Friday, December 31, 2010

The Years Ahead

It is New Year's Eve. Or it was three days ago. That is the time for making prompt resolutions. Or do them a few days later if you forget.

Where we are it is very cold. Maybe it is the same by you or maybe you live in Australia. I don't know. I can only go by the way things are here. But this is true everywhere, so it doesn't really matter.

If you want to make a change, you have to start in your little corner of the world.

In my little corner of the world I am going to make some changes.

1. I am going to have more fun and eat more.

2. I am going to try to be more patient with animals of low intelligence (Nubians and Nubian crosses, bucks, boston terriers, farmers.) I have made a mental note, for example, that yelling does not cause the farmer to move any faster.

3. (related to 2) It has been proven that farmers get slower with each passing year, and this is just something you have to accept. I do not expect the farmer to speed up any and I must try to remain encouraging. Note to self: Brandy is very good at this, she still thinks the farmer is her baby, and just yesterday she was murmuring unwarranted enthusiasms. "Just look at you! You got your boots on after all! See!" Etc.

4. Sometimes other animals do not understand what you are saying. This is true everywhere. You must try to speak more plainly and not head butt them. (related to 3 and 2)

5. Try to get more candy and peanuts somehow. The candy and peanuts have slowed to a trickle. Cookies are nonexistent. May need to contact outside sources. (related to 1.)

6. Look to the years ahead. I don't know what this means but it is on an old John Deere plaque we have in our barn, so it must mean something. Follow my example, and look to the years ahead. We can't do anything about the years behind, anyway.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dogs Can Be So Helpful

Sometimes. Like here, or here. Does Wendell ever do anything like this? No, he is a pest. But Spenny always opens the shower door and steps discreetly inside if she has to take a leak and no one is home to let her out. Now that's helpful.

Rain Rain Go Away

We only got about five inches of rain during the Atmospheric River. No big deal. We have never seen Lost Beaver Lake so high though, and now it is pouring again when they promised the rain was over. Obviously it hurts one's feelings even if one is only mildly flooded. Expressions of concern and sympathy, in the form of ginger snaps or licorice, can be sent to the following address:
Million Belles
c/o Herron Hill Dairy
Home, Wa.
Please put a little note: to be opened by addressee only and not any of addressee's so-called friends.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dive! Dive! Dive!

The weather people I guess got a new boss or something because they have changed the name of the thing they used to call "The Pineapple Express." Maybe that sounded too jolly, like there would be music and grass skirts (yum) and hula dancing instead of torrential downpours and water up to your neck.

Speaking of grass skirts (yum) Maddy (The Sheriff of Crazy Town) is in trouble for eating a broom. She has a long neck and she just reached over the stall wall and helped herself. It was hanging on a hook on the wall, which was a strategic error. She only ate the bottom sweeping part but still she got the riot act like she even cares. I wouldn't eat a broom myself unless it was made of wheat straw.

Anyway I got off track. "The Pineapple Express" is coming in a couple of hours. Only now it is called an "Atmospheric River." We are battening. Or actually, we are watching the farmer batten. The last time we had a big "Atmospheric River" we got nine inches of rain. Around here, since we are on a hill, once you get to three or four inches it really doesn't matter any more.

So that's what's happening. Not news, really, it happens every year. But we all look forward to the day when "The Pineapple Express" aka "The Atmospheric River" will be called "A Ton of Third Cutting Dairy Alfalfa from Eastern Oregon" or "All the Field Peas You Can Eat" or even "A Big Bag of Black Licorice."

I am practicing for that sweet day with some vocal exercises.

"A Big Bag of Black Licorice" is coming! Hold on to your beards!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

No Telling

It is breeding season and various ladies from around the Peninsula have been coming to visit the gentlemen here if that is what you like to call them.

The gentlemen are all big and smelly, except for Jackie. He is little and smelly. Really you have to tie a handkerchief around your nose and mouth if you want to go anywhere near them. I avoid them like the plague. Drive-through buck service is definitely the way to go.

But when the ladies come into heat they start bawling and flagging their tails and this causes their brains to shut off. When it happened to me, I could not even remember my name. So they don't seem to notice anything amiss in the Old Spice department. Then again, at this time of year, there is no telling what may happen.

Our old friend Gracie had gone into heat, she was bawling and flagging which is the universal sign of the cerebral cortex having shut down, and she came back to visit. At first she seemed halfway inclined to meet Junior. Junior was all for it and he came thundering out like a boxcar full of dead fish.

But then Gracie got a sudden blank look and sat right down on the ground. Not really, her expression said. I don't think so.

Gracie's owner Mo worried Gracie might have broken her leg or something but no, she was just putting the kibosh on Junior. Oh well, there's no telling.

Off she went to see if she liked Jackie any better. Once again, he was all for it. Gracie headed him around the stall like a little soccer ball.

Not really, her expression said. I don't think so.

Oh well, said the farmer, there's just no telling, she can stay overnight with Cowboy and see what happens. Gracie stayed overnight and when the farmer came out in the morning she and Cowboy were sleeping in opposite corners of the stall, each pretending the other was invisible.

Not really, Gracie's expression said. I don't think so, said Cowboy's.

The farmer told Gracie's owner that it didn't seem like Grace was really in the mood, so it was probably no use staying any longer. So they came and got her.

When she got home she went and stood by the fence line, bawling and flagging her tail.

Oh well. This time of year, there's just no telling.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harmony and the Polar Express

Q: Can't We All Just Get Along?

A: Yes, if it is cold enough.

Around here we are used to the Pineapple Express. It comes in the winter from Hawaii, dumping gallons and gallons of rain and bringing a clammy unseasonable warmth, sometimes even 60 degrees in January. Occasionally during the Pineapple Express a bunch of flies will wake up, thinking it is April, and flutter around groggily until the Express blows out of town.

We are not used to the Polar Express. Last night was an all-time record low of 8 degrees here, making Monday's 30 degree snowstorm a pleasant memory.

After the snow the sky cleared ominously, north to south, turning a bright bitter blue and bringing in the Arctic wind from Canada. That is not how we like it here. We like our wind from the West, even if it means the Pineapple Express. That is what we are set up for.

The farmer has been stamping around babysitting the pipes with wraps and heaters and every tap turned to dripping and half the time on bended knee praying to the God of Plumbing: dear Lord, please help the pipes and keep them whole in their hour of need amen dear Lord.

As far as us goats the farmer does not seem too concerned, although Izzy did get rescued and plunked into the Nigerian refugee stall with the rest of us.

That's ok because we have our own system. When it is 50 degrees or 40 degrees or 30 degrees we keep to our usual hierarchy. When it is 20 we start to make exceptions: for example the night before last we allowed Cherry's daughter Bing to sleep in our pile even though she is only half Nigerian.

When it got down to 10, we abandoned the hierarchy completely. All the goats from the snow-filled cabana piled into the barn together into a single heap. Pinky, Jr. (the lamb) was lying by Brandy (the lion); Wronny pretended not to notice that Jimmy and Jimmy Jr. were invading her space; Winnie turned a blind eye to the appearance of Betsy, whom she normally cannot tolerate.

Meanwhile one of our flickers fell out of a tree, stone cold dead and frozen solid. So sorry, little flicker, best to travel with a herd during the Polar Express.

By midnight last night Penrose, being a Swiss goat, had to get up and move closer to the door - she was getting too hot in the pile. "Excuse me, won't you," she asked politely as she tiptoed to a new spot, taking care not to step on anyone and freeing up a heat pocket in the middle for Xie Xie to roll into.

Sometimes, we are the world.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow Day

A lot has been happening so we have not been able to post the information about the new Sheriff of Crazytown. But don't worry it is coming.

Right now there are a couple of inches of snow on the ground and the snow is still coming thick and fast.

