Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Swim-Off

Yesterday there was a big wind storm with sticks and branches flying everywhere and the metal roof on the cabana rattling and flapping. It didn't come off and no one was killed. Then last night it snowed a half an inch of snow. Very wet snow. It will be a winter wonderland for the next 45 minutes or so until the rain comes back and washes it away.

Crumpet is on special treatment with multiple trips to the grain bin every day and a new jacket. Oh wait that is not special treatment for Crumpet. That is ordinary treatment. I remember when I was crumpeted, years ago. Now I would be lucky to get a single peanut. I haven't had a swedish fish in centuries.

Schwinnie keeps growing her feet out really long. The farmer has started keeping a chart, it is very aggravating, her feet grow twice as fast as anybody else's.

"Why are you doing that Schwinnie?" the farmer asked point blank. Schwinnie did not say anything, just jumped up on the stand and starting wolfing down oats while her feet got trimmed AGAIN.

Gee I wonder why she is doing that, I am going to start trying to grow my feet out faster.

Winnie has not kidded in three years and the farmer is determined to get her bred so when she came in heat she went in with Fred for two hours, then she came up to the barn and spent the rest of the afternoon with Jackie, then later that night Chaos came up to have a go.

Winnie was tickled pink, she spent the night in the stall with Jackie and Chaos.

Next morning the jousting was over and Winnie and Jackie had gotten married and were enjoying a blissful honeymoon. All their troubles were out of sight. Chaos was banished to the opposite corner of the stall, where tomorrow would be another day.

"May the best swimmers win!" said the farmer.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Thanks You Get: A Christmas Story

Well it didn't start out like one of those days but things went sideways in a hurry. Crumpet was supposed to go and have her picture taken with Santa at the feed store and just at the wrong moment like always Betty came into heat. Crumpet doesn't like riding around with a lot of riffraff so it was decided she would stay home and Wendell would go instead and have his picture taken even though he is not as photogenic but it would be better than nothing. Wendell got into his Yuletide turtleneck with the snowflakes on it and after capturing Betty everyone got in the truck and off they went.

Crumpet stood at the gate and whinnied with hamster indignation. Betty glared at the world from the back of the truck. She was furious, she thought they must be on the way to some kind of ungodly winter fair.

I forgot to mention that Betty was going to see the Tiny Giant over at the drive-through buck service. The Tiny Giant is one of the handsomest bucks in the world and that is saying something because it is a big world. He is known for his magnificent hair and his lordly demeanor. Not to mention his blue eyes, his wattles, his dalmatian spots, his impeccable buckly manners. He is my half-removed cousin so it isn't that surprising. Anyway off they went.

The farmer stopped to get two coffees and two raspberry scones. Wendell pretended to be asleep, even going so far as to emit some ghastly sleeping-dog farts that caused the farmer to roll down the window even though it was very chilly. They were almost there when the "check engine" light came on. The farmer started in cussing a storm.

All right they made it to the drive-through buck stand and the farmer gave the farmer from Minter Bay a scone and coffee on account of the Tiny Giant being so magnificent and after a few minutes Betty was settled without any difficulty and she got back in the truck. The two farmers were talking on the same monomaniacal topic as always: "wasn't the Tiny Giant handsome? Just look at him!"

"Tell me one thing you don't like about him," insisted the farmer from Minter Bay. "Go on just tell me one thing."

"Well," said our farmer.

"Go on, tell me one thing. Just tell me one thing," said the Minter Bay farmer.

This could have gone on for hours but just then the farmer thought, "wouldn't that scone taste good right now," and reached into the truck just in time to see the last few scone crumbs disappearing down Wendell's gullet and just then the farmer remembered "check engine" light or no they had to hurry up to the vet to get Spenny's arthritis medicine before they closed at  noon or Spenny would be sore all weekend. And so they peeled out to go get the medicine and got there just in the nick of time and when the farmer came out from the vet the farmer gave Wendell the evil eye for eating the scone because the scone had not been addressed.

"We are not getting any Santa photos today Wendell, do you know why?"

Wendell wisely did not say anything.

"Because the check engine light is on and I do not want to break down on the freeway with a bad dog and a doe in heat."

Wendell assumed a noncommittal pose. "I see," said his expression.

"Is this the thanks I get?" the farmer asked. "Who drove you to the hospital when you got run over by a truck? And who drove you to the hospital when you get bit in the eyeball? Who rescued you from the horse attack?"

Wendell bugged his eyes out. He could not stand the suspense.

"And this is the thanks I get?"

Wendell did his look of supreme devotion which he always does in the face of disaster and he started shivering for effect.

"Fine," said the farmer. "Don't even look at me all the way home."

And they rode halfway home in silence without any Santa picture and the check engine light on and Betty glaring in the back and Wendell shivering in the front but halfway home some Christmas songs came on the radio and so they sang the rest of the way.

Anyway in case you were wondering the answer is yes. This is the thanks you get.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Never Mind, I'll Find Someone Like Crumpet

Crumpet is small and cute but that is not enough. If you are reading this and you are small and cute and you think that is enough, you are wrong.

If you are thinking, "well, I am small and cute and I am also from Oregon," please believe me when I tell you that that is not enough either and so is Crumpet by the way.

Crumpet needs to develop a skill since she is too small to be a real dairy goat. She can't be bred so she can't be milked so she is going to need some vocational training because everyone needs the satisfaction of making their way in the world unless they don't make it but that happens sometimes and it's no excuse for idling your life away.

Anyway it has been decided that Crumpet will learn to play the piano.

Why the piano? You are probably asking. Well, she is too short for the cello.

Ok, that makes sense. But what song will she learn to play?

Probably something by Adele.

Why? you are probably asking. Why not Pachalbel's Canon, so she could play at weddings? Or 'We've Only Just Begun' by the Carpenters?

Well if she learns an Adele song everyone will already be crying as she plays. But still they will be pleased, and they can tell their friends, "I just saw a little goat playing 'Someone Like You' on the piano. You don't see that every day."

We don't expect her to end up at Carnegie Hall or anything. You have to be realistic.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apres Moldy le Déluge

It is raining right now but to say that it is raining doesn't really convey the watery reality of what we are experiencing. Every ten minutes or so we get a day's worth of rain, probably one of the record dry days that we had this summer which toward the end made Moldy say, "I am tired of all this sunshine I don't care if it rains all winter long."

So it is Moldy's fault.

Don't worry we will punish her but really it is a kind of no-fault rain that only happens here. It doesn't happen every year but when it does it really does. It is now. It is raining a humbling rain, great sweeps of it thrumming across the meadow. The cottage roof is leaking into a collection of saucepans spread about the bedroom and living room. The gutters are dripping over their sides. Lost Beaver Lake is almost full. The barnyard is a mud pit. There is thunder in the distance. Even Willen went into his run-in, and he is gazing blankly out at the rain, ever so slightly taken aback. It takes a lot to take Willen aback. He doesn't usually go aback.

Bumbles is crying, she got trapped outside. I might let her in later, but I would have to get up and push the door open, and that seems like a lot of trouble. The wind slammed it shut.

It is Tom Robbins rain. It has no plans to stop. I know we mentioned it before, but here it is again, still worth mentioning, since it is the main feature of our life right now. We are waiting, as we always do, for a miracle. We are waiting quietly. There is a hush.

Except for Bumbles.

"The rains will steal down from the Sasquatch slopes. They will rise with the geese from the marshes and sloughs. Rain will fall in sweeps, it will fall in drones, it will fall in cascades of cheap Zen jewelry...And it will rain a fever. Mossy-haired lunatics will roam the dripping peninsulas. Moisture will gleam on the beak of the Raven...Rain will eat the old warpaths, spill the huckleberries, cause toadstools to rise like loaves...And it will rain a miracle..." ~~~~~~ Tom Robbins

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Hello this is Millie and my vacation is over because I got tired of waiting for Belle Starr to update the blog. She was too busy watching Xie Xie. Xie Xie is a funny one she likes to watch maple leaves fall from the big maple tree and she picks out a certain exact one that she wants to eat and once it comes off the tree she starts running a dizzying zigzag, head back like a centerfielder, as it swirls down to the ground. Because she wants THAT ONE and not one of the ten million other ones. So Belle Starr, who is a lot smarter than Xie Xie, uses Xie Xie as both a leaf selector - she does have good taste in leaves - and a leaf alarm. She naps with one eye open but then when she sees Xie Xie making the final approach to the premium leaf, she swoops in and takes it. This is pretty much a full-time job.

Vaya con Dios, Juniper Breeze
And the blog really needed updating. Because we lost Breezy. She got very sick at the end, so it was a blessing and a mercy that she went. She will never be forgotten; she was one of the Mayflower goats. She came over from Eastern Washington with Baby Belle, and Penrose, and Snow Pea. Breezy always had good timing: she left the day before the first hard frost, right after we finished the last of the apples. Breezy was the second oldest goat here, after Brandy, who is 13, and in honor of Breezy it has been decided that we will not call Brandy an Old Bag any more, from now on she will be referred to as a Vintage Coach Purse, which is much more respectful.

By this simple device we have undone the partisan gridlock of the front pasture and ushered in a new era of courtesy. That is called working across the aisle. Try it yourself if you have time.

She is still an Old Bag, but we just have a new name for it.

