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.