Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two More

There are two more of them now. LaMancha bottle baby monsters. Jessie's kids.

They don't have names either, Z is a very hard year, and they all look exactly alike except Pinky and that other one, Joemma, who is part Toggenburg even though she has no ears. The rest of them run around in a black blur, some are black and tan, some are black and cream, some are black and brown. They are all boring.

"Aren't they cute?" says the farmer, carrying them around.

Not really, I think. But what can you say.

To be polite, I try to pretend I am charmed by their puckish antics. Goodness! They're adorable! With their earless heads and their little monkey faces! Look at them knocking all the buckets over and dancing across the clean hay with their muddy footprints! What could be cuter!

Who has time to list all the cuter things than an earless-monkey-looking baby goat? Let's just start with a Nigerian Dwarf baby goat, maybe? By like 10,000 percent or so?

That brings us back to Hannah Belle Lecter, my daughter, who has been steadily achieving a more and more blimp-like condition. Each week Lori says, "she must be getting close," but since every year Hannah Belle is bred approximately 17 times (she enjoys breeding, what can I say, it's a free country) we never know exactly when she might kid.

But even I would say, as I see her lumbering across the pasture blotting out the sun with her bulk (not today, today it's raining), even I would say, "she must be getting close."

Mustn't she?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Earth Day

It was Earth Day this week which gave us a good excuse to celebrate the force that through the green fuse drives the flower. Go flowers! But excuse me isn't every day Earth Day? Or is there a backup planet we will all be moving to?

If that's the case I hope there won't be so many bottle babies on it.

Especially of the LaMancha doeling persuasion, enough already with the earless terrors. This new one Pinky who is being called Zut Alors (she does look kind of French and believe me that's no compliment) while her real name is decided is perhaps the holiest of the terrors I have had to endure.

She was already pampered to death before she cracked her head open and after that she was practically carried everywhere on a satin cushion. Make a note of these two easy steps if you would like to create your own bottle baby monster.

Now she runs everywhere screaming. She pushes the other bottle babies off the slide. She fastens her jaws to the farmer's hand - or any hand that happens to be carrying a bucket of milk - like a lamprey eel. She t-bones anyone who tries to sit on the farmer's lap.

And then I get reprimanded for gently helping her find her way out of my stall.

"Don't hurt little Pinky now," says the farmer. "She's still recovering."

Oh please. Please.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beautiful Day

It is important to keep track of the most beautiful days of the year, so you can remember them later. Yesterday was one of the top ten most beautiful days of the year. It was like old times - the farmer left all the pesky bottle babies and came and sat on the tank cover with me in the sun and scratched all over my back while I head-butted attention seekers away as necessary. It was a beautiful day, and today will be too.

Today will be a good day for a birthday, and somebody is going to have one: Jessie the so-called beauty queen Lamancha yearling is headed to the kidding stall right now.

It's a beautiful day. Don't let it get away.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It Does A Body Good

Little Baby Z looked very bad yesterday morning. She had three shots of medicine: one for tetanus prevention, one to stop other kinds of infection, and one of vitamin B. She was shivering and lethargic and didn’t notice when the farmer moved her inside to the baby nursery.

She didn’t make even a peep, much less offer the kind of Grand Prix tantrum* she and her mother have down to an art form. Instead she just lay and shivered, eyes foggy and blank.

The farmer put a sweater on her. She kept shivering. The farmer put another sweater on top of the first sweater. She looked stylish – pink and white crocheted jacket over a black terrycloth undervest - but quite miserable.

The baby nursery is a little pen on the kitchen floor of the cottage. The pen is about four feet square and about two feet high and bedded with nice fluffy straw. It sits a few feet away from the woodstove so it can be made quite cozy.

The farmer put Baby Z in the baby nursery and left to do chores, checking back perdiodically. On the fourth check, late in the afternoon, the farmer coaxed her into drinking a large bottle of warm milk.

She seemed to wake up a little, and looked around in surprise, wearing the expression of the amnesia patient on a bad tv show – where am I? - before settling back to sleep.

