Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Greatest Hits of 2011

Well it is the end of the year and time to review the most popular posts of 2011.

Coming in at Number One was a post about Raw Milk Pants. We are going to make a pair for Wendell for the spring.

Number One: Raw Milk Pants.

At Number Two was a post that is several years old. But it has always been very popular, especially at Christmastime. We couldn't understand why until we got some emails from Japan about it. When people are learning to speak English in Japan they read a lot of Dickens. When they get to the end of "A Christmas Carol," they don't understand what it means. So they google the phrase "Total Abstinence Principle." And then they get sucked up into the long winding Internet tubes and spit out at a little Dickensian goat farm in Western Washington. God Bless Them, Every One.

Number Two: The Total Abstinence Principle.

At Number Three we have the mysteriously popular triumph of Pebbles at the State Fair.

Number Three: That's Right.

At Number Four, the Return of B.D., starring Saint Penrose.

Number Four: Uninvited Guest.

At Number Five: the first photo of Clementine the Fairy Goat.

Number Five: In a Cavern, In a Canyon, Excavating for a Mine.

Number Six needs no introduction.

Number Six: At Your Service.

Number Seven: Adorable baby goat needs new name.

Number Eight: Horrors, Pebbles outgrows her stolen parka. 

Number Nine: Occupy the KP.

Number Ten: My New Sisters.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Lose the Post-Christmas Blues

Well we got all the way through Christmas without any much rain. So then everybody had to put a jinx on things by talking about how this could turn out to be the driest December ever. So the dam burst and it has settled into a steady downpour which makes everyone feel gloomy and by the amount of rain we have had the last two days even with several days left in the month I can pretty much guarantee that this will not be the driest anything.

We also were entering a post-Christmas depression because we had eaten all the treats we were given including a bag of stale peanuts the farmer found in a box that went to the fair three months ago and I waited to see if Betsy would suffer any ill effects after gobbling several of them but they were just fine except they tasted a bit ribbony.

Anyway what should happen but we get one of those little pink slips in the mailbox telling the farmer there is a package at the post office since the USPS out here can't be bothered to bring you the packages, they will only bring the little pink slips as if they tried to deliver the package, even going so far as to hand you the slip when you happen to be down at the mailbox with its jolly note saying that we "tried" to deliver the package but you weren't home or something. But anyway that is another story for a grumpy day.

The farmer went to the post office and there was a package from Missouri for Pebbles.

Inside many many excellent treats, including peanuts and pretzels and instructions for how they should be distributed.

Some of the stipulations were a bit onerous ("be nice to Pebbles", etc) but in light of the treats belonging mostly to Pebbles I have decided to abide by them. Until the treats are gone.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Joyful Noise

Jammies and Wronny are nothing alike. But they are birds of a feather. They live in a silent world.

Wronny could be having a set of big-headed breech quadruplet bucklings, or she could have one of her hooves slammed in a car door, and she would not make a peep. Jammies is just the same, a little church mouse.

I don't understand it myself, if I need some food I want the management to know about it. Or if I have an itchy spot, I like to notify the farmer. Also when I am having my babies I want to arrange the special treats in advance, not at the last minute when they might be out of swedish fish at the store. And if Pinky is t-boning me, surely that is a good time to call 911. That's what it's for, after all.

But not Jammies. Jammies' plan is to scamper away from trouble and to keep mum on almost every topic, just like Wronny. Except for the scampering, they are temperamental twins. Wronny is the Queen, and she doesn't scamper.

So anyway this week Jammies came into heat and she was ushered into the buck pen and even though she likes to leave the station immediately once she has been serviced - she is not one to linger and chat about the Iowa Caucuses - it was a busy day and Jammies did not get any exit visa. Instead she stayed silently in the buck pen all that day, running like a cat on a hot tin roof to stay one step ahead of the buck.

Several times I looked over and she was panting heavily; her winter coat looks like ten fluffy layers of pashmina. Luckily before long Big Orange came into heat and went and stood outside the fence of the buck pen, and this created a distraction that gave Jammies some breathing room.

The next day the farmer had to go to town and didn't get home until after dark, and so Jammies spent two days in the buck pen. And by that time she was resigned to it.

"I guess this is my new life," she said to herself, and she picked out a corner of the pen that was farthest from the buck but still upwind - with the best escape routes  - and she settled in to live the rest of her life in the Garden of Smelly Aerobic Exercise.

And she never complained or called 911 and just then of course the farmer came down and said, "Jammies! It is Christmas Eve! You come out of there!"

And Jammies scampered like a little white tornado out of the buck pen, as fast as anyone could hope to go on inch-long micro-mancha legs - and she ran like the wind toward the barn, and halfway up the hill she couldn't stop herself, she started bucking and dancing with delight, and she made a joyful noise for all the world to hear.

And lo, the next day it was Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Winner...

Well it is time to tell the correct answer to the quiz. The correct answer is Big Orange.

Big Orange does not belong in the photo for all the reasons mentioned:

1. She is not polled, and has never had any hermaphrodite children.
2. She has a distinct advantage in the mammary system.
3. She is orange.
4. She is a goat.
5. She is a productive member of society.
6. She has no implants of any kind.
7. She is a strict vegetarian, and can be trusted with a knife.

But first and foremost, Big Orange does not belong in the picture because she is a Bigoletto and not a Kardashian.

Congratulations to our winner pictishwitch!

Applause applause applause. 

In other exciting news, Pebbles has gotten bigger than Sandy, who was almost twice Pebbles' size at birth. Congratulations to Pebbles, who worked her way up from Peanut size to Plus size through sheer determination and diligent round-the-clock eating.

Scattered polite applause.

In yet more thrilling news, Wendell has had his rightful jacket returned to him and wears it proudly as he hogs heat in front of the stove.

Tepid congratulatory murmur. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

K is for Kristmas...

We are having a holiday giveaway and the prize is two bars of soap.

We will send you the soap* if you win. We will put all the correct answers to the question below in a wool hat and pull out a winner and we will send the winner the fantastic prize described above (two bars of soap).

You must answer the question* correctly and we ask you PLEASE TO BE FAIR and DO NOT CHEAT or LOOK THE ANSWER UP ON GOOGLE. You can email your answer or put it in the comments.

Which of the individuals pictured in the graphic below does not belong in the photo? Explain your answer if necessary. Thank you.

*Soap FAQ:
What kind of soap is it? It is plain brown soap made with goat milk. It has a little bit of oatmeal and honey in it. Is it fancy and has a lot of stimulants in it? No, it is plain brown soap. Can I eat it? No, it is soap. What can I do with it? You could wash your hands for a change.

*Question FAQ:
Is it a trick question? You tell me

B is for (Shared) Brain

It hasn't rained properly for two weeks. What can this mean?

In December it either rains every day or it is bitter bitter cold because there is no cloud cover. Never above freezing, day or night, with urgent prayers offered for the pipes, and penances done in exchange for pipe safety. Please accept this small drab ugly misshapen handmade scarf, dear Pipe Lord, in exchange for winter pipe immunity, with many thanks, on bended knee, etc, yours truly, with love, from Herron Hill Dairy, and wear it around your Lordly neck for many years in good health and perpetuity and so on. If it be Thy Will.

But it has not rained at all by our standards, and yet the weather keeps coldish without being frigid. Around 30 at night and around 40 during the day, hardly any pipe danger. What can this mean? Please write if you know, we hope it isn't another sign of the Apocalypse.

Meanwhile the forecasters keep doing their swirly graphics on tv, tap dancing as they explain why this new development - no rain in December - is another sign of La Nina - wetter winter than normal. It's very sad, probably they had the graphics made specially and can't return them now. Oh well.

Anyway for a while we almost thought La Nina might be a good name for the Betsy Family, but so many other good names were proposed that we set it aside.

I really like the Nubleones. But the Nubleones sounds a little too actual, like it might almost be a Powerful Family, not like the Betsy Family.

And the Darlins is a little too dear, because certain members of the Betsy Family really do hunger for power (Tangy), although most of them just hunger for food.

And the Real Housewives of the Key Peninsula, while tempting, doesn't take into account the fact that the Betsy Family hardly ever engages in catfights, and none of them have ever had their teeth whitened, nor had their udders surgically enhanced.