Well that's fine, who cares, I have my winter coat on, except last week a big windstorm came and blew the roof off the buck shed and part of the roof off our cabana. So no one wants to go inside the cabana, since it doesn't really have that "inside" feeling since there is an inch of snow inside most of it. The farmer couldn't get the sheds fixed in time with one thing and another so the big bucks moved to the baby buck shed and the baby bucks moved to the big barn, and the farmer relented and let a bunch of Nigerian refugees into the barn instead of cramming into a tiny corner of the cabana where there is no snow.

I got to go to the barn and my mother Belle Pepper and Hannah Belle and Big Orange somehow snuck in with us, I guess because she is the mayor she can go where she wants, and Betty and Iota (Pawprint) and Ringo.

Since the baby bucks are in the barn with their buckly aroma pervading every corner everyone who was thinking about coming into heat came into heat all together creating an ungodly din of Nubianesque screaming even though we do not have any fullblood Nubians any more. You cannot hear yourself think, which isn't usually a problem but today all of a sudden in a quiet patch I heard myself thinking and I was thinking, "where is Izzy?"

Izzy is my daughter and she was trapped out in the snow with no mother or brother to cuddle with and so I started screaming and the farmer said "oh Millie are you coming into heat?"


The farmer doddered off to go get some hot chocolate so I continued screaming and Ringo joined in with me but we were a poor second to the overheated Valkyries.

Occasionally from deep down inside the snow-filled cabana we would hear Izzy peeping forlornly and we would also hear Pinky calling like a foghorn, probably to one of her imaginary friends. And now and then Penrose would shout, "Why me?"

Eo suffered in silence as usual, with her eyes narrowed, plotting her revenge on the cruel world.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meet the Mayor

Elections are very expensive so it has been decided that Big Orange will stay on as Mayor of Crazy Town, even though she is not really qualified any more. That has never stopped anyone else.

But don't worry, there will be a new Sheriff, and she is overqualified, so that should make up for it.

Tomorrow, you can meet the Sheriff.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Wendell's Traveling Dime Store

If you look at our dog Wendell you might not think much, he just looks like a boston bulldog, plain black and white with four paws and a round head like a little pumpkin. But inside that pumpkin there must be pages and pages of the Sears catalog or something because Wendell loves to bring things home from faraway places.

This happens when he gets under the fence and goes snuffling around the neighborhood, which is strictly forbidden so it only happens roughly three or four times a day.

Here are some of the items Wendell has brought back from his travels: stuffed animals (several regular teddy bears and a duck wearing shorts and suspenders and a little cap), hand tools, unmentionables, a slice of pepperoni pizza (still warm), a plastic Godzilla one foot tall, a carburetor, 10,000 balls (tennis, golf, and other sports), a new pair of socks (tag still on it).

Those are just some things. We don't have room to list everything. It is possible he is running some type of backwoods delivery service. We just don't know.

Anyway you might think a dog that has the nerve to snatch a slice of pizza that is still warm or a carburetor which somebody almost certainly needs, probably a large person with muscular forearms, you might think a dog like that would be very brave.

But that is not the case.

Yesterday Wendell was sitting in the living room and he started shaking and shaking uncontrollably, which is what he does when he is in the grip of a terrible fear. The farmer looked out the window from whence the horror came and there was a deer in the yard. More of a fawn, really.

And last week Wendell was in the barn and the farmer shooed him out but he wouldn't go which is a serious violation. "Get out, Wendell!" the farmer yelled, but Wendell just sat there shaking and shaking like the end was near. The farmer looked out and the tuxedo cat from next door was strolling through the garden. Wendell was pop-eyed with terror.

So you might think that a little dog afraid of a tuxedo cat and a fawn must be a terrible coward. But consider the case of Wendell and B.D., in which Wendell routed a bold, gigantic coyote.

So maybe he is both, a terrible coward with the heart of a lion and the guts of a burglar. And a traveling dime store all his own.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Million-Dollar Babies

The Jammies Family is rather sickening because they always get a lot of attention in fact when the farmer sees them the farmer always says "oh Jammies, I love you, Jammies." Or, "oh, Bumbles, I love you, Bumbles." Not like Tangy for example where the farmer always says, "Tangy, get OFF!" or Maddy where the farmer says, "Will you PLEASE be quiet," or Jimmy, Jr where the farmer says, "JIMMY! Do not make me come and get you!" or Hannah Belle where the farmer simply bellows, "HANNAH BELLE LECTER!"

No with Jammies the perfect mini-Mancha and Bumbles the overstuffed doeling it is always Jammies I love you Jammies and Bumbles I love you Bumbles.

In this photo they take their adorableness to a new level by lounging in the pasture on one of our probably last sunny days. Bumbles, Jammies' daughter, demonstrates just how fat you can get by drinking mini-mancha milk, especially if you are an only child and your mother is Jammies the candy goat.

Jammies is bred to our cousin Pepe, Betty's blue-eyed son, and somebody already asked if the babies would be for sale and the farmer said, yes, they would be available for one million dollars each, two million if they have perfect mini-Mancha ears like Jammies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The S hocking Truth

Our farmer has been buying all kinds of fence chargers and they don't work like the old Sears fence charger that was built in 1974 and zapped like a charm until it finally gave out last spring. They don't make the parts for it any more so it went to the scrap heap. Since then there has been a Gallagher (PowerPlus! Good for 60 acres!) that wouldn't shock a flea, a Farmtek that would make you say "I think I feel something! There! That's it, isn't it?" And a Saaco that had enough juice to light the flashing light indicating that it was working correctly but not enough power to actually produce any shock at all of any kind.

Every time the farmer would go back to a different farm store and the farm clerk would explain why the fence charger didn't work, it was all because the farmer hadn't hooked it up right and all the voltage and amperage was flowing counterclockwise down the drain as if it were in the Southern Hemisphere where they have Christmas in July which would mean that it needed a better ground, with a minimum of 75 30-foot-long copper poles from NASA to work correctly.

"Oh really," the farmer would say. "Well how come the old one worked for 35 years with no problem?"

"Well," the farm clerk would say, and make a little French touche gesture, "they don't make them like they used to."

After the last episode the farmer said, "that's it," in complete disgust and now we have a charger that is rated to completely encircle Rhode Island three times. It is enough to hold Laddy and will probably hold Tommy. Willen will stay if the other two aren't going anywhere. Anyway, if you find an old Sears fence charger at a yard sale anywhere, please email us immediately.

In other farm news something far more shocking has happened to Big Orange. Big Orange used to be a high-kicking bucket-launcher. She was the bane of the milkroom. She was considered the Mayor of Crazy Town until the farmer started working in the city and the neighbor farmer started coming over to milk Big Orange. Somehow the neighbor turned Big Orange into an almost normal milker. So Crazy Town will need a new Mayor.

Luckily there are several deputy mayors waiting in the wings to take office.

Big Orange's granddaughter Pinky has been started in the milkroom even though she is not a milker just to keep her off the ballot.

In this photo she stuffs her face while Jimmy Jr., Jimmy's wether son, wanders mistakenly into the milkroom. No wethers allowed, Jimmy. Beat it.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Cruel Twist

They had the Harvest Festival Farm Tour last weekend. This is where people go around our Peninsula looking at pumpkins and chickens. They track mud everywhere and park in the ditches.

The farmer came out to see if anyone might like to go and represent the goat kingdom at the neighbor's farm, which was on the tour. There was a big stampede out the back of the barn, led by everyone. Not even Tangy wanted to represent the goat kingdom.

"That is ok," said the farmer bitterly. "We don't need any of you. We have two nice goats from Minter Bay going."

And the farmer went off to help the farmer from Minter Bay who was bringing the two goats who had volunteered to represent the goat kingdom to the public. Only as usual the farmer forgot almost everything except one folding chair, so the farmer from Minter Bay who had gone to all the trouble of bringing the two "volunteer" goats also had to sit on a tiny postage-stamp sized chair that looked like something a hummingbird might perch on. That was while our farmer lounged on a full-sized comfy chair, not even looking apologetic.

