"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, May 27, 2008

To Be or Not To Be...

Sometimes poor choices are made. One decides on a career and, well, it just doesn't turn out to be the path we should have taken. Case in point, Cabra. "Now what, exactly do you mean by this, Marigold?", you ask. Well, herein lies a tale.

You may recall the Cabrarator's penchant for deceased ornithological specimens. Naturally we might conclude that she should pursue the path of the caninaturalist, like her friend Ari. Lately, however, her pursuits have taken her off the beaten path, shall we say. She has begun to chase the ducks with wild abandon, never heeding even the slightest effort to guide her in the proper direction. A House Finch hatched three babies in the ivy next to the house, only to have one of them snatched up when it came time to leave the familial domicile. Luckily, the goatmother was able to extract the little guy unhurt. These are but a few of Cabra's recent exploits (one of which, I might add, had branched out to include dead mice).

Today, though, the effluvium hit the air-velocity device, as it were, and a career path, wrongly chosen, was abruptly brought to an end. You see, we have a fair number of White-Crowned Sparrows about. They are quite nice little birds and have a beautiful song. They often serenade us when we are out enjoying the green grass. But, today, Cabra bounced into the bushes under a large cedar and came out with a baby sparrow. The goatmother was on her like a guinea hen on a tick. Cabra dropped that baby and went for a second one. The ever-agile goatmother scooped up both babies. The goatfather was duly enlisted to try making a hay-nest higher in a tree, but the little sparrows would have none of it. Finally the goatmother stepped into the underbrush and found the original nest. Still, the little sparrows would not stay in. No siree! And who could blame them? Would you want to wait around for 'Jaws' to come after you again?

During all this commotion, both parent birds were hopping about and acting injured in an effort to lead someone - anyone- away from their babies. Finally the goatmother got the two little ones to at least stay in the brush and stretched an old piece of field fencing completely around the base of the tree - brush and all. Then, Cabra was duly chastised and counseled to seek a new direction in life.

There is a quote which says, "An archaeologist is someone whose career lies in ruins".
Since her first love has mislead her so entirely and most definitely ended in ruin, and since Cabra's second love lies wholly and completely in 'excavation', one might be led to conclude that archaeology is not such a bad choice. CaniArCurology anyone?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's In A Name?

Now what is this? Well, it seems that ever since moving here, the goatmother has had some idea in her head of naming our farm. Today it became official. We are hereby all declared residents of 'Mariquita'.

What the hay does that mean? Well, amigo, herein lies a tale. You see, 'Mariquita' means ladybug in Spanish. The first year the goatmother and goatfather moved here, they noticed the remains of ladybugs smashed in door jams, in window sills, and littering various edges of the carpet. Nothing much was thought of it. Probably just a few that wandered in when the other people moved out and all the doors were open. Until autumn arrived. Once it started to get cold, living ladybugs were seen here and there in the house. How were they getting in? Hmmm...must be some small space around the door jambs. The spaces were duly 'stuffed'. No more ladybugs until... Spring arrived. Suddenly ladybugs were everywhere in the house. Every bug-sized nook and cranny was examined but it could never be determined how the ladybugs were getting into the house. In the meantime, the goatmother was dutifully picking up fifty at a time and gently placing them outdoors in a straw bed until the weather warmed up enough for them to fly away and begin doing bug things. It is known that ladybugs hibernate, and so it was decided that they were probably doing so under the boards of the house. Still, the mystery as to how they were actually getting inside the house has never been conclusively solved, although it is thought it might have something to do with the weep holes around the windows.

Nonetheless, the goatmother concluded that the house was 'blessed' and duly proceeded to name our farm after the cute little red and black critters that call it home. This is how we came to have what you see above on our barn. Now, if you will look at the picture below, you will see that the letters and 'bugs' seem to be just a bit too high to be aesthetically pleasing. That would be the fault of Ella. Naturally. You see Ella, being the long-legged, obsessively curious Alpine, tends to want to examine and destroy anything which enters her 'Ah! new-thing-to-mess-with' radar. Knowing this, and being a wise person by nature, the goatmother and goatfather took a bunch of hay, tied it to a string and ran it inside the barn. While one of them held the empty end inside the barn, the other looked to see just how far up the barn Ella could actually reach. It worked pretty darned well, eventhough Ella stole the pencil out of the goatmother's pocket and ate it. Still, despite the lack of a proper marking instrument, the height of the letters was thusly determined. So you see, as are most things, the 'too high' lettering is the fault of Ella. No surprise there.

As for what I think of this whole idea in the first place... Naturally I would have preferred it to say 'Homegoat Security'. Oh, well. As Wayne Dyer said, "If I could define enlightenment briefly, I would say it is the quiet acceptance of what is." And, everyone knows just how enlightened a goat I am.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Don't Mess With Mama

Mother's Day. It was such a lovely day. For a change. We were out enjoying the fresh spring green grass. (Well, Ella and I were working out on the Go-Go Goat Treadmill ©.) At any rate, it was a very pleasant day.

So, the goatmother and the goatfather decided to take a walk-about around the farm with the Mighty Quinn and the Indomitable Cabra in tow. Now Cabra, being somewhat on the short side, fiercely enjoys running through the high grass in the pasture. As a matter of fact, there isn't much to see except the grass moving until she decides to 'spy-hop', like a whale, to ascertain where everyone else has gone.

Now imagine that you are flying by high up in the sky. You are quite hungry. You look down, and this is what you see.

