"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Saturday, April 28, 2007

'Lost' - Season Finale (I hope)

Oy Vay. Will this never end? We have been graced, yet again. I believe this raccoon forgot to read that part of the description that says 'mostly nocturnal'. Mid-afternoon, and Mr. 'bright-eyes-and-bushy-tail' decides to take up residence in the Bitter Cherry tree just off the yard. Let's just say all the lights don't shine in his barn. But the pi├Ęce de resistance lay in the fact that this wasn't merely one discombobulated soul. No indeed. Though the goatfather only got one in the photo, there were, surprisingly, two of these spurious nomads of the night. It seems they also missed that part in the literature that read 'solitary'.

And when I say, 'took up residence', that is exactly what I mean. As in 'refused to move'! No amount of cajoling, banging of loud metallic surfaces, or even Peanuts (unbelievable though this may seem) could convince this pair they hadn't just checked into the Las Vegas Hilton. The goatfather pondered this dilemma in true philosophical style. (I graciously offered him the use of my stump, but he declined ).

The raccoons could not be allowed to remain where they were. First of all, it was daylight and there was just something disconcerting about this. Second, raccoons have been known, on occasion, to become quite fierce and no one, most especially we goats, considered this to be acceptable. So a brilliant idea came to the goatfather. Bravely he approached the tree, weapon in hand. One shot from the water hose set on 'jet stream' and Paris and Nicky were off for Maui. I certainly hope they don't get lost again. They could end up on the other side of the yard in the Goat Hilton. Oy vay.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Few, The Proud, The Confused


What's this? This is but one in the never-ending chain of confused creatures that seem to frequent our residence. This is a Canadian goose. Now I willingly admit that, from the air, the front deck of the house might be mistaken for a body of water. It is sort of blue. But really. It doesn't look that much like water, does it? I mean, you could tell the difference, couldn't you?


Now at the same time the first goose was down on the deck trying to tread water, this second goose was on the roof honking for all it was worth. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this was the female goose and the one on the deck was the male. You are, no doubt, wondering how it is I could make such a distinction in light of the fact that I am a goat and not fluent in any form of goose dialect. Elementary, my dear Watson! For one, the goose on the roof was the one doing all the talking. It stands to reason that this would be the female since it is a well known fact that the female of any species has an often misunderstood inclination toward verbosity. That is not to say that this is a bad thing. Witness myself. Superb eloquence in action.

But this reasoning aside, the fact is that the goose on the roof was undoubtedly attempting to convince the one on the deck this was decidedly not the pond across the highway. Which leads me to the second reason I was able to determine the sex of the goose on the deck. Doesn't everyone know that males never, but never, ask for directions? And that, my dear Watson, is most assuredly THAT!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fashion Is As Fashion Does

Just a note to let you know that it was again time for my monthly pedicure. In light of my new 'take' on the matter, I went with Zeno and didn't fight destiny...exactly... I put my head right in this time. Of course the rest of me hasn't quite decided to follow Zeno and so it stayed on the ground. That would have been okay except it was getting a little hard to breathe. Finally the goatfather helped the errant parts up onto the stand and the rest went quite well, if I do say so myself...until...the goatmother decided she might as well take advantage of the situation and use the comb. I do not like the comb. I do not like the brush. In fact, I just don't like anything that might interfere with my coiffure.

You see, I have my own style. It is an expression of who I am. The goatmother does not understand the artistic temperament. Little bits of shedding undercoat poking out here and there are chic. They are avant garde. They are a STATEMENT! These aren't just bits of shedding undercoat. For Goat's Sake! This is Cashmere!!!! How elegant is that? And, you would take this away from me?