In other news Chance went to a new home and he left this afternoon on the first boat for Carnation and Moldy is in an uproar. Or she was, anyway, until the alfalfa came out. Now she is asleep. If you want to be in an uproar, you really have to be awake. So don't eat too much if you are planning an uproar.

Crumpet has not grown at all since she was born and she is now officially the tiniest goat in the world. But in the new era of courtesy we will have to think of something nice to call her instead of The Hamster. Something courteous like VCP.

I suggested The Ruminating Rodent, but that was vetoed, like most of my great ideas.

Quelle surprise.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

If Not For You

What happened was it turned to winter all in one day. The leaves fell off the trees and the rain started pouring down. The sun shut off - click! - just like that. This was very depressing.

Then the next day the farmer came out at dinnertime and called the herd weak-mindedly. "BETSY!"

Everybody looked around. Betsy? Is Betsy here?

The farmer looked grim.

Then Lori came over and Lori trundled about in the usual fashion knocking things over and misplacing things and showering everyone with cookies and candy but looking rather gloomy and in the end Lori said to no one in particular, "you know I can get used to a lot of things but I just can't get used to not seeing Penrose."

The farmer turned away.

One of the farmer's friends arrived in the middle of a downpour and looked at Sky Blue and at me, we were standing next to each other in the pasture. "It's funny," she said absently, "they both look just like Hannah Belle."

"Mmm," said the farmer, and changed the subject.

Well what are you going to do. Are you going to clomp around with your head down pretending Betsy never lived here?  Are you going to never mention Penrose again? Penrose? The patron saint of bummers and orphans? Really?

Are you going to frogmarch into the future as if my mother Hannah Belle possibly the finest or at least the second finest Nigerian Dwarf goat to ever walk the earth NEVER EVEN EXISTED????

Well I will tell you one thing, I am not. I am going to keep on living and remembering my absent friends and relatives and I suggest you do the same because what is the other choice anyway and as far as the winter and the rain and the leaves falling off the trees I am only one and a half years old but I can tell you for a certain fact that it happens every year and you better just GET OVER IT!!!


If not for me this whole place would go to rack and ruin. And the same is true of you. Whoever you are. Wherever you live. So get over it, whatever it is you can't get over. Just get over it.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Table For One

Here is what the herd does every morning, my half of the herd anyway.

It sits around waiting for the farmer to come out.

"Where is the food where is the food where is THE FOOD!" Moldy starts wailing as soon as the sun comes up.

Then the farmer finally comes out and the herd mills and grumbles and shoves against the door so the farmer sometimes practically can't even get the door open to let the herd out.

"I need food where is the food I'M STARVING!" wails Moldy.

"That's my FOOT you're standing on MY FOOT!" screams Winjay.

Wronny t-bones Winjay.

"WHERE IS THE FOOD!" screams Moldy.

"MAMA!" screams Chancy.

"MAMA!" screams Moony.

This wakes Pinky up. "What?" mumbles Pinky. "Is it my birthday again?"

The farmer opens the door and the herd pours out into the front pasture like water pouring out of a giant pitcher, a pitcher full of hungry goats, and then the herd runs back and forth among the three different feed stations, each one seeming to have better food than the others until they see it up close and realize that it is just the same, in fact the previous feed station actually had better food, maybe not better tasting but the presentation was better, there was just something about it, so let's go back there away from Winjay instead of staying here, and there is a great swirling of giant terrestrial four-legged locusts as everyone decides where to eat.

Well that is a little ridiculous so I don't do it.

"Please," I say," after you," and I stand aside as the whole herd goes gurgling out into the pasture and then I walk up to the farmer directly and I indicate with my pleasing demeanor that I wouldn't be against a small bowl of cereal if it isn't too much trouble. Just here in the barn aisle is fine, and I don't mind eating out of the bucket, I don't want to make any trouble. Isn't it a lovely day? My goodness, I love the fall colors.

And then when I have finished eating all I want I indicate to the farmer that I don't mind joining the ordinary goats who are still - some of them anyway - running around screaming in the front pasture.

I'm not saying my way is better. But that's just how I do it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Not Without My Sister

All the goats that went to the fair caught a cold. Including me. That happens every year.

Moony is sick and also disappointed because she found out she was at a Fair and now she wants to go back.

"The food was much better there."

This is true, at the fair we got free alfalfa and free orchard grass. Not the affordable kind either.

Bumbles' little daughter Crumbles caught the Fair Flu and she has a bad case of sniffles and when everyone got turned out yesterday morning she stayed in for special treatment and bed rest. She slept all day.

About halfway through the day the farmer started running all over looking for Creampuff, Crumbles' twin.

The neighbor's calves tore a hole out of the bottom of our fat girl fence and the farmer was worried that Creampuff had wandered out into the meadow and been eaten by a coyote, since the coyotes are in full howling mode now even though the weather here remains mysteriously perfect and August-like without a drop of rain and not even very cold but that is another story. Anyway no one could find Creampuff.

"I am going to give Crumbles a vitamin B shot and then I am going to go down in the meadow," the farmer announced. And do what? I wondered. But I didn't say anything.

The farmer had forgotten that Creampuff is not a Nubian and she can go wherever she wants, it doesn't matter if there is a gate or a fence in the way. She had snuck back into the barn and was cuddled up with Crumbles, sleeping.

"Oh," said the farmer. "there you are."

Now Creampuff has the sniffles too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Millie's Vacation. Day One.

What happened was Millie got tired of the blog.

This blog is weighing me down. is what she said. everything that happens I am supposed to put something in the blog about it. oh look Wendell threw up. Breaking blog news. goodness there is a flat tire on the tractor. call the blog. Everyone caught a cold from the fair and all the noses are running wild. There is a river of snot. blog gold.

ok so Winjay said I will do the blog if you do not want to do it.

No way said Millie it is not a LaMancha blog.

ok said Wronny I am the herdqueen and someone has to do the blog. If Millie is not going to do the blog then Winjay can do it.

Winjay t-boned Crumpet in celebration.

ok said Wronny to Winjay you are fired from the blog. Millie, you do the blog.

I am tired of the blog said Millie. I need a vacation.

ok said Wronny then pick someone else to do it while you are on vacation and do it now or I will t-bone you.

ok said Millie. I pick Belle Starr.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Bus Stops Here

Well the goats got back from the Fair and it was an unmitigated display of mediocrity with no blue ribbons at all whatsoever anywhere, in fact two goats came in last, and Moony did not even know she was at a Fair she thought she was waiting for a bus.

"A bus to oblivion," said Maddy drily when the defeated and the bedraggled came tumbling out of the back of the truck.

As far as the LaManchas that was a complete disaster and the recorded grades did not do much better and when it came time for the Nigerians, all Clover and Belle Starr could muster was third place. They were in big classes so it might have seemed good except for the fact that when you are standing in third place there are two goats in front of you and that doesn't usually sit very well especially not with those in the Baby Belle family.

Clover is in the Baby Belle family but she didn't care because all she could think about was the milk she wasn't drinking because it was back at home in Betty's udder.

"Third place, eighth place, fifteenth place, who cares. Where is the milk?"

The farmer's friend tried to take a jolly tone as people always do in the face of an unmitigated disaster and she said brightly, "well, third place is good in a big class like that! I would be pleased with that."

"Yes of course," echoed the farmer. "Very pleased. So many lovely goats."

Then the dairy goat show was over as abruptly as it had begun and everyone scurried around packing and loading and before they knew what was happening all the Fair goats were stuffed back into the truck and off they went headed back home and in unison they breathed a big sigh of relief and lay down on the thick carpet of straw.

But while all the other goats snoozed, Belle Starr stood up and gazed out the back window of the canopy. The truck wheeled slowly out of the fairgrounds, parting the sea of humanity clustered around Pete's Barbecue Pit,  nosing gently around the strolling Peruvian marimba band, passing the Kubota tractor display, turning the corner behind the horse arena out toward the service gate.

"As God is my witness," Belle Starr vowed bitterly, " I will never come in third place again."

They got a little further down the road and Moony accidentally woke up.

"Does anyone know when the bus is coming?" asked Moony. "Because we have been waiting a long time."

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Overfed vs. The Underappreciated

The middling goats will be off to the Fair tomorrow so the farmer has been busy trying to find all the things that should have been collected tidily in one place about a month ago and the fixing of the haircuts began and then sputtered out because the trailer lights stopped working just when needed most  and the latch on the escape door popped and now it is starting to look like everyone is just going to have to cram into the truck instead which is one of many reasons why I never go to the Fair but Pebbles the Jumbo Jet has been looking wistful and recalling her five minutes of Fair Fame and wondering why she hasn't been chosen this year, it doesn't seem - no pun intended - fair.

After all, she is the Bitter Pill. She thinks people will be coming back to the fair just to see her, and a lot of them will want their money back when they realize she isn't there. Which goes to show how strained her relationship with reality has become.

Maddy the Sheriff of Crazytown just came out and told it like it is - "look, Pebbles, it isn't a whale show. When they have a whale show, you will be the first one picked. "

Anyway there was so much going on I thought it would be a good idea to make a hole in the fence and run amuck with some of my underlings so we did that and started a brawl with the milkers and there was a lot of rhetorical questions hurled about by the farmer when the hole was discovered, including, "Do you think this is funny? Do you think I have nothing better to do than fix this fence? Would you look a good walloping?"