The Borg is nice, we like the singular plural, especially in this case, since it often appears that the Betsy Family shares a brain, and someone left it out in the summer meadow by accident instead of returning it to their Central Intelligence Agency, which the farmer keeps in a little oatmeal can in the tack room, and that's why they are all standing out in the rain crying wetly instead of just walking inside, where it's almost like it isn't raining at all - especially this December - since there is a little thing called a ROOF that seems somehow magically to keep the rain from touching you.

(Offscreen: Awestruck murmur from the Betsy Family: who invented that thing the ROOF? How did they think of it?)

Anyway we are down to two finalists. One is still the Kardashians. The other is the Bigolettos.

The Kardashians has the advantage of being instantly recognizable and of course there is a certain family resemblance, although in my opinion the Betsys are significantly more attractive than the actual Kardashians in almost every way, despite their Nubian roots. Especially Clementine, she is cute as a button.

The Bigolettos has the advantage of starting with B, nothing new for the Betsys to memorize. It also captures their essential Bigness, without being too subtle or freighted with unnecessary cleverness. Cleverness can be so tiresome, don't you think?

Next post: the undergoats.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

KBetsy et al

As you know our farm is ruled by the Soprano family, which is Brandy and the daughters of Brandy, and their daughters and so on, including Wronny, Winnie, Maddy (aka the Sheriff of Crazytown), Jessie, Winnie Jr., Morchella, etc.

But the Betsy family has been hinting that it would like to take over some of the power which will never happen because the Betsy family is part Nubian and if they ever sat down to sign the papers the Betsy family would agree to the $5,000 undercoating and rock-chip prevention, the $2,000 Scotchgarded seats, the document fees, the extended warranty to the year 2525, and all the other fine print that the Sopranos would add in while the Betsy family was focusing on the free popcorn in the manager's office.

So I don't think the Betsy Family can rise to the top, but there is no doubt that they have risen and they definitely seem to think that they should have their own clan name, like the Sopranos.

So I tried to think of a good name and the first thing that sprang to mind of course was the Kardashians, which kind of sums up the Betsy Family.

But the problem with that is that almost all of them would have to change their names, and it took so long to learn the ones they have that it doesn't seem like a good idea.

You know what I mean: Kbetsy, Kbig Orange, Kxie xie, Kbinky, Ktangy, Kpinky.

Kclementine would be ok, I guess.

So please let me know if you can think of a better name for the Betsy Family. Thanks.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Well Wronny is almost five and she has been milking practically her whole life, the farmer sat down and figured out that she has been out of milk for a total of six weeks since she was a yearling, which is not very much and probably a violation of union rules. This is her own fault and she has no one else to blame for it because in spite of the fact that she doesn't really go in for love and kisses she is the type of goat whom anyone can milk, so she was always kept in milk for the cheesemaking classes.

Winnie is also the type of goat anyone can milk, even more so, and she tolerates hugging pretty well, but she has a habit of not settling, which is what she did last year, so she has been off work since last spring.

Well anyway Wronny got dried off as I mentioned and she will have at least five months off since she isn't bred yet. I'm sure she will use the time wisely to boss everyone around and probably develop some kind of Wronny Boot Camp for the feeble-minded and disobedient.

Tangy will be her first camper; Tangy accidentally forgot that she wasn't the Boss of Everything and got a refresher course the other day when she scrambled ahead of Wronny at the hay feeder.

The other milkers are all dried off, too, so there is no milk. Except wait, Cherry didn't want to dry off, she kept on milking so she is on once a day milking only for the purpose of latte milk. Cherry is part Nubian so it always seemed like she might not be a good candidate for student milkers but lately you can't get her off the milkstand and she loves being scratched and petted almost to the point of unseemliness and so I hate to break it to her but she might not get a day off for the next three years.

That's 1095 days if you do the math.

Congratulations, Cherry.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today is Wednesday. It is a day of startling FACTS.

I will use CAPS to draw your attention to these FACTS in case you are feeling sleepy.

The SUN is shining BRIGHTLY in spite of the fact that it is NOVEMBER.  They say that it will not RAIN for at least the NEXT WEEK. I personally do not believe it but I will wait and see what happens.

WRONNY our herdqueen has been DRIED OFF. Wronny is five and she has been milking since she was a yearling with only about six weeks off in all that time.  She does not like being dried off and it has not improved her personality.

I am IN HEAT and I have been denied my CONJUGAL rights and I am going to do something about it. In case you are wondering I feel very EMPHATIC today.

Those are the startling facts. Now for some not so startling facts.




Also today is the LAST DAY in the Mannapro video contest. Our cousins at Minter Bay entered a video starring Farmer Wendy and you should go and see it if you haven't and vote thumbs up for it to help them win the prize.

My cousin Cora Belle is in it, HOGGING SPECIAL FOOD as her whole family is prone to do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Well it is Thanksgiving today and we are counting our blessings.

Our blessings are:

It isn't raining right now because it is saving up for the monsoon that is planned for this afternoon.

Precious Precious Pebbles did not freeze without her jacket because she was able to develop a thick layer of blubber from all the special treats she got.

Brandy is still alive even though she is an old bag and she even started bossing Wronny around again which everyone politely ignored because Wronny is the Boss of Everything and you shouldn't act like she is being bossed around even if you see it with your own eyes.

The hay did not run out yet.

The grain did not run out yet.

Jammies sleeps in the pile next to me and she is like a cast-iron potbelly stove.

Betsy's eye grew back.

That little mini-mancha daughter of Binky's finally went out of heat and stopped screaming.

The helpers came and put the roof back on the buck shed. (The farmer is too fat to go up there.)

I have three new sisters.

Tomorrow is another day.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Go Like the Wind

The Internet travels so fast that you think you know everything right away. But then it turns out you weren't paying attention and something you would like to have known zipped by while you were eating your alfalfa.

A few years ago the farmer went to a special screening in Seattle of the movie Seabiscuit. There were a lot of kids there and an emcee came out and he said before the movie started there was a special guest to introduce and would everyone mind sitting quietly for a moment and then one of the doors to the movie theater opened and a big bay horse walked in from the lobby, as serene as you please with a jockey on top, and matter-of-factly clopped down the long staircase from the back of the theater and went right up to the podium in front of the movie screen.

As calm as you please, not batting an eye when the auditorium erupted in applause despite the announcer's suggestion about sitting quietly.

The horse was Chinook Pass, the only Washington-bred Eclipse Award winner, and the one-time fastest horse in the world.

I suppose being the fastest horse in the world is not a bad trick, but there was something about this horse that was more interesting than that, something you wouldn't very much expect from the fastest horse in the world, and that was the way he radiated peace. Marty used to do that. And I have seen Jammies do it once or twice.

Perhaps it was because his best friend was a goat.

Anyway, we just found out that Chinook Pass died last year at the age of 31, and we were very sorry to hear it.

We send our condolences to Ellie.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Adagio for Strings

Part 1. Goat Spring turns to Goat Winter.

Sometimes it seems very hard to get ahead in the world. You work and you work. And what happens. Nothing.

All summer I was eating blackberry bushes through the fence. Now the horses are in our summer pasture and the blackberries are just growing back. The horses are too high and mighty to eat blackberry bushes, all they will eat is apples and grass.

At first I was disgruntled about this but then I realized it is actually good. There will just be more blackberries when we go back in the front pasture.

We tried to put on a nice revolution and what happened. Nothing. The farmer fixed the fence and the Goat Spring is over. At first this seemed unfair but then I realized it keeps the milkers from hogging our meager supply of food. Sometimes the 'revolution' favors the fat. A fence can be better than a revolution.

I made a plan to become Top Milker some day and then I realized that I am not going to get any bigger and Wronny is about three times my size and I don't think anyone as small as me with no sisters has ever been Top Milker so it's probably impossible. But I did make some sisters, and maybe we can all pool our milk to become Top Milker together.

If not, we will just go around saying we are Top Milker, like Betsy does. Sometimes saying it makes it so. And after all, Top Milker is a state of mind.

Part 2. My brush with immortality, starring Abby.

A lady came over who was an artist and explained she wanted to do goat paintings.

The farmer did not know quite what to say so settled for "I see."

The lady suggested starting with a picture of a little goat and she pointed to me. "This one would be perfect."

"That's Millie," said the farmer.

"I could start with Millie," the lady said, then lapsed into a long story about herself and how she had become an artist because of her keen powers of observation and her sensitivity.

"I see," said the farmer.

The lady wanted to know if Millie (that's me) would be a good goat for a painting. She would take a picture first and then do the painting from the picture.

"Millie would be fine for that," said the farmer, mysteriously not mentioning Pebbles at all in spite of Pebbles' extreme talent for being photographed.