Well, she thinks she can save it up and when that fainting goat gets here, he'll have some too. Spinning yarn is the 'in' thing to do right now. In the meantime, she keeps telling me I 'look' so much better. But you know, I'm going with Jack Kerouac on this. Now there was a true philosopher - a man after my own heart. I bet he had a stump too. Jack said,
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” Right On!, Jack! So leave my hair alone!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Commentary on the Cinema

Have you ever noticed that there are NO movies about goats? What's up with that? I have been standing on my stump thinking about this, and I have been unable to come up with a single movie involving goats. Of course there are a few with the word 'Goat' in the title, but are they really about goats? The answer to that question would be 'No'. This is abominable! This is flat out discrimination. What are goats supposed to do for entertainment anyway? Just stand around and eat all day? Absurd! We have intellectual needs!

There is one movie, however, that has a goat in it. Gordon the Goat, in fact. Never mind the fact that Gordon thinks he is a smelly old dog - he is still a goat! This movie is 'Sir Billi the Vet' (my favorite movie), and you can find out a little more about it here.

Now this is an outstanding tale, even if it does involve saving a beaver. At least it isn't a mountain beaver. But the best part? Well, Sir Billi is none other than Sir Sean Connery, the Scottish actor. For someone with only two legs he's quite a comely old goat, don't you think? I mean he can chew the alfalfa with me anytime. I'd share my Peanuts with that guy. He even has a beard! No horns, mind you, but a beard to be sure! (swoon...)

I suppose with my superior mind, I could, perhaps, come up with a winning idea for a movie about goats. I wonder if I could interest Mr. Connery in a part? Maybe something like County Extension Agent, Capra Bond, 007 1/2. Michty Me!
"Whit are ye mollachin aboot, Marigold?" Get out there on tha' stump and be t' practicin' rollin' y' R's!



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

THE INCIDENT


It is 16oo hours. At approximately 1500 hours THE INCIDENT occurred. While the 8 ever-watchful eyes (Yes, this is correct. Three pairs of goat eyes and one pair of recently defected mouse eyes) of the Homegoat Security team unceasingly scanned the perimeter, a Canid form was detected, via side-scan radar, at the territorial border, and was perceived to be moving swiftly on a north bound trajectory. A northbound trajectory right toward us! The unidentified usurper was, in fact, a COYOTE!!!

A COYOTE!??? In BROAD daylight????? Holy Peanuts, Goatman!!!! RED ALERT!!!!!

All troops deployed! Ella sprang into action from out of the underbrush and tripped in a mountain beaver hole. Boo, startled by the alert, rose from her mid-day siesta, all the while insisting she had merely been resting her eyes, and ran head-long into Ella. Myself, ever the alert, fell off my therapy stump and scrambled to free the others from their entanglement. The mouse just pointed. Finally, the three of us, minus that useless mouse, managed to crowd into the side gate. All three of us. All at once. I'm sad to report our first actual border encroachment incident was a debacle. However, in our defense, we did manage to continue surveillance until the interloper literally loped off.


So much for Carpe Diem.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Department of Homegoat Security

Look at this. What? Where? Can't even see me, can you? This is me in stealth goat mode. The F-117 Nighthawk of goatdom, if you will. Notice the cutting-edge, raised, side-scan radar panels enabling me to monitor all possible offenders. Of late, I have become concerned with issues of Homegoat Security. I have organized a plan to mobilize goat forces in order to prevent terrorist attacks (coyote, cougar, bobcat, lynx, marauding bands of wild dogs), and to deal with immigration (mountain beaver and mice) issues.

We, here at Homegoat Security, are concerned with meeting and carrying out our strategic goals. Allow me to expound. First, and foremost, is Awareness. We are trained to identify any and all threats to goat environment, Peanuts and the grain room. We are dedicated to Protecting said assets in the manner most efficacious (which usually entails a lot of butting). Our members (myself, Ella, Boo, possibly Quinn and that darned fainting goat, if it ever gets here) are trained to respond to acts of terrorism, border encroachment, defilement of sacred space (like the grain room), and all acts of fraudulent purloining of Peanuts. Recovery is only employed if said assets are unblemished and haven't hit the ground first. After all, we can not, and will not, be expected to cross the bounds of simple good hygiene. Issues of Immigration (mountain beavers crossing into goat space) will be monitored (stealth surveillance) and dealt with (stomping of existing or new holes) accordingly.

