Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Kidder's Guide, Part One

It is getting to be that time of year. Here we are calling it June-uary and the frogs started singing two nights ago. Because of the time of year and also because of my extreme kindness and generosity I would like to offer a word from the wise (me) to the hapless and the uninitiated (you).

In case you might want to know we have a birthing procedure here which most of you would do well to follow if you are considering having kids of your own, even small ones can be rather a headache to push out. You start in squeezing and you think, oh this horror will be over in a minute. And then sometimes it goes on for an hour or more, which can be quite taxing especially if it is your first time and you think you have a kidney stone or got hold of some bad Swedish Fish which if you are wondering actually there aren't any bad Swedish Fish so cross that off your list.

But even though there are no bad Swedish Fish some are better than others (the red ones) and if you don't know what this is, it's food for thought, which brings me to my next point which is that if you are going to be doing any deep thinking it is (usually) best to eat while you are doing it. This is called ruminating. And not for nothing.

Ok where was I. Birthing. Of course first you must find a suitable health care provider, I recommend getting one with ten small fingers and at least two credit cards. You don't have to be nice all year long but when you are getting ready to kid it is best to admire the health care provider in a fawning manner and try to favoritize yourself to it. Moldy is a master of this. This is not a time for subtlety or nuance. If you are going to fawn, fawn fawningly and unmistakably, like an lolcat. Some phrases you could use: I R CRYING CUZ I RRUVV U, Y U SO PRIDDY MOMMY?,  WIDDLE GOATY WWUVV FARMER, and so on. I'm sorry but it has to be done.

OK next: it might sound crazy but don't eat too much. After you kid you will get a lot of lovely delicious alfalfa and other food so just wait for that. If you get too fat before you kid it will be like you are trying to kid out a butterball turkey that is wearing an eskimo parka and what you want is for your kids to squirt out like the Olympic luge at 85 miles an hour so you can get right to the post-partum buffet.

Part Two coming soon but in the meantime if you have a question you can ask me but keep it short I have a lot of ruminating to do today.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Over in The Smellies

Ok well Moldy had a little baby, we already went over that. Then Jammies had a baby. The farmer examined the calendar extensively and there was no hint of a buck escape. The farmer never breeds for January.

Moldy and Jammies must have snuck out together. Maybe under cover of night, some moonlit August night, some enchanted evening, they took an amorous stroll together over in The Smellies where the bucks live. Or maybe they did it in broad daylight and no one was interested enough to notice. Anyway now there are two winter babies when usually there are zero. There they both are, indisputable, two little January neverlings.

Both are singletons. They are up in the barn with their mothers. You cannot imagine how fat they are already. One (Effie) is called The Guzzler for her style of constantly drinking milk and for her rodeo skills, she has been observed still drinking while Moldy is at a full trot trying to unlatch her. Eight seconds is nothing for her, she can really sit the trot. The other (Navajo) is called The Puzzler, on account of his mysterious unknown heritage. We know who The Guzzler's father is, only because she has blue eyes.

Now Jammies and Moldy are best friends. So are Guzzle and Puzzle. It's a strange thing, it's almost like Moldy isn't from Oregon any more. Jammies flat out denies that Moldy is from Oregon. If anyone says Moldy is from Oregon, Jammies shouts, "Maybe YOU are from Oregon!"

But if Moldy isn't from Oregon, what does that say about Fred? Is he not from Oregon any more either? Or maybe Oregon doesn't exist any more, maybe that is what happened. If Oregon doesn't exist, does Portland still exist? What about Portlandia?  What about The Terror? She is from Eugene. She is only one year old. So we know Oregon existed a year ago. Don't we?

Is it just a math problem? Is it a simple boolean?

moldys_birthplace == 'Oregon'

True? Or False?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


We had a sort of a half-sunny day which is nice in January. The farmer was off looking for the orcas. The farmer has gotten obsessed with the orcas, the Sound is full of them this year, and the T137s from the T-Pod spend a lot of their time trolling through the farmer's crabbing spot down between Longbranch and Anderson Island. The Orcas are looking for seals, hard luck for the seals, because they are easy to find down there. The Ts have a baby with them and the farmer is obsessed with trying to catch a glimpse of the T-Baby. The Ts in the pod are named after their mother, T137, so there is T137a, T137b, T137c etc, and so on like that until T137 stops having babies.

So anyway since it was a half-sunny day and since there was no wind at all the farmer was going to take the little boat out, the little 14-foot boat, which would be a great spot from which to see a 20 foot whale, especially the gigantic male of the T137 pod who likes nothing better than swimming right under a tiny boat and flipping on his back to take a good look at the occupants,  yes I certainly would love to see that while sitting inside a 14 foot aluminum boat with a motor that doesn't always start. It has always been a dream of mine, what little goat wouldn't love to go to sea and take a selfie with a gigantic whale in the background, especially one like the T male with his majestic dorsal fin, probably at least five feet high, yes indeed. Not.

Anyway there was something wrong with the lights on the trailer and so the farmer went down to the boat launch with binoculars and no boat and spent an hour or so scanning Drayton Passage and of course didn't see anything, not even a seal. While the farmer was gone Moldy laid down and had a baby. No one was more surprised than Moldy, because she wasn't bred, and nobody else was either, not until the spring, and so everyone looked on with polite interest. Moldy had the baby with no difficulty but Winnie had to notify her that it was hers because she was so shocked when she turned around and saw it.