Then the lady explained to the farmer that she was going to observe me with her keen powers of observation before taking the picture so that she would be able to capture me perfectly. "Her inner essence."

"Okay," said the farmer. The lady studied me for several minutes with pursed eyes then she went to her car to get her camera and she came back and she spent quite a while using her keen powers of observation as she followed Abby around and then captured her perfectly on the camera.

"Thank you," said the lady as she was leaving. "And thank you, Millie!" she said, waving to Abby.

If you see a painting somewhere of a little goat that looks like it is from Oregon and it is simpering at the camera and the picture is called "Millie's Inner Essence" or something like that, I just wanted you to know that I do not simper and it isn't me.

Part 3. The Family Tree.

Some people came in late and they are confused about who I am.

I am Herron Hill's Million Belles, known as Baby Belle Jr. People call me Millie.

I am not the original Baby Belle. My grandmother Baby Belle was the original Baby Belle. Don't worry, we are doing an infographic about it.

Being Baby Belle is like being the Queen, or the Dalai Lama, or Punxsutawney Phil. You cannot choose it. It chooses you.


Everybody's Learning How

This is why I would never move to California.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Oh Well

The fence was fixed in the usual higgledy piggledy fashion and the rebellion quashed and the Goat Spring is over. I guess they were right, you can't fight City Hall.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Occupy the KP

Okay we started our own Occupy movement and right now we are occupying the middle pasture where the milkers and the upper 1% (BP et al) get grain and alfalfa. Unlike us, we only get grass hay and a smattering of grain and none of us have jackets or parkas not that we want them they look ridiculous.

But anyway we are occupying. That's mostly because the fence is broken and several other things broke after the fence broke and the other things are on a priority track while the fence is languishing in its broken state. Meaning that anyone who could jump over a caterpillar can jump over the fence.

Even Betsy got out and she is the most Nubian of all our remaining Nubian crosses. Right now she is occupying a little patch of land in front of the buck pen, walking back and forth and yelling out her demands in a very unambiguous manner.

We are putting together a list of other demands besides Betsy's and we will present them to someone if anyone ever shows up. If no one shows up we will present them to Wendell.

Let us know if you would like to join our  movement I have a feeling it will go viral. Or maybe I am just coming down with something. Anyway it is the only Occupy movement on the Key Peninsula so you will probably be hearing about it on the news. Or maybe not.

Power to the 99%!!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

No Parkaing

Pebbles has grown too fat for her stolen parka, and today it was returned to Wendell. I had not wanted to mention anything, but when she wore it yesterday for the last time it looked like a bikini top on a harbor seal.

You cannot imagine the sadness we all feel when we see the Bitter Pill braving our Arctic temperatures (51F today) clad only in a fur coat and a layer of ill-gotten hand-fed blubber.

Friday, October 28, 2011

At Your Service

Well this time of year usually the does are not allowed in the pasture outside the buck pen and there is a good reason for it as you will see in this video but anyway there are some fence repairs going on so there have been some exceptions made to the rule and it is really taking a lot out of the bucks since their motto is that they are at your service any time of the day or night no appointment needed and no questions asked.

By the way that is Rosie trying to break into the buck pen and we are all very embarrassed for her. Or we would be, in a perfect world.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My New Sisters

How the Sopranos came to rule the farm is that first of all they have leadership qualities. The primary leadership quality that a leader has is that a leader leads. You cannot lead from the back. You must lead from the front. Make a note of this if you are thinking of pursuing a career in leadership.

The second thing a leader has is followers.

So if you think you are a leader because you are headed out in front and you look behind and no one is following you, bad news, you are not a leader. It's nice that you are out in front, but possibly you are going in the wrong direction. If no one is following you you are not a leader.

Don't worry you may have other nice qualities. Perhaps you are good at sleeping on a cushion, like Wendell. Not everybody can sleep on a cushion for hours at a time.

It is also helpful if you are thinking of becoming a leader to have a big family, especially a lot of sisters and daughters who go around repeating your opinions and turning them into fact and ratifying your decisions and implementing all your fiats and decrees.

When Brandy heads out into the pasture for the first time every spring, Wronny and Winnie say, "oh, good idea, I was just going to suggest that, let's go."

And off they go in a column and you would be foolish not to follow them.

Anyway I don't know if I want to be the leader of anything but I might and it occurred to me that I do not have any sisters since I only have one brother. My BFFN Abby has a sister but her sister went to a new home so really she has no sisters either.

So I decided to promote Abby and she is my sister now. And we decided to make Jammies our sister too since Jammies' sister left also. But Jammies wanted Bumbles to be one of our sisters and I told her, "Jammies, Bumbles is your daughter so she can't be your sister."

"Why not," intoned Jammies, giving us sad-eyed looks. "Pinky is Tangy's sister and she is her daughter too."

"Yes but that was an accident," explained Abby.

"Accidents happen, don't they?" asked Jammies.

This was a stumper and we had no answer for it, so like good leaders we changed our position in light of the new circumstances and now Jammies, Bumbles, Abby and I are all sisters.

If you think you can take us on then just go ahead and try.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Any Fries With That?

Me, Millie, (R) and the BP's sister Sandy (L)
This is a picture of me with the Bitter Pill's sister Sandy. We have been having beautiful weather which is very unusual for this time of year. Or any time of year, really. As you can see the sky is perfectly blue.

Anyway it was a busy weekend because everyone came in heat including me which as you may know is very taxing and puts a lot of downward pressure on your IQ. You can feel yourself getting dumber and not understanding clever jokes or how to unlock a stall door or why you are supposed to stay out of Wronny's way and so on. For me it is ok because of my extraordinary intelligence. Even with a few points off I can still function like a normal goat.

But Binky for example came into heat and was no longer able to identify the barn and before much longer she was no longer able to identify the grain bucket which is pretty much the point of no return. She just stood in the pasture bawling and looking at Junior and startling herself whenever she would catch sight of her tail if she turned her head. As a test the farmer put a full bucket of grain right next to her and she could not identify it. So very sad.

My daughter Izzy came in heat and was whisked off to the drive-through buck service to meet the Tiny Giant. After she got back she would not talk about anything else, how wonderful the Tiny Giant was and how manly and so on.

"Uh huh," said all the does who weren't in heat.

When you are not in heat you cannot imagine a duller topic than bucks. Really, tell me some more about your smelly little friend.

"He looks like a giant," gushed Izzy, "only much smaller."

"No kidding," said the unheated does, elbowing and mashing their way around the hay feeder.

"He has such a charming blubber, I can't really describe it,"

"Then don't," suggested Lucy, hogging as much alfalfa as she could.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pony Burgles Orchard, Film at Eleven

Our fears have been realized. Willen hannahbelled his way into the orchard. There he was apprehended picking pears off the tree and scarfing pear brandy off the ground. We only hope he was captured in time to prevent any AFW (inebriated Austrian Folk Whinnying.)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Widespread Fear

The pears all fell off the trees at once. This caused a massive pear surplus and many of the pears are still on the ground turning into pear liquor and there is widespread fear that Willen the fat Haflinger will somehow get to them all and scarf them down and get himself into a drunken state which could lead to a lot of Austrian folk whinnying and alarming antics which we do not have time for.

Pebbles' sister Sandy was captured and put on Friendlies. She escaped. The farmer tried to put Pinky on unFriendlies, because you can hardly take a step without her glued to your hipbone. It was hopeless. Everything you do just makes her friendlier.

The farmer has discovered that the Big Orange family gets friendlier and friendlier with each passing generation. There is widespread fear of what will happen when Pinky has a daughter. As it is right now Pinky sometimes cannot stand as close to you as she wants so she stands ON you and she weighs several hundred pounds and this type of friendliness can cause serious injury especially if you have little sausage toes instead of nice hooves like nature intended.

The Bitter Pill has stolen Wendell's other jacket, the red one with the racing stripes, so she can have a second jacket on while the first one is in the washing machine, since her attire at all times must be immaculate and not mottled with sneezery and alfalfa chaff. That's not how the Bitter Pill rolls.

"You don't mind do you Wendell," said the farmer in a flat tone that was not even a question while Wendell goggled his eyes hopelessly.

I decided to bury the hatchet with Abby, she is my new BFFN. People think we are twins anyway so it just saves time.

