"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, January 27, 2011

The Back Door


This is Peanut. How does he look to you? Demure? Innocent? Inculpable? Well, you might be wrong on all counts. Peanut is the product of a difficult start. He was the smallest baby ever born on the farm where I, myself, was born, and it was actually thought he would not live through the night. You can read about his humble beginning here, ( and subsequent posts for the month of June, 2007 over at This Goat's Life.) However, Peanut fooled everyone by not only living, but blossoming into the magnificent specimen of cuteness you see above. That's my nephew, and a credit to his grandmother, Baby Belle's name.

Now every one knows that the Baby Belle family is quite accomplished, particularly in the area of non-conformance. That's right. Belle family children are rarely run-of-the-mill, and Peanut is no exception. So like his brothers and sisters, Peanut doesn't do anything 'by the book'. (Did you know goats have a book? Who knew? Being paper and all, one would've thought it had been eaten long ago.)

Anyway, Peanut, despite how he appears, is not just another pretty face. He is smart too. You may recall, for example, that he is quite adept at setting things up so someone else gets the blame. Remember how Ella got in trouble recently for the hole in the barn wall? And poor Watson. While Watson doesn't get set up to take the blame, he is is subjected to a near constant barrage of butting. I figure it this way. Peanut is the smallest goat. He is smaller, in fact, than most Nigerian Dwarf goats. So, since he is so small, he feels the best defense is a good offense and acts accordingly. The hoof-trimming stand makes him taller, so he uses it as a strong-hold from which to launch his Watsonian attacks. Watson, being the least offensive and most easily knocked over, becomes the lucky beneficiary of Peanut's lust for stature. Anytime one chooses to walk into the barn, a cacophony of loud banging noises can be heard. It sounds like the barn is coming down, but it's really only Peanut sparring from atop his rampart. (Hmmm. now that I think about it, that word 'rampart' is probably for sheep. 'Buttpart' is probably better.)

At any rate, I wouldn't want you to think that any of this means Peanut is a coward. As a matter of fact, he isn't afraid of anyone. While he doesn't have the mass (like Boo), or the bravado (like Ella), or really the superior mental faculties (like myself), he is astute enough to weigh his disadvantages and come up with an alternate, but equally effective, method. You may recall that in the beginning, when Peanut first came to live with us, the Boo-Bus gave him holy hay. You can refresh your memory here. (I know I've slept since then.) Anyway, at that time, Peanut figured out that he was faster and more agile than the U.S.S. Boo, or anyone else for that matter. He simply out-ran or out-maneuvered any, and all, would-be assassins.

Things have changed, though, and Peanut has aged. Perhaps he's a little smarter, or perhaps he's just a little lazier. Either way, the mode-du-jour is this: Battle-Ax Boo confronts Peanut head-on. Peanut deftly sidesteps the charge and goes on about his business - looking at a piece of hay, contemplating the water bucket, considering the mineral feeder. As soon as Boo's back is turned (which takes awhile), and Boo forgets what she was doing (which takes a decidedly short while), Peanut drops all pretense and slams her in the butt! I've seen it happen time and time again. Boo always looks surprised, which is actually no surprise. Oy.

So, things being what they are, some folks might be inclined to call Peanut passive-aggressive. It is, however, my admirably learned opinion that he just figures, 'why use the front door, when the back door is so much closer to the kitchen?'

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Never Push A Goat

It is a fact of life that goats do not like to be told where to go. That's just the way it is. I can't say as I really know the reason for this phenomenon. I suppose there are some things in life that one simply needs to accept. The goatmother, however, has not come to this realization, which is why ever since I have known her she has been trying to get us to go somewhere.

Goats are naturally curious creatures and quite capable, really, which is why we tend to view helping out as an obligation. And when it comes to anything going on out of the ordinary, it is a goat's bounden duty to see what the hay it is. After all, running may be required and we have to gear up for that sort of thing. (Or in the case of Nubians, a seriously ample amount of processing time is required.) Anyway, for some unknown reason, the goatmother never seems to understand our rationale no matter what the situation. ( I believe she labors under the mistaken impression that she is the Alpha goat.)

