Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Zen of Peaches

Well, everybody here has a different style. The Soprano Family of LaManchas is bossy and grabby, of course, as we have discussed. The Nubians are relaxed, when they are relaxed. When they are not relaxed, they are prone to panicky bawling and fleeing. Often they flee into danger; Scout once galloped hysterically into a wall and injured herself when she saw the farmer wearing a new hat.

The Toggenburgs are decisive, and they like to make lots of decisions, usually reversing other decisions they have just made: let's do this; no, let's do this; no, let's do this.

The Nigerians are all over the map. Some are smart and thoughtful, like me. Some are needy and self-absorbed, like Breezy.

But the most interesting and complex ones are the crosses, big girls crossed with Nigerians. The miniature Nubians, oddly, are pensive and thoughtful, and hardly ever bawl. The miniature Toggs are shrewd and kind and don't like outsiders. And the mini-manchas, they are something else.

Take Peaches, for example. Peaches is very pretty but ordinary looking, no flashy colors. She doesn't stand out in a crowd. She gives the appearance of being shy and mild-mannered and retiring. She never fights with anybody, she just stands on the fringes of the fracas, looking like she is waiting for a bus.

And she is, in a way.

An interesting thing happens when there is a big upheaval as there has been this week. Skirmishes have been breaking out all over the pasture, because everyone is battling to move up the ladder while Brandy is in the barn. Not Peaches, of course, she just watches the farmer and waits. And what usually happens is this:

The farmer brings the feed out and everyone rushes to the feeders. Winnie finds herself next to April, say, and she turns around - forgetting to eat - and gets into an argument with April. No one notices Peaches, because she looks like she is half-asleep, and her body language says, please ignore me, I am of no consequence, and I certainly would never challenge your authority, oh large important one.

So then April and Winnie get into it, bumping heads, rearing up, telling each other, look, stay away from this food, this is my food. You are a big nobody, and I am one of the most special goats in the world, I am a Goat Idol, and this food is not for you, it is for me, and don't stand that close to me either, by the way.

While they are preoccupied, mild-mannered little Peaches springs - if that isn't too strong a word - into action and eats all the food. She does it very efficiently, like a dolphin, not bothering to taste the food but just throwing it to her stomach, in such a way that by the time April and Winnie have decided who is going to get the food, it is gone. Long gone.

And so is Peaches, who has moved on, to the fringes of another argument, looking drowsy, and waiting for another fight to break out.