The weathercasters do not have enough to do and they keep talking about la Nina, which is a ridiculous thing they made up to fill the air time between commercials, and they are saying that this year will be wetter and colder than usual, which it always is anyway, because of la Nina. They have a lot of charts and they look very pleased as they wave vaguely to the arrows swirling all around the globe in their la Nina simulations. Sometimes it seems it would save a lot of time of they just said "la Nina, back to you."

In other news there was widespread fear for the safety of the autumn mushrooms after such a strange summer but not to worry the first chanterelles of the season have appeared. We cannot tell you where they are. But look around and you will find them.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Vote for Pebbles

Pebbles is not really running for anything but she would like you to vote for her anyway. Vote for Pebbles.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Autobiography of a Farm Dog

Just ten more minutes, please
Wendell has been considering writing a book on how to be a farm dog since he thinks he is so good at it. Chapter One would be titled, "Do Not Forget to Set Your Alarm," since Wendell sleeps on a cushion 8 hours a day and on a feather pillow about 15 more hours a day and that doesn't leave very much time for farming. He doesn't like to miss milking, though, because that is when the milk is served.

It might be more of a booklet than a book, actually. Or maybe a free Kindle download.

In other news I have begun to become concerned about Pebbles. She has forgotten how to eat out of a dish. She can only eat when someone is cooing to her and feeding her by hand and complimenting her on her beautiful broken buckskin coat.

It's so sad, there is no way she will be able to survive in the wild.

Good luck when the monsoon hits this winter, Pebbles, I hope FEMA sends some trained cooers.

Don't worry about me, I will be fine, I could live for three weeks on one green bean and it would be an improvement over what I am getting now.  And I also float like a can of beer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Bitter Pill

Pebbles, Pebbles, Pebbles. I am sick of hearing that name.

I got put in the fat girl pasture I don't know why and I was scratching to survive on grass hay.

I made a hole in the fence so I could at least get near the barn to at least smell the alfalfa and grain and then I got put on punishment since we have another horse trailer now.

Terra Belle went through the hole with me and she did not get put on punishment.

So did Izzy and Iota. Did they get put on punishment? No, the farmer couldn't catch them.

Is this how justice is served? Only to the slow? What kind of justice is that?

Slow justice is no justice! No justice, no peace!

Maddy the Sheriff of Crazytown got put on punishment with me but it is no punishment at all because she is a claustrophile and she likes the horse trailer. She would be perfectly happy inside a washing machine, as long as it was a front loader and she could see out. But to me it is double punishment because solitary confinement is bad enough but solitary confinement with Maddy is a bitter pill! And in case you didn't know it nobody likes a bitter pill!

Meanwhile outside the trailer I hear the visitors cooing over Pebbles, that she is even prettier than her picture, she is the prettiest goat they have ever seen, and offering her peanut butter crackers and maple leaves.

Pebbles is a bitter pill, and that is what I am going to call her from now on!

The Bitter Pill, with her stolen parka and her peanut butter crackers!

I hope you are happy, Miss Junior Champion Bitter Pill and Parka Thief! That is what I hope!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Acorn, aka Cornball, guards the alfalfa as Bumbles looks on in dismay.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Winter Wear

The Weather Goat

Up in the mountains of Southern Oregon the Old Wives are saying it is going to be a long, dry, warm fall. This is something to do with the orange belly bands on the woolly caterpillars, and the coats on the horses. But we don't live in Southern Oregon. And we don't go by the Old Wives.

We go by Jammies, and Jammies right now has the undercoat of a Great Pyrenees living on the Glacier of the Pico de Aneto so we are telling you if you didn't do it already, get your extra hay in right away because the cold weather is coming and fast.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Not Any More

Everyone got home from the Fair and immediately got the sniffles as usual. Then of course it started to rain. Terra Belle's nose was running and so was Blue Jaye's. Clementine had an upset stomach and went on baking soda. Abby gave a few feeble coughs, trying to get more food.

"You're fine," the farmer said crisply.

Rosie sneezed into the hay feeder.

"Turn your head!" yelled the farmer.

Then Pebbles gave a tiny sniff, possibly not even a sniff. She may have been clearing alfalfa stems from her throat. She was whisked into the house immediately to get warmed up. While she was in there she ate hand-picked blackberry leaves and Kashi Go-Lean, along with a few bites of warm oatmeal with brown sugar.

When she came out she was wearing a two-tone waterproof parka with a hood and fur (faux, of course) fringing. Wendell did one of his goggle-eyed doubletakes when he saw her. His body language said, "isn't that my jacket?"

"Not any more," said Abby.

"That's right," said Pebbles.

Friday, September 16, 2011

That's Right

The Nigerian show was about to start and all the Nigerians were called out to the show ring.

Oh, wait a minute, we better go back a couple of days. The farmer had an excellent helper named Seth. He helped get everybody ready for the Fair and load everybody and unload everybody and set everything up and did practice walking with Clementine because he was going to show her in the recorded grade show. Then since that was done he passed the time going on the Extreme Scream, the roller coaster, that big sickening slingshot looking thing, and many more rides including the Giant Slide, which he got kicked off for catching too much air. 

And then right before the Nigerian show he got sick and couldn't come back to the Fair. So even though the plan had been to walk to the show ring with imperious elegance like the Lucky Star LaManchas at the last minute there was a change and it was decided that everybody would be dragged out kicking and screaming, which lent an air of festive jollity to the proceedings. Then everybody got shoved into a new set of pens at the side of the show ring, while the Farmer scrabbled around with imperious elegance looking for the shiny show collars to replace the grubby dollar store dog collars everyone was wearing. 

The farmer from Minter Bay finally took pity and loaned out some nice show collars because otherwise it seemed hopeless.

Pebbles was the first to go out since the youngest always go first. 

"Remember to come in third," said Abby. "If they put you up too far just roach your back like Terra Belle is doing or hunch up into an S-shape like Blue Jaye." Blue Jaye looked like a somber hopeless centipede inching up a twig.

"That's right," said Pebbles. Unfortunately Pebbles had been enjoying two days at the Fair, and she had been held up in the aisle many times as an example of a cute baby goat and she had already learned to pose for pictures, turning her head graciously from side to side to allow profile shots from every angle.

Anyway she went out in the ring and everything went fine for a while. The judge started a lineup and she had Pebbles in third.

"Good job," yelled Abby.

"Let's see them walk now," said the judge, and the line of doelings started walking around the ring, and unfortunately there was a lady on the other side of the ring with a camera and Pebbles automatically starting preening and posing and the judge immediately moved her up into first place. 

"Hunch up!" yelled Abby. "Before it's too late!"

Pebbles hunched but unfortunately the judge didn't see it. She came in first. Then they did the other classes, and Blue Jaye came in third, and Terra Belle managed to come in fifth, and a very pretty senior kid won the senior kid class and a beautiful Poppy Patch dry yearling won that class, and then the judge called for the first and second place winners to come back out to choose the grand champion and the reserve grand champion.

"Don't worry," said Abby, "the dry yearling always wins. But hop on your back legs a few times just in case."

Pebbles went out and hopped on her back legs like a kangaroo but then wouldn't you know it she saw three people with cameras and she couldn't help herself she struck a pose and held perfectly still, adopting an expression of imperious elegance. Right away the judge said, "well there is a doeling here who really catches my eye and that is our junior kid and she will be my grand champion today." and there was a burst of applause and Pebbles shrugged with imperious elegance.

"That's right," she said.

No one had really expected this to happen except maybe Seth, who said on the first day as he was looking at Pebbles in her fair pen, "Look at her. How could she not win?"

Go For the Bronze

The farmer got back from the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup last night. Six unlucky goats were chosen to go to the Fair.

Acorn was going to go, and Clementine, and Pebbles and Abby and Blue Jaye and Terra Belle. Well at the last minute Acorn's papers didn't come and someone else had to subsitute and the farmer looked around wild-eyed and realized there was only one goat the same breed and age as Acorn, and that was Maple Hollow - we call her Rosie - who is smart as a whip, wild as a March hare, and fast as a jackrabbit.

"They can't take Rosie," I was thinking. "She is wild as a March hare and fast as a jackrabbit."

"Put Rosie in the truck," the farmer said grimly, and off went the six goats, all looking horrified except Abby and Pebbles, who were born here and lived here their whole lives but still come from Oregon which gives them eccentric ideas.

Abby and Pebbles looked oddly pleased. Abby stood on the wheel well and peered out the window of the truck canopy, chewing her cud.

"Oh good," she told the others, "we are finally going somewhere."

"That's right," said Pebbles.