Anyway, as a result of her obvious lack of perspicacity, the goatmother is forever attempting to herd us to places we have absolutely no desire to go. For example, when it comes time to clean the barn, she never allows us to help. She expects us to willingly go to the other fenced area using a bribe of hay. How condescending. It never works and she always ends up yelling and flapping her arms at us like a grounded albatross. Or she attempts to pull us one by one to the gate, at which time someone has managed to slip by her and back into the barn. (Usually this is Peanut who, for some odd reason, has an unnatural attachment to the hoof-trimming stand. I think he feels like it makes him look taller. It doesn't. He still looks like a short goat, but now on a pedestal. Napoleon complex.)

Yet another example of the goatmother's misguided flocking attempts is when it is time to go into the barn at night. There are really a couple of examples here. Sometimes it's time to go in and the dogs bark. Holy Hay! We've got to see what their barking at, don't we? But no, the goatmother runs about (again with the yelling and flapping) trying to get us all into the barn. The other example of the whole 'into the barn' issue occurs when it is super cold and we girls get access to both sides because there's only one heated water bucket. The problem here is that means Ella is usually on the side where the gate is, and that , in turn, means that Watson is outside as far away from her as possible. Let's face it. The goatmother ought to be able to figure out that if you try to push a fainting goat whose muscles freeze up at the drop of a hat anyway, it just isn't going to meet with success. All that fainting makes for some super-sized muscle in the hind quarters. Sisyphus would have had an easier time. Anyway, I wish the goatmother would make up her mind. Out of the barn or into the barn? Oy. Make up your mind already, lady.

Of course, trying to move a goat can involve something as simple as a goat standing in a doorway. Why just the other day I was standing in the gateway between the two sides of the barn minding my own business. The goatmother came up and wanted through. She asked politely, but I was busy after all. It looked like I was merely chewing my cud, but in reality I was contemplating The Great Nothingness. I didn't want to lose my train of thought. The goatmother pushed. I won. I have hind-quarter muscles too. I wasn't even thinking about it really. It's just that after many years of living with other goats, especially pushy Alpine ones, one hones a certain skill of obstination. (And you thought it was only mules.)

I have to admit, however, that the goatmother came up with a new and inventive idea. Well, I guess it isn't new, but it is to her. You know those videos on You Tube where the people open up umbrellas and all the fainting goats run or faint? The goatmother happened to notice that some of them ran. Now, yesterday there was a break in the rain (you know all that rain we've been getting because someone named 'Nina' has been visiting?). Anyway, the goatmother decided to clean the barn. She nonchalantly wandered out with something black in her hand. All of a sudden that thing flashed open and, believe me, we all headed west! The goatmother laughed and cockily walked over to shut the gate. "There", she said. "I should have thought of that a long time ago."

I have news for you, goatmother. You may have won this round with your modern contraption, but goats catch on quickly (Nubians excepted). We view it as an art form. And just you remember, "Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of the art, the other being the eternal and the immovable." - Charles Baudelaire


Monday, January 17, 2011

For The Birds

It is a well known fact that Januarys in Washington are for the birds. I mean we have either snow, or rain, or both (sometimes at the same time) in copious amounts. This year seems to be more copious than most. Anyhow, sunshine is in short supply this time of year. That isn't the worst of it, though. All that moisture leaves one stuck in the barn waaay too often. With Ella. Oy.

Anyhow, January is also quite literally 'for the birds' around here, and I have pictures to prove it. Notice the photo below. Even Mr. Heron looks disgruntled. It think it kind of goes with the territory. (He's probably annoyed with Ella too. Everyone is. It's simply a fact of life.) But the worst part is, he was freezing his tail feathers off for nothing since there aren't any fish in the pond. I tried to tell him.


Despite the futility of his efforts, however, Mr. Heron sat there all humped up against the cold for quite awhile.

Once he caught the goatmother trying to move in for a closer shot, though, he was off like an Airbus a380. Darn paparazzi.