Anyway the two volunteers were Filbert, Hannah Belle's son who has become a goat celebrity from last year's Harvest Fest where he got his picture on the front page of the paper. And George, aka Curious George, one of Alice's mini-mancha triplets from this summer. George is a baby and he put on a show of shivering and whimpering while Filbert chewed his cud in a blase fashion.

Filbert is known as a professional goat.

Anyway the public started coming and it turned out in a cruel twist of fate that Filbert once again was the Candy Goat. This means he was wearing a little pack and the pack was filled with candy. Good candy, like tiny Milky Way bars. Not sourballs wrapped in plastic and petrified candy corn.

So this made Filbert extremely popular. "Why don't you take a look and see what he has in his pack," the farmer from Minter Bay would say to the children, and they would look in the pack and give a little gasp of delight.

The people who owned the farm were selling animal treats for a quarter. So all the children had little sacks filled with peanuts and cracked corn and carrot slices. And they would all give Filbert something in exchange for their Milky Ways, so he had an excellent racket going, and spent most of the day licking his lips. That part was not the cruel twist.

The cruel twist was George, shivering and whimpering. He was the Trash Goat.

"Now don't forget," the farmer from Minter Bay would say. "When you finish your candy, put the wrapper in George's pack. He is the trash goat."

That is why I don't volunteer for any of these expeditions. Because even though I know someone gets to be the Candy Goat, I know there will also be somebody who gets to be the Trash Goat. And that is all the incentive I need to stay home.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

LaMancha or Bedbug?

This is a picture of Maddy. She looks fairly normal but unfortunately she is crazy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Hello my name is Izzy. Million Belles is my mother. My brother's name is Ringo. I am two months old but hardly any attention has been paid to me since I was born which is odd because I am exceptional.

Anyway it's funny how people look at things and don't really see them because they have a fixed idea in their head and they can't change it just because it doesn't match reality.

The reason I mention it is all summer long people have been coming to look at the baby goats and the farmer always points to Terra, Hannah Belle's daughter, and says, "That's the pretty one." Or sometimes if Terra is having a bad hair day or an ungainly growth spurt the farmer points to Betty's daughter Iota and says, "That's the pretty one."

This went on all summer without fail, and sometimes the farmer wouldn't even remember my name but would say, "oh yes, there is another doe kid, that little black and white one there."

Anyway a couple of weeks ago was the state fair and for the first time in a long time the farmer did not take any goats. But on the day of the Nigerian show the farmer stopped by to watch. There were other farmers there too, and Gracie's and Zinnia's family was there from up the road, and the farmer from Minter Bay where my father the drive-through buck lives. And then there were also various goat big shots, and people who think they are big shots, and a lot of opinions were exchanged on which goats were the best goats.

But when everything was said and done and the Junior Champion was decided it was a goat named Not Quite An Angel. She is my father's full littermate sister.

Then there was a lot more parading and the senior champion was decided and it was a goat named Hardly An Angel. That's my father's mother. Then there was additional four-footed mincing and posing much to the chagrin of all the goats and the Champion Challenge was conducted and my father's mother won that too, beating Jackpot's mother and a goat named Rockette who had caused some of the spectator's eyes to goggle out of their heads. So my father's mother was Grand Champion and Best of Breed and Best Udder which is about all you can win unless you hit the bullseye in the shooting gallery, and then you can also get a life-sized stuffed bear.

Anyway when the farmer came home the farmer had a funny look and came right into the stall where I was jumbled up with a lot of other goats getting out of the rain, which has just started, and picked me up and held me up in the light and examined me closely and then said, "hmm," and put me down.

And every day since then the farmer has been coming back out and picking me up and petting me and saying, "Hmm," in a surprised way.

Anyway the way things were going I thought maybe my name got changed to "Hmm," but then a lady stopped by and asked which one was the pretty one and right away the farmer pointed to me and said, "Isabelle," oddly enough remembering my name right away.

"Oh is she for sale?"

"No," said the farmer. "Not any more."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Part Two

Ok, part two.

The grain hum went through the herd, and Hannah Belle set off up the hill. She took everyone down into the far corner of the front pasture where nobody ever goes, and she showed everyone a hidden hole under the fence next to the driveway.

All the little goats got through, and some of the mediums, and several of the bigs including Tugboat Tangy surprisingly, but Winnie couldn't make it so she stood on the other side bellowing until she reached the end of her attention span.

We hightailed up the driveway lest any helpful passersby see us and report us and pretty soon we were up by the cottage with Tangy breathing through her mouth from the exertion but occasionally still chanting "grain" as we all came up on the shed where the grape leaves grow through the fence.

It didn't take long to make them disappear.

Then Hannah Belle ordered everyone into the barn, where the grain was piled in 50 lb sacks. Everyone stared in amazement.

"Get to work!" yelled Hannah Belle, "We've got free rein!"

We knocked a bag from the top of the stack and then we all started pawing and chewing through the bag. Time is of the essence when you are bag-chewing. Since there wasn't room for everybody to chew the bag, a few of us waiting for the bag to be gnawed open went and knocked over every single thing in the barn that wasn't bolted down.

We made it through. We ate 48 pounds of cob before the neighbor farmer came to milk the milkers and caught us all red-handed.

All except one.

Hannah Belle somehow had managed to get back into the pasture.

She gazed in innocently as we were all stuffed into a holding cell to see when and if we would get sick.

"My goodness, what's going on?" her expression said. "Can I help with anything?"

"I hope you all enjoyed that grain," the farmer said later after hearing the report of what had happened. "because you won't be getting any more for a long time."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Free Rein

Well yesterday was Wednesday here, I don't know what it was where you are.

It was a bit glum and rainy and our farmer has not been paying much attention to us. This gives us free rein.

Some of us need attention because our opinions have not been taken into account lately what with the farmer driving up to the fancy job in Seattle almost every day and not minding the farm properly.

Last weekend there was goat show practice because Moldy and her daughter were supposed to go to the fair and Moldy did reasonably well considering the size of her brain but after the practice it was determined that Moldy really does not have enough milk to show well so all that practice was a waste and the time could have been better spent listening to some of the good ideas I have had lately which are many and numerous.

So anyway there was a rising tide. Of something.

Last weekend when we had free rein Hannah Belle showed us how to knock the plywood out of the gate panel so that we could go wherever we want. We trotted around freely in the horse pasture eating apples. The farmer said a few choice words and looked for the hammer briefly but then got distracted.

"Don't you worry, I am going to find that hammer and put the panel back in," the farmer said darkly. "maybe a little bit later. Or tomorrow."

We knew that wouldn't happen because after finding the hammer the farmer would have to find some nails, and even though lightning often strikes twice around here it's almost always in the spring. So we continued to do as we pleased. And you know how it goes, when you get in the habit of doing as you please, it only leads to more of the same.

Anyway yesterday when the farmer left for work we all poured out through the missing gate panel and helped ourselves to apples but before too long Hannah Belle said, "you know these apples are fine, I used to really like them, but there is grain in the barn."

Pinky Jr, is only able to comprehend a word or two here and there but she repeated: "Grain."

"Grain in the barn," Tangy intoned dully.

A low hum spread the herd: "Grain." be continued

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Triumph of Moldy

Moldy has experienced a recent triumph and she won't stop talking about it.

One of her daughters won the reserve junior champion at the Kitsap County Fair.

The people who call it reserve champion are usually the people who win it. The other people call it SECOND PLACE.

Anyway Moldy has been fawning around with mock humility, telling everyone fifteen times about what happened as if the Kitsap County Fair is one step away from the Nobel Prize. Everyone flees when they see her coming.

All day long she has been trotting around on her little dachshund legs yelling "Guess what!" as the audience stampedes across the pasture to get away from her.