Clementine closed her eyes in order to make herself disappear. She is part Nubian.

At the Fair they got shoved into a pen next to some of our Nigerian cousins from Minter Bay and across the aisle from the magnificent LaManchas from Lucky Star, who each milk about 10,000 pounds of milk a day.

"So what," said Abby, "I could milk that much if I felt like it." She snubbed the LaManchas and made a beeline to the free alfalfa provided by the Fair.

"That's right," said Pebbles, joining her mother at the hay feeder.

Clementine saw what was going on and temporarily made herself visible again so that she could also begin gorging on alfalfa. Rosie peered all around the barn running the odds. If she jumped out of the pen and cut through the food pavilion she figured that she could make it out onto Meridian then head for River Road, turn south and canter along the banks of the river to Tacoma, hang a right and take the side streets over to the Narrows Bridge, cross over the Sound in the bike lane, camp out for the night in the delicious blackberry bushes by the driving range near the freeway in Gig Harbor, then make it back to the farm by Wednesday afternoon.

But then she realized she didn't have enough money for the bridge toll.*

So she shut off her brain and turned herself into a statue. Blue Jaye did the same thing. Terra Belle, drawn by a strange but powerful magnet, headed for the alfalfa, muttering to herself as she ate rhythmically: "this can't be happening, this can't be happening."

The next day the shows started and the magnificent LaManchas came back with reams and reams of ribbons and rosettes. Even Abby was awed to silence when the immense, gleaming, impeccably groomed Lucky Star's LOT Xhibit, the top milker in the country, walked by nonchalantly carrying 20,000 gallons of milk.

"Listen Pebbles," said Abby, eyeing the Lucky Star ribbons. "When we have our show be sure to come in third. First and second have to come back out for the championship round. Come in third and you are done for the day. I don't think we will be able to do any worse than third, though, since we are so beautiful. And we come from Oregon, where the goats look a lot better."

"That's right," said Pebbles.

...Stay tuned for Part Two.

*she didn't know that the toll is only collected eastbound

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Repairman

We have a LaMancha buck named Xcellanti. Nobody would know how to pronounce that name even if we ever said it. But it doesn't matter because he is called Junior.

Junior loves his work and he is very handsome.

Junior never says anything but if he did it would be, "I can fix that."

Some of the does here are not beauty queens. A lot of them, actually. They have things like droopy udders and bad feet and they're too small and they don't milk enough. And so on.

It doesn't matter what's wrong. Junior can fix it. 

Every year the farmer takes Big Orange to see Junior and says, "Junior, I do not have time to explain everything that is wrong with this doe. Just fix it."

Junior says nothing. He just starts right in fixing.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Disaster Looms

It has gotten very boring here with relentless good weather and no mishaps to speak of since the well. There is plenty to eat and the apples are falling off the trees. The tractor is running fine and the barn is stacked to the rafters with hay. A boatload of carrots came in.

The living is easy, very easy, a monkey could do it.

 This can only mean one thing: catastrophe approaching, from the East probably, on little cat's feet.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fair Warning

Good news, my enemy Abby's twin won the Kitsap County Fair. This means Abby will go to the state fair instead of me. Pinky is going to the fair as well. Terra is the prettiest dry yearling but since she got her hair shaved she has been walking around in a state of clenchment, with her legs shut tight together and her back roached and overall she looks like a poster for bad posture or possibly even rickets.

So Iota will go instead, unless she clenches after her fair haircut. She's not much of a clencher though, the Betty daughters are almost as relaxed as the Pinky family, so I think she will get stuffed in the trailer with the rest of the 'volunteers'.

Pinky of course doesn't care about anything, she could be sent to substitute teach at the state prison tomorrow and she wouldn't care, as long as there was enough alfalfa there. She's like the honey badger.

Blue is looking SO pretty (as the farmer repeats ad nauseam) but she has done the same magic trick as Betty and Hannah Belle and somehow shut her milk off as soon as she got her fair haircut. She only dribbles out enough to keep the farmer trying to milk her up, it's very cunning the way she does it, I made a mental note of it for future reference. She still gets full service dinners on the milkstand twice a day, but every time the farmer threatens her - "you will not be going to the fair if you do not get your milk back up."

Blue looks around in fake dismay, oh dear, say it isn't so, it can't be true, and keeps gobbling.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The things that happen are strange. But the things that don't happen are even stranger.

Jammies was supposed to have her kids in the spring. But she wasn't bred so she didn't have any kids. She was just fat.

Blue's daughter Lainey went to Minter Bay to live and she didn't fit in there. She is a born misfit. First of all she is about the cutest thing you have ever seen, she looks like a blue-eyed hood ornament, but she is a midget and she is polite and shy and that always puts her at the end of the line where there is never any food and certainly no friends. She has never had an underling. You cannot get anywhere in the herd without at least one underling.

So the farmer thought, uh oh, if she can't hold her own at Minter Bay where the goats have such lovely manners what is she going to do here on the Island with Lord of the Flies goats like Tangy. So the farmer thought it could be a world class disaster, but after all this is her home, and so the farmer went and got Lainey and brought her back, worrying all the while what might happen to such a little goat in such a big world.

And Lainey did catch Hell for several weeks, even from her own mother who wanted nothing to do with her since she had new kids. But Lainey was used to that. And she went with the flow. She started following me around and admiring me, so I could see at the least that she had good taste, so I let her sleep with me sometimes.

And then Blue looked at her one day and said oh wait a second I remember you. And Blue stopped t-boning her.

And Wronny our herd queen has funny ideas and like any good ruler she doesn't just concern herself with the predicaments of the high and mighty, but also intervenes in the squabbles of the low and inconsequential. For example she stopped everyone from picking on Moldy and Abby, who knows why. She won't even let me enjoy a nice fight with Abby, as you know.

And when Tangy backed up one day in preparation for steamrolling Lainey whom she most likely never would have caught up with anyway, Wronny brought the hammer down and rolled Tangy down the hill, literally, in a cloud of dust. Tangy got up shaking her head, and everyone turned away politely, chewing their respective cuds, and made a mental note to leave Lainey alone.

And before you know it, we looked out one day and saw Lainey head-butting her little half-sister Blue Jay, who got her name because she is a terrible pest. It almost looked like she might have an underling.

So don't listen to what they say. You can go home again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pumped Up

Yesterday there was a big celebration because the well pump went out and the whole thing had to be pulled out of the ground and the pump and all the piping and the check valves and the bleedbacks and every other gold-plated thing on it had to be replaced and it cost the farmer an arm and a leg.

We were all dancing in the streets because just two days before that our ship had come in and it was loaded with alfalfa from Eastern Washington and we all knew good and well that if our ship had come in three days later it would have been cancelled and that money would have gone down the well. But you can't return hay so it is here to stay.

And we were dancing in the streets but trying to be polite about it because there was a somber air about the farm as Welly the well pump was fished up from 175 feet under and laid to rest. Goodbye Welly and thank you for holding on an extra day, and I'm sure the farmer did not mean any of the curses that were raining down on your head or perhaps meant them in a friendly way the same as when Hannah Belle got stuck in the panel gate (the second time, not the first.)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Buttinskys

The public is very cynical and several members have inquired whether I 'thought' I really won my fight with Abby the duck-footed Oregonian. I tihnk it is pretty apparent who won the fight even though only a few excerpts of it have been shown since it was a three-hour battle that I won. Or in any case I would have won if Wronny the self-proclaimed herdqueen hadn't made me stop fighting for no apparent reason except I guess she was probably afraid that the little duckfoot would be injured as you can see in this video. Wronny and her henchgoat Pinky think they are a big slice of pie and they go around telling other people what to do. What kind of fight is it when a big 175 pound bossy-boots has to come in and help you and go two against one and then three against one when her nitwit henchgoat lumbers onto the scene. So as far as who won the so-called fight which was really a stroll in the park from my point of view I think anyone would say the one who won was the one who did not need help from the henchgoats and herdqueens of the world. Thank you.

Also ps don't worry Wronny can't read. As far as Pinky she can barely walk and chew cud at the same time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today and Every Day

It was a year ago today we lost our great friend Atticus. A lady stopped by a little while ago and asked if the farmer still thinks about Atticus sometimes.

"Yes," the farmer said. That was all.

Every day.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


It got hot everywhere else this summer but it never really got hot here. I don't mind the heat but it's just as well because the heat wilts our farmer really quickly. Our farmer starts spritzing and misting and calling for otter pops at about 76 degrees Fahrenheit. So you could imagine what the service was like around here a couple of years ago when the temperature got over 100.

