"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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, now, what do we have here??? Just look at this most excellent ornament adorning my Christmas tree! The goatmother found it at a crafts fair and bought it for me. Many goatly thanks to Ginny of Sequim for creating such a truly remarkable prize.

You don't get it do you?

How about now???

Merry Christmas, Y'Oy All! May you find such wondrous treasures on your tree - and under it too!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Foil

It started out small. You know, one of those things that looks like an accident. Yes, that's how it started. The goatmother noticed it on the inside wall of the barn. "Oh!", sayeth the goatmother. "Someone must have inadvertently knocked someone else into the wall. Or perhaps someone accidentally kicked it." (Like anything 'inadvertent' ever happens amongst goats.)

Anyway, that's how it started. A small dent in the side of the barn. Magically, however, the 'dent' grew overnight and blossomed into a small hole with raggedy edges. "Hmmmm ... ", sayeth the goatmother. [shrug] She moves on.

The next day, the hole had grown to the size of a baseball - one with raggedy edges. "Hmmm ....", sayeth the goatmother and went on with her chores. Suddenly she turned in time to see Ella chewing on the hole. "OH!", sayeth the goatmother yet again. (The goatmother is sometimes a woman of few words. The goatfather would disagree with this, but that is another matter entirely). So off the goatmother ran to get the giant bottle of 'Chew Stop'.

Originally, the 'Chew Stop' was bought for the old cat, Fu, who had a penchant for eating anything which included things like carpeting, silk plants and plastic flowers. After Fu passed to that great Peanut Field in the Sky, the giant bottle of 'Chew Stop' migrated to the barn. After all, it could come in handy some time. Now was the time.

The goatmother grabbed up the bottle and sprayed it liberally (according to package directions) on the hole. And laying a finger aside of her nose ... oops ... wrong scenario ... and turning with a jerk, she smirked at Ella and said, "Ha! That ought to fix you!".

Now there are two things the goatmother did not know about the hole, so that night when she came out to the barn, the hole had somehow become larger. "What?!", cried the goatmother. (Hey, at least it wasn't 'Oh!'.) She got the giant bottle of 'Chew Stop' and sprayed it so liberally it was running down the wall. She turned (I think with another jerk) to walk away, and looked back just in time to see Ella lapping up the 'Chew Stop' as though it were the real life embodiment of Christmas visions of sugar Peanuts dancing in my head - and you can just imagine what that's like. So that was the first thing the goatmother came to find out in relation to the hole - 'Chew Stop' is really goat candy.

The goatmother gave up. She threw her hands into the air and yelled quite a few things at Ella, none of which were 'Oh!'. She dashed into the barn to grab some paper towels and mop up the 'Chew Stop'. Then she found a block of wood to put over the hole and pounded it into place using two huge nails. All the while, Ella stood looking confused and maintaining trying to get close enough to lap up the 'candy'. The goatmother read the label on the giant bottle, and though it contained no petroleum distillates, it did say it was toxic to fish, don't get it in your eyes, on your hands, etc. etc. etc. Oy. Was Ella poisoned???

So, dutifully, the goatmother waited awhile and then trudged back out to the barn in the darkness and rain to see if Ella was still all right. She was, by the way, which leads us to the second thing the goatmother did not know about the hole. It was Peanut. From the very beginning it had been Peanut. Little Peanut. The smallest kid ever born on the farm he came from. Our little Peanut who could do no wrong. Innocent little Peanut.

No one ever suspects the short ones.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas Spirit


You may recall that this is Ella. You may also recall that Ella believes she is the Alpine embodiment of 'all that'. Yet, despite her predisposition toward outrecuidance, she can be quite obliging when it comes to being helpful. As a matter of fact, she can become so helpful it borders on magnanimous - or so she views it. The unfortunate part is that not everyone else sees it in quite the same light. For example, one day, after having had her monthly pedicure, Ella decided she would 'help' the goatmother put away her tools. The goatmother turned around just in time to find Ella with the hoof knife in her mouth up to the blade. What? She was only attempting to carry it so the goatmother wouldn't have to. Or there was the time the goatmother and the goatfather were working in the barn. They stopped to go eat lunch and left the ladder standing there. Let's just say that, while they were gone, Ella thought she'd put the ladder away for them.

However, these are not isolated incidences. No indeed. These unselfish acts seem to occur on a daily basis. For example, when the goatmother puts hay into my hay rack, Ella feels it is her bounden duty to jump up, put her head in the top, and pull out the entire flake onto the floor. She insists this is so I can get to it more easily. Uh. Huh. Another example is when the goatmother bends over to clean up in the barn. Naturally anyone can use a bit of encouragement when doing their daily chores, so Ella puts her head on the goatmother's bum and pushes - ever so slightly, mind you - although sometimes the goatmother fails to pay proper attention and somehow manages to fall forward. Somehow. And sometimes Ella tries to carry the shovel for the goatmother - or the bucket. Just name the job, and Ella is right there to assist in any way she can. Propitious. There to make the world a more user-friendly place - just like Microsoft. That's our Ella.

And so it is that Ella is fully responsible for urging us into the season full of the spirit of Christmas and good will toward all (except maybe coyotes). Should you chance to pass by our barn on any given morning, you will likely be met with the sincerest sounds of Yuletide cheer: "No!, El. NO!, EL!!! HOLY HONKIN' HOLLY!, NO!,EL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

And Then There Were Eight ...


This is Beeder. Well, originally he was known as Conan, the Barbarian. But as so often happens around here, that name soon became Conan, the Bebrarian, which became Beebder, which morphed into Beeder. The goatmother brought Beeder home from the rescue place in the palm of her hand. Literally. He slept there all the way home. He had a penchant for being in the highest place and was known to frequently climb up the nearest available person in order to ride about on their shoulder. One day, while surveying his domain from said perch, he jumped off right onto a hot burner. The pads of his feet were burned and he had to walk about with bandages on his paws for awhile.

