"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

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Musings On Bus Maintenance

A month has passed by so quickly. I hardly noticed, but pass it did. Now it is time, once again, for the monthly hoof trimming routine. This always begins with Boo. You are thinking this is probably because Boo is the supposed Herd Queen - and you would be wrong. The fact is that it begins with Boo because the goatmother knows she will be so exhausted afterward, she just wants to get it over with. If you look at the picture above, you will understand part of the reason. Boo is rather capacious. You might notice that she is 'trying' to get up on the tire. She never made it, by the way. Sad but true. Boo is a bus.

However, size isn't the only way in which Boo relates to a bus. You know how in traffic you get stuck behind a bus and you just can't get around it? Or the fact that buses somehow always break down? Or that 'law' that buses always gets the 'right of way'? Buses are just not cooperative vehicles - and neither is Boo.

So the monthly hoof trimming procedure goes something like this:

We three girls are on one side of the barn with a double door between us and where the goatmother wants to do the hoof trimming. The first order of business is to get Boo out before the nimble feet of Ella and myself can make their way over the lower door and get out first. The upper door is opened but, lo and behold, Boo can not negotiate the small jump it takes to get over the bottom half of the door. It ends up with the goatmother holding us back while the goatfather has to open both doors for Boo to get out. If you can envision this, Ella and I have what is comparable to a simple 'gasoline' type engine, while Boo is in the 'diesel' category. We are constructed much lighter than the heavier diesel model. And you see, with a 'diesel', a supplemental ignition source (usually in the form of someone pushing from behind) is necessary to cause the cylinders to start firing (Boo's brain actually realizing, 'Oh, I have to move now') to create power and torque (actual physical movement of the legs propelling her forward). This is what it takes to actually get her out and into the right side of the barn for the task to be performed.

Now with a 'diesel' model, two things are required, a) a heavy duty mechanic (two in this case), and b) high compression. 'B' is a very important consideration. High compression is usually accomplished by the goatfather at one end and the goatmother at the other, squeezing Boo up against the fence. Any normal goat, when presented with a dish full of grain and alfalfa pellets, would totally disregard any other activity in favor of the concentration required to fully apply oneself to eating. Did I say Boo is not normal?

So, as the trimming begins, so begins the 'Intake Stroke'. Boo takes in a few bites (fuel injection). This is just enough for the intake valves in the cylinder 'head' to open and allow pressurized air to enter each cylinder while the pistons (Boo's four muscle and fat laden posty legs) travel downward. And yes, they do travel downward. The knees fold (this is the 'Compression Stroke'), and down she goes because she has figured out that if she does this, her feet will be covered 'en masse' and no one can get to them. The pressurized air in this step (brought about by Boo straining against her collar and momentarily shutting off her air supply) is made possible by the the 'turbocharger' (the stubborn Nubian mind-set) which then pushes air back into the intake system thus giving the 'diesel' a boost of air to keep up with more instantaneous fuel injection. (She gets back up and takes a few more bites after the goatmother lets go of her hoof).

This then leads us to the 'Power Stroke'. After injection takes place, an explosion occurs because of the combination of heat (supplied by the now frustrated goatmother) and atomized fuel (perhaps it would be better not to supply her with that grain after all). This causes the pistons to be forced downward (yet again) which produces more torque and the goatpower required from a typical 'diesel'.

Lastly, we have the 'Exhaust Stroke'. Believe me, by this time everyone is exhausted - even me.

If you ask me, Boo the Bus is a 'lemon'. Her 'frame' is bent, she needs a new 'starter', and her 'bumper' is way too large. And if she doesn't change her ways soon, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the goatmother doesn't just blow a 'gasket'.


goatgirl said...

This explains, Marigold, why you are so interested in my "cuts like butter" tin snip/hoof trimmer.

Marigold said...

That would be absolutely,irrefutably, unequivocally, incontestably, 100%, Right On.

farm mama said...

At least goatmother must be pleased with your hoof trimming cooperation (you DO cooperate, don't you?) after wrestling with "the bus".

Marigold said...

of course I cooperate. First of all, I will go on the milking stand (unlike some). I will admit, however, to grabbing the grain bucket, pulling it off the stand and throwing on the floor if it doesn't happen to get filled quickly enough. That is understandable, though, isn't it?

goatfarmer said...

That's rude, Marigold. Don't do it any more. You risk grainlessness when your manners deteriorate.

Also, I wondered if maybe your bus needs new glow plugs? Or possibly an engine block heater? Would you like me to send a free mechanic over?

Marigold said...

Dear Goatfarmer,
You are right. My manners did deteriorate. When it was my turn I pulled the grain bucket off the stand and dumped it on the floor. When the goatmother bent down to pick it up, I tried to bite her. Oy.
As for the 'free mechanic'. If it is the same 'free mechanic' that worked on 'Big Brownie, no, thank you anyway. He might give 'the bus' all the Peanuts and then say ,'Now that wasn't supposed to happen'.

deconstructingVenus said...

This was great. There should be a blog dedicated to Hoof Trimming Fun. My Nubian is also terrible, and my Angora buck stinks up my hands so badly that I can still smell him on me hours later. Post multiple washings. Ewwwwwwww.....

The Sweet Pea said...

Dear Marigold,
The Dirty Sisters here! You know, the twin Obers, Boogie & Bhohdi. The Sweet Pea is outside the barn chuckling over your recent post, giving us the rare oppurtunity to grab the computer!
We want to know if Boo would like to join our exercise club!! We sisters know just how Boo feels!!
Pea keeps calling us piggies but we get rather large just dreaming about peanuts, trailmix and grain!! So, we are forming our own exercise club and clinic....... THE CAPRINE HEALTH CLUB! The BUTT FOOTBALL is way fun!!

Marigold said...

Dear Girls,
If you can get her to join, more power to you.

deconstructingVenus said...

ok. so i have to comment. again. i was just showing this picture to my husband and we had a good giggle at Boo. look at her stout little(?) back legs! they look like they can barely hold her up! you're killing me here!

goatgirl said...

I'm just happy that someone else has a pudgy goat. Sorry Boo.

Kathryn and Ari said...

Great to meet another goat! We live next door to two nubians, and they're the highlight of our afternoon walks!