"Somebody had a baby!" Moldy bellowed informatively.

"Yes," said Winnie. "You."

"I think I would know if I had a baby!" Moldy bellowed.

"Yes," said Winnie. "So would I."

At this point the baby advanced and began drinking milk from Moldy and Moldy began bellowing, "I had a Baby! I had a Baby!"

This was on a continuous loop for one hour until the farmer came back and saw what had happened and Moldy was rushed up to the barn with her new baby, which ought to have been named "Ihadda" but instead is being called Baby F, or Effie, just temporarily (forever) until the farmer thinks of a better name, since this is an F year. Amongst ourselves we call it T137f. The tiny whale.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Ok well what happened was the nice rancher lady knew of a puppy whose owners had to move. Her farm dog was the mother of the puppy, and the new owners of the puppy had to move somewhere where they couldn't have the puppy, which was very sad. It was a very good puppy, with a good personality. Supposedly.

The rancher lady had been trying to think of a good farm home for the puppy - because it was several months old and it was already a farm dog, it wouldn't like living in someone's backyard - and she happened to have the same horseshoer, the kindly horseshoer, as the farmer. And she mentioned it to the kindly horseshoer and he said, fatefully, that yes, as a matter of fact, he could think of a good home that needed a really good farm dog. Because he knew of a farm where the only farm dog was an undersized, wayward, incorrigible Boston Terrier - a boston terrier with a long tail, to add insult to injury, and an extensive collection of sweaters - whose usefulness in a farm setting was considerably below zero.

It wasn't very long before we got the bad news that a real dog might be coming to live here.

"A Texas Heeler," the farmer informed us.

The Texas part sounded okay, after all if you refer to my map of the universe you will see that Texas is on it, which proves that it is a real place and that they have credible Nigerian Dwarfs there. The Heeler part did not sound that good. It sounded ominous, in fact. It hinted at a lot of unnecessary exercise, of being obliged to move pointlessly from Point A to Point B. So we took a vote and we voted unanimously, except for Moldy who likes to make new friends and Binky who did not understand the question, that we did not want the Texas Heeler to come.

The Texas Heeler came the next day. That was months ago. It is still here.

I don't know what is wrong with it but it must be something very serious because it is happy every single minute of every single day. It cannot wake up in the morning without thinking immediately: what a beautiful grand day, it will probably be the best one yet!

'Life! The Key Peninsula! This Moment in June!' is what it goes around thinking. Can you even imagine how tiresome this level of exuberance must be for someone of my stature who might at any moment be called upon to give a speech about some matter of grave importance, Swedish Fish or something like that? With this PUPPY in the background lolloping around and rolling in the grass and grinning crazily with delight? Can you?

Its name is Dolly.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year and if you don't know it is the Year of the Goat. People call me Millie, or Baby Belle, Jr, but my name is Million Belles. I am named after Million Bells the Flower, the beautiful cascading easy-to-grow flower that looks good anywhere and brightens any garden.

Just like me. I have been brightening gardens for years, I especially like brightening the vegetable garden every chance I get. The last time I was in there I brightened all the chard out of the garden and most of the kale too, so I am also responsible for the new garden gate which unfortunately has a much stronger latch on it.

I have also proved easy to grow and that is why I am on a torture diet involving a few meager strands of local grass hay and a smattering of grain. When I say smattering I mean you can count the little pellets as they ting sadly into the feed pan. Ting ting ting - that's about it. Every day is another three-ting-day.

A lot has changed here, so many things, way too many to even calculate, some of them I have already forgotten and they will pass into eternity undocumented. Wronny is no longer the herd queen but that is a long story, longer than The Upanishads and deeper than the sea.

The farmer swore all up and down that we would not be getting another farm dog because that is just too much grief and heartache and besides in any case we could search far and wide and we would never find another dog like Spenny because there isn't one and it wouldn't be fair to the new dog would it, always living in the shadow of the Mt. Everest of dogs, the spendiferous Spenny the Angel Dog....etc etc...I'm sorry there was more but I dozed off, it was all cut from the same velvet cloth.

Then a couple of months later the farmer started saying, we certainly aren't going to go out and LOOK for another dog, that is ridiculous. But maybe some day the phone will ring and someone will say, hello, I have the most perfect farm dog in the world but unfortunately I just got a job singing Abba songs on a cruise ship and I cannot take my dog with me, and I wondered if by chance you might have room for a perfect farm dog? So we aren't going to LOOK for a dog but maybe some day the phone will ring and a dog will FIND us.

We all stared blankly, all thinking the same thing: I hope not.

The summer wore on into the fall. My daughter freshened with the most beautiful udder the herd has ever seen. The Terror turned one year old with no improvement in her behavior. Ellie May continued the family's smarmy tradition of following the farmer everywhere, simpering and begging for pets and scratches. The hay was cut and baled.

And then one day the phone rang and it was the very nice lady from the beautiful farm up the road where they have the lush pastures and the Angus cattle and the lady said, "hello, this may sound a little bit strange," - wait for it - "but I have the most perfect farm dog,"

.....(to be continued)