Beeder grew and soon could be heard in the dead of night thundering through the house. Everyone grew to love Beeder and this year, on October 5th, he turned 13. Nine souls have been living here in harmony (more or less) for almost seven of those thirteen years - the goatmother, the goatfather, five goats, two dogs, one parakeet and one cat. But I guess 13 was not to be a lucky year for Beeder - or for us, for that matter, because a few days ago, on the last day of November, Beeder was called to the greatest and highest place around.

Animals have a way of moving into any available space - like your heart. They come in quietly, and before you even realize it, there they are - fully planted and pouring out unconditional love. They never care how you look - like if your ears stick straight out instead of flopping down like they're supposed to. They're always right there with you, supporting you at the worst of times. So when they leave, a great gaping hole opens up and allows part of your soul to pour out. Oh, it fills in eventually, but it leaves a scar. That's how it is, and we learn to live with it - eventually.

For now we'll just have to muddle through. We'll have to accept that there won't be anyone sitting on the newspaper we're trying to read or laying directly in front of the computer screen we're trying to view. It just won't seem right, but I guess we'll manage. Nobody said it would be easy. We can love, but we can't hold on forever. Our friends deserve something better and it's our duty to let them go even when it hurts.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful

It started out innocently enough. A flake here. A flake there.

Soon there was a little mantle of white. No big deal.

Then it started to do this. (Trust me. I'm inside that barn.)

And pretty soon it looked like this.

When all was said and done, the mushrooms wore hats.

And then the wind came, leaving in its wake a legion of leafy soldiers and NO power.

Then it got cold - and I do mean COLD. Thirteen degrees last night and even the stinky cows behind us (or is it in front of us?) were headed over the river and through the woods.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for a lot. I'm thankful it hasn't gotten to less than 13 degrees. I'm thankful there wasn't more than 10 inches of snow. I'm thankful for a nice warm barn and succulent hay. (I admit, however, that my nose is so cold I've found it necessary to temporarily refuse Peanuts. I said temporarily.) I am REALLY thankful the goatmother had one lucid moment 'back when' and decided to buy an electric water bucket - ( for which I am also EXCEEDINGLY grateful the power was not out any longer than it was.) I'm even kind of thankful there are other warm goat bodies about. (Although I have to draw the line at being thankful for Ella.) Yes, indeed. I have quite a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I hope you do too.

But, OY, my poor stump!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Case of the Crippled Confines

Well now. What have we here? It has been such a very long time since we had a decent mystery around here. Hey, ho, then! Marigold Holmes at your service. Assisted by the ever-faithful (and sometimes standing) Watson. Now, look at the evidence below. It is a broken and twisted wire. It is not just that, however. This is part of the wire that encloses our pasture. Okay, so I'm thinking you are probably saying, 'No big deal. A broken wire. So what?', but I assure you this occurrence is not as simple as it looks. For you see, this is 'field fence'. Now if you are not familiar with this kind of fencing, it is very strong and made of high-tensile steel. The wires are wrapped and not welded. In other words, it takes a hay of a lot of force to break this stuff.

So the question is, what could have done this - or who? The only other time the goatmother has had to repair damage like this was when the goatfather tried to drive the riding lawnmower through it. An epic day to be sure, and one that did indeed end in damage to the fence. However, it should be noted that the old lawnmower is a huge dinosaur of a thing, and when one puts that together with the goatfather's fervor when operating anything with a motor - well, you get the picture.



So, in light of this occurrence, Watson and I began our investigation. Watson, being more inclined to spend time in close proximity to the earth than myself, naturally began searching for any clues in that direction.


And I, using my extremely proficient side-scan radar panels, attempted to pick up any sign of unusual activity in the area.



Due to recent rains, though, I admit I got tired of wet feet and took a small 'drying out' break. Notice, however, how vigilant I remain. A true investigator to the end.



So, when all was said and done, we couldn't come up with a thing. Most distressing. I suppose it could have been one of those zombie deer whose leg got caught while attempting to jump over. We just can't imagine anything strong enough to do this kind of damage, but I can tell you that everyone here has been on high alert since. I guess we need to recall the Homegoat Security Team to active duty, and up the security status to Orange. After all, there are more members now. We're bound to notice something.

In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to continue eating our Peanuts as though nothing has happened. We certainly don't want to jump to any conclusions without proper evidence. I know, it's not the 'American Way', but after all, "The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession." - Sherlock Holmes.
Let us not be hasty, my dear Watson!, for no doubt time will be our friend in this matter. Besides, if it turns out to be a bear, we can shove Boo to the front. That ought to slow him down considerably.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gymnasties

As you may remember, Ella is an Alpine goat. Alpines are the natural athletes of the goat world, not to mention the hands-down pushiest. And believe you me, Ella allows no one to forget any aspect of this. Witness the picture below. This was taken when Ella was young. Actually this was taken when Boo was thin, so you can see just how long ago it was. At any rate, from the time Ella was small, having all four feet on the ground was never adequate. I suppose one could say gymnastics runs in her blood.


Yes, if there was an 'up' to be had, Ella was, and still is, there. Nothing high is safe, which is why the letters on the barn had to be mounted almost under the eaves. (In case you have forgotten, you can refresh your memory here. ) I know, it makes it awfully hard to read, but on the upside, if you come in on the drive, which is downhill, it almost looks normal. Almost. Anyway, what's a person to do? It's either that or have a sign minus a few letters.


Not only is nothing high left untouched, but nothing high is sacred either. Just look at the shot below. Aren't roofs for keeping out the rain? I had no idea a roof could double as a balance beam - hence the look of sheer confusion on my face as I step out to see what all the commotion is about. Oy.


So we've given Ella a new sobriquet, if you will -Elga Kornbutt. It fits, don't you think? No place is secure against attack. No space is sacred. No space is even out of reach or out of the considered realm of possibility. Remember my new hayrack? The one just for me? You guessed it. Even though it was placed in what was thought to be a position high enough to be out of Elga's reach, she has still managed to figure out a way to get her head in the top to pick out, or even pull out, all the choice stuff first. Look below. As I said, absolutely nothing is sacred, for goats' sake!