And so on while we loaded up on free apples and ate the milkers' hay and enjoyed a refreshing round of goat rugby with The Overfed, making up for what we lacked in blubber with enthusiasm and esprit de corps.

Viva la Revolucion, Baby!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Complaints from the Dust Bowl

The beautiful weather has been dragging on continuously with 48 days without rain. That's fine and everything, I guess the sunshine is ok, but after a while it hurts your eyes. Crumpet's head is about four inches from the ground and it is so dry she is constantly getting dust in her little eyeballs and the farmer's idea of spraying water around the gate to hold the dust down is a real stroke of genius and it helps for about three minutes in the morning. I hope Crumpet doesn't go blind but if she does there will be a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for an eyeball transplant so prepare yourself for that because you will need to chip in if it happens. Anyway it is supposed to rain on Monday and right now we are looking forward to going back to complaining about rain instead of dust.

Also one more note on the beautiful weather I find it monotonous. If I were making up a schedule it would go like this: 2 beautiful days followed by one rainy day followed by a beautiful day followed by a cloudy day with showers at night (when I am in the cabana) followed by a beautiful day but a little bit chilly followed by one of those days where it doesn't really rain but it sort of mists and people say "is it raining? is it starting to rain? did you just feel something?" and there is patchy morning fog all day long. And then repeat. The temperature range would be very flexible, I do not want to seem controlling, anywhere from 55-75 would be fine. The chilly day could go as low as 48.

The haircuts on the middling fair hostages all look terrible. Supposedly that is going to be 'fixed' today. Great, if there is anything worse than a bad haircut it is a fixed haircut. If you ever get a really bad haircut and someone says, "don't worry, I can fix that," just run as fast as you can, especially if they have a pair of Oster A5 clippers in their hand.

Since she has been in with the milkers Winjay has been steadily getting crazier and right now it is a dead heat between Maddy and Winjay as to which one has the most screws loose. There is definitely a metallic rattle when they walk around. Big Orange has pretty much dropped out of the running, there is no way she will be re-elected in November.

The latest on Winjay: all the milkers get special extra fancy delicious grain because they are so important. Everyone else gets a few sprinkles of plain cob or all-stock or something like that. We watch the milkers eating with tears in our eyes.

Anyway Winjay won't eat the delicious grain, she throws it out of the dish onto the floor and stamps until she gets cheap grain.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

Don't Come in Eighth

There was a blue moon and nothing happened.

We thought something might happen but nothing did.

The list of volunteers to go to the Fair and sit around looking middling includes:

Belle Starr (Little Belle)
Betty's Blue Clover (Clover)
Can of Worms (Candy)
Crescent Moon (Moony)
Chocolate Martini (Marti)
Creme de Cassis (Cassis)
Maple Hollow (Rosie)

These goats have all been selected for no other reason than that they are agreeable and friendly. Except Rosie, she is disagreeable and unfriendly, but we need her for groups. Also Cassis is not the friendliest, and she looks a little better than middling. But we are bringing her anyway.

The downside of middling is that you look middling. The upside is there is no pressure. This way they can sit around and relax. Anyway you have to adjust your expectations to reality. It is no use these goats walking around thinking they are fabulous-looking like me when the plain middling not-too-bad truth is right there for everyone to see.

We are not taking any milkers because we need the milk at home. At the Fair you have to throw all your milk away. You would cry if you saw all that beautiful milk going right down the drain.

I feel bad for Candy and Moony though because they will have to show in the LaManchas and the best LaManchas in the country will be there and a lot of them but their only mantra is 'don't come in eighth'  because the premiums stop at seventh place. Also they will be the smallest ones in their class because they were born late. Two strikes. Also they are known to be from a slow-maturing line with fabulous udders, the kind that starts to look good when they are about three. How many strikes is that?

On the plus side they are in the same class so only one of them can come in last.

Join us in rooting for Candy and Moony with this rousing Herron Hill cheer: come in last if you have to, but don't come in eighth!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fair to Middling

It is time for the Fair and everyone here is looking middling. No one looks spectacular. Who wants to go to the Fair and sit around looking middling. That is a lot of work for nothing. Red ribbons, who needs them.

Pinky and Xie Xie both look good but they are too thin, they milked down too far. So did Abby. Pinky Jr. is a big strapping girl and she looks good, but that's because she doesn't have enough milk. Blue and Betty might be fairly presentable if they bagged up for about a week. Maddy has at least one screw loose and certainly can't go anywhere near the general public. Moldy is too fat. Clover is too fat. Speaking of Clover, Pebbles looks like the Sta-Puf Marshmallow Goat.

Winjay looks fantastic except her udder sticks out the back about four feet, like a second grader drew her. If she were a drawing the title would be: "Earless Goat Walks Bravely Into Hurricane, Udder Sails Out Behind Her."

That's a long title but it's best if people know what they're looking at.

"You are doing that on purpose," the farmer says grimly every time Winjay walks by with her windblown udder.

Marty is going into an awkward phase, Crayola can't go or Crumpet either, they are too precious and would certainly catch something. Fabulous last place Wronny is even older and more stove in than she was the last time she went to the Fair and got last place.

So you would think we might stay home. Wouldn't you?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hannah Belle 2.0

Yesterday some of the unfortunates got shaved for the Fair. It is surprising what is under there sometimes. Fat little Clover actually looks fairly presentable. Candy and Moony are cute as 2 buttons.

Nobody mentioned anything about it, but everybody thought the same thing when Belle Starr went under the clippers.

My goodness. Isn't it uncanny. She's the spitting image.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The New Pile

Winjay the Hun has been reprimanded for T-BONING Crumpet, who weighs 7.5 pounds.

"That is disgraceful," the farmer hollered, lumbering along to snatch Crumpet up out of harm's way just in the nick of time.

Winjay had to put her head almost to the ground to do it since Crumpet is only about three inches tall. She got a big stripe of pasture dust all over her face since it is dry as a bone here now, you would not believe how dry it is.

"That is a mark of SHAME!" hollered the farmer, pointing at the dust stripe.

"So what," muttered Winjay, flouncing off.

Crumpet gave a little sad mousy squeak and was rushed to the grain bin to drown her sorrows.

Well, anyway that reminds me of how everything had to shift a little bit here since we don't have Penrose any more and there is no way to ever replace her.

When their mothers were busy stuffing themselves with hay, or off foraging for something else, the babies would go and sleep in a pile with Penrose. Especially at bedtime. Many times the farmer would come out and the moon would be high and the frogs would be singing and the mothers would be stuffing themselves with alfalfa and their babies would be in the Penrose pile and Penrose would be chewing her cud and gazing toward infinity, possibly cataloging all the stars in the galaxy.

Now there is a new pile and I was a little surprised who is at the middle of it. It isn't any of the Sopranos, obviously. I thought it might be Xie Xie if push came to shove, but no, she has taken to headflipping stray babies away. I also though maybe Pinky Jr., she is very mild-mannered. But no.

Maybe Moldy or Abby the Crackpot Oregonians, I thought, they seem to like babies. Just then Abby bit little Chance's ear. No blood or anything, but still. Maybe Betty, I thought, and then laughed bitterly. Betty! Ha! That's a good one.

So I gave up guessing and you probably did too but anyway when I was looking over at the big barn last night I saw a pile. Drabby was in it, Chell's plain little daughter, and Crumpet and Crayola, and Blue's girl Cloudy, and Clover, and Champagne was thinking about joining, and there in the center were Creampuff and Crumbles, and they were all clustered around Bumbles.

That's right, Jammies' Little Bumblebee. And there was an air of snoring contentment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Upstairs Downstairs

Wronny has been raising her two sons Halfway and Gulliver this year and since they are young princes they dine with Wronny everywhere she dines and Wronny dines everywhere since she is the herdqueen and she can eat whatever she wants and it doesn't matter who else wants it.

Wronny eats her grain and hay and then everyone else's hay and grain and the young princes canter along beside her muttering royal statements like "make way, make way, young princes coming through, peasantry please stand back," and so on and they stuff themselves with their silver spoons and by this time they each weigh about a thousand pounds and are as tall as a Shetland pony.  They fancy themselves the Upstairs Goats, and the rest of us are Scullery Maids.

"How kind of you," said Halfway the other day while he gobbled Xie Xie's dinner.

"You may touch my white spot if you like," said Gulliver after hogging all the alfalfa in the feed rack.

In between their ten times a day grain and hay feedings they each guzzle about a gallon of Wronny milk. Their idea of portion control is that they control all the portions.

Everyone else just looks at them bitterly and pretends to like them. "So handsome! So regal!"

"Would you mind just moving just a tad bit out of the way?" they are always asking, then hogging the best spots to lie down.

"Of course not," says everyone else, looking daggers at them.

Well the word came down today that they have been sold and are leaving for their new home very soon and the chorus of fake sadness that welled up would deafen the gods. The insincere expressions of sorrow were many and numerous, with nobody wanting to be outdone.

"Not! Not Gulliver and Halfway! Our two royal ponies! The sadness! The sadness I feel coming on! I'm sure it will hit me as soon as I stop laughing these anguished laughs!"

