Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Junior Channel

We have two LaMancha bucks here. One is Viceroy the Nice Boy, he is older so he is the boss. He is a nice boy and he does almost everything nicely. The other is Junior. Junior seemed to be kind of boring when he first came here. He never did anything, didn't try to escape, didn't jump over anything, didn't knock anything down, certainly didn't eat any rosebushes.

The only interesting habit he had was he wouldn't walk with the farmer. If the farmer put a hand on his collar he immediately dropped on the ground like a pancake.

"Oh, really?" the farmer said, the first couple of times he did this.

"Oh, really?" is something which if you hear it it is your last chance to avoid reaping the whirlwind. When Hannah Belle hears the farmer say "oh, really?" she immediately stops what she is doing - eating grain from a knocked-over garbage can, usually - and goes to stand by the door to the punishment stall to be let in. She stands in a posture of mock humility and regret - head down and deflated, humble and apologetic.

Really, it's quite convincing. Utterly fake, of course.

Junior isn't dumb and he soon learned that his style of 'walking' would prevent him from ever going to meet any girls. So then he walked tolerably well. Not perfectly but tolerably well. He stopped his pancaking ways and returned to being dull as dishwater.

Until recently. Maybe it's because he's two years old now, but anyway Junior has started developing a personality.

His favorite thing to do is pretend he is scared, kind of like a Haflinger. If he sees the tractor he sometimes, depending on his mood, runs around dizzily, puffing and snorting. He isn't really scared, just pretending to be scared.

His new hobby is to pick up his feed bucket when it is empty and put it on his head upside down so that he can't see. Then he pretends he is scared and runs around in a circle, carefully so as not to bump into anything. Then he takes the bucket off and looks around to check if anything changed while he was invisible.

No. Then he puts the bucket back on and trots around for a few more minutes. Off again. No change in the visible world. Back on again.

When he does it now and people ask if he needs help - "look," they usually say, "that goat has a bucket stuck on his head" - the farmer says no.

He doesn't need help. He is just watching the Junior Channel.