Friday, January 30, 2009

The Fainting Cans

Today there was an unfortunate occurrence.

I do not know who did it although actually I know who did it. The Goat Code prevents me from mentioning who did it. If I knew. Which even if I just said I knew I might have misspoken. I’m sure it was an accident, anyway. Or maybe not. Who can say.

Sometimes things just fall over. Fainting goats for instance. They walk along, then all of a sudden whoopsie daisy, they fall over. Who can explain it.

Anyway as you know there was an earthquake this morning and as this picture clearly shows there is no seismic strapping on the cans.

Luckily for someone who shall remain nameless there was a guest visiting at the time of the unfortunate occurrence. “Oh look,” said the guest, “the grain cans fell over.”

The farmer chuckled, pretending to be good-natured and jolly, since there was a guest.

“So they did,” said the farmer, “ha ha ha.” I noticed at this point my daughter Hannah Belle carefully averting her eyes from everyone and sliding in behind Boo the Winnebago so that only the tip of her tail was visible.

Unfortunately just at that moment Boo intuited with the food-oriented part of her brain, which works several thousand percent better than all the other parts, that the guest might have access to some type of cookies or peanuts, and stampeded herself up to the stall door in a single lightning maneuever.

This left a certain party standing in plain view in the large hole in the daylight vacated by the Boobago.

“Oh, hello, Hannah Belle,” said the farmer, with an ominous smile.

Quake Detector

The farmer was waked up this morning by a very polite little earthquake that rattled the pocket doors in the farmhouse and then went away.

That felt like an earthquake, the farmer thought, but since the dogs weren’t barking, the farmer went back to sleep.

That is one useful thing about dogs, possibly the only useful thing. If there is a big earthquake coming they will start barking and barking about thirty seconds before it hits. They will really bark, like they are going crazy, worse even than if the FedEx truck and the UPS truck came at the same time.

What they are saying is, “RUN OUTSIDE! RUN OUTSIDE!”

During the last big earthquake the farmer was on the phone when the dogs started barking in the most deafening manner imaginable. The farmer put one hand over the phone and yelled at the dogs.

“Be QUIET!” the farmer yelled, but the dogs wouldn’t stop. Then the earthquake hit.

“EARTHQUAKE!” the farmer yelled, pointlessly, since the dogs already knew about it.

The books were jumping off their shelves. The brickwork in the living room toppled with a crash. Outside the window, the whole world was swaying. The horses galloped crazily around their pasture, screaming.

“RUN OUTSIDE!” the farmer yelled, and ran for the door.

Duh, thought the dogs, and ran outside with the farmer.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I got a Starbucks card for Christmas from the farmer's father and today I used up the last bit of it with my final pumpkin scone. I employed my patented 'Shaq' maneuver to box greedy Melly out (it was pretty easy with her bad leg). She didn't get even a crumb.

All in all, very gratifying.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Baby Belle's Helpful Hints

As you know Miss Melly the 3-legged goat has been sharing my “private” stall after her accident. This has given me an opportunity to spend some time with her. In the spirit of helpfulness I would like to make some suggestions which may allow her to improve the serious deficiencies in her personality, hygiene, grooming, and behavior patterns. I have neither the time nor the space to detail all of her flaws, so I will just touch on a few of the most nettlesome.

1. The Beard. As you know I am universally admired for my magnificent snowy beard. Melly’s beard on the other hand is the type of beard which if anyone even noticed it they would say, “oh, are you trying to grow a beard?”

Scraggly is one word that springs to mind. Sad perhaps would be another.

The words which definitely don’t leap to mind are “magnificent” and “snowy.” My suggestion would be that Melly should approach the LaMancha doelings – any one of them would be happy to chew it off entirely. Winnie, Jr., for example just yesterday ate a piece of weather stripping twice the size of Melly’s “beard” in a matter of seconds.

2. Food hogging. Miss Melly is a food hog. When the food comes she acts as if it all for her, when in fact it is my food which I am of course willing to share as soon as I have finished eating everything I want. Not to mention that it is my stall and she is a guest. I would refer her to Miss Manners (waiting for hostess, page 147), who describes with elegant simplicity the sorts of minimal table manners required in contemporary polite society.

