Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baby Bert and the Barometer

Well, you have one day, and then you have the next day. And that's how it goes.

On Sunday, one thing is for sure: the barometer dropped. Rain, wind that blew the roof off one of the little sheds, rain, wind, snow, sleet, hail, rain, rain, and rain. Nothing brings on a baby blizzard like the barometer heading south.

After Brandy, Wronny, Bertie and Winnie all decided to have their kids early. Not premature, but just a couple of days ahead of schedule, and one right after the other. Wronny just like last year was a champ and popped out twin does. Winnie, who has never had a doe kid, popped out twin does as well.

They had no trouble doing it, although Winnie as usual gave a few Oscar-worthy screams. But that was for the benefit of the peanut gallery who possibly had not seen last year's performance: she actually stopped in mid-scream to eat a vanilla wafer when one was offered.

When it was Bertie's turn, Bertie got an unmistakable look on her face that was part Nubian (she is Boo's daughter) and part first freshener. It was a stargazing look of amazement and dismay that said: I do not know what is happening, but I think there might be a band of angels coming for me, and my goodness what a beautiful spider web up there in the corner of the stall, who makes those spider webs anyway?

Bertie was in a daze. She had some calcium, and finally she laid down, and she started to push. And she pushed. And she pushed. And she pushed.

And the farmer put on some gloves, which only means one thing. But no, there was no problem: the baby was coming nose and toes, nothing upside down or ass backward about it, Bertie just needed to keep pushing. And so she pushed, and she pushed, and she pushed, and two front feet finally emerged, followed by a nose and mouth with a little pink tongue already sticking out.

And Bertie kept pushing. And finally she looked at the farmer like, why are you just sitting there?

And so the farmer, who doesn't like to pull too much on the first fresheners because they need a chance to dilate, finally took pity and started pulling while Bertie kept pushing.

And my sweet land of Goshen! Finally a ginormous single buck kid popped out. I have had some big kids but I mean to tell you I would not like to have had to push that one out.

Anyway, the farmer was very proud of Bertie, who didn't give up like some does would have. She kept right on, even when she was dead tired.

And Bertie's buck kid turned out to have the sweetest most mellow disposition of about anyone ever born here. We are calling him Baby Bert until we think of a better name. Baby Bert almost never cries, and loves to be cuddled, and in addition he is about the size of a Clydesdale, so the farmer is going to be sure and find a very good home for him: someone who needs a nice pack goat or a cart goat.

If you are looking for a cart goat, or maybe a goat that could pull a sweet chariot, this is the boy for the job. Already he has a lot of experience with pushing and pulling. And he never loses his cool.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Earlene died in her sleep last night. She had a good day yesterday, and went outside to play in the sun for the first time.

We don't know why she died. She looked like she just went to sleep and didn't wake up. Anyway, we hope that's what happened.

She was only here for three days. But we miss her a lot.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Earlene and Her Brother

The farmer went out to the barn on Saturday morning and Brandy was calling for her babies. Her babies were not supposed to be born for over two more weeks, so this wasn't good. The same thing happened last year.

Like last year, it wasn't normal. The farmer worried that she had aborted her kids in the night from the way she was talking - as if they were already born and had gotten separated from her - but there was nothing to be found in any of the stalls or out in the pasture. So the farmer bounced Brandy, and could feel a baby's head bumping around inside.

And within a couple of hours, Brandy laid down to push, and the farmer pulled out a tiny little doe. This one was more advanced than last year's, with plenty of fur, and with a few good smacks and a couple of puffs in the mouth, she started breathing. The farmer bounced Brandy again, and thought there was another head.

Then the farmer rushed the little doeling inside to warm her up, and soon she was settled in front of the woodstove in a rubbermaid tub, and even though she couldn't really walk or stand on her own, she was doing very well. Because it was such a cold morning, and because she was born so early, her name is Early Frost, but she is called Earlene.

The farmer went back to check on Brandy. The farmer bounced Brandy again, and this time didn't feel anything, and a few hours later Brandy passed her placenta. The farmer bounced a few more times, and still felt nothing, and decided not to put the gloves on and go in, because that would be stressful for Brandy if there wasn't another baby in there.

Meanwhile the little baby inside was now able to stand with help, and had taken some colostrum, and looked very good in spite of being small. And Brandy looked pretty good, and was eating a little bit, and had taken some electrolytes and calcium, and appeared to be resting even though she was not quite herself.

So the rest of the day passed, and everything seemed okay, and the farmer put aside the idea, the first idea, that there had been another baby, and everyone went to bed, and little Earlene proved to be a very cooperative baby and slept almost all through the night.

Early Easter morning, when the farmer came out to feed, the first thing the farmer heard again was Brandy's quiet distressed murmurs. The straw in Brandy's stall was all in disarray, showing that Brandy had been pawing and working through it, and in the middle of the stall was Earlene's brother, born in the night.

Brandy had not been able to get him started breathing on her own, and he was dead.

And so the farmer sat with Brandy, and apologized, and patted her until she quieted down, and then took Earlene's brother away.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Unicorn Hunt

Well, the farmer has started looking for a relief milker, and the way I hear it it would be a lot easier to find a unicorn. At least you would know what you were looking for: a white horse-type animal with a big horn growing out of its forehead.