In the end, I suppose we are stuck with Ms. Kornbutt's propensity for practice of the mercurial athletic arts. (Wow. Wasn't that an awesome sentence? I wasn't sure I had it in me. Extra Peanut for that one.)
She says, 'get used to it' - as if we had a choice. At any rate, it is what it is. "Anyway, I will go same road because I, I was born in gymnastics. This is my, how to say, my life and my duty." - Olga Korbut. Oy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

You Better Watch Out ...

Wow. It is November already. You know what that means, don't you? First of all, since it is past the 2nd, it means no more annoying election phone calls. I wanted a phone in the barn until I found out about that. Anyway, the second thing is that November means Christmas is right around the corner. No kidding. It's just like 7 weeks away.

With that in mind, I guess I'm going to have to straighten up and fly right or I'm in BIG trouble. (as if I didn't manage to find enough on my own). You see I'm in the proverbial 'dog' house again ... or would it be 'goat' house? Or maybe 'goat berry' house would be more like it. (Oy. stop with the digression already). Well, what happened was the goatmother was handing out Peanuts. I am ALWAYS at the front of the line. No surprise there, I guess. Now usually I'm very polite about the whole thing, taking turns and what not. But yesterday, I guess the planets were aligned in such a way as to influence my behavior and, well, I smacked Watson again. He was getting just too close to the Peanuts and everybody knows they are for me (except maybe Ella who thinks they are all for her; but she is deluded and we all know it, so it doesn't matter.) I guess, in retrospect, I shouldn't have listened to the planetary influences because Watson went down next to the gate and then he couldn't seem to manage getting upright again. (Well, hay, it isn't my fault where he chose to faint, is it?) Anyhow, he kind of rolled back and forth a bit like one of those Weebles ( Weebles wobble but they don't fall down! - except in this case it was more like 'Weebles wobble but they don't get up.') He did finally manage to get on his feet again, but by that time the goatmother was fairly annoyed with me.

Well, shoot!, says I. So when the goatmother came out with the goatfather to give out monthly pedicures, I was 'the very model of a modern major general'. That stupid halter was put on me and I jumped right up on the stand. No tugging, no cajoling, no lifting even. The goatmother looked at the goatfather and said, 'Oooo. That was just too easy.' Then I stood there and allowed her to trim my feet with a bare minimum of kicking. Why I didn't even pull my usual fall-off-the-stand-sideways-with-my-head-still-in-lockdown trick. Decorum. I had it.

By now you are probably wondering why I was able to defeat my inner brat so easily. The answer to that would be desire. Or maybe lust for what you see below.

The goatmother received a catalog in the mail and LOOK what was in it! Oh, be still my beating heart! Can you believe it??? Yes, Christmas is almost upon us and it is necessary to be a good girl if I expect to find this under my tree! I saw this on Amazon.com , too, and it didn't get very good reviews. In fact, people said nothing ever grew. However, unlike those poor souls, I have my very own built-in fertilizer factory. I do not foresee the same sad outcome for me. From now until Christmas I'm going to be on my very best behavior. Just you wait and see! The Peanut-growing thingy will be mine!!!! Oh, yes!!!

"You can't talk your way out of what you've behaved yourself into." - Stephen R. Covey

Oy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Spooky!

As if those zombie quackers weren't enough. Now we have to put up with zombie deer. Oy. Look at that one on the right with her mouth open. You can't hear it, but we certainly could. Brainzzz ... we want braainzzzz ... Scary stuff, I can tell you. Well, at least they weren't mumbling Peanutzz ... we want Peaanuutzzz ... That would have been unthinkably horrifying!


Still, look at that! Mouth open and headed our way. Ella is big and fast. She has nothing to fear. Peanut will just butt her legs out from under her. No problem for him. And Boo doesn't have a brain, so no worries there. I can, however, see that I have a dilemma. Everyone knows just where the brains are in this outfit. Well, hmmm ... maybe fainting goats are good for something after all. Watson will surely faint, and that will give me time to go hide. On second thought. I'm already in trouble on his account. I suppose I better not go there. Maybe the electric fence will stop zombie deer. My hooves are crossed - all four.

In the meantime, I'm counting on the Great Peanut stopping by here tonight. We are the most SINCERE! Sincerely weird, mind you, but SIN-CERE nonetheless! Happy Halloween! May the Great Peanut leave you mounds of three-to-a-shellers!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ehhhh?

I'm in trouble.

Ehhhh? What did you say???

I said, I'm in TROUBLE.

Really, Marigold, speak up. I can't hear you!

I said, I'M IN TROUBLE!

Oh. Well. Why didn't you say so in the first place? What happened?

Well, you see, it's like this. The goatmother went to put everyone to bed and noticed that Ella was being her typical, Alpine, pushy self. She tried to butt me in an effort to keep me from getting to the hay. It's nothing new. I'm quite used to it really. But the goatmother saw this and invited me over to spend the night on the boys' side of the barn. Who was I to turn down such a gracious offer?

Well, things went fine. I kept the boys at bay all night and had the hay all to myself. In the morning, the goatmother came out and opened the door. I smiled. She smiled. The boys just stood there. What were they going to say? 'Hey, goatmother, the mini-muncher there kept us from eating hay all night?' I don't think so.

But then, well, I forgot myself for a moment. Just one little moment. One eensy, tiny, millisecond of undecorous behavior. I guess you could say I fouled my nest a bit. There are probably other, more colorful words to describe it, but you get my drift. Anyway, what I did was I whammed Watson. I whammed him so hard and so fast that he went down in one big fainting lump of goat. In my defense, it was just that I was so overwhelmed by the prospect of getting a Peanut. Or, it could have been that I was so very glad to see the goatmother. Yes, that's it. I was just SO overjoyed at seeing the goatmother's face again. After all, it had been an entire dark night - and I was probably on hay overload. Yes. That simply has to have been the problem.

Nonetheless, the goatmother informed me in no uncertain terms that I was never going to be invited to spend the night on the boys' side of the barn again. Ever. I've been very contrite since then. Even humble. What? You don't think I can do humble? Oy, ye of little faith. One does what one must. Besides, I'm getting my very own hay rack now.