Anyway the point is it never really got hot here this summer and that's part of the reason some of the milkers have started going into pre-heat. They don't really go into heat, but they go into pre-heat, and then they go around and start fights with each other. Or when they don't start fights through a lack of gumption or sheer shiftlessness in the case of Pinky who can't be bothered to start her own squabbles they join in the fights that are already started by the more ambitious.

On a side note Cherry went actually into heat and then realized it was too soon to be in heat but by that time she had jumped into the buck pen where three smelly swains immediately began vying for her favor. Luckily she was able to excuse herself unnoticed as the vying reached a crescendo. As she tiptoed back to the barn, they all continued vying without her. Why not, they had already started.

Anyway this morning I started thinking about some annoying things that have been happening lately. The main one is when people come over and say, "Oh my Gosh! Look at Millie! She is all grown up now! She is adorable!"

That's fine but they are looking at Abby when they say it.

"That's Abby," the farmer explains, "Millie is over there."

"She's cute too!" they say.

The more I thought about this the more infuriating it seemed.

So I went over to Abby and started a fight. The fight lasted for three hours. Even when Wronny wanted me to stop I kept fighting. Even when Jammies the pacifist tried to come between us, we kept fighting. Even when Wendell the Pest circled us yipping like a French ninny we kept fighting.

It was a good one. We both enjoyed it. We were preheated.

(Video from fight coming soon....)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Three Flies and a Velvet Glove

It took only seven years but finally it happened, like the return of the locusts. Hannah Belle as you may remember has never been properly milked out because she is exceedingly shrewd. But she has two flies in her ointment. One is she is a terrible pig and loves any kind of food. Two she loves scratches and petting. Also she is quite vain. I guess that makes three flies.

The farmer switched from iron hand which hadn't worked for seven years to velvet glove. Hannah Belle would not get any grain except on the milkstand. The farmer made sure she was good and hungry before she went on the milkstand. No more all-day snacking, just grass hay between meals.

When she got on the milkstand the farmer would begin praising her to the skies. Such a beautiful goat and so intelligent. Such lovely children and grandchildren. Such a pretty face and a long neck and my goodness, the topline, the chine, the hips, the pins, the thurls. Was there ever a more magnificent goat? And by the way, that time she got out of the locked horse trailer - how did she do that? Did she call someone to come and let her out?

More snacks? How about a pretzel with PEANUT BUTTER inside it? From Trader Joe's, not from the convenience store. The farmer showed Hannah Belle the label.

Then the petting and scratching. On the chest. That itchy spot behind the shoulder. More food.

And then the farmer would start milking very casually, still complimenting Hannah Belle and admiring her every little action and movement - the most transparent fawning, really - and stopping frequently so that it hardly seemed the milking had even really begun and before you know it, only seven years later, Hannah Belle was milked ALL THE WAY OUT and there were no hard feelings.

In the end, even Achilles had heels.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Hi Mom

Hannah Belle's kids Charlie and Little Belle went to a new home. We just got this postcard from them. It's always nice when kids write.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Still Undefeated

The farmer set up the milkstand in the middle of the barn aisle for purposes of milking Hannah Belle ALL THE WAY OUT.

Onlookers looked on.

Hannah Belle jumped right on the stand and began eating as fast as she could.

"That's nice," said the farmer. "How nice."

The farmer started milking at top speed.

Things went very well for two minutes, then Hannah Belle began performing milk evading maneuvers which drew oohs and ahs of appreciation from the spectators. Not since Scouty's udder was bitten by a spider have we seen this type of Cirque du Soleil performance.

I was frankly expecting a better showing but in fairly short order the farmer looked into the bucket dreamily, where there was two minutes worth of beautiful Nigerian milk, and said, "this will be enough for several lattes."

And that was that.

7 to 0.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Smackdown Scheduled

Everyone here is very excited. Hannah Belle's kids went home yesterday. That's too bad, but they got a nice home so it isn't sad. Hannah Belle isn't bothered.

But she is carrying around about a gallon of delicious Nigerian milk.

Which means that this morning the farmer announced, "Look at you, Hannah Belle, you will get pretty tired carrying that big bag of milk around. I will milk you out this evening."

The farmer says this every year.

"I mean ALL the way out," the farmer clarifies, for the edification of the po-faced onlookers.

"Oh really," says Hannah Belle, t-boning a mini-mancha out of her way at the feeder.

Hannah Belle is seven years old. So the farmer has said this six times. The score is Hannah Belle 6, Farmer 0.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Betty's Dilemma

Well I shut off my milk because I was afraid my chandelier might start looking too good and I did NOT want to go to the fair. I just shut it off like a faucet.

Betty's kids went to their new homes and Betty made the mistake of filling up with milk which made her udder look really beautiful.

The farmer started milking her which Betty didn't like at first. But Betty is naturally agreeable and after a couple of days she could see the upside - free lunch twice a day, followed by a licorice whip - so she quit fussing because that wasted valuable time when she could have had her head in the dish stuffing herself.

I told her Betty, I said, you better watch yourself or you will wind up at Puyallup in September. You will be in a tiny little pen and people will be staring at you like before and they will ask, "how old is this little lamb?"

"Is this one of those alpacas?" they will say.

"Can I pet it?" they will ask, looming over you like dirigibles and reeking of hot dogs and sunscreen.

"Would you mind selling me this goat?" they will inquire. "I live in an apartment but I take long walks every day."

"Why is it standing in the back of the pen," they will complain, "my little boy wants to pull its ears."

Mmm, said Betty.

Betty! I said.

Mmm, said Betty. I could see she was thinking about my helpful comments.

But I could see also that she was thinking about the beautiful stacks of free alfalfa at the Fair. The beautiful dairy alfalfa. No stems in it. Just beautiful leaves from the Columbia Basin. And also the scone crumbs in the morning before the public comes, the sleepy mornings in the barn with goats from all over to look at. And the orchard grass on the side. And the beautiful alfalfa, piled up as far as the eye can see, better than the best wedding cake in the world.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bloody Murder

Well today some people came and got Duchess, Betty's daughter. She is going to live in the north of France. Or maybe Granite Falls? Someplace like that. Anyway Duchess didn't seem to mind much because they had alfalfa in their car and she couldn't cry while she was eating so the mother and child separation was a little muted to say the least.

Bye mom, luv ya, I'll email you some alfalfa from France if I don't forget. Or Granite Falls?

But there was nothing muted with Percy, he got stuck one pasture over from his mother and screamed bloody murder after going seventeen minutes without milk. Meanwhile Jimmy was swelling up like a beach ball with the milk Percy had not drunk and pretty soon she was crying bloody murder too. Then with all the bloody murder Lucy realized her son Baxter had gone off accidentally with Percy, just following the wrong trenchcoat in the crowd, not through any intention of malfeasance. And so she started in with the bloody murder and when Baxter heard his mother screaming bloody murder one pasture away he took a good long look around him and said, 'wait a minute, these people aren't my mother," and he started in crying bloody murder.

That's what kind of day it was which the farmer knew would happen this morning after listening to the weather lady on the newscast say that today there would be "the threat of partial clearing."

That is the kind of summer we are having. A summer where a weather lady can say with a straight face, "This afternoon there is a threat of partial clearing."

Don't worry, the threat did not materialize. Just the rain. And the bloody murder.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The Tiny Giant enjoys a cold frosty one at the F.O.G.

photo by Mark Virtue.

Monday, July 11, 2011

F.O.G. (Field of Goats)

The Field of Goats day was a success mostly because I didn't have to go. Tangy went and also Hannah Belle's kids Charlie and Belle. From the other farms Filbert also went, and so did Prancer the Dancer from Blackberry Hollow. Also Pepper and Buttons and the Tiny Giant, the world's largest Nigerian bottle baby, he looks like Yao Ming with wattles.

I think there was one more but really who cares. The important thing is I didn't go.

Apparently there was a pile of rocks there to climb and there was some packgoating and also feeding of the bottle baby. It seems like everyone probably had a certain amount of fun, except Charlie and Belle who spent the whole time thinking about the milk they weren't drinking, since their mother didn't come with them and they don't care for drinking from bottles.
photo by Wendy Webster

Meanwhile back at the farm we got switched pastures which we don't like so there was a rebellion with Blue's delinquent daughters refusing to stay in the new pasture. For once the usually obedient Duke and Duchess joined the rebellion and by that time I decided to join too since there was nothing else to do.