I did not want to tell them but I had to, it was only fair that they should know that after living their whole lives Upstairs, they will be going Downstairs without their mommy, and they had better start shopping for little frilly scullery caps.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

He Made It

Well I don't know why people are always saying they are going to do this that and the other "if the creek don't rise." Because the creek always rises. I don't know why I am thinking about that because we are in the middle of a Northwest drought with no rain predicted until the weekend and temperatures in the mid 90s and right now as far as the creek there isn't any but I guess it is the kind of absence that makes the heart grow fond because I was just thinking about the creek, the way it burbles and so on and how darling that is except when it is burbling up to your neck the way it does most times around here but not now as already mentioned since there is no creek anywhere much less up around your neck. How tiring it is to think these complicated thoughts.

Anyway we have had a lot of visitors this summer way more than usual including visitors from Qatar and Korea and Oregon and Seattle and Burien and Puyallup and Belfair and Oakland, California, not to mention Longbranch right down the road. And some people came to take the cheese class and they came right at the time when we were most worried about Moldy's little son Chance who looked like he might not be long for this world and the people in the cheese class were all very sympathetic and they hoped he would do well and especially one very nice lady and when she was leaving the farmer said, "well, I will let you know how he does," and the lady said no she would be so sad if he didn't make it so best not to let her know anything and the farmer said, well all right then, I will only let you know if he makes it. And she said no, then if you don't let me know anything I will know he didn't make it. And the farmer could see this was all quite sensible and agreed not to tell the lady anything.

But anyway he made it.

Today Chance went out in the front pasture for the first time and he enjoyed it very much. Willen the fat Haflinger came over to look at him and smell his breath and then gave a little stamp of approval and Chance disappeared into the herd like an ordinary baby goat and that was that.

World Famous Betsy

Funny story about Betsy. When she was just a kid, she went to the Puyallup Fair. She misbehaved badly in typical fashion, Betsying around incorrigibly, but she won a blue ribbon.

That year the Tacoma News Tribune had sent a photographer to do a photo essay on the Fair. They probably do this every year, but that year for some reason he was drawn to the goat barn. The farmer saw him several times walking up and down the aisles, among the Alpines, Nubians, Saanens, Oberhaslis, Toggenburgs. Inevitably he was drawn back to the LaManchas.

The farmer chatted with him and he explained what he was doing. "I see," said the farmer.

Up and down the aisle he went, always ending up in front of the stall where Betsy crowded the bars, jumping up to try and catch his shirt, snatching for his camera, investigating his pockets, while Wronny huddled against the far wall, shrewdly avoiding all the lookiloos and stuffing herself with free hay.

The next day Betsy peered out at the world from the front page of the TNT, looking extremely Betsyesque.

The farmer showed Betsy the picture. She didn't care; it wasn't edible. The next year - a year when Betsy did not even go to the Fair - her picture was turned into the TNT blog icon, and she was on the front page of the paper every day the Fair ran.

So Betsy was pretty much the TNT's official goat of the Puyallup Fair.

They could have picked a bigger or a smarter or a flashier goat. But they could never have found a Betsyer goat. Because there isn't one.

Monday, August 13, 2012

East of the Mountains

One of the farmer's friends has a family saying. It is a euphemism. It comes in handy to soften bad news. The saying is: East of the Mountains.

Here it is, used in conversation:

"What happened to that old cat Tiger?"

"Tiger went East of the Mountains."

It means Tiger is dead. Everybody in the family understands. It is a way of saying what you don't want to say. It is a way of telling the truth without telling it.

But what are you going to tell if you don't tell the truth? Nothing, that's what. We had an embargo on bad news because there was just too much of it.

That prevented us from telling an important story. And it wasn't right.

We were waiting for what should have been the last kids of the season. But it became apparent as Betsy went into labor that the kids inside were no longer alive. We don't know why. And when Betsy could not deliver them and the farmer couldn't get them out, the only hope was a c-section to save Betsy's life. It didn't work.

Even on this black day there were grace notes - once again, indispensable help and kindness from friends. And the luck to be in the hands of a good old-fashioned farm vet, who called a halt to surgery when it was apparent what the outcome would be. And then did what more vets should have the courage and kindness to do: he put Betsy down immediately when he saw, after the opening incision, that her uterus was ruptured.

At the start of this year our herd had three titans: Hannah Belle, queen of the Nigerians and Baby Belle's oldest daughter; Betsy, the magnificently goofy head of the part-Nubian Betsy Family; Brandy, Queen Mother of the LaMancha herd.

Now we have Brandy, 13 and tough as nails, as irresistibly ornery an old bird as ever walked the barnyard.

We lost Betsy. We lost her kids. If you want to know who Betsy was and how much we will miss her, just go to the search box and search "Betsy."

It's not a story we wanted to tell. But we can't live East of the Mountains. We have to live here.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

What Goes Around: Wendell's Woes

Wendell got hopped up on sticks.

Wendell has a friend named Jack. Jack is a mostly blue heeler with a little bit of border collie. Wendell is a godawful pest as you know. Wendell and Jack have opposing philosophies on sticks.

Jack lives for someone who will throw a stick. Then he runs and gets the stick. AND HE BRINGS IT BACK.

Wendell also loves sticks. He lives for someone who will throw a stick for Jack. Then he runs and gets the stick, ripping it away from Jack if he has to, AND HE RACES OFF TO HIS SECRET STICK STASH AND THE STICK IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN.

The farmer would never consider throwing a stick for either Wendell or Jack. What a waste of energy. But when the farmer's nieces were here, the first thing they did was starting throwing sticks for Jack. Jack was in heaven until Wendell arrived and started stealing all the sticks.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Jack had been getting madder and madder about the sticks for years. And he finally snapped. The two best friends erupted into a big snarling ball that surged across the lawn.

"It will be fine, " said the farmer blandly. "They are hopped up on sticks. Just let them fight it out."

About one second later blood started spurting and Wendell gave a yelp and dropped the stick and ran to the farmer to be coddled as he always does when a trip to the emergency vet is imminent.

The farmer took him inside and wiped away the blood to see where it was coming from and it was coming from one of his eyes. His eye quickly filled up with blood, turning completely red on the inside in a matter of minutes.

Quick trip to the emergency vet, where it was a quiet day except for a lady in an Acura, who brought in a dreamy-eyed Bichon Frise who had eaten a pot brownie. Wendell was diagnosed with bloody eyeball caused by crushing injury and sent home with a pack of medicine. Bad news? No, the eyeball was unpunctured and did not deflate and after a few days it started  - very slowly - to clear.

Flashback one, two, three, four, five years: young Wendell has enjoyed a lifetime of tormenting Laddy the Tennessee Walker by sneaking up behind him and nipping his heels or pulling his tail, then scurrying away laughing. Laddy has never been able to retaliate because of the skillful scurrying.

Fast Forward to the present: Wendell is out in the pasture snacking on horse poo. Our pasture is an Olive Garden of horse poo. Perhaps because of his impaired vision, he makes a critical strategic error, turning his back on Laddy who is only about 15 feet away. Laddy gets a gleam in one of his big eyes, and in one, two, three, four lightning steps, he is on Wendell before Wendell sees what is happening (Wendell's bloody eyeball is squinted almost closed.) He delivers a direct boot to the middle of Wendell's back.

Wendell gives one short yelp and drops to the ground. He allows himself to be carried into the house without even a whimper which makes everyone think he must be very seriously injured. He takes one of his eyeball pain pills. He sits on a cushion. He eats a treat and simpers. Everyone gazes at him expectantly, talking to him and about him in hushed tones. Isn't he a darling dog? Isn't it awful what happened to him? Perhaps the end is near.

It isn't. He's fine. It's a miracle, but he's fine.

Somewhat sobered, obviously, and a tad bit sore, because payback is a _ _ _ _ _. (Rhymes with hitch.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Good News.

There has been so much bad news this year that it was just decided by the management that there would not be any more until further notice. And if there was bad news it would not be printed or mentioned or referred to until the bad news embargo had passed completely which could take a long time possibly forever since the bad news quota for this year was filled before the end of March.

Okay so the announcement came that the second round of hay was being baled and some of the people who were supposed to help suddenly had other plans and impetigo and hyphema and throbbing bunions and several kinds of palsy and surprise birthday parties and so on and the size of the Hay Team dwindled to a very dismal level but was this bad news? NO.

A team of crack hay specialists from Korea flew in to take the place of the indisposed and the fainthearted and also the farmer's pal from Longbranch pitched in out of the blue and the hay practically marched into the barn. The hay trailer did not get stuck halfway up the driveway - that would never happen - and it did not have to be partly unloaded to get it unstuck, and there was no cussing or yelling, that would be unseemly, and after the Hay Team finished stacking The Hay in the hayloft there was enough left over to make a beautiful Hay Nest for Moldy's little son Chance in the back of old Brownie.

There is always a chance that things could have gone a little bit better, but really I don't see how in this particular case.

Yes, the chariot is a-coming. And no, I don't want it to leave me behind.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TV CFN Penrose Point

That was her name.

You always know there will be days like this. But that doesn't help when they come.

Yesterday the farmer found Penrose lying slumped against the fence behind the barn. She looked like she had just fallen over. Like maybe she had a heart attack.

Last week we were laughing because everyone is growing out their beards but Penrose can't grow hers out even though it is a nice one because every baby here comes and stands under Penrose's chin and chews her beard down to the nubbins so it never gets more than an inch long. Because she won't shoo them away.

She was never sick a day in her life and we don't know what happened. Probably her heart was too big if I had to guess. The last thing she did was give some extra milk for Moldy's little son Chance.