We, here at Homegoat Security, are dedicated to excellence and uncommon valor. We strive to create an environment devoid of disregard for caprine quality of life, and thrive on mutual respect between all species (as long as the other species do it our way). We are unwaivering in our resolve.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Hear Ya' Knockin', But...

Is there NO end to this comedy of errors? 'What is that goat going on about now?', you ask. Ah, but "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"!

This is a sapsucker. (You thought it was a just plain old woodpecker, didn't you?) Well, this particular fellow enjoys drilling evenly spaced small holes in live trees, periodically revisiting said holes to feed on sap and the insects thereby attracted. 'That's nice', you say, 'but what does this have to do with the price of Peanuts?'

This particular sapsucker's name is Michael Jordan. A strange coincidence you think? Not hardly. You see, we seem to have a penchant for attracting the outer-fringe. Things like mice that defy common rules of decent behavior, bats that delight in free-fall exercises, mountain beavers who cunningly lay waste to unsuspecting trekkers. And Michael Jordan , being no exception, is perhaps shy one feather of a full load.

Outside the barn there is, for some unknown reason, what is called a 'basketball' hoop mounted on a large Douglas fir tree. I don't really know what a 'basketball' is, but I think the former owners of the farm put it up to engage in midnight games of throw-the-goat-berry-through-the-hoop. I can't be sure, of course, but this I do know. Sometimes we goats get to go on walks with the goatmother, and we pass under this odd accoutrement on our way to the back pasture. I, myself, have never really given it much thought. However, one morning we suddenly heard a deafening sound coming from the east end of the barn. At first we all froze. hair standing on end, thinking that perchance some band of survivalist militia had taken up target practice on the mountain beavers with an impressive array of rapid-fire, semi-automatic weapons. By now you can probably see where I am going with this, and yes, you would be correct. That sound was none other than Michael Jordan pecking with wild abandon on the fiberglass backboard of the goatberry hoop. You will note in the above description of the sapsucker it says, and I quote, "...drilling evenly spaced holes in live TREES..." That would be live trees, most assuredly NOT fiberglass ones.

Now you are probably thinking that this nonsense happened once and then Michael came to his senses. But Michael has a very deep and abiding sense of ethics. A real passion for his sport. Every day this occurs. Not simply once a day, but several times a day. He is a true athlete - totally devoted.

Boo wants to write a letter to the NBA promoting Michael's talent. Of course I'll have to type it for her since she isn't very good at that sort of thing, but I really think Michael is going to have to learn to use something besides his beak before they will even consider it. In the meantime, we're stuck with him. Like it or not. Though I'm talented in many respects, I just don't think I can muster up any interest in helping him practice. Besides, I don't think I can jump that high. It's just not written in the stars for me to be talented at everything. Simply, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." Forge on, Michael!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Quinn, Day 3

Do you see this? He's in the barn already! The goatmother put that board below the gate to keep him from coming in. Like she thinks he's going to get hurt. What about us goats? Don't we matter? Do you see the look on my face? Someone HELP here, Pleeease!

That, my friends, is a look of shock and dismay. If you ask me, this whole 'herding' idea is getting quite out of hand. I heard tell that Quinn has already been seen herding a group of slugs. (What does one call a group of slugs? A 'herd' of slugs? A 'slew' of slugs?) Now that is something we have even more of than Mountain Beavers. In light of this fact, I suppose I'm forced to concede that it could prove to be a useful trait. Still, slugs? I hear one got out of line and he chewed it up. Ewwwwwww. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the idea of 'escargot', N'est ce pas?

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Mighty Quinn

Well, now. What do we have here? As you can see, Boo and I are checking out the newest addition to our family. This is The Mighty Quinn! He doesn't look too *mighty* in this photo does he? Quinn is a mini Australian Shepherd. Mini. I like that. It reminds me of me!