3. Ear biting. Melly is an ear biter, an unfortunate habit she acquired after spending too much time with the Toggs and mini-Toggs. Suppose you are eating your dinner in your private home and one of your so-called guests bites your ears in an attempt to get you to conclude your repast so that they may hog your food (see above.) Just imagine that scenario. There is really only one civilized solution to this problem: stop it.

4. The Water Bucket. Every day Melly tips over the water bucket. Why?

5. Heat. As every goat knows, it is only polite to bundle up together at night for heat. If you don’t like your co-sleeper(s), you can go head to tail instead of the friendly method – head to head with one neck draped over the other in the nesting pattern preferred by babies and family members. Melly makes no attempt to do this.

Was she born in a barn? YES, but so was I, and my manners are exquisite. Join me in exhorting her to improve her deplorable behavior. The Bush Years are over, Melly. It is time for a return to decorum.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trouble Loves Company

My daughter Hannah Belle and Breezy's daughter Miss Melly used to go around getting in trouble together when they were kids. They hopped a lot of fences and stole a lot of grain that didn't belong to them. They just laughed when they got lectures from the farmer.

Because of those two, we had to switch all our new fencing to five foot fencing instead of four foot.

Anyway, Hannah Belle learned her lesson one day: she tried to jump a fence and didn't make it over. Her foot caught on the top wire and she was left swinging upside down about a foot off the ground. Well, that day was one of the luckiest days of her life because she did it right in front of the farmer and the farmer freed her within a minute or two and all that happened was she limped around for a day or two.

And after that she learned her lesson. She doesn't jump wire fences any more. She specializes in wood fences and panel gates, and fat as she is she has perfected a limbo-like maneuver that will get her through just about any five panel gate from any farm store in the country. It is something to see.

It saves a lot of jumping, and it makes sense. Why go over the gate when you can go through? That's what they were designed for, after all.

Anyway, Mel had much the same experience when she was a kid, except she broke her leg on her jumping maneuver. It was a clean break and it healed with no problems, and we thought she too had learned her lesson.

No. Yesterday she pulled the same bone-headed ploy and wound up with a leg caught in the fence. No one knows when it happened, but by the time the farmer got home and found her, she had been there so long that she wasn't even crying any more, just shaking, standing on her two front legs. Luckily she got far enough over that she was able to hold most of her weight on her front legs. One of the back legs was caught about four feet off the ground, with a deep cut around the ankle where the wire wrapped tight.

The farmer cut her out and gave her some medicine and now guess who I have for a roommate in my supposed-to-be-private stall?

A three-legged nitwit. Somebody tell me why this goat is getting fig newtons and room service instead of a lecture? Hello? The Nubians have more sense than this, for pity's sake.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Turning on the Heat

Well some of you may remember my daughter Hannah Belle. She is known for her safecracking bail-jumping troublemaking ways. The fence has not been built that will hold her. She has been a very bad girl since she was very small; when she was about a week old she snuck down into the apple pasture, found a hole in the fence, scampered through, and went to sit in the neighbor's lap.

The neighbor was digging postholes, and had sat down in the field to take a rest. The farmer looked high and low all through the barn, under the cabana, inside the buck pens, yelling for Hannah Belle the whole time.

Anyway she was asleep in the neighbor's lap. He didn't seem to want to give her back, either, which was odd.

Well lately I have been under the weather so I have my own stall. It is a private stall, as I mentioned earlier, and since I got Mabel kicked out no one has bothered me. It's nice having a private stall.

But sometimes it's a little lonely, and sometimes it's a little chilly even with my new jacket.

Anyway yesterday Hannah Belle waited for the farmer to go in, then jumped over the wall in the milker stall into the LaMancha doe kid stall, and over that into the aisle of the barn.

Then, instead of knocking all the grain bins over like she usually does, she escaped into my stall. The farmer came out at bedtime and looked at her and didn't say anything.

Then this morning the farmer came out and she was still in with me. It is a lot warmer with a nice fat daughter sleeping next to you. Consider that if you ever decide to sleep in a barn in January.

"You are a good daughter," the farmer said, and gave Hannah Belle an animal cracker, which she is completely banned from having because she is so fat and so good at stealing grain.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Today was a nice day but a tad nippy, so I wore my jacket (see previous post).

I roamed about doing as I pleased. At bedtime I got Mabel the mini-Mancha booted out of my private stall where she was sojourning for a couple of days while she waits for her turn in the honeymoon suite.