She came here from Walla Walla in the back of an old Ford pickup truck with my grandmother Baby Belle when she was a kid. She looked just like an ordinary run-of-the-mill Toggenburg. But she wasn't.

Penrose was nine years old.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting for Helena

Ok we are taking applications for a new farmer the one we have is stove in from bucking hay and the worst part is the hay season is nowhere near finished. If you want to apply send an application. The job description is very hard work very long hours very low pay, the benefits are few and limited, the drawbacks are many and numerous, the qualifications are doesn't panic easily and isn't afraid of goat berries. Slow-moving and dull-witted would be nice. It is what we are used to.

In other news there was no mention made for a long time of Moldy's son Chance. This was because there was fear of jinxing him because this has been the kind of year where every little fly in the ointment seems to turn into big trouble. Anyway when Chance was born he was a spindly little runt and he didn't do very well. From that unpromising starting point he suddenly went downhill fast, getting sicker and sicker and weaker and more lethargic until he hardly had the strength to hold his head up.

Lori took him and put him on two hour bottle feedings all through the night and the farmer gave him two kinds of special medicine and a dose of vitamin B and selenium and gradually gradually gradually he started to get better. And yesterday for the first time ever he ran and skipped like a real baby goat although he weighs about as much as a hamster.

You would never want to say someone is out of the woods. That would be bad luck. And anyway the woods around here are very dark and deep. But he did run and skip and it was a good time for a small miracle like that because everything else was going to hell in a handbasket. In fact if Betsy ever has her kids, the last kids of the season, and one of them is a girl, she is going to be called Helena Handbasket. Even though it is a C Year.

So now that Chance looks like he might be back on the rails we are just waiting for Helena. Come on out, Helena. Your handbasket is ready and waiting.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Festival of Hay and Profanity

It has been a hair-raising week. Moldy had a little son his name is Chance. She is devilishly attached to him and bursts out screaming if she can't see him for even an instant.

All the helpers disappeared just in time for the first round of haying and the farmer was picking up hay alone and the tailgate on the truck was broken and you would not believe the cussing that filled the air. It was a symphony of cussing even I was impressed and I have heard some cussing in my day.

Fritzi and Frodo went to their new home and for some reason everybody got upset about this even though they are just two little LaMancha wethers. Penrose couldn't help it she gave the farmer a lot of accusing looks since she had adopted Frodo and was feeding him when nobody else would and she kept staring at the farmer after they left as if to say "et tu, farmer?" and this did not improve the mood of the place one iota and then Betty got into the wrong pasture and all in all it was a good week to take a black Magic Marker and just cross all seven days off the calendar and don't look back and I think that is what we will do so please don't ever mention this week again and if you have to make a comment try to be sure that your comment is pleasant and cheery or maybe just a little poem you wrote about the sun coming up in the morning with rays of golden joy and nothing about sorrow or heartbreak or broken-down machinery or hay.

Thank you.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Cory Anderson and the Surfing Goat

On Saturday Chella had a little drab baby it was a girl of course since Fred only has doe kids and it popped out without causing much trouble. It isn't flashy like the others it only has one or two spots and it cries a lot for no apparent reason and it is constantly falling asleep just when everybody goes somewhere else and then waking up and bleating like a Highland sheep.

Its name is going to be Coriander but everyone calls it Cory Anderson which doesn't make any sense. The baby is not smart enough to have a name like Cory Anderson. It needs a name like Spot. Right now I can see the baby looking around blankly whenever anyone says Cory Anderson. Coriander was bad enough. No one consults me or these problems wouldn't happen. 

Okay anyway yesterday the farmer went to feed down below and there was a little goat waiting at the gate when the farmer came out and the farmer yelled, "Terra Belle! I have just about had it with you jumping over that fence and you better get back inside right now or you won't get any dinner."

Terra Belle, Hannah Belle's two year old daughter, has been jumping the fence that didn't get fixed and parading around the pasture looking for snacks.

The little goat ignored what the farmer said, not out of rudeness but because it wasn't Terra Belle. It was the new Baby Belle. It had gotten out of its pen somehow and come up to the gate. Charlie was running the fenceline and bawling. He was still locked in the pen.

Our farmer is weak-minded as you probably know and just went on about the feeding, pulling the tractor with the feed bucket and the hay bales into the pasture and shutting the gate and driving down to feed everybody and the new Baby Belle ran alongside a few steps and then did a very nice grand jete and landed in the tractor bucket about three feet up in the air and commenced eating the grain in the feed bucket, not minding that the tractor was heading downhill at a pretty good clip.

"You better get out of there Terra Belle, " the farmer yelled. "You have never done that before and I do not want you starting now!"

The farmer went blathering on down the hill still yelling at the new Baby Belle and wiggling the tractor bucket up and down to try to dislodge the intruder but the intruder held fast, head down in the bucket, surfing along unfazed by any of the farmer's threats and promises.

The farmer doesn't know it yet, but we are going to need a new horse trailer.

The one we have won't hold this girl.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welcome Home, Baby Belle

Well it is very funny how things turn out sometimes.

Last year Hannah Belle had two kids, a buckling and a doeling. A nice family wanted them.

"What are you going to call them?" the farmer asked. The family said that they were going to call the boy Charlie. And they would call the little doeling Belle. The farmer did not say anything, just nodded. Charlie and Belle. We did not know it then, because how can you ever know anything until it happens, but they would be Hannah Belle's last surviving kids.

For one year Belle and Charlie lived nearby. And they were fat and happy. Charlie was a wether, and he lived the Life of Riley. Everywhere Belle went, Charlie went. Everywhere Charlie went, Belle went.

Then one day the family called the farmer and said that they were moving to Hawaii.

"Hawaii," said the farmer. The farmer hates hot weather. The farmer would rather move to the Moon than to Hawaii.

They wondered if Charlie and Belle could come back to live at the farm.

If you are ever wondering do we have any strict unbreakable policies, any edicts set in stone, the answer is yes, we have two strict rules. One: No wethers. Two: No returns.

I felt a little misty-eyed for the two darling tots, but what is the point of having strict rules if everything is always an exception. Anyway, somebody else would probably want them, they are extremely good-looking and personable like all my relatives, so que sera, sera. And so on.

But apparently it is true what they say: the exception proves the rule. And the proof of that is the two new residents at Herron Hill Dairy.

Welcome home, Charlie.

Welcome home, Belle.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Good Goatiquette

I would like to just say a few words about good manners because good manners are the foundation of any civilized society even a human society will not function correctly without good manners. For a goat society good manners are the only thing between us and complete chaos.

For example the Crackpot Oregonian was sharing a stall with Blue and she was bullying Blue mercilessly, as I already reported. Blue is the type to take things lying down. Or to get up and move. She is a peace-love-and-understanding goat. Not my style, but whatever.

Anyway Abby had trumped Blue and she would not accept victory gracefully. Instead she continued to bully Blue when Blue was already fully bullied. This is not good manners. She should watch how Wronny does it. Wronny has no problem with anybody who obeys her. She does not waste time and energy t-boning the obsequious.

But Abby was drunk with power and she kept on. She went to the limit. And then she went over the limit.

Blue has a long fuse. But it isn't an endless fuse. And yesterday when the farmer was at a goat show Jen was watching the farm and she called the farmer to report that she had had to separate Abby and Blue because Blue was thrashing Abby within an inch of her life.

Our farmer is weak-minded and gave a distracted response from ringside - "oh, I see, okay, that's too bad," - and made a mental note that Jen must have Blue and Abby mixed up even though Jen is not weak-minded like the farmer.

The farmer came home and discovered that in fact Blue had finally turned into the Incredible Hulk, and Abby had reaped the whirlwind, which could have been avoided if only she had had good manners. Well, what can you do, she was born in a barn.

Meanwhile, back at the goat show, a parade of beautiful Poppy Patch does took the Senior Nigerian show by storm, picking up one after another of the grands and reserves in the three different rings. The beautiful Mae West won one ring, Angel won another, Duchess won the third.

The farmer had come with the farmer from Minter Bay and four goats, all from the Cora Belle family, two daughters and two granddaughters. Wedding Belles was the only senior and she did very well, coming in second in two rings.

Then the junior show began and Cora Belle's daughter Hazelnut waltzed out into the first ring, where she was one of a very few junior kids who actually appeared to walk rather than sproing and scream and turn magically into an indignant living dust mop collecting shavings along the floor. She won the grand champion, and her niece - Cora Belle's granddaughter Coraline - was the reserve.

Now if a person didn't know any better or didn't have good manners, they would go ahead and put Hazelnut in the next ring to see if she could win again. But what would be the point of that, anyway, since only one junior win would count. So Hazelnut was scratched out of the other rings and a lovely dry yearling won the second ring. How nice.

Then came the third ring, and, what do you know, Coraline won the grand.

So that is how good manners works.

If you have bad manners, you only hurt yourself. Once you have won, it is best to leave the ring and sit smiling at ringside, filling the air with gracious humble dignity. Do not continue thrashing your opponent. Thank you.

Congratulations to Hazelnut. Congratulations to Coraline.

Congratulations to Blue.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Empire Strikes Back

Betty went ballistic and she has teetered back on top. If the rights can be sold to ESPN, the farmer is thinking of putting her in a stall with Abby for the day so that they can work it out once and for all. Wronny is in the back with the big milkers so the Crackpot Oregonian would not have her big hired goon to look out for her. (That is just an expression Wronny if you are reading this.)

