Friday, September 26, 2008

Goat of the Month

We haven't had goat of the month for a long time so today we are having goat of the month.

The goat of the month is Herron Hill's XJ Yes I Know.

But really her name is Jessie.

Jessie won a first place ribbon at the fair, which was good. Even better was the farmer's idea to have Shannon Stangeland from Poppy Patch Farm show Jessie, since the farmer is possibly the worst showman ever to enter the ring. Shannon on the other hand is one of the best, and she kindly agreed to do it. In this picture taken by Wendy Webster the famous goat photographer, Jessie is posing in the champion lineup with all the other blue ribbon goats.

Jessie was the first LaMancha goat born here this spring. She is Wronny's daughter. It was a cold day when she was born so the babies were getting started inside the house in rubbermaid tubs. Usually a rubbermaid tub will hold a kid for two or three days. After that they are big and strong enough to climb out of the tub.

Anyway, Jessie was born first but her sister Bugsy was coming fast right behind her, so the farmer grabbed her and ran to the house, rubbing her off with a towel on the way. Jessie was already mad as a hornet, and hollered the whole time.

The farmer ran through the kitchen and through the living room and into the bathroom where the rubbermaid tub was set up next to the heating vent and full of nice clean straw. In about the time it takes to read this, the farmer plunked Jessie in the tub and ran back out through the living room and the kitchen and across the yard to the kidding stall in the barn where yes, just as expected, Bugsy slid out right on cue just in time to be caught by the farmer.

The farmer turned around, puffing and rubbing Bugsy dry with a clean towel, and ran back to the house.

The farmer opened the kitchen door to find Jessie, as mad as a two-minute-old goat can get, screaming bloody murder next to the washing machine, and ready to march on Stalingrad if the need arose.

She had knocked over the rubbermaid tub, walked through the bathroom, through the living room, and through the kitchen when most baby goats, even Nigerians, are looking around themselves and saying, "didn't it used to be pitch dark in here? Can I get some sunglasses, please?"

So Jessie is goat of the month.

Because of Jessie the baby goats have an all-new nursery system and the rubbermaids are being used to store milk bottles.

In the artful photo below, Jessie shows off the whiskers that should have been trimmed before she went in the ring.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The News from Home

Hello everyone.

It is fall now, and time for an update, after a sketchy summer of haphazard reporting.

The farmer says I am not going to have any kids again this year and I am very angry about it. I am just almost angry enough to go on a hunger strike. Almost.

But not quite.

To placate me, the farmer says that my Dairy Princess Cookbook is finally going to come out.

If you have any recipes you would like to have considered this would be the time to submit them before it is too late. Your recipes must be good and they must have DAIRY ingredients.

Dairy ingredients are cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, panir, butter, cream, etc. Everything tastes good with cheese, so if you have a good recipe but there aren't any dairy ingredients, just add cheese and send it in. If you have a recipe that isn't good, why not add cheese and see if that helps? Obviously I mean GOAT cheese, milk, cream, butter.

My daughter Blue Umbrella, aka Baby Blue, has inherited my throne as the farmer's personal milker. Baby Blue has the most delicious milk in the herd and she loves the milkstand.

She is also the smartest milker - big surprise - and has been squirted with the water bottle several times for hiding around the corner on the down ramp after she has been milked so that she can rush back IN to the milk parlor when the door opens to try to be milked twice.

Up the down staircase is definitely not allowed. She knows that but it's hard not to take advantage sometimes when you are competing against Nubians.

By the way Boo and Scouty did really well when we first switched to the milk bench but now they have post-traumatic-stress-disorder and can't stand still in the milk parlor. When they are halfway milked they start to dance and jiggle, both of them exactly the same way, even though they are never in the milk parlor at the same time.

The farmer has worked the problem out on paper by developing a special theory of dairy bucket flight probability: 1 Nubian in the milk parlor + 1 Nubian in the milk parlor at the same time = 2 many Nubians in the milk parlor.

In other news, the dairy was finally approved as a Grade A Washington dairy and this morning the inspector came out to take the first milk sample. We will have our grand opening in the spring and spend the winter experimenting, since right about now everyone is starting to peter out of milk. And maybe by then we will be able to get a pasteurizer.