She is not as bad as some of the full-size LaManchas (Winnie), but I'm sorry, does the word "private" not mean anything any more?

I signaled discreetly to the manager to have her removed when she started eating my special hay after I had told her not to touch it.

The farmer advised me from now on to live for today and to stay in the moment, so that's exactly what I am doing.

I did not mention that that's what I was doing before, too.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My New Jacket

This is my new jacket.

I think it looks good.

I know it looks good.

I wear it when I go out in the cold or rain (never, why would I go out in the rain? I'm not a Nubian) and at night when it is chilly.

It has officially been made official that I am the only goat on the farm who can go anywhere I want any time I want and do anything I want when I want to do it, and I can eat anything I want, with the wrapper on if I so desire, and Wendell the Pest is not allowed to annoy me. This is not news to me but I have been playing along like it is a big surprise development.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the first in a string of non-rainy days and I am going to help the farmer do a massive barn cleaning. This means while the farmer is working I will eat any hay that happens to fall off the stack. Something always falls off the stack during barn cleaning, although sometimes it is just a cat. I may also go on a short hike to eat some salal and huckleberry. It is so very delicious this time of year.

I might wear my new jacket even if it isn't raining, just to make a Northwest REI Goat type fashion statement.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The 101-Year Flood

This morning for the first time in several days we saw a fat sliver of sun. We think that’s what it was, anyway. It was in the southern sky, and it opened and then snapped shut quickly, like the fly window on an old Volkswagen Bug. The wind was rushing in from the West.

There is a quiet morning-after feeling like there always is after a big earthquake or a whopping deluge or a ferocious windstorm. For the moment it has stopped raining, and the temperature is dropping, which is a good thing.

The horses got their raincoats off. Willen was very pleased; he hates his raincoat and always tries to twist it off or rub it off anyway. He just got a new one for Christmas and he has already torn one of the leg straps. How rude.

Personally I like a nice jacket, something with a fleece lining if possible and a waterproof 1200 denier ripstop outer shell. By the way, my birthday is in June, and I wear a size XL (if it is a dog coat). And a “medium-large Nigerian Doe” if it is a goat coat.

Speaking of my birthday, I also like Swedish Fish (the red ones), but other than that I never eat seafood.

All the East-West mountain passes are closed. The freeway is closed for a twenty mile stretch through Chehalis on the North-South corridor with two feet of water over the road and the three rivers in that area yet to crest. The trains aren’t running because the tracks are flooded. So if you want to get out of Seattle right now you need an airplane to do it.

In our little corner of the Sound, the farmer drove halfway across a little bridge in the dark last night before realizing that there was water about six inches over the road. It was just a little creek, but for some reason it thought it was a river. Anyway, once you are halfway across it’s better to just keep going, and that’s what the farmer did without any problem. Luckily, should the need have arisen, the farmer floats – I have seen this myself - like a can of beer.

Lost Beaver Lake has filled in completely. Every valley in the whole western half of the state is just about completely flooded, which doesn’t lend much credence to last year’s talk of the December ‘07 flood being a 100-year flood. But even though it is terrible, sometimes it is also beautiful.

Anyway, at some point if you get a 100-year flood every year you have to think about calling it something else.

And a one-year flood doesn’t sound very good.

But I’m just a little white goat, what do I know.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pineapple Express

We wished the snow would stop and we got our wish. We are in the middle of a full-blown monsoon. It is 53 degrees. Lost Beaver Lake is back and up to 20 inches of rain are predicted by the time the Express blows out of town tomorrow afternoon. All the mountain passes are closed because the rain is bringing down avalanches, and almost every river in Western Washington is at or near flood stage. I was supposed to go the vet today but I got out of it until Friday, that's the only good thing.

We do not dare to wish for anything now, because we will certainly get it.

Just to be clear, we want nothing, we wish for nothing.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Goodbye, Sunshine

You can know something sad is coming, but that doesn't make it any less sad when it comes.

Valley View Hannah's Marquee died last night.

We could say a lot about his conformation and his dairy character and his champion daughters.

But right now all we can think about is his unbelievably endearing disposition, how he loved the summer, how kind he was, and how lucky we were to have him. If you have a Nigerian or a mini from our farm, and your goat is sweet and smart and funny, we can tell you without looking at the papers that your goat is related to Marquee.

Goodbye, Sunshine.