Willen shed out the winter coat that was making him look like a woolly fat pony. Now he just looks like a fat pony. Or possibly a glossy palomino seal. All the horses have been mysteriously good, so the farmer is getting very suspicious.

Blue's two daughters were too pretty to keep and one has already gone to a new home. The public has been trying to buy Crumpet but so far the farmer has not cracked. Fritzi and Frodo, the brothers with another mother, are living a happy, carefree life now that they traded in their old earbiting dam (Winjay the Hun) for a kindly new cookie-baking dam (Saint Penrose.)

My mother and my daughter and I have been passing the days sunning ourselves. The paint continues to peel. The cabana continues to fall apart. Jinxy continues to get cuter. Moldy, the last of the Nigerians to kid, continues to grow bigger.

And the grass continues to grow.

Long Live the Grass, without the Grass there would be no Grass Babies.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Psych Ward

Everyone has gone crazy. Abby is on a rampage to try to move up the Nigerian ladder. She thinks because she had four kids she is four times as important as anyone else. Crumpet hardly even counts, she only weighs about six ounces. But anyway Betty is losing her grip on power. Winjay has another bat in her belfry, it is a real cavern of guano up there, and then there is Wendell.

I forgot to mention Wendell came from a puppy mill and he thinks his stuffed moose is his mother and when his screws come loose he tightens them up by suckling for hours on his Moosey Mother. It isn't even a stuffed dog. It is a stuffed moose.

The sad part is he thinks it's normal. He thinks everything he does is normal. Sad.That's what happens when you are raised by stuffed animals.

Anyway back to more important topics, we are trying to encourage Betty to hold onto her throne because we have all taken a vow NEVER to be ruled by crackpot Oregonians. We are THE BABY BELLE FAMILY.

Unfortunately all we can do from down below is watch, and Blue has already kowtowed to Typhoon Abby. It is up to Betty now to hold her ground.



Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Our Little Comet

We had a very sad day yesterday. We lost Jammies' little daughter Buckles. She was only here a short while, but she had a big spirit. She blazed through the world. Goodbye Buckles.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Cate Moss

Well it was finally picture day and all the babies paraded out. Some of them did not have names yet, including Pinky Jr.'s two daughters, who were born with no trouble and lived their whole lives (a week or so) without causing any trouble. Both were leggy blondes, like their mother, and shy and retiring like their mother.

It was decided the first one would be called Pink Champagne. She came out and was photographed and then was put away. Then her little sister came out. Her little sister is long and elegant with legs like a thoroughbred filly and a beautiful photogenic face and thin as a rail and it was decided her name would be Cate Moss. Cate with a C, because it is a C year.

"Why don't you give her a bottle?" said the photographer, who had come over from Minter Bay.

"Oh she does not take a bottle. She is not a bottle baby," the farmer pronounced.

"She looks like she wants a bottle," said the farmer from Minter Bay.

"She is not a bottle baby," our farmer repeated, slightly more loudly.

"But she looks like she wants a bottle. "

Since this appeared to be a stalemate the farmer went and got a bottle to demonstrate that Cate Moss is not a bottle baby. Cate Moss drained the bottle in 15 seconds without taking a single breath.

"Wow," said the farmer.

"There, you see," said the farmer from Minter Bay with some satisfaction.

"She is not a bottle baby, though," the farmer repeated dully, refilling the bottle with milk.

Since then Cate Moss has had six bottles, and she stands at the gate waiting for the farmer every morning.

In spite of the fact that she is not a bottle baby.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Crumpet's Corner

Great, one of the new little Pebbles knockoffs is a teeny tiny hamster that squeaks like a chew toy.

The farmer carries it around everywhere, discussing politics and mysteries of farm living with it.

"But what does hydrostatic really mean? Do you know?"

The hamster squeaks like a chew toy.

"We know "hydro" is from the Latin, meaning "water," and "static" is from the dryer, meaning "too many socks," but does that really tell us anything?"

The hamster squeaks like a chew toy.

"Would you like some more milk, Crumpet?"

That's its name. Crumpet.

Great. Just great. At least two more months of this.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Behind the Headlines

Ok well Abby had her kids and they were quadruplets and they were all does, four little girls - an extra-large one, a large one, a medium one, and an extra-small one. Then the farmer went and took a nap and when the farmer came back one of them had grown a small pair of testicles. So one of them is not a doe any more. The others still are.

They are cute I guess if you like the Oregonian look. A little too Pebble-ish for my taste.

Meanwhile the actual Pebbles was not getting any attention since no one was interested in her any more, she was old news what with the impending arrival of her four (minus one) new sisters. So she made a hole in the fence and got outside the fence and then she couldn't get back in and of course she was out by our busy road, so she started screaming and running down the middle of the street. This had never happened before so we all stood and watched it with interest. There was a nice lady in a Jeep coming and she stopped, just as the farmer came sprinting onto the scene, boots flapping merrily.

It was interesting to see the farmer running because the farmer picked up quite a bit of speed, I was rather impressed. Anyway Pebbles was rescued and scolded and the fence was fixed and of course she got the attention she wanted, including a trip to the grain room and a peanut butter sandwich cookie, which doesn't seem like much of a deterrent to me when it comes to handing out punishment.

Note to self: break something, then run around screaming.

Ok on an update Winjay refused to take her kids back even though the farmer kept trying to get her to take them. She bit their little nubbin ears when they pleaded for milk and she tried to head butt one of them.

"Okay, that is IT!" yelled the farmer. "PENROSE!"

Penrose took them, big surprise, so now she has her Grass Babies back and she couldn't be more  pleased. She feeds them and keeps the public from stepping on them and then the farmer gives them a big bottle of Winjay milk twice a day.

Anyway, it is a good lesson to us all, you never know what you might find in the long grass, you just have to keep your eyes open and your hopes up.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Headlines Only

Overloaded Freighter Docks
Passengers have disembarked from the Good Ship Abby. Captain cited for exceeding occupancy limits. All souls safe. Details to follow.... 

Twin Bests Sister in WMOYA Race
Winjay strips Maddy (Sheriff of Crazytown) of (Worst) Mother of the Year Award. "Not even close," marvels bleary-eyed farmer... 

Cabana Looks Worse Than Ever
"How is it possible?" marvels bleary-eyed etc (see above)...

Pebbles' Brush With Death
Don't worry, it's ok now...

Willen Enters Fattest Haflinger Contest
"Why not?"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grass Babies

Winnie is very sensible and cooperative and an excellent mother and a professional dairy goat anyone can milk. She is known for it. Her daughter Winjay is the opposite. Winjay's mind is a superstore of bad ideas. Aisle upon aisle of harebrained schemes and crackpot notions.

Today it came time for Winjay to have her kids. What did she do? Did she go up to the barn where there was a nice roomy clean private kidding stall waiting for her?

No. She went down to the old ramshackle cabana which is going to be demolished soon if it doesn't fall down by itself first which it is doing in stages. In addition to being so ramshackle that it would be considered ridiculously overdone if it were used on tv as an example of a decrepit goat shed, the cabana has been slowly filling up with goat berries over the last ten years and by now there are billions of them under the main floor, because everyone likes to lie on the main floor up off the ground and the berries fall through the slats. Overall it is an excellent system.

But Winjay did not go on the main floor which is what you are supposed to do. She crawled and wiggled and wormed her way underneath the floor so that she was lying on a carpet of vintage goat berries to have her kids.  The farmer came down and tried to wrassle her out but she wouldn't budge.

So the farmer went and got some towels and caught the kids as they came out and put them in the middle of the down-below pasture in the bright sun to dry and then came back to try to drag Winjay out but it was no dice. Penrose happened along and saw the kids lying in the grass and she thought they were hers and she started cleaning them and fixing their hair and she showed one of them how to stand up and meanwhile the farmer tugged on Winjay's leg but she has a mysterious superpower of turning herself into a 3,000 pound concrete block when she feels like it so forget about that.

The farmer came back and by this time the kids were dry and Penrose was explaining to them that the milk comes from the udder and not the knee and if they would move towards the back she could assist them in filling their stomachs but just then the farmer picked them up and took them to the barn, jostling them around so that they would scream.

"Winjay will follow us when she hears them screaming," the farmer told Wendell, who was performing his supernanny functions. Wendell goggled his eyes in disbelief.

Winjay did not follow at all, she continued reclining in her sumptuous berry patch. Instead, Penrose trotted along solicitously. "There is a milk tap on each side," she was explaining to the babies, "so you will both be able to drink at the same time. Now just hop down here and I will show you how it's done."

"No Penrose," said the farmer. "You do not have enough milk for these babies. These are LaMancha piranhas, they will suck you dry."

The farmer went into the barn and shut the gate on Penrose. Penrose stood there for a minute thinking, then turned and ran back down to the cabana where she spent the rest of the morning combing through the long grass looking for more babies.

It's dark now so I can't see but she is probably still out there. Good luck, Penrose. Hope you find some more Grass Babies.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pinky's Cup of Tea

Pinky was due May 29, and her younger aunty-sister Pinky Jr. was due May 24, but yesterday they both dropped their ligaments and the race was on. In spite of being a first-timer, Pinky Jr. took a traditional approach to the whole kidding, going through the process methodically, lying down to push, making a nest etc., it was just as if she had read a book on how to do it.