Thank goodness it has been decided that I will never have to go to a show unless there is a show for goats with good personality which in that case very few of the goats here would be eligible.

If you would like to see some of our goats at the Puyallup Fair Moldy will be there since it is not a personality fair. Tangy the bear of little brain has been there twice if that gives you an idea how little value they place on personality there. Also Ayatollah Winnie and Wronny Soprano.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bad News, Good News

It is time for some goat news from around the world. And since the world includes Germany, we are including a link to this outrageous story about a goat who was kicked out of his new apartment by a German couple! How uncivilized! Just as he was settling in!

Ok, this story from Dallas ends a little better: a goat and his Great Dane friend, as well as their 3-legged retriever sidekick, get the treatment they deserve after a long and arduous struggle.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

They Just Know

Usually when we hear the coyotes singing they just sing to each other, each to each, and they don't bother troubling us with their conversation.

But last night I was lying in my stall and I thought I heard one of the coyotes say, "Millie, why don't you come outside? Come outside, Millie, I want to show you something."

I thought it was just me or maybe I imagined it so I didn't say anything but when I got up in the morning Betsy and all the bigs were standing in a large clump instead of sprawling every which way like they usually do. Blue Umbrella and Betty had attached themselves to the clump. And so had Eo and the rest of the minis. So there was a big crowd of everybody standing inside an invisible fence that was built for about half as many goats as were in there.

"What is going on?" I asked Eo. As usual she said, "Why?" very pointedly, and went back to plotting to overthrow the government.

So I asked Pinky Jr.

"Nothing," said Pinky Jr. "We are all just standing together."

"Oh," I said.

"Because Atticus isn't here."

"Oh," I said. I did a little doublecheck to make sure Izzy and Ringo were right by me.

Just then the coyotes started singing. And sure enough, one of them called my name. In the broad daylight. Oh dear, I thought. I scooched all three of us inside the invisible fence.

"How do they know?" I asked Pinky Jr.

"Know what?" said Pinky, Jr., because she has a short attention span.

"Know Atticus isn't here."

Pinky Jr. shrugged. "They just know."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Good Night, Sweet Prince

There isn't enough room here or anywhere else for a complete list of noble deeds performed by Atticus. So this is only the tip of the iceberg, beginning with goats whose lives were saved:

Betsy (gazing fondly in a part-Nubian manner at large coyote until Atty appeared)
Hannah Belle (2x - once hanging upside down from fence, once stuck in gate requiring Jaws of Life. Atty called for assistance and remained with victim until aid arrived)
Marv (rolled under the deck when he accidentally got born outside in 20 degree weather. Atty would not stop barking)
Buttons and Cappy (born in the down-below shed, Atty would not let anyone in the door)
John and George (born in the pasture when no one was home. Atty escorted them throughout the day)
Mel (Atty lay by her for who knows how long while she was stuck in fence through her own stupidity)
Pinetop (foot trapped between deck boards, could not extricate self, Atty called for assistance)
Strange man came to farm, possibly selling firewood, and started yelling at the farmer for no apparent reason. Atty appeared from nowhere and grabbed the man's shirtsleeve in an encouraging manner, while gazing at the man intently and making a low rumbling noise like an earthquake in the distance. The man was encouraged to stop yelling and get in his car and drive away immediately.
Intervened on behalf of his elderly friend Rocky the Raccoon.
Lay outside Snow Pea's stall for 6 hours when she was crying because she had to stay inside alone.
Allowed baby goats to use him as a trampoline.
Did not kill Wendell, again and again. Repeatedly did not kill Wendell.

Too much more to list. Too many things.

We hope he is on a mountaintop covered with snow somewhere, where it never gets too hot, and the baby goats have nice soft hooves, and the dinner is served on time, and there is a little cave he can lie in, and look out over his domain.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Terrible Quiet

Just when the wings of time got started again, there is nothing we can do but stop them.

Atticus had a sore paw and it seemed to go away and then a couple of days ago it got much worse, and he could hardly walk. He was huffing in pain whenever he limped anywhere. Today he went to the vet. The farmer was awfully worried he might have a nail in his paw but there didn't seem to be any way it could have gotten in.

But the farmer kept thinking: what if he has a nail in his paw? What then? He will have to wear a special boot. Maybe the saddlemaker over by the county line can make a special custom boot for him.

They took the x-rays and he didn't have a nail in his paw. He had bone cancer. And he was too big for them to do anything. A Pyrenees cannot walk on three legs. Especially not one as magnificent as Atticus.

And so today on a beautiful summer afternoon, Atticus went out of this world.

And the farmer came home alone from the vet.

And now all over the farm there is a terrible quiet.

I had no idea it could ever be so quiet.

The Gossamer Wings Etc

First of all I am very annoyed. Our farmer got a job in the city and would not write the blog for me. Everything passed unremarked as if it never happened. The kids, the hay, the unfortunate incident with the tractor, the thing that happened where Atty injured his paw, Wendell's shocking incontinence. Nothing entered into eternity on the gossamer wings of my blog.

THIS GOAT'S LIFE stood still.

The lettuce bolted to the size of a Christmas tree and nobody picked it. The farmer only wanted to sleep when not driving back and forth to Seattle to work at the stupid job which has nothing to do with Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats. This was very selfish.

My children Ringo and Izzy did not get fully documented as they should have been. This was not correct. That little brown one whatever his name is, Jimson Weed I think, hardly got documented at all but that's fine, who cares, he is just a little brown goat. Also Cherry's crazy little bunny rabbit daughter did not even get a name yet. That's how bad it was. When she gets a name it will probably be something like "Cherrybunny" or "Bunnybing" which is just sad.

The neighbor lady had to come and milk the milkers. Actually the neighbor lady did a much better job than our farmer but nobody mentioned that. Big Orange even got used to the neighbor lady.

The horses got tremendously fat from eating constantly and never getting any exercise. The neighbors from Longbranch had to come and put all the hay in the barn. Four hundred bales. That was completely unheard of. The idea of someone else putting your hay in the barn. It's shocking. They don't even have neighbors like that in the city. They only exist in the country.

Well anyway now there is going to be a big party. For the end of summer. There will be fiddlers. Or at least one fiddler. Unless the fiddler cancels.

But anyway. Time will start flapping its gossamer wings again.


Friday, July 30, 2010


This is a picture of my son Ringo. He is a good son but I prefer Izzy, and I was also feeling kind of drained, so I suggested for Ringo to go and drink some milk from Cherry or Jimmy. Jimmy had a little son on Saturday I think. I wasn't really paying attention because it was kind of boring. Jimmy is brown and her son is brown so it was really too much brown to concentrate on.

Jimmy is not part Nubian, though, so that didn't really work out because she was able to discern that Ringo wasn't her son, even though he is much better looking than her actual son, no offense that is just a fact, so he didn't get any Jimmy milk. Cherry is part Nubian, though, so he gets plenty of milk from her. Cherry's little daughter doesn't need much milk anyway because she looks like a bunny rabbit. And the rabbit is not a dairy animal.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Isabelle Ringing

This is my two children. Isabelle and Ringing. Ringing is called Ringo. Isabelle is called Izzy. Woops, this is only Izzy. Ringo will come later. He looks the same, but very different.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pull Knob to Release

Well the farmer had to go to work on Saturday so the farmer asked Lori to keep an eye on me "Because she is coming near her time."

Who isn't coming near their time? How can you get anywhere without coming near your time? In fact, shouldn't you be right on your time?

Anyway Lori was keeping an eye on me and she must have taken her thinking cap off and left it somewhere because after several hours she called the farmer to report that Xie Xie looked a little under the weather, and that one of her babies was too small, in Lori's opinion. "She looks like a newborn," Lori said accusingly.

What am I supposed to do about that? thought the farmer. The farmer was on the freeway and there is a new cellphone law regarding talking on the phone so the farmer just said, ok thank you.