On the fifth bed check, Baby Z was not in the baby pen. She had jumped over the fence and gone to look for her friends, leaving a trail of baby goat pee throughout the cottage and knocking over a stack of magazines used to start fires in the woodstove, then eating – or perhaps just chewing and spitting out - part of a New Yorker** cover.

She was dancing on the coffee table in the living room when finally apprehended.

And that’s why it is so important to drink your milk.

* When they add tantrums to the Olympics, bet on these two for Gold and Silver.

** (Editor’s note: do not use New Yorkers to start fires. It is not the right kind of paper. We know that. We ran out of newspaper inserts.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cross Your Fingers

The little doeling Pinky had a freak accident yesterday and we are very worried about her. She got a bad gash and lost a lot of blood. The farmer was wondering how much blood a little baby goat could have but didn't want to look it up because sometimes it is better not to know too much. On the other hand Pinky is very feisty and when the farmer tried to take her inside for observation and intensive care she pitched such a tantrum at being separated from her friends that it just wasn't worth it.

Anyway please keep your fingers crossed for little Pinky-Zena-Zinnia-Zedoary-Zinfandel-etc.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Famous Jammies

Baby picture of the famous Jammies. She never really got much bigger.

Enough Already About the PJs

Jammies Jammies Jammies.

This is all I hear all day long.

Isn’t Jammies adorable. Look how tiny she is. Look at her cute little udder. Look how she loves the milkstand. Look how she gives the farmer kisses. Jammies Jammies Jammies. Look how she is growing a beard. (A sad little beard to go with her sad little eyes.) Jammies’ milk is so sweet and creamy, it is just like candy. Yada Yada Yada.

I am good and sick of it.

The other day one of the farmer’s friends came over and the farmer launched into the same tiresome Jammies Jammies Jammies monologue.

“Oh,” said the farmer’s friend. “I’d love to try her milk. Can I have some?”

The farmer turned all beady-eyed and started hemming and stammering and offering up crocodile regrets.

“Oh, I am so sorry, if only I hadn’t just used it. How too bad. If I’d known you would want some,” etc etc etc. The kind of excuse that is way too complicated. The farmer’s friend made a skeptical face.

“Maybe next time,” he said grimly.

“Maybe,” agreed the farmer, brightly. Translation: NEVER.

We all know there is plenty of Jammies milk hoarded up in the farm kitchen since the farmer has a terrible fear of running out of the world’s most perfect latte milk.

It was a sad display. Very sad.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


We have not had Goat of the Day in a long time. Our goat of the day is Bertie. Bertie is Boo’s daughter, so she is half Nubian. That’s unfortunate but it can’t be helped.

Her real name is Sister Bertrille, but we call her Bertie, or Big Bird. She is big, and with her tiny winged ears she looks like a prehistoric flightless bird, a Nubian Dodo or some such thing. (Nubodo? Dodubian?)

The other half is LaMancha. She got the good half of each: she is gentle and kind like a sweet Nubian (her grandmother Marty, for example), but she shows up for work like a LaMancha. She can be put in a stall with the tiniest milker – Jammies the sad-eyed mini-Mancha is her roommate right now – and no harm will come to the teeny one. On the other hand, when you are ready to milk, so is she.

Last week Bertie performed a textbook delivery of a pair of pretty twin does. She did it without any fuss, drama, delays, or hijinks. Right now she is milking nicely and not screaming or kicking the bucket or running in circles aroound the milkstand, unlike certain dry yearlings who shall remain nameless.

So she is our Goat of the Day.

Congratulations to Bertie.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Young and the Nameless

It has happened again. We should have known it would happen. It happened to her mother. And to her mother’s mother. And now it has happened to her.

First was her grandmother who went through reams of names which wouldn’t stick. The only thing that would stick was “Big Orange,” since she was quite large and bright orange.

This is a naming problem that runs in the farmer’s family, the tendency to just call an animal by its color. The farmer’s family, growing up, would always – just for example - have a black cat. The cat would have a clever official name, like Midnight or Satan.

