Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Welcome to Downton

Well Pebbles now has her own pasture and she lolls about in it like a princess whenever the sun comes out for a few minutes. When the rain starts Pebbles gives a little bleat of indignation and her ladies' maid rushes out to escort her back to the barn aisle, where she lives with Kermit, Tito, and her best friend Ivy during the rainy parts of the days. Every few hours Lady Pebbles gives a summons and the ladies' maid scurries in to give her a back massage.

"Lady Ivy, would you care for a back massage?" she asks Ivy.

"Trains," says Lady Ivy, monosyllabic as ever.

"That means 'not just now,' "  Pebbles translates for everyone. " 'Perhaps later, when we return from London after the Goat Ball.' "

"Goat Ball?" echoes Pinky.

Steam shoots out of Eo(played by Maggie Smith)'s ears.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ivy the Quaker

Well ok the new Isabel came here from Sequim, which must be somewhere near Oregon, because we can't really understand her. What I mean is, we can understand what she says, but we have no idea what she means. If I had to describe her I would say she is a very plain little white goat with no personality. She is always mumbling solitary nouns, never any verbs, and always aquiver about something, nobody knows what.

"Alfalfa," she will mumble.

"Yes, alfalfa, what of it?" someone will say, and she will run off into a corner, quivering.

Or, "Morning," she will mutter, practically wringing her hooves.

"Really? What about afternoon? What about night?" someone will reply. She scurries off quaking in horror.

So all in all she is very reminiscent of Moldy except for the fact that she knows when to stay out of your way, so she has hardly had any thrashings, because she keeps to herself, squirrelly and monosyllabic, bobbing and weaving and nervous as a cat on water skis.

Since my daughter's name is Isabelle it was decided that she wouldn't be called Isabel, so she had to be called something else, and rather than taking the trouble to think of a good name the farmer started calling her I.B. Well the farmer only had to explain to one or two people that, "no, her name isn't IVY, it's I.B.," before it was all too much work and everyone just calls her Ivy.

So now her name is Ivy and she has two kids, both of them oddly cute and bubbling with personality, and it was decided that they would have the run of the barn aisle since they are the first kids of the year, and they spend their days chirping and hopping happily and for once Ivy the Quaker almost seems relaxed, snuggling up with them and mumbling endearments and she is positively ecstatic about life in the barn aisle.

And then it was decided that Pebbles would come up and join her since Pebbles had to be vaccinated in preparation for her mid-March kidding, and since it has been pouring literally nonstop for the past three days, the new little quartet would stay high and dry in the barn while everyone else got turfed out because "a little rain won't hurt you."

So we stood out in the rain up to our briskets and Pebbles and Ivy stayed in the barn eating bon bons and alfalfa and by the time we finally got back in something very strange had happened, Ivy and Pebbles were bonded and they were lying down together on the wooden milkstand chewing their cuds.

"Is that your new best friend, Pebbles?" asked Sandy, pointedly.

"That's right," said Pebbles.

"Moon," whispered Ivy, staring out at the night sky. The little bucklings danced an Irish jig.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kermit and Tito and the Not-so-supernanny

Well I don't like to admit it but Isabel's kids are not bad looking. There is an orange one and then there is the tiny toggenburg. His name is Tito for obvious reasons. The orange one did not have a name but then the night after he was born, down in the meadow all at once like they do every year, without any tuning, the frogs launched their first chorus of the year. So his name is Kermit now.

The Terror was brought out to see her aptitude for supernannying. As far as I could see it was minimal to put it kindly. In the first place, who wants a supernanny who is constantly yapping. This is not how Wendell did it. One of the keys to supernannying is that you do not know you are being nannied until it is all over. When you are properly supernannied, you will say, "Whuh? Whoa! Ahhh," and by the time you say, "Ahhh," you are sparkling clean and refreshed at both ends.

"Practice makes perfect," the farmer said, which was what the farmer always used to say when Stacy the Nubian would look at the milkstand every morning and balk in terror, refusing to jump up, until finally she had to be manually hoisted on board, with a lot of sotto voce swearing and sometimes not so sotto, and this went on for four years without improvement until Stacy crossed the Rainbow Bridge which I guess must not have had a grate on it like the milkstand or she would never have set foot into the hereafter. God rest her soul and no offense but a spade is a spade and no use pretending it is a tulip.

Anyway as far as this saying goes what is the point of practicing something if you are doing it the wrong way?

Do you want to get really good at doing it the wrong way? Because if so, you are on the right track, and please send us a postcard when you get to the wrong station.

That is all I have to say for now.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

All You Have to Do

The farmer has a saying. The saying is, "all you have to do is live long enough."

That is what the farmer said years ago when the bears climbed the fence into the yard.