I don't know where the farmer's thinking cap was either because Xie Xie doesn't have any babies this year, she is milking through, so how could one of them be too small and look like a newborn?

It's a puzzle, make no mistake.

Anyway after several hours the farmer came home and was able to uncover the fact that Xie Xie's mysterious daughter was not too small. In fact she was just the right size, because she was a newborn. Only nobody seemed to want to claim her, certainly not Xie Xie who has taken a vow of chastity since popping out Alica and Walker last year.

Big Orange was interested in the baby, but it is a known fact that Big Orange already had her babies. Brandy is an old bag. Breezy is a crippled old bag. Winnie is all that and a bag of chips. Penrose would have taken it, she is a professional maiden aunt. But you could see it wasn't hers.

And little Jimmy was still holding her water.

Finally Cherry came forward and claimed the baby, offering no explanation or apology.

We knew Jimmy was going to have a wether-child. We did not know Cherry had climbed the same tree.

Anyway I was thinking how odd that whole thing was today when all of a sudden out of the blue I started screaming bloody murder. I screamed for two solid hours. I thought I had appendicitis. "Help me!" I screamed, and the farmer came and gave me a cup of grain.

"That is not the kind of help I need!" I screamed. But I ate it to be polite.

Suddenly a gigantic wet black and white baby appeared behind me, possibly having dropped from some unseen vending machine in the barn ceiling. Or down a baby chute.

For some reason I felt a lot better. I noticed how handsome the black and white baby was. It reminded me of my little friend at the drive-through buck window. I couldn't really think any more about it because suddenly I started screaming again.

"HELP ME!" I bawled. Another little baby appeared behind me. The first one was still crawling around ineptly. The farmer brought me a bucket of warm water, and some more grain.

How odd, I thought.

When did the farmer buy that vending machine. Why have I never noticed it before.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Fire in the Hole

I am still here. It is 4th of july, everyone's least favorite holiday of the year. We are all getting huddled in the barn in preparation for the horrifying night of country artillery. I am going to have my kids soon but not right yet. They are not going to be the last kids of the year. Joemma is going to have kids too. The father of her babies is one of the wethers. Their tale of forbidden love will be told later. The rocket's red glare is already starting all around us. So I will say adieu for now.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Song of Myself

A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. Alice over at Minter Bay shot out a set of triplets. Alice is Binky's little sister, and she shares the much-coveted Betsy family stealth kidding gene. Unlike Peaches who likes to make the thing into a miniseries, the Betsy family can kid between commercials.

Anyway that is all very interesting if you have nothing better to talk about but nothing has been written about me in a very long time.

I am almost one year old. I am one of the prettiest and most charming goats in the world. I have an incredibly wonderful personality and an adorable black "Clouseau" mustache. I am good at being carried around and accepting admiration.

My favorite goat is my mother, Belle Pepper. I go everywhere with her. She is a very good mother even though she ran out of milk a couple of months ago which is unfortunate since Nigerian goat milk is very good. It's the nectar of the gods. I am keeping her for my mother anyway though instead of switching to Penrose.

I do not really like LaManchas except Xie Xie. Big Orange is fine though. Wronny doesn't bother me too much. I guess I could live with Binky if I had to. Ziggy isn't completely awful. Brandy is an old bag so I just avoid her and there is no way she could catch me if it came down to it. That little slow-witted pink one is all right too, I kind of like her.

Actually I guess it is just Winnie I don't like. She knows everything and the price too.

I do not really like minis that much either except technically Jammies and Bumblebee are minis and they are tolerable. I guess Eo is ok too, all she ever does is sit around plotting to overthrow the government. If you ask her what she is doing she says "why?" and makes a mental note of it on the docket of disgruntlement that she carries around in her head.

Eo Docket Entry, in re "Lawsuit Against the World": Millie asked me what I was doing again. Why?

I am getting ready for my birthday party and for my kids' birthday party. I am expecting a lot of presents. I would like a forest green satin jacket for the Fair, monogrammed with HH (Herron Hill) on one side, and MB (Million Belles) on the other, so no one else can wear it. If it doesn't have the MB there are certain parties (Moldy) who might try to take it and pretend it is their jacket. I would like a bag of ginger snaps. I would like some apple peels, a pumpkin scone with orange frosting, and 200 raisins. New ones, not old dried-out dust-covered ones from someone's pocket.

You can send me these things care of the farm, with a nice note. And maybe a Starbuck's gift card tucked inside.

Thank you for thinking of me. How kind you are.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Miracle Pt. Two

We only have one Toggenburg, Penrose, but she is a good one. Penrose is our spokesgoat. She is kindly and good-natured and she doesn't beat up small goats, especially not babies. In fact she loves babies.

But Penrose has always had problems getting settled, and even though she is six years old, she has only kidded twice. Nonetheless every year when the babies start getting born, Penrose examines them closely.

"I think that one might be mine," she decides now and then. And she will pick out a baby and follow it around, usually one that looks kind of like a Toggenburg. One with ears, I mean. Then after a while she changes her mind. "I guess not."

Well Rainy the hoodlum got stuck outside with no milk. So she looked around for milk, and everyone turned her down. You cannot get milk from a LaMancha, that's just hopeless. You would be lucky to get away without an earbite. A Nubian cross might give you some milk, but first you have to explain what you want, and that could take a really long time. Like a month.

No matter what you ask them, they always say, "what? Wait a minute, what?"

Anyway Rainy started sidling up to Penrose. And Penrose let her do a milk check. But Penrose doesn't have any milk, because she hasn't kidded for two years. But Rainy hung around with Penrose anyway, since Penrose made a little spot for her in the strawpile, and then discouraged the LaManchas from biting her ears, which is one thing certain LaManchas like to do just as a hobby.

And every little while Rainy would check again, just to be sure Penrose didn't have any milk. And that went on for two nights. And on the third night Rainy's wishing and dreaming and relentless milk checking finally brought the milk down from a way up inside Penrose, who comes from 16 generations of purebred Swiss star milkers.

And so now Rainy has two mothers, a daytime mother and a nighttime mother.

And this just goes to show you that when it comes to milk, you have to want it. You have to really want it. And then you can make it flow, even if it seems like a miracle.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Miracle of the Loaves, the Fishes, and the Toggenburg

Blue Umbrella has two daughters. They are my cousins. Their names are Blue-Eyed Elaine (Lainey) and Rainy Day (Rainy). Lainey is a mama's girl and stays by Blue most of the time. Oh, she will do a commando assault on the alfalfa stack, sure, but she keeps one eye on her mama while she is sneaking past the security guard. And she comes when Blue calls.

Rainy is a stone-cold hoodlum and does as she pleases.

So what kept happening was this. Dinnertime came and everyone queued up by the gate, jostling to be first to run into our night stall where we get our grain and hay. The farmer opened the door and we all rushed in like a dam breaking and the farmer closed the door and went on to the next thing. That was the system and everyone followed it.

Except Rainy. She would be dancing on our little patio or sticking her head through the fence to grab some blackberry leaves or sleeping or insulting one of the big LaManchas from a safe distance or something like that. And she wouldn't come in for dinner.

The first few times the farmer went and got her. Then Rainy started scampering and fleeing when she saw the farmer. Then the farmer said, "fine. Sleep with the big milkers and no grain and no milk all night. See how you like that."

The next morning the farmer would come out and Rainy would be desperate, yelling to her mama for milk and running around in circles thinking that one more magic circle would probably cause the dinner door to pop open like she was in an Aladdin movie or something. And when Blue would come out in the morning, Rainy would rush up to her and start guzzling milk in a panicky manner even though she is too fat already.

That happened for a couple of nights. But then on the third night, Rainy looked up quite casually when Blue came out in the morning, as if to say, "oh hi, nice to see you, how have you been, is that a new haircut." She didn't even try to get any milk.