She made it to the finish line first, kidding a couple of little pink does in mid-afternoon.

Pinky is a nonconformist and she did not do any of these things and she certainly would never consider reading a book. It was slow going but the farmer went in and poked enough to find out that the first candidate was coming nose and toes. Fine then, take your time. One foot eventually popped out and Pinky still would not lie down. Another foot popped out and the end of a nose, and still no lying down.

"I think you will do better if you lie down to push, Pinky," the farmer suggested in a knowledgeable tone.

Pinky does not take advice, it isn't her cup of tea, if you know so much about it let's see you do it, and she continued strolling nonchalantly around the stall with two footies poking out the back.

The farmer gave a sigh and said, "oh well, have it your way," and went to feed the bucks quickly, then came back.

What happened? Pinky had sucked the feet back in, and was eating alfalfa with relish. I guess I should say with gusto.

"Orlando, Florida!" the farmer cussed, and scolded Pinky for sucking the baby back in.

Pinky couldn't give a drat, she kept eating and strolling. Finally she set in to heavy pushing and she still wouldn't lie down, groaning and stomping her feet like a sumo wrestler.

"That thing is not getting away again," said the farmer, and caught hold of the two legs once they reappeared and inch by inch pulled out probably the biggest doe kid ever born here, covered with little moonspots. Pinky stood up the whole time, demanding world peace and paid holidays at the top of her lungs.

Then for more eating and strolling as the evening ticked away and finally around nine she backed up to the loading dock and dropped off another kid without ever touching the ground except with her feet. This was a girl who would have been the largest doe kid ever born here if she had been born first but as it was she only came in second. She is black and white like her dad. She looks like a pinto pony and eats like a Clydesdale. The farmer thinks there might be a little old kids' saddle up in the hayloft that will fit her. Her name will be Pinky's Cup of Tea.

As soon as they were out Pinky flopped to the ground and took a nap.

Land Whale Beached...

Pinky the Land Whale has calved. Details to follow...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mother of the Year....Not

You should see Wronny's two kids. Maybe some day there will be a picture. Anyway the point is Wronny feeds them all the time. And she also keeps them spotless. They look like the first day of school, spit-shined with their hair slicked back, fat and happy.

Ok then you should see Jammies' two daughters. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are the two most perfect micro-Manchas born anywhere in the world in the history of time. Jammies keeps them immaculate: when they are sleeping they look like a great idea for a new show on Nickelodeon, the two cutest little miniature hamster-monkeys in the world, fat and happy and storing up sleep for a new adventure in the morning. All they need is a theme song.

Ok I think you know where this is going. Anyway at 11:30 on Sunday night the neighbor called to say that one of the babies in the barn was screaming and wouldn't stop. The neighbor knows all the babies, she is a good neighbor. She was over by the fence and heard this constant high-pitched screaming. "I think it is Mango," she said. "Do you want me to go over and check?"

No, thank you for calling, the farmer zipped out there and sure enough as soon as you opened the door to the house there came a very angry screaming. Loud and offended and indignant and extremely distressed. But it didn't sound like Mango. This was the type of screaming that if there were an app to translate it into English the translation would be: "where is the milk that I was promised? I NEED IT RIGHT AWAY!"

Out in the barn were the fat happy babies and the milkers and some of the fat ladies and in the stall at the back were Penrose and Maddy. Penrose was there so she could get extra food and be milked occasionally since there is just no way to dry her off, she is an everlasting fountain of milk. Maddy was there because she was supposed to have her babies - not this week but next week - and she needed to get on her pre-kidding regimen.

Ok of course she skipped the pre-kidding and went right to the kidding and popped her babies out but she was not in a babyproof stall and one of the babies had rolled under the stall door into the aisle where it was fortunately screaming its head off. The other was inside the stall bumbling around ineptly,  both still sopping wet and  no good at standing up, but with lungs like Luciano Pavarotti.

Penrose was attempting to assist one of the babies, then running to the stall door to look at the screamer stranded in the aisle, then running back chuckling to the other baby and nuzzling it, then running back to encourage the other. Wronny had her head over the door and was offering useful advice - "why don't you stand up? That's what I always do when I want to walk somewhere."

Jammies and even Pinky the oblivious Land Whale looked on sympathetically.

Maddy gazed off into the distance, wishing that high-pitched racket would STOP, how on Earth was she supposed to get any sleep?

Fast forward Day Two. Wronny's babies, spotless, fat, happy. Jammies' babies: immaculate, adorable, fat, happy. Maddy's babies: bedraggled and besmirched, no one cleaned them properly, sad and thin and hungry.

The farmer called for the Super Nanny (Wendell): he came out and cleaned the back ends in very short order. Then the farmer filled them up with milk.

"You will get one more day, Maddy.  Just watch Jammies and Wronny if you want to see how it's done. One more day. And then they are going on bottles for good."

....stay tuned.....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gulliver's Travels. And Also Halfway's.

Well yesterday was a work day at the farm, like every other day, but this time there were helpers to do some of the 10,000 things that need to be done including fixing some fences and reattaching a blown-off roof to the buck shed and clearing the brush from the hot wire and so on.

Anyway it was supposed to also be picture day for Wronny's bucklings, Gulliver and Halfway. But right at the start of the work day the farmer let them out to browse the barnyard with Wronny. One of the kids was supposed to be watching them, I won't name names but it was Seth. The reason he was supposed to watch them is if you don't watch them they toddle off after they have drunk about a gallon of milk and they find a hiding place and they conk out like a light into a  milk stupor and then you can't find them. Once they are in a  milk stupor they sleep for hours.

Anyway after about five minutes the farmer asked Seth where they were because Wronny was walking around without them and Seth said, "who?"

Okay so they were gone and at first the farmer looked for them halfheartedly in the usual places - behind the sheets of plywood, over by the log pile, under the fence posts, etc. Then the farmer forgot about them. The whole morning ticked by.

Then the farmer started looking for them wholeheartedly and even then they couldn't be found. After five or six hours people started to get a little nervous. Perhaps they have been snatched up by an eagle or something or joined the circus.

Okay anyway no thanks to the farmer they were finally discovered under the porch of the main house where they had been planning to enjoy an 8-hour milk stupor but after only six hours they were dragged out into the light of day and returned to their rightful owner, just as everyone was getting ready to leave.

So they didn't get their pictures taken. If they had it would have been a picture of two fast-asleep bucklings, both exceedingly strapping and handsome, one black with white trim and his father's quizzical expression, and one with a big white belly band like a giant Oreo cookie.

So if you can picture that in your mind's eye it will have to do for now.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Portrait Gallery

Wronny and Jammies are doing very well. Why shouldn't they, with 24 hour room service. They are getting the new goat grain that is only for milkers and they love it. Also they get nutter butters and fig newtons, which I don't think is fair.

Wronny's two sons have turned out to be so handsome that they will have their portraits taken today. Meanwhile Buckles has learned to walk properly, woop-dee-doo. Jinx has not done anything interesting but for some reason people can't stop picking her up and carrying her around and talking baby talk to her. It's rather embarrassing to watch but I suppose it attracts attention away from that annoying Butter Belle. 

The portraits will go right underneath here when they are ready.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

That's How We Got Here

Well a lot has been happening here, probably too much, first of all after many years of waiting Wronny finally went into labor for real. As soon as the farmer left for town to run errands.

If you would like to jinx somebody when they have their kids, the best thing to do is tell everybody how easy it is for them, how they are a top professional and never need any help. Do that, like the farmer did, then go to town.

So Wronny started trying to have her kids and she just wasn't getting anywhere. The farmer came home a couple of hours later and found her, wrung out with pushing, and just a head sticking out, a big head.

"I'm sorry Wronny," the farmer said, and through some kind of miracle the farmer was able to get one leg around and then a mighty tug of war ensued and finally the kid flopped out like a fish. This kid was a gigantic buck kid and no offense to him but he was one of the deadest looking little gentlemen you ever saw but the farmer spanked and spanked him and swung him around and after about three minutes he spluttered, just like the farmer's Stihl chain saw that won't even pop and causes all kinds of blue language and then finally blurts to life.

Then comes the next one, only very slightly better, this one has a head like a basketball and one leg back and the farmer can't get the second leg so there is nothing for it but another mighty tug of war and this guy plops out and he isn't that much easier to start, both of them have been stuck in there for a while and they are not firing on all cylinders.

And then the farmer bounces Wronny and feels a slight bounce, then bounces again and nothing. And again, and nothing. And so the farmer brings Wronny a special drink, and some alfalfa and cookies and calcium, and goes to let everybody else in and do the milking and the rest of the chores. And when the farmer checks on Wronny about an hour later she looks okay.

But not quite right. Something isn't quite right.

Well the next time the farmer comes back Wronny still hasn't passed her placenta and she still doesn't look right so the farmer decides there is nothing for it but to go in and sure enough there is another kid in there and this kid is about as stuck as you can get and it takes ten minutes of flipping and rearranging and end-of-the-world bellowing and finally the last buck kid comes out but the farmer cannot get him started.

He gets the full 911 but he will not start.

"I'm sorry Wronny," says the farmer and Wronny being a queen reacts in a dignified fashion not mentioning that she never goes to town when the farmer needs help, and after nuzzling the third triplet gently for a couple of minutes she turns her attention graciously to her two other bucklings and the farmer decides then and there to let her keep them instead of making them bottle babies.

