Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Iron Baby

Crumpet has refused to grow and when the farmer went to measure her against the scratch on the tack room door from February there was no point in making a new scratch because it would have been in the same place as the February scratch. But nonetheless her personality is getting bigger and bigger and pretty soon there will not be enough room in her body for it.

For some reason when a tiny goat has the personality of a tyrant which Crumpet does everyone seems to think it is adorable.

"Oh look at the little one! It is t-boning that big one's knee! Ha ha ha!"

Yes, very funny, I guess these people have never heard of a torn ACL. She is also a fast runner and has developed a system of escape holes that no one else can fit through. You would have better luck finding Nemo than catching Crumpet. So she does a lot of hit and runs. She is also so low to the ground that any attempted return t-bonings can result in a head injury to those seeking justice. Pinky demonstrated this the other day. Or maybe that is not a head injury.

Anyway there is only truly one way to describe Crumpet. She is a handbagger. If anyone was wondering where the spirit of Margaret Thatcher the Milk Snatcher went, it is right here, alive and well, and wreaking havoc.

Margaret Thatcher, who always had a large handbag at her side, was actually the source of the term “handbagging,” which now appears in the Oxford English dictionary. A member of British Parliament once said that Thatcher couldn’t “look at a British institution without hitting it with her handbag,” and the expression stuck. Today, it is defined as the “verbal and psychological beating of one’s opponents,” and it is formally recognized as having been named after Margaret Thatcher.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Double Toothpicks

We have a lot of ratchet straps here. If you have the right number and the right kind of ratchet straps you can tie anything down. Really anything. A barn or a tugboat or anything. There is a certain kind of person who really likes to tie things down. This includes a lot of farmers.

This type of person will have a process for tying things down and probably a set of homemade load binders and if you stand too close to this type of person during certain times of the year - hay season, usually - the person may just spontaneously start describing how they tie things down. You will have to move a safe distance away to avoid this. Pretend you have seen a flock of hummingbirds in the distance and just move discreetly out of range, with your eyes fixed on the horizon.

During the hay season our farmer always surveys the other trucks in the field to make sure that none of them are getting more bales on their truck than we are. If one of them is, the farmer will mutter, "well, that is a flatbed," or, "they won't get home with that load."  By way of introduction the farmer may walk up to newcomers in the hay field and ask innocently, "how many bales can you get on your truck?"

Once the answer came back, "65," and the whole day was ruined because it is a known fact that Brownie's world record is 63 bales of hay. That is if we have good hay monkeys - teenage boys, usually - and the right kind of ratchet straps. If the farmer is loading alone that number drops in half.

On the other hand once there was a man with a shiny new truck that looked like it cost about $50,000 and he told the farmer proudly that he was able to get 16 bales of hay on his truck and the farmer spent the rest of the day chuckling fondly.

Wendell chuckled too, he is a yes man, every time the farmer said, "Sixteen bales!"

Anyway I am only thinking about tying down because yesterday there was an unexpected bonanza. When the farmer went to the feed mill a shipment of peas had come in out of season.

We did not know there were going to be peas. When the peas came out to the feeders, all hell broke loose. Usually we are supposed to keep the Hell tied down, double toothpicks and all, with the twin ratchet straps of a tough herdqueen and a predictable routine. Or at least part of the way tied down. But there is no herdqueen who can hold the herd when unexpected peas arrive.

And the ratchet strap has not been made.

So it broke loose. Way loose. Completely loose. All of it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

May I Have This Askance?

Well a couple of weeks ago we had a nice weekend and the temperature got up in the 60s. And then after that everything went sideways, with hail and sleet and wind and nighttimes almost freezing. But Moldy for some reason as soon as we had one nice day she thought she was back in Lagos or something because she shed her whole coat out way too far to the point of being practically bald. Anyway I thought that was her own fault and it might be a good opportunity for her to learn a lesson but the farmer started looking around for a jacket for Moldy. But Moldy has not missed many meals and her circumference is too big for a regular Nigerian jacket and too small for a big goat jacket.