Just remember, Marigold : "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught." ~J.C. Watts

Oy. You SO did NOT just say that to me. Did you?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Children Of The Corn

Remember when I said I had not written much about Halloween this year? At the time I wished there was something spooky to write about. Well, my friends, be careful what you wish for! Oh, do be careful!

Oy. Hide. Make NO noise! See the photo above? I apologize for the quality. It was taken through the window. It had to be. It simply was not safe outside.

Remember those cute baby ducks that were in the pond this last spring? In case you've forgotten, you can see them here. Anyway, what I neglected to further inform you of is that we actually had two batches of baby ducks this year. That, in itself, should have been an omen. But did we pay attention? No. Oy. At any rate, you now see the sad point to which we have come. We are burdened with the Halloween egression of zombie quackers.


Oh, no!!!!!!!!!!!! They are headed our way! No doubt responding to the call of 'He Who Quacks Behind The Barn'. Yes! They are heading for the barn!!!!! HIDE the Peanuts, for goats' sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"A time of tribulation has come. ... What do you want? ... We want to give you peace." - Children of the Corn.

Oy, boy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Being Sincere


Well, here it is almost Halloween and I haven't even written one word about it. Can you believe that? Oy. So I figured I better get on the old broomstick and get something out there. This lead me to think about discussing sincerity. Now you all will remember in 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown', Linus says, "Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see."

Well, okay. I will be the first to admit that it is actually the Great Peanut I'm after here, but the same principles apply.
It's really just a matter of semantics. Peanut. Pumpkin. They both begin with 'P' and they both bring good things to good little 'kids'. Same difference.

Anyway, back to sincerity. Now look at that picture up there. That is our barn. Can you imagine any place more sincere? And then one has to consider who lives there. Now grant you there are those in the area lacking in sincerity. Hypocrites if you will. For example, Ella professes to be your friend to your face, but when push comes to shove (and believe me at Peanut-passing time it usually does) if you get in her way, her nose gets all out of joint. And does she tell you what's wrong? Oh, no! She pouts (or whams you when you aren't looking). Or she starts acting like she's all better than you because she's an Alpine and everyone knows they are from Switzerland and have the best bone structure.

And then there is Boo. Boo is one of those who asks for an invitation to eat in your spot, but when you move over to let her in, she turns up her lip and pretends to be busy. Now I don't know about you, but I've never met a Nubian yet who could be anything other than confused.

Then there is Peanut. Peanut feels entitled to walk through your spot. Doesn't seem to matter whether or not you happen to be in it at the time either. I can tell you, there is absolutely nothing insincere about his motives though. If he's on his way to somewhere, and he likes it, and he wants to be there, then by Josephine!, he has the green light and that's that. Nothing insincere there I guess - maybe a little intemperance - but no insincerity.

Now Watson? Well, Watson is just Watson. Never was a goat more sincere. He is kind, helpful, generous, and he doesn't eat much. How much more sincere could a goat be? He is always faithful, always the same, always doing something for somebody else, always last in line. See? I'm telling you. Sin-cere.

So, if you happen to be keeping score, that is 2 in the insincere category, and 2 in the sincere category. That leaves the tie-breaker, (and the best) for last. Enter moi. Don't I always give it to you straight? Don't I always consider others' feelings? Aren't I always THE MOST SINCERE GOAT you know? Well, there you have it then. Come Halloween night, the Great Peanut will most assuredly be stopping here.

Just remember, Marigold, " ... sincerity is always subject to proof." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Oy.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Veggie Tales

Hallloooooo! Believe it or not it is actually me, Marigold. I know. By now you have probably forgotten who the hay I am, but hopefully you'll remember. After all, I am so unforgettable.

Anyway, Fall is actually here. The weather has been quite strange and they are saying that this is going to be a bad winter - one to rival 2008. I'm not sure I actually believe that because I haven't seen even a single Woolly Booger, but, of course, I suppose that might be because they know it's going to be so bad they aren't even bothering to show up. Some parties are like that.

Still, even amidst all this strange meteorological prophecy, we goats have remained steadfast in our dedication to eating. After all, it is THE WAY, and we are duty bound to follow it - which leads me to my actual subject. What? Did you think someone as eloquent as myself was going to limit herself to discussing the weather? Oy, ye of little faith.

You might remember ( I know, you've slept since then.) my mentioning recent vegetable coups thanks to the kindness of our neighbors. In case you actually have been asleep, you can refresh your memory here. Anyway, I thought you might appreciate our rating of these delectable delicacies in case you need some help next time you go grocery shopping. After all, everyone knows that a goat's opinion of le bonne bouche rivals that of the Woolly Boogers' and the weather. So, without further delay, may I present to you our esteemed accounting for your esculent edification.

First allow me to present you with the 'Top Picks' category. These are the culinary delights that absolutely everyone loved. I might even go so far as to say that we actually fought over them, but then that would be gauche of me, so please disregard that last bit of information. (If only I had one of those little devices like the Men in Black. Sigh.) Anyway, the 'Top Pick' of all time has to be a tie between Runner Beans and Kale. No kidding. I have the bruises to show it. One can only get in Boo or Ella's way so many times before it begins to take a toll. Now I know you are saying, 'That is ridiculous! My kids wouldn't touch either of those things with a ten foot pole.' But I'm telling you, it only indicates a lack of palatal sophistication on their part. These, then, were followed closely by Carrots and Apples, however, they can not be tied with Runner Beans and Kale because the goatmother had to cut them up first. Really, I don't see the problem. What else does she have to do? Still, she insists the extra effort must be taken into consideration. What's a goat to do? The hand that feeds and all that... Oy.

