Thursday, May 30, 2013

They Might be Tiny Giants

Clara Belle the farmer's pet yearling kept getting bigger and  bigger. She was supposed to kid but she held off. The barometer dropped and there was a downpour but she held off, getting bigger and bigger. Crumpet meanwhile spent every day spying through her peephole and when the new babies would be let out to play she would squirt through the fence and gallop to the barn and t-bone each and every one of them in rapid succession, Muhammad Ali style, float like a butterfly sting like a bee.

The farmer was losing patience.

Crumpet did her t-boning practice for 3 days with complete success, dominating all the week-old babies. Once she had fully dominated she would give three little sideways hops signifying her badness. That's right -- hop, hop, hop -- I'm bad. The farmer caught her and stuffed her back through the fence a few times when she got too full of herself but in general she ran rampant.

On the fourth day she decided to go Big. She surveyed the pasture and picked out Moony, who may be big - she is the biggest yearling here, and possibly in the world, since she still drinks a gallon of Pinky milk every day - but she is also slow, uncoordinated, and not an intellectual giant.

Crumpet did her first big league t-boning when Pinky and Moony both got their heads stuck in the fence. They had put their heads through the same hole at the same time and couldn't get out. They didn't notice it at first, they thought they were just waiting for everyone to get off the bus and then they could go where they wanted to go, but when everyone else left and they still couldn't move and the farmer said, "well, you figured out a way to get your heads in there, I think you can figure out a way to get out," they started moaning softly, like they were in a sad church or something.

It was very spiritual.

Crumpet got a gleam in her eye and she started t-boning Moony to such an extent that even though it was a fly attacking an elephant, the farmer had to come down and get Moony and Pinky out of the fence and the farmer attempted at that time to catch Crumpet because Crumpet had been promised a long-overdue thrashing but Crumpet dodged away.

Tiny Tyrant 1, Moony 0.

"All right," said the farmer to Clara Belle, "you go ahead and have your kids whenever you want just do not have them in the middle of the night. It is not allowed."

Later that day, at midnight actually, Clara Belle laid down and started screaming.

The farmer came trotting with the kidding towels.

"Ok," said the farmer, rubbing the first one, a big starry-eyed buckling.

"Why it's called Midnight," the farmer explained to Clara Belle as she pushed out another buckling, also big and starry-eyed, "is that it comes in the middle of the night."

Clara gulped down a quart of grape-flavored Emergen-C in a bucket.

"And that isn't allowed, as I explained earlier."

The bucklings looked exactly like their father, Lucky the Drive-Through Buck, right down to the last detail, swanky and blue-eyed with lush black-and-white coats, like they were on their way to hear Frank Sinatra crooning somewhere. They were tiny, but they were giants.

Crumpet surveyed them with satisfaction through her spyhole. Two more worthy opponents.

They might be giants, thought Crumpet, but they are no match for me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Book of Names

We have a goat named Pinky. And we have a goat named Pinky Jr. And just to show the breadth of imagination at work here, we also have a goat named Binky. None of these names are their real names. They all have real names on their papers but nobody knows what they are any more. Once the farmer was at a show and the announcer came on the loudspeaker in the barn and announced the reserve champion, Moonshine Yarrow, and the farmer wondered who that was, because the farmer thought that one of our goats had been the reserve champion and we even had the ribbon to prove it, but oh dear maybe someone was on the way to confiscate the rosette. And then someone passing by said congratulations and the farmer realized that Moonshine Yarrow was actually Tangy.

"Oh, that's right."

But anyway we have a Pinky and a Pinky Jr. and a Binky. Blue Jaye's two little daughters are getting bird names since she has a bird name and one is called Diamond Dove and the other is called Dollarbird. Dollarbird is a wisecracker, it's plain to see already, she is always chewing on a little piece of straw in the corner of her mouth and everyone calls her Dinky Dollarbird, which sounds like an outlaw name, which she definitely is, and she is also very small, she is this year's Crumpet, which last year's Crumpet doesn't like at all. Dinky Dollarbird could easily be a cartoon character, she has blue eyes and wattles growing right under her ears.

But of course after you say Dinky Dollarbird five times you start to feel a little less syllabic and pretty soon it's just Dinky, which someone suggested as a name in the D contest.

Clover's little daughters are Derringer (she is a pistol) and the other one might be Polka Dot, she is all black with a white dot on her head and another on the tip of her tail. She is extremely sweet, not a pistol at all.

Sandy's little son is just called Sandy's little son, he has four caramel-colored boots and big Hello-Kitty Oregonian eyes. Jessie's little son would also be called Sandy's little son, but that name is taken. So he is called Jessie's little son, even though he is exceedingly fat.

Maybe later on one of them could get an official name, something like Finky. Or Ginky. Or possibly Rinky or Kinky. Minky would also work. Or Tinky. We might save Sinky for later, and Winky is too good to use right away. Pinky the Third has not been used as far as I know.