So this gave a good opportunity for a Vocabulary Day. It is always good to learn new words, especially if you are part Nubian where learning a new word can practically double your vocabulary. Don't worry, you Nubians out there, I am not going to ask you to do any math problems, but if someone in the future asks you what double means it means twice as much (2 banana peels instead of one).

Anyway: Askance.

adv. With an attitude or look of suspicion or disapproval. Suspiciouslydoubtfullydubiouslyskepticallydisapprovinglydistrustfullymistrustfully

used in a sentence: "When Moldy appeared out of nowhere tippy-toeing along on her little dachshund legs in a royal blue jacket two sizes too small, Willen looked at her askance."

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Tadpole Jubilee

Okay there was a switch. The whole Jammies family except Jinxy and the whole Moldy family came down here in our pasture. My mother came back down here too. The Blue family came also and the Betty family.

Wronny Soprano stayed where she was so was so Abby and I were able to have the full-blown smackdown we have been planning for years. We started the smackdown one on one and it went really well and then my daughter Izzy joined me and the tide turned immediately but then Moldy came in on the Abby side and the tide turned back and my mother Belle Pepper came in and then Pebbles put a head in on the Moldy side and all in all it was a top-rated smackdown, certainly the best smackdown in years, but just when it was reaching its peak Maddy the Sheriff of Crazytown raced past with Eo hot on her heels in a state of apoplectic rage.

Now Eo never makes a sound and rules through mind control and spraying the fear on everyone and how you can tell she is in a state of apoplectic rage, as opposed to her usual state of seething rage or her slightly elevated state of simmering rage is that her ears will go back like a horse when it is about to kick someone. Anyway Maddy breezed past us, as they say at the racetrack, and Eo was hot on her heels, with her ears back and Game of Thrones written all over her face in bold gothic type.

A word about Maddy, just one word: crazy. Here is how Maddy operates: when she is up with the bigs she cowers and scrapes and can hardly get a bite to eat. The farmer is constantly having to take her out and give her special food and feed her on her own so that she doesn't get thin as a rail and she is also super picky and often will stand on the milkstand with her special meals picking out the corn from the feeder and then tossing the oats and barley on the floor and when the farmer sees this the farmer's ears will go slightly back like a horse about to kick someone and little puffs of smoke will come out the farmer's ears and then we usually will get to hear one of our favorite speeches, either the "Is This the Thanks I Get?" speech or the "Do You Know How Much Grain Costs These Days?" speech.

But then if Maddy goes in with little goats or even babies she turns immediately from abject coward to world's biggest bully and delights in nothing more than t-boning unsuspecting Nigerians which there aren't very many unsuspecting Nigerians but now and then she finds one. So anyway the farmer thought it would be a good time to put Maddy in with the smalls since there was a big change happening anyway and probably  nobody would notice her etc which we probably never would have what with our excellent smackdown but of course the farmer neglected to consider our fearless leader Eo whose radar goes all the way to the ground and possibly even deeper than that so there is absolutely no way to get under it.

Maddy did not get two steps into our pasture before Eo was on her tail. Elbie and Too, the mini-manchas, joined the parade. We dropped our smackdown and joined.  Even Moldy ran a few steps on her dachshund legs before yelling, "That's Right! You Heard Me!" and lying down to catch her breath. The parade raged over hill and dale, with the mini-manchas' tongues hanging out, and Maddy loping tirelessly - she has a lot of practice running - and after a while we decided to drop out for the hilly parts and catch up on the flat runs, but Eo ran with gimlet eyes, her fury never never dimming, always two steps behind Maddy. NOT IN MY PASTURE.

It was definitely a case of tadpoles' revenge. If you get enough tadpoles you can rout a whale, especially if the tadpoles have a leader like Eo. After about twenty highly aerobic minutes the farmer gave up and opened the gate to let Maddy out, and then closed the gate on Eo, two steps behind.

Maddy turned around when she was sure the gate was tightly closed, and she was probably thinking of saying something, but when she saw the look in Eo's eyes she could not think of any remarks that would really suit the occasion. So she scampered off and the rest of the day was a tadpole jubilee.