Now, the next category is the 'So-So' Category. This includes things that some of us like and some of us don't. (Boo wasn't allowed to participate in this category since she follows the Pattern of Peculiarity.) Anyway, with a 'So-So' vegetable, I suppose you'll just have to decide for yourself whether you want to include it in your menu - either that or take into consideration the source. Naturally, if the opinion is mine you can feel safe in trusting it. Nonetheless, this list includes Lettuce (liked by most of us but absolutely NOT if it happens to be wet. Romaine is the best and you can just forget that wimpy Iceberg stuff.); Bok-Choy (sometimes enjoyed by all, but mostly Watson. In retrospect, I suppose that might be because it was what was left.); Swiss Chard (exceptional in my estimation but others seemed less enamored. What can I say? I like the colors. I'm a true artist at heart.); Cabbage (although try being around Ella's breath post cabbage consumption. Oy.); Corn Husks (I liked them, but I suppose they are a little tough for some tastes.); Fennel (good at times but not enjoyed at others. What can I say? One has to just be in the mood for Fennel. Although, come to think of it, Watson seems to really like it. Ah, go ahead and try some. I don't think it will make you faint.).

Which leads us to the very last category - the category of 'Extreme Distaste'. I bet you can figure this one out, but just in case, this is the category of things that absolutely no one could stand. At the top of this list is Broccoli. No, really. Broccoli. I suppose we'll all have to concede that there was something our former President knew. Who knew he had something in common with a goat? Well, now that I think about it, maybe we ought not go there. Oy. At any rate. We all hate Broccoli. Don't make your kids eat it. The only other thing that made it into this category was Carrot Tops. Why would you want to eat the top when what is on the bottom is so good anyway? 'Nuf said about that.

So there you have it. Trust it. It's better than the Gallup. Nonetheless, don't be afraid to strike out on your own. I don't know. Maybe you'll find you want to give Broccoli a chance rather than simply taking our word for it. After all, it has been said, "Opinion polls measure the Public's satisfaction with its ignorance." Food for thought, if you ask me.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Shorty


This is Shorty. He was one of our neighbor-dogs. As dogs go, he was okay. He was small and non-threatening, and he even fell in our pond once. We were all very entertained that day. Yesterday, Shorty's life met a tragic end when he was accidentally run over. Sometimes life deals you bad Peanuts and it seems like there are just no good ones to be found - anywhere. But I prefer to think of these things in less distressing terms - besides, it hurts less that way.

Perhaps Shorty was called to some important mission elsewhere. Somewhere we can't go - at least not yet. It hasn't been all that long ago that the neighbor's father passed away. He loved Shorty. Maybe he was lonely. I guess we may never really know. But of one thing I am sure. Shorty's life here on earth was as good as they come. He was well taken care of, well loved, and he will never be forgotten. He was a happy little guy and even showed it with a special doggie 'grin'. If you got a 'grin', well, you knew you were okay in Shorty's book.
Shorty, you were okay in our book too, and we will miss you.

“You can shed tears that he is gone,

or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back,

or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,

or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him only that he is gone,

or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,

be empty and turn your back.

or you can do what he’d want:

smile, open your eyes, love and go on.” – David Harkins

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Epidemic

You may recall that awhile back I took a truck ride. In case you forgot, you can read about it here. Anyway, guess what? Lucky me. Today I got to take another truck ride. Why, you ask? Well, it's like this. I continue to be lopsided and the goatmother is a consummate worrier. It's as simple as that. The bad news is I've lost my spidey sense. The good news I'm not alone.

I know. That doesn't make any sense, but it would appear that the vet's office had another goat just this morning, with the very same *affliction*. Now how coincidental is that? The fact is that this was no coincidence. It is my belief that this is a case of alien abduction. I don't know about that other goat, but I remember, or maybe I don't, losing track of several hours a couple of months ago. And I have vague flashbacks of probey things. And not being able to breathe (or was that Boo rolling over on me in the night?) At any rate, something strange is going on here. Two goats with the same affliction in one day? I don't think so!

The vet thought it might help to receive something called a' hair-moan' injection. I don't know about you, but I've never heard a hair moan and I certainly think one would tend to notice such a thing. Anyway, it was decided that this would not be a successful method of dealing with the problem, and the goatmother was told to just take a 'wait and see' attitude. Wait and see? 'Wait' for and 'see' what, for goats' sake??? Oy. As for me, I'm going to wait and see all right, but you can rest assured it will be with one eye open for anything green, glowing or pulsating. In the meantime, I shall be practicing. "Klaatu barada nikto ... Klaatu barada nikto ... Klaatu barada nikto!, darn it!"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Soirée


This is the farm that is behind us. Or maybe it is in front of us. As with many things in life, I suppose it all depends on your perspective. Anyway, I fail to see how they can call this a farm because they don't have any goats. Not even one. How is that possible? They have lots of equipment, maybe even every mechanical farm kind of vehicle and machine ever invented, but they just don't have any goats. They have large and stinky cows, they have crap-of-dawn crowing roosters, but there are undeniably NO goats anywhere. Irregardless, they refer to themselves as a 'farm'.

Now, every year, on the Labor Day weekend, this farm has a very large party. It is, in fact, such a large party that they invite literally everyone and have to resort to parking all of the vehicles in the pasture. (Just imagine how that smooshes all the nice eating grass, which by rights, belongs to the stinky cows.) Of course I take a bit of issue with this whole party idea because I don't think they have ever thought to extend an invitation to any goat whatsoever. I happen to think this is blatantly discriminatory. After all, the stinky cows are allowed to attend aren't they? And I hear barking over there, so I KNOW dogs are invited.

Anyhow, this year was the 100th anniversary of the farm, so you can imagine that this year's soirée was bigger and better than any of its predecessors. Whooping and hollering could be heard an entire day before the festivities, not to mention the revving of engines and blowing of industrial-sized horns. Truly it was enough to disturb one's rumination, both the philosophical and the stomach kind. It was all rather difficult to 'digest', one way or the other. I mean when goats celebrate, there is just a lot of polite head-butting and perhaps a few cheerful bleats to complement, but never anything so loud and gauche. As a matter of fact, the band hired for the evening dance was SO loud we could have had the dance ourselves. "I've got friends in looow places ... " Well, I've got friends that go down the hill too, but you don't find me singing about it. No siree, Bob! Goats have class, and couth. We are thankfully civilized, for goats' sake!
Oy.

