Saturday, December 06, 2008

Captain of the Hiking Team

I don't know if anyone remembers Winnie, Jr., or not. She broke her leg when she was a baby in a very transparent attempt to get a lot of attention and be allowed to live in the house for a while, where they have television, microwave popcorn, and fig newtons.

She did in fact accomplish her goal, mostly by mewing like a kitten and shivering weakly. That was after the leg was good and broken. When she actually broke it she ran around screaming on three legs until she saw the farmer and then she ran on a beeline to the farmer and collapsed in the farmer's arms in a limp little heap, just about sobbing. It was like a scene from "Gone With The Wind."

Fine if you like melodrama. A little much for my taste.

Anyway, Winnie Jr., got a cast on her leg and an inordinate amount of attention. Unfortunately all the coddling gave her a taste for the limelight, and she has been a pest ever since. So when the farmer came around the other day and asked if anyone wanted to go hiking, Winnie, Jr. went into her usual "pick me, pick me" gyrations.

She was selected to go on the hike, big surprise. Tangy was also selected, because she likes to follow Winnie, Jr. around. And Binky was selected because she accidentally walked out the door when it opened. She is part Nubian. The wrong part, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, off they went to Longbranch to hike at Surprise Ranch. They went over meadow and dale, through the little forest and up the hill, eating what they found - sword fern, blackberry, huckleberry, salal, hardhack, grass, leaves.

Winnie Jr. led the doelings, looking neither to right nor left and not questioning any of the farmer's navigational decisions, even when they all got tangled in barbed wire. Even when they stumbled across the bones of a large (deer?) recently eaten creature. Even knowing as everybody around here knows that the woods in Longbranch are full of bear and hybrid half-wolf coyotes, bold as brass and big as German Shepherds.

Even knowing that, Winnie Jr. soldiered on, calm as a cucumber. She didn't bat an eye, even when Binky fell in the creek and started shrieking. Winnie Jr. just stopped and started eating hardhack while she waited for Binky to realize that the creek was only six inches deep and she wasn't drowning.

Then Winnie Jr. soldiered on again and at the end of the hike, or so she says, she was named Captain of the Hiking Team.

How tiresome.

In other news, finally finally finally Peaches' triplets got to go to their new home. They had been delayed by all kinds of things, including the pox quarantine, and their new family had been waiting for them literally for months.

Anyway, when they arrived at their new home they found a special, very pretty little barn built just for them, and a welcome sign hanging on it with their three names written by the two boys who live there. And now we just got a message that the little boy - he is almost eight - sets his alarm clock every morning so he can get up early and go out to the barn to read to the goats.

They chew on his coat and lick the book while he is reading.

That sounds like a pretty good deal.