truth, I think she is overdoing it a little. Go out, have some fun, eat a few blueberry bushes if you can sneak into the garden, that's what I say.

But not the new Hannah Belle. All day she stays with her kids, nuzzling little Peanut, cleaning big little Goatzilla's face, letting little Boxcar Betty use her for a trampoline. It's almost a little much.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Enough About Peanut

In all the brouhaha about adorable little Peanut, who I admit is the cutest thing on four hooves, some people seem to have forgotten that I have TWO new grandsons.

The other one is Goatzilla, aka Zilla, aka the prettiest blue-eyed buckling of all time.

My family of course is known for producing towering geniuses and kindly humble unaffected supermodels, but even by our standards Goatzilla is almost too pretty to look at.

Anyway, I'm sure you will see him on the covers of all the big goat magazines very soon, if you haven't already.

Like Cher, he needs only one name.


Peanut Parking Only

Little Peanut has turned a corner. Literally.

For his first few days, Peanut was only able to walk in a straight line. If he came to a wall, he would just stop. Then, like a little wind-up toy, the juice would gradually drain out of him until he just stood in whatever corner he had fetched up in, head down and battery dead.

He couldn't turn his head properly to groom himself, and he couldn't scratch.

Today Peanut can do all these things. He can also jump and hop (very small hops.)

This morning for the first time he went to the baby corner where he sleeps with his brother and sister, and he saw that Boxcar Betty was lying in "his" spot. And he did something that all normal baby goats do, but he had never done before.

He pawed at Betty until she grudgingly moved over an inch or two so he could lie where he wanted.

Yes. That's right, world. It's time to make room for Peanut.

Friday, June 08, 2007

They Call Me MISTER Peanut

My grandson Peanut is doing well.

He still does not have the hang of getting milk from his mother, but he knows how to suck from a bottle pretty well. And he is nothing if not optimistic: if he is hungry and there is no bottle nearby, he just turns his head up and sucks from the air.

Yes, maybe a cloud of milk could be passing by. You don't know if you don't check.

But Peanut is still on Day One of the Nigerian growth chart. While his brother and sister nurse, jump, dance, caper, play, taste test bits of hay and grain, practice jumping up on things, fret their mother by socializing with Wendell, and plan for future trouble they might be able to cause, Peanut only sleeps and eats and walks in a straight line.

So he is a little on the slow side.

But still smarter than any Nubian around here.

And, if I say so myself, probably the cutest little teacup goat ever born.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Peanut and His Brother

This is a picture of Peanut standing next to his big brother, Goatzilla. You can't really tell it from the photo, but Zilla is more than twice as big as Peanut. A lot more.

Peanut's Second Night

This is a picture of my grandson Peanut, just born.

Peanut did very well his second night. He did not have any more seizures, and he drank several small helpings of milk.

But because he isn't yet very good at getting milk from his mother without help, he came into the house to be a bottle baby at night. So for now he is bicoastal: bottle baby by night and Mama's boy by day.

Peanut is the smallest buckling ever born here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Peanut's First Night

My daughter Hannah Belle, aka Hannah Belle Lecter, went to the kidding stall yesterday. She was as big as a house and let's just say that the farmer was not expecting her to have a single doe kid.

And she didn't.

But before she had any kids she extended her performance to an all-day marathon. She did some things that the farmer did not like, such as standing with her feet up on the ledge and lying with her neck flat along the ground to push. When the farmer sees these things, the farmer checks to make sure that the vet's number is still on speed dial, because often it means that the kids are in the wrong position to come out, and the mama goat is contorting herself to try to reposition them.

Around here it is called Snow Pea Syndrome - named in honor of my fat sister who had to have a c-section. Hannah Belle wasn't fat like Snow Pea, but sure enough she had some kids coming in the wrong direction.

The farmer went in to fish around after Hannah Belle had been in hard labor for a while, but could not find anything to pull out. There wasn't enough room to go all the way in, so Hannah Belle would have to be on her own. In the process, though, the farmer popped the first bubble, which usually speeds things up, and not too long afterward something finally made its way into the birth canal. It wasn't a foot or a nose, though.

It was a tail. Hannah Belle's first kid was breech, coming out butt first, not a good scenario. But before the farmer could try to reposition the kid, he shot out on his own, like a champagne cork.

He was tiny. Teeny tiny. He was the size of a peanut.

Meanwhile another kid was on the way, so Peanut had to wait. This one came out head first but with one leg back. Since his head was out, there was nothing to do but pull. Hannah Belle did some champion yelling, and finally the kid was tugged out, leg back and all.

He was HUGE. The farmer said, "look, it's Goatzilla." And the name stuck. Goatzilla got up and nursed. He was more than twice as big as Peanut, who still had not gotten any milk. And now Peanut would have to wait again, because another kid was coming.

Nobody knows how this one came out, because she arrived while they were all looking the other way. This was a normal-sized little girl, bigger than Peanut but not a monster. Boxcar Betty is her name. Like so many Nigerian doelings, she was drinking milk within a minute of birth.

Meanwhile, Peanut was finally up, and tottering around unsteadily, but he would not nurse. He didn't know how to suck. After a long struggle where Peanut almost had to go and be tubed, he finally took a little bit of colostrum. But not really very much. The farmer decided to take Peanut inside and make him a bottle baby.

And then something we had never seen before happened. Peanut had a seizure. A few minutes passed and Peanut had another seizure. And so on, until he had had eight seizures in two hours.

There was nothing the farmer could do about the seizures, so the farmer decided to bring Peanut back out to his mother. That was because the farmer thought Peanut might die in the night, and that he would probably rather die out in the barn, with Hannah Belle and Goatzilla and Boxcar Betty cuddled up around him.

After a few hours sleep the farmer came back out, looking grim, to see how Peanut was doing. Peanut was still alive. Hannah Belle had taken care of him through the night. The farmer went and got a bottle so Peanut could get extra milk with honey. Peanut gobbled an ounce of milk. The farmer went back in and brought back another ounce of milk with honey. Peanut gobbled it.

The farmer did the milking and feeding, watching Peanut the whole time with one eye. Peanut did not have any seizures. Hannah Belle nudged him and cleaned him and encouraged him. He stretched like a normal baby.

"Well," the farmer said to Peanut. "I guess you made it through the first night."

Now all we can do is wait and see what happens tomorrow. But I guess that's true every day.

Good luck, little Peanut.