Anyway, we did manage to get a bit of sleep that night - after the music and the all-terrain-vehicle races were over.
I suppose one should remember what Desiderius Erasmus said, " No party is any fun unless seasoned with Folly." I wonder which of those farm people is named Folly, and if he'd even consider inviting the goats next year? After all, it has also been said, " Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor's noisy party than being there." - Franklin P. Jones.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In The News


"BANGOR, Maine — Authorities say a car rammed into the security gate outside Stephen King's home in Maine .
.. 25-year-old Renee Harris of Alton told police that an oncoming car veered into her lane about 9 a.m. Sunday. She swerved and crashed into the custom-made black iron fence ... No one was injured and the other *car* was not at the scene when police arrived. "

Was it a car? Was it, perhaps, a bird? A dark object swooping past the window of an unsuspecting driver who *may* have mistaken it for another vehicle?

Do we actually know where a certain dim-witted, life-challenged, sickly green individual was on that date?

Oy boy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Kindness of Friends

The goatmother has some friends. No, really. She does. Who knew? Anyway, two of these friends, in particular, are just the cream of the crop as far as we goats are concerned. Now you are probably wondering what makes these two so special, and I, benevolent soul that I am, will explain to you precisely why. You see, these particular friends are not only fond of goats, they have actually made it their mission to enhance everyday goatie gourmandization. That means they are trying to help us eat better, and everyone knows the way to a goat's heart is most assuredly through its four stomachs.

One of these friends has been pulling out Salal and bringing it for us to eat. I think she is making room for flower beds, but I am not particularly concerned about the reason. If Salal is not her 'thing', then I am more than willing to take it off her hands. As a matter of fact I'd probably take it off her head if she offered it to me that way.

Anyway, the other friend works at a big vegetable farm. They sell all the vegetables to people, of course, but since humans are so picky, there ends up being a lot of PRAAAH-duce people won't buy. That's where we come in. Goats are not nearly as picky as people and we happen to love PRAAAH-duce. (By now you are probably wondering why I keep referring to these delectable delights as PRAAAH-duce. I can only tell you it has to do with the friend having been raised in a British household. Besides, PRAAH sounds a lot like BAAAA, and, well, it's a goat thing.)

So of late, you might say we've been eating high on the hog ... err ... goat. Sadly Ella tries to get everything first, but we've come to expect that. Still, there is more than enough to go around. I, myself, particularly relish the Kale. Watson, epicurean that he is, only cares for Swiss Chard with a small side of Fennel. Peanut is quite the Spinach devotee, and Boo, naturally, is a fan of absolutely EVERYTHING. It shows too. Oy, does it show. Remember, Boo, once across the lips, forever on the hips. Something tells me she isn't paying a bit of attention.

So here is thanks to the kindness of friends! Aesop once said, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." And I assure you, my friends, these acts are much appreciated and never, ever wasted.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fall Reflections


I know, I know, ‘It isn’t Fall yet, you stupid goat. It’s only August.’ The fact of the matter is, however, that the night before last it got down to 44 degrees and last night it was 48 degrees. Now, when one considers that 44 is only 12 measly degrees from freezing, it seems only natural that one’s thoughts might turn to Fall. Anyway, mine did and that’s that. So there.

Now Fall is a time of reflection for sure. Summer (if you actually had one) is full of running here and running there. Full of things like muse vacations, waiting for it to finally stop raining and then waiting for it to rain at all, baby birds and baby ducks, and of course, lovely, lovely green grass and the always-appreciated-but-far-too-meager Peanut hand-out. But like the trees and plants preparing for their long Winter sleep, we, too, must go within to contemplate where we’ve been and where we want to be when Spring has finally sprung. (I’m thinking first in line to get out there to that tender, new grass after months of nothing but dry old hay).

As I stand here on my beloved stump, I look out over the pasture. The leaves are beginning to yellow, some falling, but many more (drat!) still adhering firmly to the tree. A few green blades (thank goodness!) peek through the long-dead stalks laden heavily with seed. If only Peanuts grew above ground and in the Pacific Northwest. I would be the richest of goats.

I watch Watson as he wanders stiffly by in search of leaves Boo and Ella may have missed. (Heaven knows that’s the only way he’ll get any.) Boo picks up a leaf , lifting her head ever so slightly, as she begins to contemplate some deep mystery – probably something like ‘what is that thing sticking up behind me (her tail) and why is it following me?’ Consequently, consumed by her thought processes (such as they are), she spits out the leaf having forgotten what it was she was doing in the first place. Watson is on it like one of those baby ducks on a June bug – Boo-spit and all. ‘Ahhh, Autumn…’, I sigh. (Even though it is only August).

Soon we’ll probably be seeing those stupid Woolly Boogers – or not. I guess it all depends on what kind of a winter they think we’re going to have. Last year we didn’t see any at all. (I think N.O.A.A. hired them all, and it’s a darned good thing since the Woolly Boogers are far better at predicting the weather than those guys.) The wind will begin blowing the leaves hither and yon (‘Yon’ being a relative term dependent upon which side of the fence you are on.), and we goats will begin to don our winter coats (some of us ending up looking like the Woolly Boogers).

Ah, yes. A time of reflection indeed. How many Peanuts can one consume during a long cold winter? Will there be any three-to-a-shellers? Have I trained sufficiently this summer to be fast enough and strong enough to circumvent Ella’s efforts at being first when the Peanuts are handed out? Am I brave enough to do this? Ahh, Autumn. You grace us with your presence (Even if it is only August.)

“The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Monday, August 9, 2010

In the Shadows

You know, sometimes there's nothing to talk about and then, all of a sudden, there's lots to talk about. Take yesterday for example. We have new neighbors up the road, and one of the new neighbors brought the neighbor-daughter to visit. The neighbor-daughter is quite grown up and lives far, far away in a mythical land called O'Re-Gone. I think it is called this because, first of all, there are Irish people living there. Then, because it is so far away, it has always been gone, and then somebody apparently tried to find it and couldn't, so it became 're-gone'. That's what a few hours on my stump helped me to conclude anyway.

