"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, February 26, 2009

*Trace* Elements

As I awoke, right away I could feel something wasn't right. There was no familiar blip...blip...blip...emanating from the fence charger as it performed its constant watch. In fact, there was no noise at all, save the occasional grunt from Boo lying next to me and deep in the 'Zzz' zone. So what was it? I began to notice a peculiar 'light' coming from beyond the gate - a particular 'lightness' that should not have been present so early in the morning - and my body came to full attention. Had an alien craft landed outside the barn? And then it hit me - there was no blip because there was no electricity...and it was so light because it had SNOWED. Oy. Again. Were I a penguin or a husky, I might have been able to work up a little enthusiasm. As it was, all I could think of was how much I so wasn't going to like this.

Now before retiring last night, the goatmother diligently checked the weather forecast. After all, it was snowing just a little, ever-so-tiny bit. Afterward, off she went to bed secure in the knowledge that only a 'trace' to less than one inch of accumulation might be possible. No sweat. I mean it's been 40 degrees in the day, and besides, we have the ducks. Remember the ducks? The seasonally-challenged ones?

Now you know, 'trace' is one of those odd words in the English language. Synonyms for it might be things like ' a ghost', 'a hair', an intimation, a soupçon, if you will. But you see, 'trace' is also one of those words that exists within a bit of a subjective spin. I mean, is the glass half full or half empty? You tell me. It all depends on just exactly whose 'trace' we're talking about.

Such was the case last night, for what you see below is the 'trace' of snow which arrived here overnight. If you ask the swing in the picture, its glass might be just a 'trace' more than half full.

And the bird bath might be willing to tell you that it is just a 'trace' fuller than usual.

And the mountains might just have the merest 'trace' of an in-your-face attitude about the whole thing.

And some of us might have a 'trace' of reluctance to go out in their trace.

At any rate, it has happened so often this year that I can only say, " I've grown accustomed to the trace, Of something in the air, Accustomed to her face." - Alan Jay Lerner, American Lyricist. It all leaves me with just a 'trace' of indigestion. "At least it's pretty", she said with a 'trace' of Oy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Revenge of the Stick People

There are certain situations in life that just come with an inherent 'Oy'. So allow me to simply say it now and get it over with. OY. There. I feel so much better.

You may recall my review last Fall of the legendary Stick People inhabiting our Peninsula and other Washington environs. In case you have forgotten, you can refresh your memory here. You might also recall that the aforementioned Ligneous-Americans have a certain penchant for fuzzy members of the canine genus. That being said, it is safe to assume that if one chooses to desecrate Sacred ground belonging to any tribe of resident Stick Persons, one might be in danger of incurring their wrath.

I enter the following photographic evidence as exhibits A and B. Please note the blackened lower extremities of the defendant, an obvious, clear-cut 'smoking gun'. The Twiggy Tangibles present here were clearly well within their rights to attack.

Evidence of their savagery can be witnessed in the consummate entanglement of the defendant's plumey tail (which, by the way, took the goatmother quite awhile to emancipate.)

It all goes to show that as ye sow, so shall ye reap. If one is bent on exercising a blatant disregard for the rights and properties of others, one is apt to get what one deserves. Not to mention the fact that one should conduct oneself in a manner conversant with a certain amount of decorum. After all, "To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant, but utterly shameless." - Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Lawyer, Writer, Scholar, Orator and Statesman, 106 BC - 43 BC

Like I said...some things just come with an OY.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Tale of Teleportation

Every morning when the goatmother sets out for the barn, she sees what you see below. This is the barn. Now you will notice, that the bottom half is a gate and the top half is open but covered with wire. In this neck of the woods, goaties have to be 'put up' at night 'cuz brother, we have critters here! More specifically, coyotes, mountain lions and bears, oh, my!

Anyway, the half of the barn behind the wire is where Peanut and Watson stay at night, while the 'maiden quarters' are behind the wall to your left. That being the case, when the door opens in the morning up at the house, one can usually see two small heads bob up over the gate. Well, truthfully one only sees Watson's nose, and the only actual head is Peanut's because he stands on the 'pedicure' stand in order to gain enough altitude to actually see over. That is the usual case, but as everyone knows, this farm knows little or nothing about usual. So this morning when the goatmother went out, instead of seeing the boys, she was, in fact, greeted by an overzealous Ella. (Ella is always overzealous. I think it comes with the legs.)