A relief milker might be white, or might be any color, and might have a horn growing out of his/her head. Or might just as likely have a little hole in the head, where his/her brains fell out, because why else would anyone want to be a relief milker, since it's hard work and the pay is very minimal, and there is the added attraction of dealing with Boo the Winnebago and the Soprano family, although for all their faults the Sopranos do have excellent milk manners.

In fact that's just about all they have going for them. But anyway the hunt is on for a relief milker, so shout out if you find one and the farmer will be over to throw a rope around it and haul it off.

Calendar Arrives After All

Well much time has passed since the announcement of the winner of the Kid-of-the-Year contest and many of you have probably completely forgotten about it, but for those who still have one iota of interest, the 2008 Kid Calendar, starring Peanut the GlamourPuss, Big Orange, Boxcar Betty, Belle Pepper, Sammy and Leo, Bugsy and Stetson, and assorted other fun loving kids, is now available. It runs from April 2008 through May 2009.

We think all the bugs are out of it but we make no guarantees, representations, warranties, assertions or avowals in that regard.

So please don't complain if your calendar is printed upside down or something. Just accept our apologies in advance and make the best of it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Well it is funny how everything changes. And then nothing changes.

Clipper, aka Mussolini, went to a new home, leaving her sweet retiring twin Eo behind. As soon as Clipper was gone, Eo looked around and said to herself, hey, wait a minute, this pasture needs a new boss. So now Eo is Mussolini Jr., running the down below pasture with an iron fist. Okay, maybe a wooden fist; she could never be as ruthless as Clipper.

And while there is hardly any room at the top, there is always plenty of room at the bottom. Lucy and Xtra Joy the yearlings came down from the big barn to the mini pasture because they simply couldn't compete with the likes of Boo the Winnebago and Brandy and her LaMancha crime family, aka the Sopranos. They were big enough, but they were just too mild-mannered. Their attitude was, please take my food, what would I want it for?

So down they came, and Lucy has risen way up the mini pecking order. But Xtra Joy, who is about the sweetest goat here, only has Jammies to boss around. And even Jammies doesn't really listen to her. So yesterday Joy tried bossing some little babies around, and she didn't get much respect there either.

Even little BlueBelle went up on her hind legs against Xtra Joy. She only weighs about five pounds, but her attitude is a credit to the Baby Belle family.


Of course she did run away after that, but discretion is the better part of valor.

But that brings me to the point which I had almost forgotten. Everything always changes but then when you look at it up close it turns out nothing really changed.

Or did it?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Young and The Witless

Well, the babies have been running amok and having a jamboree in the barn. Hannah Belle of course pays attention to her kids for about five minutes a day when she isn't having her nails done or testing fences and feedroom-door-locks around the farm. So her kids are pretty much latchkey kids anyway.

Scouty is mother of the year, but when the farmer turns her out for a couple of hours of herd time in the morning, she is glad to leave her four hungry kids behind, and they are happy to spend some time in daycare. And Mel's three little black bucks just go with the flow. So that makes ten babies in the jamboree, enough to find some trouble to get into.

It didn't take them long to discover that if they simply ran up the stairs they would find themselves in the hayloft where there are a lot of bales to jump on, assorted dusty furniture to decorate with little hoofprints, a cat to bother, and so on.

So ten of them raced up the stairs and scampered around. Then nine of them raced down and went on to other important projects.

Pretty soon a plaintive squalling issued from the hayloft: little HopScotch, being a boy and half-Nubian, was able to get up the stairs all right but couldn't get down. After a few minutes when he realized all his associates had disappeared, he began screaming to pass the time.

The farmer went up and showed him where the staircase was, but got exasperated when he still wouldn't come down.

Lori would have carried him down, but the farmer just said, "he'll have to figure it out himself," and went to feed the horses while Hoppity resumed his apocalyptic hollering.

All the babies continued playing, unmoved by Hoppity's end-of-the-world siren.

Except Harley.

Harley went to the bottom of the stairs and cocked his head sympathetically, listening to Hoppity. After a minute, he ran upstairs. As clear as day, Harley showed Hoppity how to go down the stairs. Then turned around at the bottom to see if Hoppity was following.


Harley ran back up again - "look, Hoppity," - and then ran back down.

No use.

By this time the farmer was back. The farmer watched Harley do another fruitless stair-descending demonstration. The farmer gave up and went into the hayloft and carried Hoppity down.

Harley was waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs. They ran off together to play with the other eight.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Peanut at Last

Well owing to several million snafus and tie-ups, the Peanut calendar was not finished until yesterday. And even now the proof hasn't arrived to be checked. But by this time next week, Peanut should make his debut as cover boy.

Many people of course do not buy calendars until April, why would they when nothing happens in the winter. Anyway, Peanut will be cover boy from April '08 until March '09, when he will be replaced by the next Goat Idol.

In other news, my daughter Hannah Belle has completely abandoned any hope of contending for Mother of the Year honors, reverting to her first freshener ways - dump the babies and off to gallivant around the farm. In fact, it looks like Scouty pretty much has Mother of the Year sewn up, even though there are many does left to kid.

Scouty's quads are fat, happy, confident and adorable. All because of Scouty's astonishing supply of milk and firm but gentle hand on the parental rudder.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Goats in the News

Hmm. This is an interesting story from Texas. Once or twice I have thought about getting married, but a day or so later I usually realize it is a ridiculous idea. Except for the gifts, of course.