Okay, but I digress. Again. Why do I do that? Anyhow, you see the neighbor-daughter is quite fond of animals. I, myself, think she particularly likes goats, and anyone can certainly understand that. The fact is, though, she liked us so much she wanted to come in the pen. I will admit in hind sight this might not have been the best plan, but I suppose it is what it is. Nonetheless, she and the goatmother entered the pen and the neighbor-daughter squatted down next to the barn where Peanut was standing. (I might add that I was not far away, looking magnificent, as usual, despite my current debilitation.) Then Ella approached. Ella sniffed the neighbor-daughter and the goatmother thought, 'Oh, she's going to rub her head on the neighbor-daughter like she does me.'

Well, here's the problem. You see that picture up above? Notice that Ella's face lies in shadow. There's a reason for that. It is because she has shifty eyes. Now, had anyone else realized, as do I, what a complete punk Ella is, they might have been able to see what was coming. But humans being what they are, just didn't. Ella took advantage, of course, because Ella can. She lowered her head as if to scratch, and, instead, butted the neighbor-daughter's shoulder into the side of the barn! The goatmother was horrified, but it came as no surprise at all to me. After all, I live with that on a daily basis. Oy.

The goatmother has since tried to come up with an explanation for Ella's behavior. It could be because the neighbor-daughter got down on Ella's level, thereby causing Ella to think the goatmother was introducing a new goat to the herd. Naturally a new goat has to be put in it's place. It is The Code. Then again, it might have been because the neighbor-daughter is quite lovely, with eyes like Giada, and Ella might just have been jealous. I mean we know that Ella sees herself as the Ella McPherson of goatdom.

At any rate, Ella is in trouble yet again. At the time I thought about smacking a glob of web on her and wrapping her up right then and there. Hey, I could have if I'd really wanted to, but then my cover would have been blown. In the meantime, I smile inwardly. I smile outwardly too. Heck, I'm just a great big barrel of smiles! Sometimes life hands you lemonade after all. And, oh, Ella? I think I'd tread very softly for awhile if I were you. You just never know when you might meet a real superhero in those shadows you're so fond of. And, Ella? " ... you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk???" - Dirty Harry
.

Spidergoat, Oy and out, and smiling all the way.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Who Am I?

Well, then. needless to say it has been some time since I posted last. Okay, partly it is due to that stupid muse, Caprinope, having gone on vacation - again. You may recall this usually happens in January, but for some reason, this year she felt entitled to two. You may also recall my having received postcards from Jamaica and Rio in the past? This time it was Marrakesh. Can you say ex-o-tic? Can you say 'stoo-pid muse'? Oy.

Anyway, that hasn't been the only problem, for you see I have been suffering from a a slight ill-adjustment to my personal apparatus. I know. What the hay are you talking about, now, Marigold? Well, ahem, you see, recently I developed a certain lopsidedness to my kid-feeding paraphernalia. Now, I assure you that no one quite understands how this came about, least of all myself. I mean I woke up one morning and well, there it was. I guess you could say that with Caprinope on her extended gadabout, my deprived subconscious must have gone over to my more Eastern dark side, and literally overnight I was changed into Marigold, 'Wun-Hung-Lo'.

At any rate, I have never experienced a day of ill health and the goatmother has been quite puzzled, not to mention concerned. I even had to endure a truck ride to the vet. Now that was no fun. Why is it Caprinope can travel the world, and even that stupid Sickly Green UnDead can go places, but all I get is a truck ride to the vet? That, my friends, is discrimination.

The vet, by the way, could find nothing wrong, so it was finally concluded that perhaps I had been bitten by a spider. Well, there you have it. I never saw a spider. I never felt a spider. But you know what? Lately I have begun to have some really bizarre thoughts. (I know, but more than usual.) And, it has begun to affect my vision too. I mean occasionally it kind of looks like there are eight of things instead of just one. Now if it were only Peanuts that wouldn't be so bad, but eight of Boo can be a bit distressing. And another thing. I have begun to notice myself daydreaming about climbing right up the side of the barn or the trunk of a tree and swinging out over the fence to the other side where the grass is really tall. I mean I think I could actually do this. A couple of times I've even found myself with my front hooves halfway up the side. And I know things too. I know and respond with lightening-quick reactions (especially when it comes to hoof trims).

Well, all I can say is I guess I'm going to have to start being very careful from now on. 'Cuz you know, "with great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm SpiderGoat.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Channeling Your Inner Goat

The weather has been rather warm of late and I have had a lot of time to stand about in the shade philosophizing. So it seems, during one of my more fruitful deliberations, I began contemplating The Inner Goat. Naturally, I am sure you are quite skeptical that anyone, let alone everyone, might actually possess something remotely resembling an Inner Goat. You might simply surmise that I am deluded and spouting some sort of New Age gibberish. However, I can assure you that is not the case.

Now that we have that out of the way, let us first examine what The Inner Goat actually is. Have you ever been lying about on a summer day, lazily gazing up at the clouds, and become vaguely aware of that still, small voice within? You know, the one that whispers, 'Hey! Bum cheeks asleep here! Shift those boys around, for goats' sake!!?' Or you're standing about grazing one beautiful evening, look up to see a coyote trotting your way, and that same voice, not nearly so small or still, jumps up yelling, 'Marigold! You can stay here and philosophize all you want, but I'm gettin' the hay outta' here!!!' Well, now, these would be examples of your Inner Goat at work.

Some might refer to the Inner Goat as mere 'in-tuition', but honestly, I can't say as I've ever had to pay it anything. Although I suppose you could count paying attention. That seems to be a necessity since, if you don't, you are certainly going to hear about it again on some level. At any rate, you understand that the Inner Goat can be likened to that 'gut' feeling that people get and often ignore. I said people often ignore. Goats never ignore 'gut feelings'. Believe me, when you have four stomachs, that's just the way it is.

So how does one learn to access the Inner Goat? Meditation. That is the key. Your mind is a blank slate save for the ever-present image of a lone, exquisite Peanut. Soon the Inner Goat begins to surface and you are free to channel it's wisdom. The Universe is yours. The Peanuts are yours!