As you can tell, I quite approve of him, even if he does smell like a dog. So far he doesn't seem too bouncy or threatening. However, if he is going to become a proper goat, I'm not sure I can leave the entirety of his education up to the goatmother and the goatfather. Especially considering what the goatmother has in mind. I overheard her talking to the goatfather and telling him how she had to be careful about Quinn's introduction so he would not become frightened and later refuse to help 'herd' the goats. Herd the goats? Herd the goats? HERD THE GOATS?! HOLD THE PHONE LOUISE! What can she be thinking? We don't need no stinking herding! If you may recall, I must be free to investigate and keep watch at all times. There can be no hindering. There can be no 'herding'!

Ella says I shouldn't worry too much. This, herd us? Ha! Look at the size of that thing! 'Mighty' indeed! Well we'll just have to see about that!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Face Only A Mother Could Love


Yikes! What is that thing? This, my friends, is a Mountain Beaver (Aplodontia rufa). I'm sure you are wondering, 'Why in the world is she writing about something called a Mountain Beaver? For Heaven's Sakes! She is a goat!'. And you would be right. But trust me. There is a reason.

First I want to let you know a little about this ugly face that I'm not sure even a mother could love. Allow me to direct you here.

Now this guy isn't even a beaver. In fact, it is simply a bigger version of those stupid mice that live in the barn - minus the tail. And if you look at the link above, you will find that the ones who live here are actually Aplodontia rufa rufa. Great. We get the ones that stutter.

Still, I have to admit that there are some kind of interesting things about them. For instance, did you know that they are considered a living fossil? Figures. If it's old, they dump it here. Also, due no doubt to their fossilization, they have primitive, inefficient kidneys and must drink 1/3 of their body weight in water every day. They are one of the few mammals able to shed tears - which, by the way, are milky white, and last, but in NO way least, they are host to the world's largest flea (>1/3"). Oh, yay.

So now we come to the real reason I decided to write about these not-so-lovable fellows. We have them. We have LOTS of them. They are not cute. They are cool, cunning stealth rodents! They put the mice to shame. They dig holes. They can't be satisfied with just one like Ella had. No, they have to dig hundreds of them. And mind you, they can't just dig the hole and leave it out in plain site for crying out loud. They have to cover them up or go underneath things so no one will know they are there. Like that could happen. So any person or goat who tries to walk through the woods falls prey to their evil plan and falls into the holes. It is like navigating a mine field. I don't worry that much about it because I'm so skillful and agile (dancers always are you know). But Ella is always afraid she'll break a hoof. Boo just kind of plunders through, but I've seen the goatmother go down many a time.

And I have a theory that this is the real reason why the goatmother has to put water in the pond. We're locked in the barn, but I hear noises at night. I'm quite certain there is a long line of these guys winding it's way nightly down to the pond - like lemmings. I mean anything that has to drink that much water every night has to get it somewhere and I haven't seen any taking any dips in the water bucket.

But the very worst problem is this. The goatmother has often wondered why all around us seedlings sprout up here and there. Everywhere except on our farm. And so, this year the goatmother bought 40 small trees from the county conservation district and laboriously planted them about the farm. And believe me, in this ground that is no mean feat! Several went in behind the barn. The old alders there are beginning to fall and we need the shade. But the mountain beavers had different ideas. The mountain beavers thought, "Oh! How nice! The goatmother has brought us lunch! Isn't she thoughtful?" No milky tears shed here. Yep, you guessed it. Goatmother to the rescue once again - albeit not by choice. Once again a poor down-trodden group of unfortunates lower on the food chain is sustained - not with mere everyday food, but with gourmet delight! Oy. Where are those coyotes, bobcats and owls when you need them? They're probably all out chasing the bat.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Practice Makes Perfect


Right wing angle a bit too much to the dihedral. Left just right. Rudder, absolutely amazing!!!
Amelia Earhart , move over!