The farmer’s father would come home from work and see the cat and say, “oh, hello, Blackie.” Or, “where is Blackie?” And all the cats gradually became Blackie.

Anyway finally Big Orange received a name through the kindness of blog commenters. It was an X Year so it was particularly difficult to think of anything, but in the end a brilliant name was devised for her even though we must admit that to this day around the barn everyone calls her Big Orange.

Eventually she had a daughter who was also orange, but a much paler orange, and not quite as large as B.O. This daughter was called Tangerine, or Tangy for short, but that couldn’t be allowed to stick because it was a Y Year. So eventually another excellent name came from the blog, even though – you guessed it – everyone here still calls her Tangy.

Well, owing to some new slats on the buck gate which apparently allow for conjugal visiting through the eye of the needle, Tangy is now a teenage mother. Her week-old daughter, who is the palest orange yet – shading actually into pinkish-yellowish – has already been through several names.

It is a Z Year, and her failed monikers include: Zinnia, Zinbad, ZZ-Top, Agent Zero, Zinfandel, and Zsa Zsa. She is now being called – you guessed it - Pinky.

She needs a real name. A Z Name. One that will stick to her.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Little Goat, Big World


Well Winnie as you know is a member of the Soprano Family of Lamanchas. Like Ronny, she is a Brandy daughter, and all the Brandy daughters are professional goats.

This means that they are not amateurs. They do everything according to the Guidelines and Bylaws of the Professional Dairy Goat Association. That includes kidding.

So after giving the traditional foghorn bellow signaling the start of kidding, Winnie went through the PDGA kidding checklist, which goes like this:

1. Site prep: not to exceed 20 minutes. (Includes circling, arranging straw, nesting, pawing, examining water bucket, hollering for an attendant.)

2. Preliminary test pushing: not to exceed 20 minutes. (Includes getting up and down, open-mouth breathing, warm-up pushing from comfortable sternally recumbent position, hollering for an attendant as necessary).

3. Moderate pushing: not to exceed 20 minutes. (Includes stretching exercises, pawing as necessary, looking behind you to make sure you didn’t accidentally kid already, pushing from lying-flat-on-your-side position, muffled or silent screams optional).

4. Serious pushing: not to exceed 10 minutes, recumbent or standing position as suits the mission. Push with all your muscles and scream if you feel like it. Once the head is through, give the trademark “Soprano” wiggle to squirt the first kid all the way out.

5. Break for grain, cookies, and warm water: not to exceed 10 minutes. Relax a little, then repeat steps 4 and 5 for each subsequent kid.

All the steps were completed on schedule, producing two strapping buck kids. The farmer bounced Winnie and did not feel any more kids.

“Is that all?” said Lori, when the second buckling came inside to the baby nursery.

“Yes I think so,” said the farmer.

“Oh really,” said Lori, and went out to the barn while the farmer started the two bucklings. In a few minutes (not exceeding ten) Lori came back in with a tiny bundle and began barking orders. “This one needs help,” she said. She had a teeny-tiny hamster-size baby who wasn’t breathing.

The farmer took it and started slapping it and gave a few puffs in its teeny-tiny mouth.

“Where is the syringe? Get the syringe!” barked Lori, who had gone into ER mode.

I wonder who she is talking to, wondered the farmer, continuing with baby goat CPR. Lori found the syringe herself and started suctioning fluids out of the baby’s mouth. Eventually the teeny-tiny hamster-size baby started sneezing and coughing.

A few minutes later the farmer flipped the baby over, sure this one must be a doeling.

No indeed. Triplet bucks. For the first couple of days the tiny baby was called PeeWee and Squirt and “the little guy” and Hamster and Gerbil.

Then Wendy Webster came over one day and she said his name was Stuart, Stuart Little, and it turned out that really was his name. His head shoots up every morning when he hears it. He is still tiny but each day he tries to double in size by drinking more milk than you would ever possibly imagine such a small body could hold.

He may be small, but he is a Soprano.