So that's all for now. The big girls are all in heat so I can't hear myself think. Must go in case more apples have fallen from the tree.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ribbons Shmibbons

We have a little yearling named Xie Xie (pronounced shay shay) and she is very good-natured. She has a little good-natured daughter named Binky and a good-natured son named Buddy. Being one-quarter Nubian she does occasionally let out a bellow of indignation for no apparent reason, but we think that is just as a courtesy to her fellow Nubians. In reality she is very easygoing and doesn't mind much of anything.

In the photo above by official goat photographer Wendy Webster Xie Xie is being used as a display table to show off some of the ribbons the girls won at the fair. She doesn't care.

In the photo below Xie Xie displays the rosette she won herself. It is a pretty good ribbon for a little skinny yearling to win. She doesn't care.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In All Fairness...

Well the farmer got back from the state fair almost at midnight last night. The goats streamed out of the trailer like they were heading for the lifeboats on the Titanic. They didn't care that it was pitch dark and the flatbed was parked in front of the barn door, or that there was a big pile of delicious hay between them and their destination. They just ran like scalded cats down the aisle and into their stalls.

Bertie in particular was cantering hard and shaking her head to try to dislodge the last three days. When she was at the Fair she spent almost the whole time gazing blankly into the middle distance, hoping hopelessly to be beamed back magically somehow to her home planet.

The Fair is like a beautiful nightmare that passes in a hot sweaty blur. The people all have to wear white to do their silly shows where they parade around in a circle. Some of these people if not all don't look so great in white, which is not a slimming color in the least, and many of these people could benefit from some slimming. And of course not even the slimmest looks good in white once the white has gotten covered with smudges and little goat hoofprints, which takes usually about five minutes.

I guess in their show Boxcar Betty and Belle Pepper didn't do too well - one got third and one got fifth - which I find incredibly hard to believe knowing how closely related they are to me, Baby Belle, the most beautiful goat in the world. But the beautiful Poppy Patch herd was there, looking even more magnificent than ever, so the competition was swept downriver as Poppy Patch rightfully won all the big awards.

"I told you you were too fat, Betty," the farmer murmured darkly to Betty as they headed back to the barn. Betty pretended not to hear and went right back into her little pen with Belle Pepper, where they got back to the important business of eating beautiful free hay supplied by the Fair.

The farmer put on a fake smile as courtesy requires and pretended to be tickled pink with the third place ribbon, even putting it out on display for about five minutes.

All was forgiven within a few hours when Xie Xie and bratty little Tangy, who had to be pretty much dragged around the ring, both won first place and then Reserve Champion in the Recorded Grade show, while the rest of the Betsy family also picked up scads of ribbons.

The LaManchas did well too against some impressive competition.

Meanwhile everyone sat in their pens listening to reams of questions from the inquiring public, excerpted in the list below.

1. What kind of sheep is this (indicating Betty)?
2. Where are the pigs?
3. Are there any other animals here (from a disappointed looking lady)?
4. What is his name (indicating Winnie, as she is being milked on the milkstand)?
5. Where are the chickens?
6. Where are the horses?
7. Where is the bathroom?
8. Do you work here (indicating the farmer)?
9. What happened to their ears (indicating one of the LaManchas)?
10. Why did you cut off their ears (indicating one of the LaManchas)?
11. Can they hear with no ears (indicating one of the LaManchas)?
12. Why do you crop their ears (indicating one of the LaManchas)?
13. Did something happen to their ears (indicating one of the LaManchas)?
14. 9,999,999 variations on the preceding 5 questions.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

She's Back....

It is fair time again. My goodness the summer shoots by.

Anyway a batch of fat milkers are going off to Puyallup to sit around in tiny little stalls being ogled. One of my daughters is going, so at least there will be one pretty goat there.

Two years ago little orphan Betsy made her debut at the Fair and got her picture on the front page of the paper, and they are still using that picture as part of their official Fair icon.

This year Betsy will go as a milker, along with two of her daughters and two of her granddaughters. She is older now but don't worry, she is still crazy as a bedbug. If I had known this picture would be on the front page of the paper every day of the fair for two years running, I might have tried to teach her a more intelligent expression.

Oh well. Lipstick on a pig.