It seems like the right thing to do.

Ok fine a couple of days pass and then Jammies goes into labor and if you aren't satisfied with jinxing just one kidding, be sure and invite someone over to watch the next one and that should guarantee another jinx.

Jammies starts to push and the farmer sets the timer for one hour, this is the inflexible ONE HOUR RULE.

If you are ever wondering how long should you wait after your doe starts pushing before you do something, here is the answer you have been looking for. WAIT ONE HOUR.

Well the timer gets to 57 minutes and the farmer goes and washes up and comes back and starts in to poking around and there is no nose to be found, and there are no toes. The nose-and-toes position, which is the position you always want, is not happening.

All right then starts in the bellowing and the fishing and the farmer is getting a very perplexed look and finally out comes a tiny little pancake of a doeling and it is immediately apparent that there isn't really any point in the 911, the little doeling was never made for this world, so back in and what a tangle it is getting the next one out but my goodness it is a normal one and after a kindly thrashing it is wide awake and raring to go, and then back in, and yes, there is another, only this one is UPSIDE DOWN, laying on her back with her toes to the sky, and it takes some swirling but she comes out and agrees to breathe and after a bit she looks like she will make it only she won't be able to walk properly for a while because of her tendons being so horribly contracted but that is nothing of any importance.

And so that's what happened. It wasn't easy by any means but Gulliver and Halfway were born, and so were Buckles and Jinx.

Triplet bucks, then triplet does. Things could have gone better. But they could have gone a lot worse.

So that's how we got here. And here we are.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dear Diary

The little fat one Clara Belle gets carried around a lot. It runs up to the farmer simpering the way Moldy used to do. Then it jumps up on the farmer which isn't supposed to be allowed. Then it gets picked up and carried around, preening down on everyone with a simper from high above with lordly airs. I really don't like that one. I hope I do not see it get carried to the grain bin. If I do I will make a black mark in my book and a mental note to t-bone it when it comes down in our pasture. When the farmer isn't looking, obviously.

Eo is keeping a detailed list of grievances against it so I will add mine in there also.

1. Simpering
2. Preening
3. Jumping up (not allowed)
4. Lordly airs
5. Obesity

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

are - oh - see

Well the samples went to the lab and Cherry's milk came back 6% butterfat, that explains the sleepyheadedness of the population when placed on Cherry milk. It also explains Clara Belle's waistline, since Iota's milk came back over 8% butterfat. But it doesn't explain Betty's stingy mark of 3.2% butterfat, that doesn't really make sense, unless the milk tester sort of forgot to mix the milk right with the dipper, and took all the milk off the top for Iota and Cherry's samples, and off the bottom for Betty. Anyway we'll see what happens next time.

In other news the milkers and babies got to go out in the front pasture with Willen the Haflinger who is too fat to go in the back and eat nice grass with the other horses who are enjoying some delicious red top. There isn't much grass there since Willen ate it all but there is a large thicket of blackberries poking through the fenceline.

The horseshoer came over and he was in a mood and he used a lot of colorful sayings, including "that's a ration of crap," which is what he says when he hears something preposterous like the cost of vet bills or how much the hospitals charge to take out a little kidney stone the size of a pea.

They charge a lot, and "that's a ration of crap."

Feel free to use this expression if you need to, it comes in handy, if you are in polite society you can say, "that's an R - O - C."

If you still do not understand what it means, here are some examples of how to use it:

a.) Wronny still has not had her babies, and that's an R - O - C.

b) The grass hay has gotten very stale, and that's an R - O - C.

c) They didn't tell us the electric fence was back on, and that's an R - O - C.

( phonetically: are - oh - see. )

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Circles that you find...

We have all become very concerned about Clara Belle.

Her brother went to his new home and Clara Belle has been forced to drink all of Iota's milk. We didn't get the results back yet, but judging by her waistline I think it must be about 10% butterfat. In fact I was going to suggest if it isn't too late maybe her name could be changed to Butter Belle. Or possibly Beach Belle.

By this time she is about twice the size of Midget, who is quite a bit older, and she shows no sign of slowing down.

"How adorable," the visitors say when she comes stampeding toward them to be picked up.

"Oh dear," they say, when they try to lift her.

"Try this one," the farmer will say, and hand them Mango, who weighs about two pounds, or LGO (the little gray one). Even Clover weighs about half as much as Clara Belle.

Meanwhile Coco and Coffee have retained a surprising amount of Nubianity, considering that by this time they are only 1/16th Nubian.

Yesterday when everyone came into the barn for dinner they all ran into the usual stalls, except Coco who started running in a circle and jumping off the milk stands in the aisle. She went around once, and then twice, and then three times, and by that time the farmer had closed all the doors to shut everyone in and just stood staring at Coco.

Even Pinky was perplexed and asked Coco what she was doing.

"I am running in a circle! A circle goes around and around," she answered, panting. "Forever!"

The farmer snatched her up and dropped her over the stall door, or I think she would still be out there putting her views on geometry into action.

I hope she doesn't start trying to run in a trapezoid. Or a parabola.

We continue to be sobered by the circles that we find in the windmills of the Nubian mind.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Wronny's Kids....

....Still did not get born.

"This is a little ridiculous, Wronny," said the farmer, showing Wronny the calendar where it was marked in ink that she was going to kid in March.

"It is MAY now."

Wronny chewed her cud impassively.

The farmer showed a list of names of people waiting to take cheesemaking classes where they milk the professional goats and then make cheese.

"Do you want these people to have to milk Cherry?"

Wronny chewed her cud impassively.

"Or perhaps you think they would like to milk Iota?"

Iota's style of milking is that she gobbles the food as fast as she can with one half of her mouth while at the same time emitting a constant only slightly muffled high-pitched scream with the other half. This is really an astonishing trick, it is like something you would see in Las Vegas. Not on the Strip but maybe out on one of the side streets. Pretty far out, actually. In the desert, maybe.

Also while screaming she kicks one of her back legs in a sort of sidestroke motion so that she looks like a little white frog.

The funny part is that she has improved almost 51% since she started: in the beginning she wouldn't eat at all and just devoted herself to kicking both legs and splitting everyone's eardrums with a completely unmuffled banshee howl.

"This is why Nigerians get a bad reputation," the farmer said darkly to Betty, like it is Betty's fault because Iota is her daughter. Betty chewed her cud impassively. "She gets that from her father," she told us when the farmer went away.

"I want those kids on the ground, Wronny," the farmer blathered on. "And no more false alarms. Stop pretending to wax over and loosen your ligaments. Do you hear me?"

Wronny chewed her cud impassively.

Meanwhile while all the charts were being reviewed Poppy popped out a set of triplet doelings without any sermon from the farmer and after a short stay in the delivery room they were ushered out to mix with the other  mothers and babies and this was an occasion for another lecture.

"I do not want anyone bothering Poppy," the farmer harangued the other mothers. " She is very shy and sweet and I do not want any of you monsters bothering her or her triplets. Does everyone understand me?"

Betty, Iota, and Cherry chewed their cuds impassively.

An hour or so later the farmer came out to check the baby stall and Poppy had pinned the other mothers to the far wall with a series of masterful head flips, backed up by skillful earbiting and Sugar Ray Leonard style body blows. Poppy and her triplets lived inside an imaginary line that cut the stall in half. The other mothers and kids lived in the other half.

The hay feeder and the water bucket - you guessed it - were on Poppy's side.

You never know what motherhood will do for someone.

"Hmm," mused the farmer. "Maybe Poppy could train Iota how to milk properly."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Milk Master Midget

Well the milk test day has come and gone.

Here is what happened.

Coco Plum slept the whole day since she was planning to do that anyway.

Coffee Bean escaped from the barn but since she is part Nubian she did not know she had escaped and she ran back in and was reapprehended. But since she is part Nubian she did not know she was reapprehended so she was just relieved. She would not take a bottle but drank freely from the farmer's elbow. Since she is part Nubian she did not know that there is no milk in the elbow.

Write this down if you are making a chart or something: there are no (zero) mammary glands in the elbow.

Anyway the mind is a powerful organ even in a Nubian and after drinking her fill of elbow milk Coffee was convinced that she needed a nap and she nodded off as usual.

Cubby and Clover guzzled freely from the bottles that were provided. For a while it was feared that Cubby might explode.

Horatio drank sparingly, just enough to get by. Clara Belle drank only a little, but gobbled extra hay.

At 9 a.m. Midget guaranteed that his gallbladder would explode if he were not reunited immediately with his beloved mother. He sang heartbreaking spirituals to himself to keep hope alive. Nobody knew the trouble he had seen. How could they?

At 10 a.m. Midget refused the bottle. "I will never drink from that bottle!" he screamed.

At 11 a.m. Midget refused the bottle.  "Please come and take me!" he beseeched the sky. "My suffering is too great for this world!"

I felt like clapping. It was quite a Passion Play.

At noon Midget refused the bottle. At 2 p.m. Midget refused the bottle.

At 3 p.m. Midget guzzled exhaustively from the bottle with a speed and dexterity not seen since the days when Tangy was a bottle baby. It was feared he might explode. A murmur of awe went up from the gallery.

When you see a Milk Master, a true Milk Master,  you must tip your hat, one professional to another.

Well played, Midget.