Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ho ho ho

No time to write. Beautiful Christmas today. We gorged on Swedish Fish and Black Licorice that came in the mail.

Monday, December 23, 2013

And Lo, It Did Not Come to Pass....

We have decided not to waste time on New Year's Resolutions and instead skip right ahead to Our UnResolutions. Things that won't be happening. Not now, not in The New Year, not ever.

1. Henceforth Betty will be practicing kindness and forgiveness and gentle goatly caring in an attempt to spread her message of being the change she wants to see in the world. She will offer all her food to others every day, and she will lay down with the lamb and with the Terror, and they will softly sing 'Kumbaya' and the circle will be unbroken by and by and so on. Oh wait, I'm sorry, that's not going to happen. No. Definitely not.

2. Crumpet will be giving a Christmas concert at the local Lutheran Church after the free Christmas breakfast. She will be playing the harp and the dulcimer and possibly the triangle. She will be accompanied on vocals by Pinky, if Pinky is in heat that day. Otherwise Maddy will perform the yodel-ha-ha under the mistletoe. Oh wait, no, that won't be happening. None of it. Sorry.

3. Willen will stop knocking fences down and he will resolve to eat moderately and practice moderation in all things, especially eating, and he will not hog grain using his patented speed-eating techniques which can really only be analyzed using ultra-slow-motion photography. Oh I'm sorry, I read that wrong, no, my mistake, that is never going to happen.

4. Fred will consume mass quantities of flaxseed which will improve his brain function to such an amazing degree that he will realize that if a fence is only two feet tall, you can actually STEP over it. There is nothing preventing you from STEPPING over it. It is not an insurmountable barrier. ~~ Stop putting ideas in Fred's head, barks the farmer, there is no room for them there. That is not going to happen.

5. Moldy will begin following conversations all the way through and responding appropriately instead of always taking a sidetrack to talk about Oregon and her many outlandish wishes and the other crackpot notions housed in her tiny cranium. Never ever.

6. Pebbles will actually be bred and she will have some little Pebbles. Yeah, right.

7. Belle Starr will stop brown-nosing and sucking up to the farmer. Ha.

8. I, Millie, aka Million Belles, aka Baby Belle Jr., will receive the admiration and notoriety I deserve, and I will replace Crumpet as TMFGITW and I will have my own t-shirt and also a bad hoodie and possibly a cap, one of those high-domed ones like the two-tone hip-hop snapback Gangnam Style one that Psy wears. This actually could happen. It really could. Not.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Past

This is an old movie but it is so good to see some of our old friends that we are going to play it again. Hello Atticus. Hello Harry. Hello Boo. Hello Wendell.

Hello Baby Belle.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Terror's Day Out

The Terror has become a fixture at the local off-leash dog park. Inexplicably, she is very popular with both the dogs and the people. One of her friends is Nibs, a pit bull who could be an advertisement for the breed, fun-loving and rambunctious but with the mouth of a bird dog - Nibs could carry an egg home without breaking it.

Then Pliny, named after the scholar when you first ask (the Elder). But if you ask again, he is really named after the beer. After all, it turns out, Pliny the Elder was one of the first to explore the science of hops. Anyway, The Terror's friend Pliny is a blue weimaraner who explores the science of puppy wrassling to an exhausting degree, which is very good, because a tired Terror is a good Terror. Then there is an exuberant Labradoodle who leaps all up, around, on top, and over the Terror like the Bolshoi Ballet on four legs (without the backstabbing). Then there is a border collie whose name we don't know; she excels in running the Terror ragged.

The goal of the trips to the dog park, which is on the way to the feed mill, is that the Terror sleeps all or most of the rest of the day. Many times the other dog parkers are surprised by the Terror's zeal for adventure; her usual tactic is to run pell-mell up to the biggest dog and start licking its chin and offering to race it anywhere, or to wrassle it, straight up, no point spread requested, she doesn't care how big it is, the bigger the better.

On account of almost always being the smallest dog at the party, the Terror has excellent dog manners. If anything ever looks dicy, she rolls over on her back and stays there. Almost all dogs respect this, it is universal dog language. All right, they will say, but cut it out. Maybe they are old and arthritic, and don't want to chase a Terror around. So they give a warning, the Terror rolls over, and they say " all right. But buzz off." And the Terror buzzes.

Practically every dog knows not to attack a puppy. Practically.

The other day The Terror was at the dog park and a big black dog was standing on the edge of the playfield. There was something about this dog: it didn't respond to any of the dogs that came near it. Even a dog that growls, you can trust - at least it's telling you something. This dog had no reaction to any kind of overture, and several of the older dogs that came near it moved quickly away. The dogs knew something. The farmer moved close to the dog, about ten feet away, making a mental note to keep an eye on it. But being weak-minded, the farmer soon started chatting with one of the other dog parkers about chanterelles.

Just in the nick of too late, the farmer looked up to see the Terror barreling up to the big black dog, where she crouched underneath it, tail wagging madly, to lick its chin. In one fluid motion without warning or preamble it picked her up by the neck, flipped her high into the air, then pinned her to the ground when she came down, snarling in deadly earnest. The Terror, a tough girl who never cries, was crying hysterically. The farmer surprised the black dog by booting it sideways at the hips, then grabbed the Terror as the black dog's owner simultaneously arrived to pull it away.