"That's odd," said the farmer.

Woops I have to go. Part Two tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

This Day in History

On this day in history, Grover Cleveland became the first President to be married in the White House. Queen Elizabeth ll was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Robert E. Lee took command of the Confederate Army. The Vandals sacked Rome.

And on a small farm in Walla Walla, Washington, a little white goat was born.

She is no longer with us, but she is all around us.

Happy Birthday, Baby Belle.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Hoodlums in Action

In this photo, two kid hoodlums sneak past the "security" guard on their way to the alfalfa stack. See you later, stickboy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Goat Beauty Parlor


Ok Binky had her babies. Binky is a LaMancha with 12.5% Nubian as I mentioned earlier. Binky had two doe kids and they are miniManchas. They are not too bad looking since they are half Nigerian. Binky seemed pleased to see them but had no idea who they were. After a few days she noticed that they followed her everywhere. A flicker of understanding crossed her forehead one morning and she looked at the farmer in astonishment. "I had two babies!"

That was excellent. Except she was sharing a stall with Peaches, who was already supposed to have had her kids, and by this time on Thursday, Peaches was starting to go into labor and when the farmer came out to the barn she had chased Binky, who is three times her size, into a corner of the stall and taken the babies. What can I say, there were a lot of powerful hormones surging through her body, and she saw those babies and she WANTED them.

Binky is very gentle and kind and has no underlings and she looked on helplessly with a flicker of misunderstanding brewing inside her 12.5% head. "I guess those aren't my babies? Maybe they are kittens that like goat milk?"

Well, the farmer came in and saw what was going on and took Binky and her babies out and put them in a different stall, and fluffed the straw so Peaches could have her own babies and go back to her right mind, and that's what she did after making a long drawn-out all-day drama of it. Peaches had two doe kids and got them started in a very professional fashion and inspected them thoroughly for any irregularities and set up a nest for them under the feeder box and once they were asleep went back to her full-time job of eating as much as possible.

"Ok good," said the farmer, and put Binky and her babies back in the stall. That was fine. Next morning the farmer came out and everything was nice and quiet. No fights, no disagreements, no baffled Binky crying, everything good. The farmer milked and did the chores and came back to let the babies out for a stroll during a brief break in the endless rain.

What does the farmer see?

Binky is lying in one corner of the stall, chewing happily, with one doe kid next to her sleeping. Peaches is in the opposite corner, chewing happily, with three doe kids in her pile, including Binky's cutest daughter. Peaches gives the farmer a shrugging look - "I usually have triplets."

No screaming, so the farmer says, "fine, do it your way."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Cork Fell Out

Well, I should have known no one but me would read the schedule. Peaches was supposed to have her kids, and then Binky, but today Binky had twin doelings without even asking Peaches whether it was her turn. Too late to put them back in, they have already drunk about a gallon of milk. They're darling.

The farmer went up to Port Orchard over the weekend and met Willen's brother. Willen's brother can jump four feet even though his butt is definitely not any bigger than Willen's. His owner said he is good at jumping but needs a long runway to get up to to speed, kind of like a 747. She is taking him with her to college in the fall when she goes. I don't think Willen would do very well at college, even though he once ate part of a book. There was cake frosting on it.

Peaches continues to grow larger, defying all odds.

The farmer is going to make some special cheeses, spring cheeses, even though the rain is pouring down in a very November-like fashion.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Giant Peach

Stand back, Bumbles! That thing could go off!

Scenes From the Goat Show

The 'fun' begins.

See you later, sucker. We are on our way to a goat show.

If you ever see this sign, pull over.

Cora Belle scopes out the competition.

Excitement (I think that's what it was?) fills the air as the show gets under way.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Binky and the Giant Peach and The Time

It is the nature of the time to have come. And it has. Well, it almost has. Well anyway, the time has come close.

Only three are left to kid. Peaches, aka the Giant Peach, is supposed to kid next week. If she doesn't explode first. She looks like a gigantic orange duck on ice skates.

Then there is Binky. By this time Binky, who is the daughter of Xie Xie, who is the daughter of Betsy, who is the daughter of Stacy, is only 12.5% Nubian. (That's four begats, isn't it?) But sometimes numbers don't tell the whole story.

Everyone agrees Binky is darling. Even visitors will say it.

"She isn't very pretty, is she?" one of them will say, admiring Binky's 12.5% Nubian horsehead as she saunters around looking for the barn.

"No," the other will say. "But she's darling."

We sometimes have to show Binky things. Like the barn. Over here, Binky, the barn is over here. It's the big white building. Do you remember it now?

This what we're eating it's called 'alfalfa.' It's a cute name, isn't it?

This is a 'fence,' Binky. You can't just go through it, you have to jump over. It's no good just sticking your head in and crying.

Anyway, we help her when we can if it isn't any trouble.

After the Giant Peach, Binky will kid.

That will clear the stage for the main event. In July, the last babies of the season will be born.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The spring is our favorite time of year because all the new babies are born and we get to meet them all. But it can also be sad, because most of the babies leave to go to new homes. Spud left, and Ivar left, and Mac left, and Frosty and Sparkles left.

And then last weekend Corky and Clarence left.

But Acorn, their triplet sister, stayed here.

For the last two days she has been standing at the fenceline gazing out blankly. Then she goes and lies alone in a corner of the baby barn.

We are going to have a Jamboree this year in celebration of Baby Belle's Birthday. I think that will cheer everyone up.

The farmer already told Acorn she can be in the baby goat races.

She is a fast runner, and I hope she wins.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Red Letter Day

Well yesterday was a red letter day with the farmer going to a goat show with the farmer from Minter Bay. Once again it was a tale of two goats, with Cora Belle, aka "Showtime," fussing the whole way then striking all the perfect poses in the ring.

The farmer did not show Cora Belle, though. The farmer showed a goat named Buttons. In real life Buttons is a tiny delightful Nigerian Dwarf who could get a job tomorrow as a greeter at WalMart.

During the show, however, she did a very convincing impersonation of an angry cinderblock. In one ring she spyhopped like a miniature Orca, twisting up into the air and landing with all her weight on one of the farmer's toes. Since there is no cursing allowed at the show, all the farmer could do was chuckle fondly and say, "oh you little dickens!"

In the next ring Buttons tried to lie down and had to be dragged to her feet. "Ha ha ha!" said the farmer.

How much does she weigh? thought the farmer. A thousand pounds? The farmer made a mental note to buy a pair of steel-toed shoes before having anything to do with Buttons again.

Neither of the goats won any champion prizes because Jackie's mother won two of the three rings. The mother of my boyfriend from the drive-up buck window won the other.

Meanwhile over at Blackberry Hollow, Gracie was having her baby, Prancer the Dancer, a very cute miniMancha with sparkle ears, the best kind of ears to have. According to reports from the scene, Prancer the Dancer busted a move almost as soon as he was born.

Back at the farm, the farmer was surprised to find Maddy looking perfectly normal.

Maddy got injured a while ago and her head has been swollen for several days. The farmer was feeling very gloomy about it. Even though it didn't bother her, it started to seem that a trip to the vet was inevitable, and the farmer had been hoping to buy a little blanket harrow with that money. So the farmer was delighted to see Maddy looking almost like a normal goat.

Then the farmer went out to feed the horses. Laddy the Tennessee Walker had one of his eyes swollen almost completely shut.

Great, thought the farmer. There goes my blanket harrow. And my steel-toed shoes.

Friday, May 07, 2010

All Pepe is Saying...

Guess Again

Only two paltry passengers (deux, dos, zwei) disembarked from the dirigible. That's right, two. And they were not even very big. Good guesses, though.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

All Ashore That's Going Ashore

We know how many kids were packed into this 300-gallon drum, because a couple of days ago they came out. Would you care to take a guess? Go ahead.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rules Schmools

The farmer decided regretfully to let Jammies keep her milk for a couple of weeks until her little Bumblebee gets bigger. In my opinion the little Bumblebee is already too fat, but of course no one asked me. Rotundity is a common problem in the Jammies family.