Then Betty joined and so did Joy and so I resigned from the rebellion because it was old news and also I saw there were blackberries in the new pasture.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Hay

It is the annual week of The Hay and I would personally like to take a moment to thank The Hay for its service to caprinity.

Dear Hay: Thank You.

Dear Hay: Please try to stay out of the feeders close to Betsy or you will find yourself immediately engulfed in a vast dark burbling cavern from which only berries and noxious gasses (please, Betsy, we are trying to breathe) escape.

As far as the disobedience parts 2-613 previously promised, the size of the list has grown unmanageable and cannot be attempted at this time owing to The Hay and other more pressing matters but yes there has been additional malfeasance some of it mind-boggling.

But there have also been strange obediences including an alarming pattern of cooperation by Tangy who now fancies herself a professional goat. Yesterday she allowed herself to be dressed up in a pack and new collar in preparation for this weekend's first-ever Field of Goats, a small humble event taking place at the Longbranch Improvement Club where she will parade around demonstrating Goats of Little Brain in Action.

Tangy only complained when she was asked to stop packgoating around and go back in with the general population. She did not swordfish walk or pancake herself on the ground or even so much as try to t-bone Wendell who was yipping around foolishly as usual.

"What a good girl you are, Tangy," said the farmer, "see, if you just practice a little you will see it is fun."

Sure. That's fun, carrying other people's stuff around on a hot day.

Hannah Belle thinks Tangy is saving up for one colossal disobedience, a public-swordfish-pancaking for the record books.

The suspense is killing us.

Friday, July 01, 2011


Disobedience has been running rampant here. Betty and a gang of hoodlum kids made a hole under the side fence in the front pasture and let themselves into the garden where they did not do anything productive. The participants have been issued demerits, and some of them are getting close to their limit. Oh actually one of them was me.

Big Orange and Hannah Belle got turned out in the back pasture to stretch their legs with their babies. They jumped the fence and left their screaming babies behind and started a rumble in the lower pasture that ranged up and down the hill for over an hour.

Everyone in the lower pasture has been issued demerits whether or not they actually participated because the farmer could tell that the ones who weren't participating were just waiting their turn and probably lazy on top of disobedient. Big Orange has been banned from the back pasture.

Willen the fat Haflinger broke the latch on the gate. Then he broke a fence rail.

Pinky kicked over a bucket of milk.

"That's the last straw!" The farmer yelled. But this was premature; there were additional straws to come.

....stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Welcome to Oregon

Well this weekend nobody told me but somebody came and got my two little daughters Pretty Baby and Calypso. Everyone was being very nice to me for a change and I got a few special treats and even Betty asked me how I was feeling and I said "fine," and Moldy came up to me and said "do you miss your little daughter?"

And I said "why should I?" because I could see Izzy through the fence in the down below pasture where she was snuggling with my mother Belle Pepper.

"She's standing right there," I said, and then all of a sudden I put two and two together and realized why my chandelier was feeling too full with all the milk that had not been drunk by anyone. And so I pitched a fit.

The farmer came and brought me some peanuts and milked me on the milkstand with some nice grain and scratched my ears.

"Your chandelier is looking much better, Millie," the farmer said. "Maybe you would like to go to the fair after all."

So then I pitched another fit until some more treats were provided. The farmer let me stay on free range for the rest of the day and so I got to watch when Moldy's daughter Abby went into the kidding stall to have her kids.

Moldy had to go in too because they never go anywhere except together and so both of them were in there bawling when Abby popped out her first kid, a tiny implacable kitten about three inches long. The kitten prowled off immediately in search of milk while Abby laid down and had another kid, this one normal size but it seemed big because the other one was so small.

"Oh how nice," said the farmer, " a boy and a girl."

The farmer needs new glasses though because the two girls Hannah Belle had the other day turned out actually to be a boy and a girl and this boy and girl turned out to be two girls, one large and one small.

I had had high hopes that they might be normal on account of being born here and eventually coming under the influence of the Baby Belle family but right from the start they have been showing Moldy family tendencies and in fact as soon as they hit the ground Moldy said, "Welcome to Oregon!"

Which just goes to show. The farmer is calling them Pebbles and Sandy, but I am going to call them Corvallis and Pendleton.

PS - The farmer somehow deleted several comments and it seems the commenting is not acting right and someone kindly wrote in regarding Tangy's exploits to remind the public that YOU MUST BE VERY CAREFUL riding a goat and make sure the goat is big and can hold your weight because YOU CAN HURT THE GOAT if you aren't careful. And remember too that the goat needs time to adjust so you have to build up the weight a little at a time. Tangy has been practicing carrying a pack and she is as big as a house, this is really the only kind of goat you can ride for even a short while.

PPS - When I say "the goat" in the previous PS, I mean the big Nubian crosses. Do NOT ride a Nigerian Dwarf. If you see a Nigerian Dwarf somewhere, simply give him or her a yogurt covered pretzel and go on your way. Thank you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mothers and Daughters

Yesterday a lady came to the farm to take video. She noticed Abby and her mother Moldy strolling around inseparably like two mallwalkers.

"Who are these two?" she asked. They caught her eye; there was something about them.

"That's Abby and Moldy," said the farmer. "they are mother and daughter."

"Oh," said the lady. She watched them paddling about busily for a minute. "Is there something" -- she fished for a polite word -- "eccentric about them?"

"They are from Oregon," the farmer explained, and that seemed to clarify it, even though Abby was born here and has never set foot in Oregon. Because after all Oregon is really a state of mind.

Anyway today Hannah Belle had two daughters. In all her life she has only ever had three previous daughters, so that was quite a coup, two in one day.

Her mother Baby Belle had four daughters.

One of course was Hannah Belle, the smartest goat of all time and a holy terror. The farmer always pretends to be angry with Hannah Belle, recounting her misdeeds. She jumped over the stall, she jumped over the fence, she jumped over the gate, she broke out of the horse trailer, she unlocked the tack room, she showed the others how to get under the fence. So on, ad infinitum. But then when you look over the farmer is patting Hannah Belle and giving her special treats.

"Oh, she is a very bad goat," the farmer intones woefully. In go the ginger snaps as punishment.

"Really incorrigible." In go the pretzels and swedish fish.

Tinker Belle was the second Baby Belle daughter. She is lost, we don't know where she is. If you know where Tinker Belle is, email us. She looks just like Hannah Belle but she isn't a holy terror.

One is Blue Umbrella. Blue of course is extremely good looking but she is not a holy terror at all, she is sweet and retiring and a little bit shy.

Then there is my mother, Belle Pepper. In some ways my mother is very unlike the rest of the Belle family. She shuns the limelight. She doesn't have wattles or flashy blue eyes. She doesn't escape from everywhere even if she probably could.

Next to Penrose she is probably the kindliest goat here. This year she did not get bred, so when the other does went up to the big barn to kid, she stayed in the pasture with the yearlings. Betty went up to the big barn, leaving her yearling daughter Iota behind.

When we next looked out, Iota was snuggling with my mother, Belle Pepper.

Hannah Belle went up, leaving Terra behind. When next we looked out, Terra was snuggling with my mother Belle Pepper, and Iota.

I went up, leaving Izzy behind. Izzy I must say while she is quite tiny is a tough cookie and I never expected to see her snuggling with anyone. But when next I looked out, she was snuggling with my mother Belle Pepper.

She had booted Terra and Iota out.

Isn't that adorable, I thought.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In a cavern, in a canyon, excavating for a mine

It was all agreed that the Miracle Baby was going to be named Satsuma and her barn name would be Little Cutie, since she is a Big Orange daughter. But that didn't work out. Instead her name became Clementine. And her barn name is Tiny Bubbles.

She has her father's eyes and her mother's hair. She is good at being carried around. And she is good at relaxing. She is like a fairy goat.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just Choose It

The plumber came over and with some underground magic, a blowtorch, lots of pipe and any number of fittings, he fixed the plumbing, if 'fixed' is a word that should ever even really be used around here. Fixed is probably too definite for farm living. Maybe 'repaired' would be better. Or "temporarily alleviated."

In any case, temporarily alleviated plumbing is much better than broken plumbing, I can attest to that, if only because it reduces farmer grumpification by about 86%.

The plumber is also a philosopher and at one point he was looking for a bushing he had just had in his hand and he couldn't find it and he spent several minutes looking and then he said, pointing into the forest of couplings and tees and elbows in a compartment of his plumbing truck, " ah, there it is, it was right in front of me all the time."