Okay, so it pays to channel your Inner Goat. Be aware, be guided by and attend to that annoying little voice. Own it. Name it. (How about Edna? Frank???) Chew your cud in contemplation and take note when that voice speaks to you. It might just prove to be worthwhile.

Post Script: If the voice tells you to do bad stuff, ignore it. You are no longer channeling your Inner Goat, but have somehow managed to tap into the Twilight Zone. It means you have used the key of imagination rather than the key of meditation, and you are about to enter into another dimension, a dimension of sight, of sound ... Oh, for Edna's sake! Just tell it to pipe down.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Rambling Revenant

As you may remember, last October my friend, The Little UnDead, went on a pilgrimage to Forks to visit various sights featured in the book, Twilight, about a teenage girl, Bella Swan, who falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. In case you have forgotten, you can refresh your memory here. Anyway, ever since then, The Diminutive Deceased One has been whining about going on another vacation. Goatness knows nobody here has been interested in catering to his whims, so recently our good friend, Lisa, over at Pink Porches, girded her loins and invited The Short and UnImportant for a visit to Maine. Maine, you ask? Really? Isn't that clear across the United States? Well, yes, it is, but you have to understand that this destination held a particular interest for the Little UnAnimated One.

Now, look at the picture below. What is this, you ask? Well, my friends, this is none other than the Bangor, Maine residence of the renowned author, Stephen King. Yes, that would be the Stephen King, a long-time idol of The Dinky and Dull. Naturally you are probably having a bit of difficulty locating his tiny green presence in this picture, but he is over to the right on the gate.


Can you see him now??? Pathetic isn't it?

Anyway, Lisa, being the kind hostess she is, next catered to The Paltry Peasant's flights of fancy by taking him to the Mount Hope Cemetery. What the hay is that, you ask? Well, The Mount Hope Cemetery was the site of filming for the 1989 movie, Pet Sematary, based on the Stephen King novel by the same name.

Honestly, the Mount Hope Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places, not because Pet Sematary was filmed there, but because it is the second oldest garden cemetery in America. As The Petite Punk flew over, he was awed by the serene beauty he encountered. I'm awed he managed to make the flight without taking a nose dive.

You will be glad to know that he did not encounter any recently reanimated zombie-like children, unless, of course, you count the one below. Even though this child constantly kept inviting him over the threshold, try as he might, he could never manage to get in - or even get her to strike up a casual conversation. I suppose reanimation isn't all it's cracked up to be. No doubt one stands to lose a few brain cells in the process. At any rate, The Little Cadaverous Clout decided against going on up through the forest to the ancient Indian burial ground. No use taking chances I always say, even if one is already life-challenged.

Next, The Little InSignificant Expired went on to view the grave of gangster, Al Brady. He wasn't in a talking mood either, so The Tiny and Torpid moved on to the Mausoleum. The doors were locked, however, and try as he might, no one would invite him across the threshold this time. Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed - or, ahem, coffin.

So after the consummate failures at the cemetery, Lisa felt sorry for The Small and Stagnant and took him to see the giant statue of Paul Bunyan featured in the Stephen King novel, 'It'. See him down there at Paul's feet?

Here. This ought to give you a little better sense of Paul's size. He is 31 feet high and weighs 3,700 pounds! Wow. That has to be about as much as Boo. I think The Shrimpy and Stiff was a bit staggered by the sheer size of this mammoth, not to mention just a little apprehensive that if he sat there very long Paul might again become possessed and attack him. Sheesh. The things some people worry about. It's not like he could ram you from behind like Ella.

In the end, though, The Little UnderSized and UnResponsive found the perfect place to take a rest after such an exciting day of adventure. Who knew he'd have to go all the way to Maine to find it?

We would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks to Lisa for being brave enough and kind enough to take The Little Verdant Vampire off our hands for awhile. Believe me it was as much a vacation for us as it was for him. Besides, you know what they say, " Kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers." So, Lisa, this makes you a VERY beautiful person in our eyes!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The 7 Wonders of the World

Everyone knows about the 7 Wonders of the World. These are, in fact, a representation of the most spectacular things in the world. Apparently there have been several lists of these spectacular things made over the ages, the first based on guide books that were popular with Hellenic sight-seers. Now who would have thought that anybody back then would've had the time to run around looking at things, let alone putting together sight-seeing brochures. Weren't they all waaay too busy plundering, pillaging, and conquering?

Well, anyway, I guess the Greeks came up with the number 7 because it was supposedly the number of 'perfection and plenty'. Come to think of it, I guess 7 Peanuts isn't really a bad number, so maybe they were on to something. At any rate, they didn't really call them 'wonders' back then either. Their word was apparently, thaumata, which supposedly means something more like 'things to be seen'. Now that makes more sense to me. Take a break in between conquerings to go about and see a few things. Heaven knows you wouldn't have time while the conquering was going on - far too busy looking over your shoulder I should think.

So with that little bit of background, I humbly present to you the 7 Wonders of the World - at least as far as I could figure them out. But, hey!, what do I know? I'm just a goat, and not even a Greek goat at that.

Now, first, we have the revered Great Peanut Pyramid of Geezers. Many old men took an inordinate amount of time to create this magnificent wonder. Time well spent on a worthwhile project, if you ask me. Keeps them off the streets too.

The Hanging GardenHose of BigLots. Need I point out to you the importance of this wonder?
Statue of NoUse in the Olympics. Not useful, but looks nice, I suppose - even though that is my stump he is using for a pedestal. Oy. The wonder here is that I haven't yet butted him the hay off it!

Temple of Absorption at Ignoramus. Evident here is the wonder that this sign ever made it onto the Temple. Witness the tell-tale backwards 'N's. Oy. Sometimes it takes a village. Sometimes it only takes one.

The Mousoleum of MouseSolos at HaveASnackOnUs. I am wondering if he's found any Peanuts in there.

Lighthouse of Alexander. I don't know who Alexander is, but this is his lighthouse. And, if it's a lighthouse I wonder why the light isn't on? Perhaps Alexander is one bulb shy.

And last, but certainly not least by any sense of the word, a wonder that requires no explanation - none other than:
The Colossus of Blyn.