Anyway this morning the farmer milked all the greedy milkers in the milk parlor. As usual Joy waited until last and then tried to dawdle by eating in super slow motion and pretending to have important ideas. The farmer started taking the milk machine apart to scrub and had it halfway washed before Joy finally ran out of food.

"All right then," said the farmer grumpily, and booted Joy out. In just a minute a polite tapping came at the outside hatch door, which is only supposed to be used for an exit. This is a strict rule in fact. Usually when someone tries to come in the exit, the farmer throws a pitcher of cold water on them.

But this time for some reason the farmer yanked open the hatch, and there was Jammies with her little bag of candy, asking to be milked.

"Come in, come in, come in," said the farmer, beaming.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The New Triplets

All our big does had triplets this year. Big Orange followed suit with two boys and a girl. One is white, one is black, one is reddish brown. Their names are Corky, Clarence and Acorn.

Acorn is the girl. For a big baby, she is not that unattractive.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

You There

Jammies' little bumblebee was going to be called "Jammies' Little Bumblebee."

But then someone suggested Creamsicle, which is an excellent name and a perfect match for her coloring.

But then someone else suggested Cupcake. And if you look at her closely you will see that she looks like a cupcake with buttercream frosting.

So now there is a quandary.

Cupcake or Creamsicle.

Creamsicle or Cupcake.

Or Jellybean.

Or "Jammies' Little Bumblebee."

Or what about Buttercream.

Or Ambrosia.

Jammies' Little Bumblebee

Mr. Adorable

aka Jackie Boy.

Iota (Pawprint)

Blue Daughter

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Farmer-English Dictionary

Farmer Says: "Oh dear, poor Jammies, you look uncomfortable. You have way too much milk for one little orange baby to drink."

Translation: "Thank God, the Jammies milk is back, I am going to steal as much as I can for myself."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kidding By Spreadsheet

Yesterday Jammies lost her ligaments and the farmer was in a tizzy preparing a perfect kidding nest. Most people probably aren't interested but last year Jammies had a terrible kidding and lost her baby but then triumphed and became the farmer's personal milker because of her candy milk and her sweet disposition.

So the farmer milked all the milkers in a hurry and then turned the crush pen into a private kidding stall and Jammies was ushered in. The farmer does not like nighttime kidding because according to the farmer's spreadsheet nighttime kiddings are 36% more likely to be problematic.

Jammies did not do anything, just looked around all dreamy-eyed and gave the farmer a few kisses. The farmer went and got the cot from the hayloft and the kidding box and special Jammies treats and some midnight oil and a pillow and two new books, one about chickens and one about a town in Vermont, and a pair of reading glasses. And then went and gave our new buckling a bottle. His name is Jackpot but that is another story.

When the farmer got back with all the supplies Jammies had already had a little orange doeling with bunny rabbit ears and everything was cleaned up and put away and the little bunny rabbit was dozing with a bellyful of candy milk.

"Oh Jammies," said the farmer and went to bed but not before updating the spreadsheet to reflect the fact that nighttime kiddings are now 32% more likely to be problematic.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pepe and Iota

Betty had her kids and their names are Pepe and Iota. Betty is a terrible mother. Half the time she is worried sick about her kids. When they are sleeping she wakes them up to make sure they are still alive.

The other half she forgets she has them and strolls off to sniff around the compost mountain to see if there are any delicious new weeds. Then she remembers and runs around screaming. "My kids, my kids! My kids have been kidnapped! I'm pretty sure there are two of them! Help! HELP!"

Pepe is mostly black with a little bit of white and ice-blue eyes. He enjoys dancing, especially Celtic type Lord-of-the-Dance riverdancing. That's kind of funny because we do not have a river. Iota appears to have some kind of superhero powers and is able to disappear when necessary. Her Superhero name is "Pawprint," because that's all she leaves behind when she disappears.

Then she will reappear, usually under a bookcase or in a cubbyhole. She doesn't dance as much as Pepe. She is more interested in thinking about things, possibly superhero activities.

So that's the story of Pepe and Iota. And now the tension mounts as the farmer paces and frets, awaiting the arrival of the offspring of the precious liquid-candy-milker Jammies, who is a frumpy little moth-eaten micro-Mancha, if the truth be told.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

spirit of joyjoy

We just heard some very bad news. It was about our friend Joyjoy who went to a wonderful new home with her twin Gracie several months ago. Joyjoy had an unforeseeable accident and she died. Joyjoy was a very adventurous goat and she loved to explore everything. She had a very strong spirit, you could always feel when Joyjoy was coming close even if you didn't see her right away. We were all very sad when we heard.

So today Zenyatta went to live with Gracie because Gracie was very upset. Zenyatta and Gracie are old friends from when they were babies together. So hopefully Gracie will start feeling better soon.

It made the farmer think because a very strange thing happened here the other day. We had a long day with all kinds of odd occurrences including a horse mishap and several trucks not working and we had to cancel our plans to get hay and the tractor got a flat tire and finally Blue Umbrella had her kids - two pretty little does, the first she has had - and by the time the farmer got around to milking the milkers it was ten o'clock at night and the farmer made a bad decision.

The farmer decided to leave Boxcar Betty and her two tiny kids, Pepe and Iota, in a little corner of the barn aisle instead of putting them in a stall. They were going to go back into the crush pen when the milkers went through to the milk parlor. And it seemed like a better idea than putting them in a stall with other goats when they were so tiny.

It wasn't.

When the farmer came out 45 minutes later after milking, Betty and her kids were gone. And just then the farmer heard Betty bellowing frantically down below in the back pasture. She was looking for her kids and she couldn't find them. It was pitch black and all the night animals were out, bats and owls and all kinds of creatures who could eat Pepe or Iota in one bite.

The farmer and Betty ran around yelling in the dark. No use. The farmer came in and turned the barn upside down: no Pepe, no Iota. The farmer went and got a flashlight and ran around again with Betty, not just in the back pasture but in the side as well. For twenty minutes they looked high and low.

Then suddenly Betty gave the farmer a squirrelly look and ran back up to the barn.

The farmer kept looking for a few minutes and then realized Betty was not bawling any more.

When the farmer got up to the barn, Pepe and Iota were just coming out from under a bookcase to get some milk from Betty.

"They weren't there before," said the farmer, even though no one was listening. "I looked under there before, and they weren't there."

Nobody said anything. "Someone must have been watching out for them," said the farmer.


Or maybe Spirit of Joyjoy.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Master Goat Farmer at Work

Our farmer is a trained professional and notices every nuance of goat behavior with unbelievable acuity. Yesterday it was blowing a gale from the west. One feeder tipped over and two roofs ripped off, one from the baby shed and one from Winnie's cabana. The farmer kept a keen eye on Blue Umbrella.

One lady dropped by and the farmer made the lady go out and look at Blue Umbrella.

"See how she is pinning her ears back like that and has a glassy expression on her face?" said the farmer in a lofty knowledgeable tone.

"Ok," said the lady.

"Now we will feel her ligaments," said the farmer, and tried to catch Blue Umbrella, but Blue Umbrella took off running which was no mean feat for a goat with a 64 inch waistline.

"This is how she acts when is getting ready to kid," the farmer told the lady.

"Is that right," said the lady. "My goodness, look at the time."

The lady took off running and the farmer could not catch her either.

Meanwhile my half-cousin-sister Betty began to get a terrible case of indigestion, and was circling all over the place, trying to sneak up on herself from behind.

"Why don't you lie down if you don't feel good, Betty?" I suggested.

"That's a good idea," said Betty, and lied down. Then it was such a good idea that she got up and lied down again, pawing up the ground to try to make a pillow. There wasn't any straw since we were out in the pasture so it didn't feel right so she got up and moved to a better spot and lied down again.