People rushed up to see if the Terror was okay. Being a puppy, and made of rubber, she was no worse for wear, except for a dribble of blood under her ear. Her snappy new nineteen dollar padded jacket had suffered a puncture wound, though. The farmer tucked her under an arm, like a football, and started to leave.

The black dog's owner offered an explanation to the people who were now clustered around him:
"He doesn't like it when dogs come up to him."

Several people looked at him grimly, nodding: that was plain to see.

Nobody asked the obvious question, because you always think of the obvious question later, when you are halfway home: why is he at the off-leash park if he doesn't like dogs?

A goat that doesn't understand goat society - usually a  pampered bottle baby, or sometimes just a goat from Oregon -  is a menace to itself. On the other hand a dog that doesn't understand dogginess, a dog that doesn't speak the universal dog language, is a menace to society. That is what the farmer explained long-windedly to the Terror as they drove home, not noticing that the Terror was fast asleep, and planning to sleep the rest of the day.

"So in conclusion," the farmer wrapped up, "I hope this has been a valuable lesson to you. In future just stay away from any dogs who do not have dog manners."

The Terror snored gently.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


Well today it is freezing and going to stay freezing for the next week which I personally don't care for. It isn't the worst thing that could happen but it isn't something that I personally care for. Of everyone who hates the cold, though, Fred is probably the worst. He does not even like his feet to touch the ground when it is this cold. Today he is headbobbing around like a Tennessee Walker, yanking his feet up knee-high every time they touch the ground. You would think he would get used to it after a few steps but no, every step is a horrible shock to him.

Anyway as far as Winnie Eo knew right away what would happen.

"Oh no," she said when the farmer started musing about Winnie, the plight of poor Winnie, a big shot growing depressed without underlings, and before you can say snapchat Winnie got moved out of the big milker pasture and in with Betty and Betty's ragtag army of half-pints and yearlings, a motley crew which includes four babies, Isabel the newcomer, Sandy the Screamer, Clara Belle the dingaling, Clover who does't have a "the" yet, and sometimes Licorice who comes and goes as she pleases. All Nigerians.

Winnie brightened immediately and swaggered over to a corner of the Betty area where she made herself a king-sized bed in the straw and starting delivering ultimatums. No one comes inside this triangle, no one touches the food on the tray until I have had my pick, this end of the hay feeder is off-limits, it is a V.I.G.* area only for me, and also for my guests if I ever have any but I am not planning on it, and no one shall touch the farmer or make eye contact with the farmer, the farmer is mine, etc. It was all very Kramer-at-the-dojo.

Eo of course was pleased because she had thought Winnie would be coming to our small neck of the woods. But the Betty enclave is an even smaller pond, and Winnie is now the CEO. It just goes to show - anyone can be a big fish. You just have to find a small enough pond.

*Very Important Goat

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Little Pond

Winnie is one of the farmer's pets and she always has been. Or maybe she even thinks the farmer is her pet. Anyway she acts like she owns the farmer. If someone comes around while she is standing by the farmer, she goes into a headbutting frenzy, doing rapid-fire Sugar Ray Leonard type jabs until she has cleared a circle all around the farmer. Just go ahead and dare to enter that circle. Go ahead, see what happens.

Over the years we have been subjected to torrents of Winnie comparison. Winnie is always the milker the beginners milk. Anyone can milk Winnie. She will stand patiently all day long while a two-year-old milks her. Also she gives tons of milk and she has a beautiful udder. Back in the day she was our prettiest LaMancha ever. When Winnie is on the milkstand half the time the farmer calls everyone's attention: "does everyone see how Winnie is standing?"

"Does everyone see how Winnie waits quietly without stamping even though the grain is gone?"

"Does everyone see how Winnie stands like a lamppost while we are drawing blood?"

"Did everyone see how much milk Winnie gave today?"

"Did everyone see how Winnie walked nicely back into the stall without trying to escape into the grain room just because the door is open?"

Bla bla bla bla.

Anyway the thing about Winnie is she is a people goat and she is not a goat's goat. She is one of the Sopranos and when she was young it seemed she might end up as the herdqueen; after all, she was Brandy's oldest daughter. But she didn't have the knack for it. And as soon as Wronny, her little sister, was a yearling, it was clear who would inherit the throne. And after that Winnie gradually slipped into the background.

She is as big as a house so no one ever really bothered her, but after her mother died this summer the farmer would often look out and see Winnie standing alone in the pasture with her head down. She didn't really fit in with the Wronny family, even though she is their aunt, and the Nubian crosses made a point of ignoring her. Even Winnie's own daughters preferred Wronny. So the farmer would look out, and there would be Winnie, gazing off at Mt. Rainier, or staring blankly down the hill. She is the oldest LaMancha here now, ten years old, and even though she still looks like a 5-year-old, she started getting aches and pains, and a week or so ago she hurt her foot somehow and wouldn't join the scrum around the feeder. The other bigs jostled her too much.

"What are we going to do with you?" the farmer asked.

She really only looks happy when the farmer is there, scratching along her shoulder blades and pretending she is still magnificent, even though she is getting a little bit rickety, and if the truth be told she is a little down on her pasterns.

The problem is that, in her mind, she is a big grand champion worldbeating fish. And she has no pond.

"Oh no," said Eo, as the farmer stood scratching Winnie with a puzzled expression.

~~~~ stay tuned ~~~~~