Now how was this possible?, thought the goatmother. For you see, if you enter the Sacred hay room and look through to the 'maiden quarters', this is what you see.

Two gates with two latches. And this is exactly how the goatmother found the gates when she went into the barn this morning...except. Except what? Well, Peanut was exactly where he was supposed to be, but somehow, mysteriously, Ella and Watson had switched places during the night! Obviously here was a case for the most intrepid investigator of all time, Marigold Holmes. (Okay, I admit I was asleep when the actual sleight of hand- or is it body? - took place, but that is beside the point.)

So I began my investigation. Pictured below is one of the actual locks. You will notice that it has a top piece that comes down and latches firmly over the pawl, or bar, on the door. This is how it works and this is why it stays latched. Hmmmm..... Well, I suppose one of the boys could have lifted the latch somehow, but then, since the door opens inward, were they working in tandem with Ella on the other side to actually push the door open? And to make matters worse, how did the gates get latched again after the two miscreants switched places? One would think I would have heard or seen something, but then I guess if you sleep next to Boo, a herd of elephants wearing army boots could pass through and you'd never notice.

At any rate, the mystery of how these two magically changed places remains just that - a mystery. I have noticed that lately Watson has given up Shakespeare in lieu of reading books about the life of Houdini. I asked how he did it and all he did was look at me and say, "My brain is the key that sets my mind free." - Harry Houdini

Boy, Oy Boy, Oy Boy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Love Affair

It's Valentine's Day and my own true love, Gun, has forsaken me. Not even a card. Oy. In light of this, I thought I would enlighten you a bit about my other love. You are probably wondering which goat that might be, but let me assure you that this love is truer than any man ever thought about being. My bestest love, should you even have to ask, is none other than the Peanut. I assure you, my friends, no mere goat could ever be as satisfyingly, delectably, alluringly, unfailingly steadfast as this humble treasure. Ah, my preeeehcious! We wants it. We NEEDS it. Must have the preeeehcious!

Oh, sorry. Got a bit carried away.... Anyway, I thought I might attempt to acquaint you with a few facts regarding my beloved. For starters, did you know that the Peanut is actually a legume related to beans and not a nut at all? Just one of its many hidden talents, I'm sure. The exalted Peanut actually came from South America, and it is known that the Incas of Peru used them as sacrificial offerings, entombing them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life. I certainly would like to have some in the afterlife. I know Ella won't be getting any, unless, of course, they are roasted to a crisp.

But I digress. Now, then, Peanuts are 28% protein, 50% oil and 18% carbohydrate. I think this makes them an excellent choice for inclusion in any goat's diet - especially the lo-carb ones. After all, a girl does have to watch her figure. Unless, of course, you are Boo, in which case everyone else has to watch your figure lest they become squashed.

As an aside,
astronaut Alan B. Shepard took a Peanut to the moon with him. No one knows for sure whether it made it back or not.

Another little known fact is that the world's largest Peanut was four inches long. Well, good gosh, Miss Agnes!!! I would love to have seen that! Four inches??? Let me get my ruler... oh, swoon...

Ahem. Okay. Well, there are several varieties of Peanuts, but the most popular are the Virginia and the Spanish. Olé, y'all. One acre of Peanut plants will yield about 2,860 pounds of Peanuts, and I find myself ruminating over whether they would actually grow in Washington, and if I might somehow convince the goatmother she needs to plow up an acre. I would find a way to help. Really I would.

So there you have it. All the wonderful facts presented in a concise and unbiased manner. (Gee, I'm just like Consumer Reports.) So this Valentine's Day forget the chocolates. They may look good, but can they give you a lasting relationship? And always remember, a diamond may be a girl's best friend, but a Peanut, my friends, is a thing of beauty forever.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Quack In The Ice

For the last two or three years, ducks have been coming to our pond in the Spring to rear their young. When the goatmother and the goatfather bought this place and asked about ducks on the pond, the former owners said, 'Oh, we have the occasional duck.' But then I suppose the ducks heard that we had Peanuts and naturally that brought them run...er...flocking.

Anyway, this occurrence happens in the Spring, as I said. It is still winter, yes? Nonetheless, the blissful couple you see below arrived several days ago, obviously NOT having first consulted with the Woolly Boogers.