The ideas just keep coming. It's amazing.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Not Today

Brandy has gotten really old and now that she is a teenager she has a habit of nodding off in the pasture and when she does she usually does a face plant into the grass so that when you look at her you think, swing low sweet chariot. Here comes the band of LaMancha angels you think, and if you had a hat on you would take it off and hold it over your heart.

But anyway she is 13 and she is just sleeping, and she is also deaf as a post so when the farmer yells, "BRANDY!" she continues sleeping until the farmer trots up and grabs her shoulder and then she startles awake and plucks her head up, and her face is usually plastered with blades of grass, and it takes a few seconds for her eyes to swim back into focus, really it makes you wonder what she has been dreaming, and then she shakes her head in annoyance and the day goes on.

Then there is Spenny and she is 16 and she is the same, she sleeps 23 hours a day and if anything she is deafer than Brandy. Out of the blue we hear the farmer roaring: "SPENNY!" And then the day goes on. Then we see the rudely awoken Spenny on her constitutional, circling the house arthritically, five times like clockwork, after all she may be old but she is still a border collie, before going on to another power nap.

Tommy aka Tomba aka Tomba-la-Bamba the horse is 26 but he doesn't go in for all-day sleeping, it isn't his cup of tea, and he isn't deaf either. He is just thin when he used to always be fat but otherwise you wouldn't know he is a dinosaur.

Anyway a day doesn't go by that we don't hear "BRANDY!"


And then we hear a little snort. And then we hear the farmer again, in a normal voice: "Not today."

Some other day, maybe. But not today.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


~~~ Lifeboats Part 2 ~~~

The next morning the farmer comes out and starts feeding. The farmer notices that Binky is opening her mouth and doing the donkey bray of alarm. Only no sound is coming out. She is too hoarse.

"That's odd," says the farmer.

"Peep," screams Binky, sounding like a distant mouse.

Binky has a bag of milk the size of Rhode Island.

"That's odd," says the farmer.

"Peep," Binky mute-bellows.

Finally a glimmer goes on in the farmer's eyes. The farmer trots over and looks under the porch and can't see anything. The farmer gets the tractor and turns the tractor lights on and aims them under the porch. The farmer can't see anything. The farmer gets down and wiggles a few feet under the porch and re-adjusts the tractor lights and off in a distant dark completely inaccessible under-porch area sees a faint glimmer of one of Binky's babies - the pale sundgau stripe on one of his black cheeks.

Binky is on the loose now and running all around the porch silent-screaming. Occasionally she gets a faint heroic peep out.

The farmer calls the babies. Nothing. The farmer puzzles. The farmer gets on top of the porch and looks down through the floorboards and is able to locate the baby spot, just beside the workbench where the farmer has been cutting boards for the new fence gates. The farmer gets the air compressor and points the nozzle through the crack in the floorboards, about a quarter inch wide. The farmer turns the compressor on, blowing air on the babies. The purpose of this idea remains mysterious; in any case the babies don't move.

"Hmm," says the farmer.

The farmer tries a couple of other bad ideas. Then the farmer gets a good idea. The farmer picks up the phone and calls the neighbor, a mechanical genius.

Within a few minutes the neighbor has arrived and fashioned a ten foot long baby goat fishing pole out of pvc pipe, some bolts, and a foot long metal hook designed for holding hoses. The neighbor crawls a few feet under the porch, deploys the fishing pole skillfully, hooks the sundgau baby, and pulls him out, inch by inch.

The baby emerges, blinking, covered with dirt, spider webs, and sawdust blown down on him through the porch floorboards by the air compressor.

"I wonder how he got all that sawdust on him," says the neighbor.

"That's strange, isn't it,"  says the farmer.

While the first baby is drinking a gallon of milk the second baby comes out on her own.

For no reason at all Binky gazes at the farmer with admiration as the two babies empty her bag of milk in record time.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Last Call for the Lifeboats

Ok Crumpet lives by herself in the horse pasture now. She has a secret squeeze hole no one else can get through and she squeezed through and now she lives under one of the cable spools, like a little troll.
She decided to move there because that pasture is centrally located with access to the barn, the horse feeders, the fat girl pasture, and the coddled pregnant Nigerian ladies' pasture. These are all places where two meals a day are served and Crumpet eats some of every meal and if you are keeping track that is eight meals a day plus tips.

The tips are the farmer actually lets Crumpet inside the feed chute to clean up any spilled grain after the fat girl feeding. So really that is nine meals a day. I know what you are thinking: has she gotten any bigger. Well maybe half an inch.

Anyway Wronny had her triplets and Binky had her twins and Jessie had a little single and then Sandy had a single and then Bing had twins and so did Blue Jaye and the farmer went to let some of the babies out for the first time because the babies like to go outside and eat some dirt as soon as possible, I don't know why, it probably puts some good local germs in their stomachs and it was decided that the big babies would go out.

So out went Wronny and Binky and Jessie and their kids. Now since time began the kids go out and if it is a warm day eventually they go under the porch of the cottage to take a nap where it is cool and safe. And that's what happened.

All the babies eventually toddled off under the porch and went to sleep. An hour clicked by and they started coming back out for a milk refill. Fredwina and Doxie and Ramona bunny-hopped out. Jessie's little son came out about twenty minutes later.

Another hour went by and Binky started giving her donkey bray of alarm. This is similar to her donkey bray of comprehension only much louder and filled with gloom and horror.

The farmer did not notice. The farmer was preoccupied because Crumpet had been running in and out everywhere, step-dancing on the hayloft stairs and t-boning Wronny's triplets because they are the only goats she has ever seen that are smaller than she is.  Of course these were all hit-and-run jobs because Crumpet knows what would happen if Wronny caught her t-boning a triplet.

Binky continued her donkey bray of alarm.

"We are going to have to get a tape of that," the farmer murmured absently. "Surely there is a contest somewhere for the best end-of-the-world donkey bray of alarm."

The farmer did some chores and pottered about mislaying things and forgetting to fill the water and getting the feed buckets ready.

Binky took her donkey bray of alarm up a notch. It sounded like the last call for the lifeboats on the Titanic.

"That is really something," said the farmer. By this time everyone had had dinner and was put to bed, with Crumpet back under her spool and darkness falling. Wronny was tucked in with her triplets, and Jessie's little son was asleep under the hay feeder. Binky stood at the gate braying desperately.

"You are really upset about something aren't you Binky," said the farmer, patting Binky.

Binky bellowed.

"I know there is a lot going on for you," said the farmer, using techniques learned at middle management school.

Binky did not go to middle management school and she was not placated. She bellowed hoarsely.

"Well, good night everybody," said the farmer, and turned off the lights.