This is what the farmer said when Wendell, through the sheer force of his personality, frighted the long-legged coyote half to death and sent it pronging in abject terror off into the high grass.

This is what the farmer said when Spenny the border collie got left home alone too long even for her cast-iron constitution and she discreetly slid the shower door open with her nose and went to the bathroom in there, as a courtesy, because that's the kind of dog she is, she lives in horror of causing anyone any trouble, exactly the opposite of a boston terror.

Anyway you can use this expression whenever you see something you never thought you'd see. And in case you are wondering where we are going, the track is long and winding but we don't go off it, so that brings us back to the beginning: people are always asking the farmer how long is the longest a pregnant doe will go before kidding.

Well, the farmer says, it would be pretty unusual to go over 150 days. In fact, it would be pretty unusual to even get to 150. When they go 150, they are almost always first fresheners, that or they are going to have a gigantic single - usually a buck - or both. This puts everyone in a bad mood - first freshener with a gigantic single buck kid, head like a basketball, get your earplugs because we are in for some screaming.

Back when we had Nubians, they would sometimes go 150, or sometimes even a day or two over. In looking through the history books the longest we ever had was a Nubian who went 152, and even that might have been an accounting error. But our LaManchas in general do not go 150, they like Day 147, and Nigerians are about the same, and so whenever someone asks how often a Nigerian will go over 150, the farmer always says, just to save time, "Never."

Anyway Isabel, there are two now, this one is the new Moldy but it's a long story, was pencilled in to kid on Day 148, which would have been February 5th. February 5th came and went, and so did the 6th, and the 7th, and the farmer sighed. "I guess she will have a gigantic single buck kid tomorrow."

The 8th came and went. And the 9th. And then the 10th. The farmer puzzled over the charts: Isabel wasn't bred here, so it wasn't possible that the dates were wrong. And she was kept in isolation when she got here, so it wasn't possible she was bred right after getting here by some mysterious paramour, which has certainly happened before.

But in any case you can't stay on high alert forever, and after the 11th came and went with no sign of kidding, the farmer embraced the abyss and went to bed early, explaining to Sammy that "something else has happened. Something we don't know about."

Sure enough at 1:32 a.m. this morning, well into the forbidden kidding hours, a few muffled not particularly urgent screams, just loud enough to wake the farmer, emanated from the barn.

When the farmer went out, there were two adorable kids, an orange one and one that looks like the world's tiniest, most perfect Togg. Both had slid out with no problem. They were not at all gigantic.

"Well," the farmer said to the Terror, rubbing them dry, "all you have to do is live long enough."

And so now if anyone asks how long a Nigerian doe will go before kidding, the answer is going to be: "155 days. And not a minute more."

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Around the Equator

Pebbles has gone from possibly bred to definitely bred to waistline the size of the Equator in the last month. Meanwhile Jammies who has fooled the farmer the last two years by pretending to settle has just hit the trifecta by coming into heat four months after being "successfully" "at last" bred in October. "Ok that's fine," said the farmer, "Jinxy is bred, anyway."

Jinxy is Jammies' daughter and equally as cosseted.

"Isn't she?" the farmer asked, looking at Jinxy suspiciously. Jinxy was bred at the same time as her mother and, like her mother, hasn't been in heat since, and has been eating for at least three.

"Jinxy?" asked the farmer, and Jinxy turned slowly with sad mini-mancha eyes and blinked a message: bring me some peanuts in the shell, I need them right away, which the farmer interpreted to mean, of course I am bred.

We shall see what we shall see.

Anyway the farmer trundled Pebbles up to the barn and she was coppered and seleniumed and given a thorough going-over and the results were that she is hatching out a platoon of majorettes from the way they all were kicking.

The farmer took a tape measure and put it around the Equator and blinked in surprise and then put the tape measure away and told Pebbles,  "that information will not be published because it could be retweeted out of context. "

Pebbles lumbered off back to the pasture looking like something from the Macy's Parade.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Qs and As

The question was is Pebbles bred or is she supposedly apparently bred?

A. Pebbles is definitely bred and already producing a tiny udder suitable for a fat soon-to-be-three-year-old-first-freshener.

The question was is Blue Monday still on the BUB (big ugly baby) program?

A. Monday is sort of but not really on the BUB program. She sort of believes the farmer is her baby but she knows it isn't possible for her baby to be three feet taller than she is and also wearing mom jeans. One or the other maybe but not both. It just isn't possible. So her milk is dwindling but she still allows the farmer to milk her once a day while she screams absently.

The question was what about Crumpet what has she been doing?

A. Nothing, just eating.

The question was what is that funny noise?

A. Doxie is in heat.

No, the other noise.

A. Lulu is also in heat.

The question was who will win the Super Bowl tomorrow?

A. Be serious!  THE SEAHAWKS!!!!