So the ducks arrived and everyone breathed a sigh because winter was on its way out and obviously Punxsutawney Phil was wrong. (Who can trust a rodent anyway?) Yes, everyone breathed a sigh until... Yesterday it snowed. Let me repeat that. Yesterday it SNOWED, for goats' sake! Okay, it wasn't a big huge snow like we had in December, but still the flakes were quite large... and COLD, and Cabra is eating the granny squares for my coat faster than the goatmother can make them!

So let me just say, that if you are ever considering putting trust in a duck, well, just don't. Now the dummies are gonna' have to swim around in the pond like miniature ice-breakers in the Arctic sea. Serves them right for trying to trick us. As far as I'm concerned, one should always remember, 'if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck', then it must be a REALLY BAD WEATHER FORECASTER! Oy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Crochety Tale

The goatmother signed up for a crochet class. No, really. Crochet. I know, what an 'old-lady' thing to do, right? Well, I'm sure not going to be the one to tell her. At any rate, she learned to make, naturally, 'Granny' squares. Yes, the goatmother actually crocheted what you see below. She was SO proud of herself she was dancing all around holding it up and saying, 'Look what I did! Look what I did!' Oy. I guess it's all right, but it sure ain't no Peanut.

So, after she got home from the class, the goatmother sat down and crocheted up two of these. After all, when she goes back for the second class next week, she has to have enough made so she can learn how to actually put them together and MAKE something. (I'm hoping for a goat coat like my friend, Belle has. Do you think the colors will make me look fat???) Anyway, after crocheting two squares, duty called (in the form of loud baaaing noises coming from the barn. But then I wouldn't know anything about that...) The goatmother carefully put the yarn and hook away, along with the two precious squares, and set the whole she-bang up on the dresser. Only... Only what?, you ask. Well, it's like this. The face of innocence is sometimes not...innocent that is.

And so next week, when the goatmother returns to class, she will be taking what you see below and making use of that age-old adage...

Teacher, the dog ate my homework.

Monday, February 2, 2009

That's A Lot Of Blarney

I know. It is just February and Punxsutawney Phil just saw his shadow. Nevertheless, there is a famous quote that says, "No winter lasts forever; no Spring skips its turn." - Hal Borland (No this is not 'Tim's sidekick' on Tool Time.) At any rate, Spring is just around the corner no matter how you look at it - six weeks delayed or not - and that means March is just around the corner. March...that wonderful month that contains St. Patrick's Day. Begora! Can this be true?! I assure you, it is.

So, in keeping with this 'Springy' theme, our kind neighbor with the sainted John Deere tractor, came to turn over the great Goatie Poop Mountain. After all, just like a new leaf, compost must be turned in order to become 'effective' in this life. It's a rule.

Anyway, during 'the great turning', the kind neighbor uncovered a most auspicious rock. This rock was bigger than Boo, and that is saying quite a lot. So he idled the engine long enough to ask the goatmother if she wanted this leviathan boulder put 'someplace'. Naturally, 'someplace', to the goatmother, means somewhere in close proximity to either her beloved garden or her beloved goats. The goats won out. And who can complain? Certainly not I.

So, the prodigious stone was plopped unceremoniously from the grand bucket of the sainted John Deere right into our enclosure. Now how cool is that?

At first everyone was just a little dumbstruck.

But then it dawned on even the 'remotest' of us (Boo) that here was indeed not just a rock, but a rock! This was akin to none other than the famed Blarney Stone of old. Now what is the Blarney Stone, you might ask? Well, according to legend, the Blarney stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland. There are numerous suppostions as to its origin, including the rock that was struck by Moses with his staff to produce water for the Israelites during their flight from Egypt. It was later returned to Ireland., of course. Another legend claims that the stone's powers were revealed by a witch who was saved after drowning - or is that from drowning? Anyway... No matter the origin, it is said that if one kisses the Blarney Stone, he or she will be endowed with the gift of great eloquence.

So, after giving proper homage to the 'Rock Gods', we proceeded to do just that. Kiss the Blarney Stone. We all gathered 'round and Ella was the first. Of course Ella was the first. When is Ella ever NOT the first? (Heaven only knows she could use a little eloquence, not to mention a little decorum.)

Next it was my turn. Not that I needed it, but one can never be too careful, can one?

"So, Marigold. You talk too much already. Why do you need to go kissing a stone, for goats' sake!?"

Hay! Now I can assure you, one can NEVER be too eloquent. Besides, "Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks." - Heinrich Heine (German Poet and Writer, 1797-1856) And everyone KNOWS just how wise I am, now don't they?