~~~to be continued ~~~~~

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Binky Loves the Sky

Binky had a stomach ache and she went to lie down and she accidentally had two kids, a buck and a doe, they shot out like champagne corks. Pop-pop, presto. Those are their names. Poor Binky, she did not know she was bred.

"Whaaat?" she said.

"That's why you are in the barn, Binky, instead of in the fat girl pasture where you usually are," I told her.

"Whaaat?" said Binky. Poor Binky, she does not know what 'barn' means.

"It is the big white building all around you," I explained. "You are in the middle of it, in a stall."

This what I told her might as well have been The Dead Sea Scrolls read aloud in the original Hebrew.

"Whaat?" said Binky. Poor Binky. How can she understand 'building' when she doesn't understand 'barn.' How?

While she was distracted Pop-pop and Presto advanced on her and began drinking milk and she gave a loud donkey bray which is Binky's signal of comprehension.

"I have two kids!" she yelled at me. She was delighted. "Do you know where they came from?"

I did not have time to try to explain, so Eo took over.

"From the sky," snapped Eo, drily.

"I love the sky!" Binky brayed.

Later that day Bing had two kids and after they were up and running they went to share Binky's stall.

We all heard Binky braying with delight again a few minutes later. "I have two more kids!"

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Fredwina's Guide to Getting Born, or, Meet the Mashed-Up Hand

Ok if you are planning to get born you may not know how to do it so this is a guide on getting born or anyway this is how I did it yesterday. Ok first of all wait for an inconvenient time when there is an important appointment or something like that. Ok then stick your head out, just your head. It will be light out, lighter than inside anyway.

What you will see is a red-faced farmer and what you will hear is a farmer cussing.

"Damn it," the farmer will say. "A head and no feet! Damn it!"

Then the best thing is close your eyes but if you don't you will see a big mashed-up hand coming toward you and it will push against your nose and your whole face and the lights will go out and you will find yourself sliding back inside in the dark but if you listen closely you will still be able to hear the cussing.

"&#&%$%#!!!!" (muffled)

Then you will feel the mashed-up hand groping around and grabbing one of your legs and the mashed-up hand will bend your joints just to be sure they all bend in the same direction like a front leg should and then the hand will pull your leg up over your head which isn't very comfortable. Then the hand will grope around for another leg and then the next thing you know the mashed-up hand starts pulling you out by the legs and unceremoniously sticking its fingers in your nostrils to use them as a handle for pulling your head around. And cussing of course, but absent-mindedly by now.

All at once you will start to hear a lot of heartfelt bellowing and this is your mother congratulating you on the size of your head as it passes through her birth canal and the next thing you know you are out and about and everyone is waiting on you hand and foot and the limelight is blinding and the milk is delicious but hold the phone, all of a sudden you are yesterday's news, because "here comes the next one," says the farmer, "get some more towels."

So that's how you do it. My name is Fredwina. Do I look like I was born yesterday? That's because I was.