So, as you can see, that was when it snowed, after which it began to rain ... and rain ... and rain ... and rain ... and, well, you get the picture. The pond is so full it is running down the hill to see if the neighbor can come out to play. The ducks are happy, but hardly anybody else is. The ducks were so happy this morning, in fact, that when the goatmother brought out the cracked corn, they proceeded right up on the bank with Quinn and Cabra. Quinn was delighted, but Cabra was a bit confused by their willingness to share. And that is when this guy showed up.

The goatmother came out of the barn just in time to see this very large Bald Eagle swoop down over the pond, the ducks, Quinn and, OH, NO!, Cabra! Mind you any eagle who tried picking up Cabra might be picking up more than he bargained for. Nonetheless, she is small and plump enough to make it worthwhile, and certainly a temptation. The eagle circled around and landed in a large tree behind the barn as the goatmother rushed out and promptly ushered Cabra into the house.

Now, there is no telling whether the eagle was really after Cabra. He could have been after plump, corn-fed duck, or he might have misunderstood (like the Heron) thinking there must surely be fish in the pond, or he might have just been checking out the Heron's report that the neighbor down the hill has a nice goldfish pond-shaped sushi bar. At any rate, if you happen to be a little fuzzball farm dog, it might just pay to sleep with one eye open ...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Great Nothingness

You have no doubt been wondering, 'What in the world has happened to Marigold?' Allow me to say that I have been puzzling over the same thing myself. I'm sure it is quite difficult for you to imagine a Marigold with nothing to say (I know, it is an aberration.) Still, such has been the case of late. Christmas is over. St. Magnus Peanutos has come and gone. It has been rainy and cold and then cold an rainy, and then rainy and cold some more. Yes, my friends, I am afraid I have taken this time of lack and turned it toward an opportunity to contemplate The Great Nothingness. 'What in the world is that?!', you ask. (I have to admit it does sound rather ominous.) Well, allow me to regale you with one very little-known tale.

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away ... (No, wait. I think that was a different story). Anyway, back in 'the day', (whenever 'the day' was ...) there lived a very holy goat. No, really. The goat was holy. This goat was sort of the 'Buddha' of goatdom. He had a magnificent beard and a stupendous set of horns. I'm telling you, he was something to behold - and holy. That goat was so holy. He was even holier than thou.

Now this goat,(who by the way was named Siddhorntha), was standing about one day under a Peanut tree. (Yes. Back then they actually grew on trees. Only evolution has caused them to go underground. Well, that and the fear of being eaten.) Sidd was contemplating the nature of the Universe, and well, I suppose he might have been a bit bored. Nonetheless, a Peanut fell out of the tree onto Sidd's head and he became 'enlightened'. This was when he knew that all goats were meant to seek The Great Nothingness. Only by seeking to understand Nothingness could a true state of Nerdvana be achieved. For you see, Nerdvana is the supreme state of mind wherein perfect lucidity and clarity are reached due to the cessation of all voluntary thought. (Nubians stand a far better chance of reaching this blessed state due to their innate lack of thought processes. It is a well known fact that a Nubian never voluntarily thinks about anything.)

Anyway, I am a mini-Nubian. That means I am half Nubian (though I don't often like to admit it) and therefore, naturally half way to achieving Nerdvana. So that is where I have been and what I have been up to. I have to admit it is kind of boring, all this Nothingness stuff. Maybe something exciting will happen around here soon. One can, after all, stand only so much ennui. In the meantime, allow me to leave you with some deep thoughts of Nothingness to ponder:

"A jug fills drop by drop." (Unless, of course, the faucet is frozen and then it doesn't fill at all.)

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." (Very difficult to achieve when your bum is frozen as well as your mind.)

"Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind." (First of all, one can not overrate a Peanut. But that second part must be a misprint because 'he' who envies my Peanut is most certainly going to obtain some piece of mind.)

And lastly, always remember :
"I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done." (Which means the Peanut jar is never half empty, but half full.)

Until later, then, Namaste, Y'All.