And he picked up the bushing and squinted through it at the sun and said, "like Happiness."

"I just had to choose it."

The horseshoer also came over and he trimmed Laddy's chipped-out feet and since he is also a philospher-botanist-shepherd among other things, he mused aloud about the introduction of Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberry to the West Coast, because they aren't native plants as everyone knows and he was alarmed about how the future might have turned out because those people in the Donner Party for example had enough problems on their hands and could never have made it to Marin to start their wineries if they had had to walk through thickets of blackberries on top of everything else.

Because as it turns out Himalayan blackberry was introduced to the United States as a cultivar in 1885 and we all know what happened then. So there is probably a parallel universe where it was introduced in 1776 and no people ever got to the West Coast because they couldn't walk through the blackberries, and in that universe the West Coast is probably entirely populated by Nubians who walked up from Mexico one day when they got lost looking for their home barn, which was probably about 100 feet behind them, but once they got started walking they just kept going in a typical Nubian fashion, and a thousand miles later they came to Northern California and settled down and in that universe Big Sur is called "Nubiana" and Carmel-by-the-Sea is called "New Nubiana" and Portland is called "North Nubiana" and Seattle is called "North New Nubiana." And so on.

Wow. I don't even know if that is scary or beautiful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Miracle Baby Takes a Nap

Miracle Baby Goat takes a nap with her brother, demonstrating the Big Orange family's highly refined relaxation skills.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day One

Sometimes you can start over just like it was your first day.

That is what is nice about farm living.

It was a long hard winter here as it probably was lots of other places, and it seemed to go on forever with the usual litany of tedious complaints. And it was a bad year for baby goats, and even when things started looking up - like when the pipes were finally almost fixed and Cora Belle won her championship - even then the farmer walked around with a gloomy look and a long face and an expression that said, well, if things are going right today, that probably just means there will be a tornado tomorrow.

And today when Big Orange went into the kidding stall the farmer just didn't like the way she looked. She had a barely perceptible tremor along her neck, and that almost always means milk fever, and she was moving a little too slowly and her eyes were starting to go glassy.

But she took a little calcium, and even though the first kid was a big buckling, he was nose-and-toes, so that wasn't really a problem. The farmer was just getting him dry when all of a sudden there was a lady's voice coming over the stall door, and sure enough the farmer had forgotten that visitors were coming by.

"I'm right here," the farmer called, and the lady looked in over the stall, and so did her kids, a boy and a girl, and just then Big Orange laid down to push again. Right away this didn't look good: one rear hoof, coming upside down.

The farmer ditched the usual pleasantries and ran past the visitors to grab some gloves, and straight back to the stall, because this one was certainly going to need to be rearranged and pulled out quickly.

But before the farmer got back the baby was out, who even knows how.

And before the farmer even got to the stall the visitor lady was saying, "oh dear,"

The farmer took one look at the baby goat and turned to the kids and said, "you know, it's very sad, but the baby goats sometimes are too little to be born, or they aren't in the right position, or something happens as they are growing," as a preamble to telling them that this baby goat, which was twisted and motionless and an awful stillborn putty color, just wasn't going to make it.

That is one of the problems you can have when you think you know what you are doing. You don't always pay attention to the finer details.

Whereas, when you have no idea what you are doing, you see everything, as the little girl did.

"The baby goat is moving," she said politely.

The farmer looked down and sure enough, there was a leg kicking. And the baby bobbed its head. And so, without much hope, the farmer got busy, and cleaned it, and cleared its mouth, and rubbed it warm, and swung it upside down to get the goop out, and finally gave it a puff of air in the mouth to get it started breathing since it didn't seem to want to do that, and lo and behold, within a few minutes the baby goat was breathing on its own, and once that happened the pink came flooding back into it.

"She's a fighter," the farmer said. It was a beautiful little doe kid, Big Orange's first doe kid to have perfect gopher ears.

There was no need to take the little girl and make her a bottle baby. She gobbled milk greedily from Big Orange as soon as she shook off her traveling funk.

Why wouldn't she. It was her first day, and she wanted to get off to a good start.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's Been No Bed of Roses, No Pleasure Cruise


We got five more dollars in pledges for the Tangy fund drive. We already had one dollar, so that makes six. I know six dollars is a lot of money, but still it seems like we have a long way to go. Maybe Oprah or someone will chip in. If you know Oprah, ask her to chip in, we could do a show about it. Oh well. Maybe it's hopeless.

Speaking of hopeless, there was a big goat show yesterday. The farmer had a headache and didn't want to go. A couple of weeks earlier the farmer had clipped Blue Umbrella for the show because she was looking good. As soon as the farmer finished clipping her, Blue stopped making milk, turning her udder into a little shrunken handbag.

"Great," said the farmer, and looked around the barnyard. Boxcar Betty was looking good; her spots were flashing in the sun.

"Betty, come here," said the farmer. Betty ran like a scalded cat as fast as she could, squeaking neatly through the gate into the front pasture. Nice try, Betty, but two farm boys came over later that day and they apprehended and frogmarched Betty back to the barn where the farmer started clipping her.

The farmer had Betty about half clipped when the clippers broke. "Great," said the farmer. The new $150 clippers - not the ones from the tack sale that cost $15. The ones with all the blades that had just been sharpened.

The farmer regarded Betty dubiously: she looked a lot like Carol Brady on the Brady Bunch, with a shag haircut that would send shivers down the spine of anyone who lived through the seventies.

"Great," said the farmer. Oh well, maybe the farmer from Minter Bay wouldn't want to go after all. The farmer from Minter Bay had been naysaying and shillyshallying about any further goat shows that summer.

Just then a terse commanding email completely lacking in pleasantries popped in the inbox: "Meet me at my farm at 6 tomorrow. Showing at 9."

"Great," said the farmer. The farmer's head started pounding. Up at 4:30 to milk and shower, then over to Minter Bay to stuff Cora Belle into the car, then off on a two and half hour drive to Stanwood.

"That's just great," said the farmer gloomily, wondering if any stores would be open to buy Aleve and knowing full well there is no Starbucks near the Fairgrounds in Stanwood and generally feeling very grumpy.


Cora Belle triumphed and won Reserve Champion in one ring and Grand Champion in the two others against beautiful steep Northwest competition and a mood of incredible jollity and gracious kindness and humility descended, broken only by the unseemly bellowing of the song "We are the Champions" in the car on the way home.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Schooling the Tangerine Whale

The good news is we have already raised $1 for our Tangy Pledge Drive. It only took two days. So at this rate in 3074 more days she will be on her way to her new Kiwi home. That is only eight years and a few months! Vaya con Dios, Tangy!

The bad news is that yesterday some children came over and one of them was quite small and she wanted to ride a goat. When I heard her say, "I want to ride a goat," I discreetly galloped at top speed to the far corner of the pasture, right behind Hannah Belle who was making extremely good time for a goat who is eight months pregnant.

Everyone else with normal intelligence followed us, leaving only the Nubian crosses and Eo up at the barn in catching range. Eo was plotting a government overthrow as usual and not paying attention to the conversation.

The farmer was dubious since none of us had ever been ridden. "I don't know about that," the farmer said, eyeballing the Nubian crosses. "It would have to be a big goat."

We don't have any big wethers since there is a strict rule against them, and they would be the natural choice for goat riding activities. Big Orange and Xie Xie are pregnant, so that got them off the hook. Pinky Jr. is too skinny because she is growing so fast and Pinky is a milker and she will also be the new Sheriff of Crazytown if Maddie ever resigns. She is Crazy with a capital T.

And that left only one goat: the tangerine whale.

"See if Tangy will come out," the farmer told the children.

Tangy lumbered out.

"Okay let's see if we can get the horse halter on her," the farmer said, pretending not to be surprised.

Tangy stood patiently while an upside-down horse halter was put on her for a harness.

"Okay let's put you on her," the farmer said to the little girl. On she went.

"Hold on tight," the farmer told the little girl, and she grabbed the halter. The farmer snapped a lead rope on Tangy.

"Okay let's see if she will walk." Tangy walked off without batting an eye.

"I want to ride her alone," the little girl said. "By myself."

The farmer took the lead rope off.

Tangy and passenger walked off alone. There was no sunset at that time of day or they would have walked into it.

"Hmm," said the farmer. "Who knew."

I wonder if this means Tangy is still going to New Zealand in 2019. I kind of don't think so.