Meanwhile the farmer called Lori on the phone to ask Lori to go to the farmers' meeting. 'I don't think I can go to the meeting, because Blue Umbrella is going to kid."

The farmer got a nice kidding stall ready and brought everybody in and finally was able to catch Blue Umbrella and Blue Umbrella's ligaments were like a rock. "Hmm," said the farmer, astutely.

Blue Umbrella got booted out of the kidding stall and the farmer called Lori to see if it was too late to go to the farmers' meeting after all and just then Betty started screaming.

"Oh," said the farmer. "How convenient."

Betty was ushered into the kidding stall where she kidded a set of teeny tiny peanut twins.

As you can see, very little escapes the notice of a Master Goat Farmer.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Spring Blizzard Approaching

Every year in the fall there comes a day when four or five does come into heat at the same time.

"Oh how convenient," says the farmer. "I can take them all in to be bred and mark them off the list."

Five months later in the spring they all have their kids at the same time, causing the farmer to become (even more) bleary-eyed and short-tempered.

"Oh how inconvenient," says the farmer. "Remind me not to do that again."

Luckily at least Maddy went ahead of schedule with her mud-pit Easter Bunnies. And my mother Belle Pepper helpfully fooled the farmer and did not settle. That's good, I like being an only child.

But now Boxcar Betty, Blue Umbrella, and the sacred Jammies are lining up on the runway.

Fasten your seatbelts. There's a baby blizzard on the radar.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Bunnies

I am only eight months old so obviously I still enjoy milk. But I have noticed lately that my mother has gotten much shorter and when I go to get the milk sometimes I can't quite fit under her and she actually goes up in the air like if you picked up a wheelbarrow. Because she is so short I guess. It's kind of odd, I used to fit all the way under there.

I hope she doesn't get too much shorter because it's a little bit inconvenient.

Today was Easter here and it was supposed to be a holiday with nothing on the schedule and the farmer was going to go and hunt for some morels because it is morel season. So the farmer did the chores and milked everybody and then went to feed the bucket babies and then heard some high-pitched distant baby screaming.

"What the goodness," said the farmer, and counted the triplets. Two sets makes six. One, two, three, four, five, six.

"What the goodness," said the farmer. Well, maybe it was Abbie and Amarillo, Moldy's twins, yelling about something. Just then they ran silently past. The baby screaming continued.

"What the goodness," said the farmer, looking around like a beagle at a foxhunt.

Maddy had gone behind the barn into the muddiest mud pit on the farm where the tractor even got stuck and had a set of twins three days ahead of schedule. Both were covered with mud and yelling angrily. Maddy was gazing into the distance in puzzlement, perhaps considering updating her Facebook page.

She tiptoed discreetly away from the two little babies as they tried to advance toward her.

The farmer came and got them out of the mud.

"Two little easter bunnies," said the farmer. "No morels."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Goat Glossary

(verb, noun): to glean delicious morsels from another goat's back, to backsnack.


"I enjoyed a nice backsnack when I stood next to Jammies at the feeder. Her woolly coat is like an alfalfa lint brush."

"I couldn't backsnack because I was stuck next to Peaches, and she has no undercoat."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Miracle Mac

If you are a person and you break your leg you have to waddle around for months with a cast. This is bad because you only have two legs. And one of them is broken. So half your legs are broken, and you were probably slow and ungainly to begin with. No offense to you, but you know what I mean.

I have seen people who were three or four or five times taller than a Nigerian, and they cannot even jump over a fence as tall as their middle. It's sad. Very sad.

Whereas Aunt Hannah Belle, who is 23 inches tall at the withers, used to be able to jump five feet before her waistline expanded. Now she can only jump four.

Anyway Mac the baby goat broke his leg ten days ago. Yesterday they took the cast off.

Fixed. One more example of goat superiority.

Without those thumbs, the people species would have died out a long time ago.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grass Thief

Tommy the grumpy appaloosa owns all the grass around here. In this photo Moldy hides behind a locust tree so he will not see her eating his grass.

Just looking for some missing earrings, Tommy. Pay no attention.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Headed Out This Morning, Into the Sun

Wronny's bland babies finally got their names. There are two boys and one girl. The super sweet boy is going to be named Spud. The smart one is going to be named Ivar.

The girl had to have an A name. Every person who came said why not Annie? Or why not Ann? Or why not Anna? Anna Banana? One person said how about Anne-Marie?

Anyway her name is not going to be Ann or Anne-Marie. Her name is going to be Anastasia, like the Grand Duchess. She is very imperial.

But I guess everyone will probably just call her Annie.

Dreamboat Annie.

Ship of dreams.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Excuse Me, Sir, Which Way to the Milk Bar?

Double Triplets

Wronny had her kids yesterday exactly by the book as usual. She had a set of triplets, just like Joy. Very boring, just like Joy's. But much bigger and louder. They've been complaining since they got here.

Wronny went right back to work on the milkstand without batting an eye.

"I would not take a thousand dollars for that doe," the farmer said, to no one in particular.

Of course that is easy to say when no one has offered a thousand dollars.

But anyway that's what the farmer said.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Joy Division

Joy had three triplets this morning.

There is a large one, a medium one, and a small one. They cry and they sleep and that's it.

No personality whatsoever.

My Special Day

Yesterday was warm and cold and sunny and cloudy and calm and windy and a little bit showery and then it snowed. It is hard to dress for that kind of weather.

Joy the sweetest LaMancha is as big as a house and going to kid this afternoon.

The farmer said yesterday I was going to get special attention because I haven't gotten any attention at all because everyone just pays attention to Melody's two spindly little daughters.

But then I didn't get any attention because the farmer had to go and get the grain and then unload it moaning and wheezing and grunting in a very dramatic fashion which did not draw any applause or interest from the audience.

Then the farmer got the kidding stall ready for Joy. Then Peaches started acting sick for no reason and wouldn't eat her grain so the farmer had to go and cut some branches for Peaches.

Then the farmer had to switch Tommy's blanket. What's the difference which blanket he has on? They don't have any fashion shows around here for grumpy old nags.

Oh then big surprise there was no more time for my special attention.

I don't care, why should I.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Captive Audience

Two More Travelers on the Oregon Trail

Moldy will be getting a little extra in her pay packet this week. She had two doelings at 3 o'clock. That's good, now she has someone to listen to all her complaints.

She is already telling them about the great utopia of Oregon where she used to live. The beautiful land of milk and honey, where candy grows on trees, and little white goats ride on satin cushions.

Speaking of little white goats I was expecting two more drab nondescript things but these are flashy, almost as colorful as me. In this case I wonder if my excellent name ideas - "Fungus" and "Mildew" - will be accepted.

Sometimes when the farmer says a suggestion is "under consideration" it doesn't necessarily mean what you think.

Oh well, once they are dry the drabness will probably set in.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

T Plus One

The tsunami didn't do anything and neither did Moldy. It wasn't a beautiful day, either, it was a soggy mess.

Now it has stopped raining though.

So what, it will probably start again soon.

We are sick of the rain and mud. Even Willen the fat Haflinger is sick of it, he wouldn't come up to the fence for a raisin bagel yesterday because he didn't want to walk through the mud. Instead he let Tommy take his bagel. The farmer's jaw dropped almost to the ground.

Tommy is a bagel hog, he would swim across Vaughn Bay for a bagel.

It is spring now, it doesn't matter what the calendar says. All the blossoms are blooming and the frogs are delirious with the their nighttime singing.

I don't know if anyone has bought the naming rights, I doubt it, but anyway I have suggested two names for Moldy's babies and they are "under consideration," whatever that means.

My suggestions are Fungus and Mildew, because these are mold names, and Moldy's name is Moldy.

Then they could be called Gus and Dewey, like the decimal. Nice.

That is if they ever show up.