Mmmm....small bounding mammal. Food, yes? Food, NO! At least not if there is a goatmother in the picture. So you see, this is exactly what occurred. A large red-tailed hawk flew quite low, turned his head and noticed the enticing, bounding, spy-hopping Cabra. He did a double-take, turned his wings and began a descent toward the fuzzy bundle. The goatmother looked up in time to see what was going on and sprang into action. She jumped forward, pointed a finger, and loudly proclaimed, "DON'T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!" The hawk aborted his attempt and landed in a tree, probably not feeling at all ashamed of himself, watching grumpily as the goatmother scooped up Cabra and carried her the rest of the way. I am quite sure he was mumbling to himself the whole time...something along the lines of if he had just been a little quicker...

At any rate, the goatmother was quite surprised that a hawk would express an interest in a dog - even a small dog. Had it been an eagle, it would not have been so surprising, but a hawk? Well, one can only conclude that the fuzzy morsel simply appeared way too tasty to pass up. One might also conclude that Cabra's recent ornithological endeavors might just be coming back to haunt her. Oh, well. I think this is a job for Homegoat Security. After all, we haven't had an orange alert in some time. Nos es vigilo!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Return of the Mighty Ducks

You may recall that last year Mr. and Mrs. duck chose our pond as spring training ground for their budding nine member team. Well, okay, we aren't on Long Island, but our team is back for another sensational season. Only this time, we not only have a full team but one in reserve. That's our clean-up hitter. We're calling him 'Birdie Bonds'. Over all, things are looking great, practice is going well, and we've even managed to keep the Cabrarator in check. She does tend to gravitate toward expired specimens, though, so perhaps we needn't be so concerned.

Interestingly enough, last year the team didn't make their appearance until early June. The only logical reason I can come up with for the early appearance is the snow. You know, long, dark, frozen nights with nothing else to do but trek uphill to the bird feeder and back. At any rate, looks like the resulting starting lineup is a good one. S0, Let's Play Ball!!! Be right back, y'all...I'll just go get the Peanuts.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Half Empty or Half Full?

Is the glass half empty or half full? Now I am quite sure you, too, have considered this question at least once in your life. Hasn't everyone? However, for some, this question enters the surreal and begins to take on a great deal more meaning. Take Nubians as a case in point.

To illustrate my point, consider the incident that occurred in the barn this morning. You see, Saturdays are known, here, as 'worm day' - a fact that takes on considerable significance when one considers that 'worm day' arrives bearing gifts. A gift that would, in fact, be grain. You see, 'worm day' is so called because, on that day, the goatmother gives everyone a dose of herbal wormer. Of course it is probably Ella that has the worms, but that is entirely beside the point. In order to make the wormer more palatable, the goatmother adds it to grain. Grain. Ahhhh.....grain. Second only to Peanuts... sorry ...

Anyway, to get back to my story, this morning it was raining.
Again.
Imagine that?
So, because of the rain, Peanut refused to set foot outside the barn in order to get his 'worm day' treat in the accustomed outside pen. Hence, the goatmother was forced to feed the two boys in their half of the barn and dole out meager portions in our half of the barn. As a whole, things went pretty well, unless you count the fact that Ella Un-enchanted ALWAYS has to stick her foot in the bucket of the unfortunate goat next to her, sliding it over so she can consume that one too. At any rate, when everyone was finished, the goatmother reached over and opened the top gate. Momentarily distracted, she did not, however, reach to unlatch the bottom half right away. Now the bottom half of the gate is somewhere in the vicinity of 18 inches high. Not tall really, but possessing superior athletic prowess and little patience, I jumped right over. In hindsight, that was probably a mistake, since the U.S.S. Boo then decided she could pilot her vessel through the channel. The bow rose and came to rest on the other side. The stern, however, remained firmly anchored. Sadly, the vessel had run aground, listing slightly to port, literally divided midship. Try as she might, the goatmother was unable to help.

Finally, the goatmother unlatched the bottom gate and the propellers were able to push the gate far enough forward to free the immobilized scow. And this, my friends, has inspired me to ponder the question above. Was our side of the barn half empty or was it half full? Since the greater bulk was mired on our side, one might surmise that this side was, indeed, half full. And, one might view the other side as being half empty, since it was that side which contained what passes, in Boo, as the 'thinking' end. Now generally speaking, 'half full' is thought to impart the idea of optimism. However, in this instance, since our side contained what could be referred to as the 'business' end, 'half full' could be construed to take on a whole new meaning - one not particularly optimistic in nature. It would follow, then, that the side containing the head would then be thought of in an optimistic way eventhough 'half empty' normally requires the opposite point of view. Optimism, however, would definitely not be a reasonable assumption if one were to consider that this is the end that might consume any available Peanuts - particularly if one's point of view was stuck behind the behind, as it were.

So, you see the question is just not as simple as it might initially appear. It is, in fact, quite a conundrum and deserving of much time atop the stump. As for now, I can only surmise that the real key ultimately lies with the side from which one views the problem. Location is everything. And so it is with life. If we can view things in an advantageous manner, we will naturally see things as 'half full'. If we, however, give in to viewing situations as going 'against' us, naturally we will see the situation as 'half empty'. There is a quotation accredited to Marcel Proust that says, 'The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.' So it is in the case of 'half empty or half full'. Either that or don't get stuck on the gate in the first place.

As an aside, the goatmother removed yet another dead ornithological specimen from the all-to-eager mouth of the indomitable Cabra this morning. Most definitely the mouth was 'half full'. As a matter of fact, the goatmother has begun to paint little bird-like symbols bearing a diagonal line through them on the side of Cabra's crate, and taken to calling her the B-17 Cabrarator.