"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

Monday, November 30, 2009

You Better Watch Out ...

The goatmother was on a kick this last weekend. She decided she should oil every last hinge, clasp, hook, chain and any other variety of metal moving part around the barnyard. Naturally when the goatmother does anything it creates a lot of curiosity. In addition, it seems to foster an attitude of 'good will toward men' and a desire to be of assistance. What can I say? 'Tis the season...

Anyway, this particular venture was not without mishap. 'What?!', you say. How could anything the goatmother does cause a mishap? Obviously you do not know the goatmother very well, but at any rate, one of the hinges she decided to oil was the one belonging to the metal gate going into the inner sanctum where the hay is stored. And the Peanuts. The Peanuts are stored in there. Did I mention in there is where THE PEANUTS are stored?

So come feeding time it was business as usual. Water buckets were cleaned and refilled and hay was brought in. Sadly, however, when you oil a hinge, well, it works really well after that. In fact, it may even work a little better than you might have hoped.

And you might get by without any problems if said smooth-working hinge doesn't happen to stay latched like it used to. You might, but then if there happens to be a certain overly-pushy, bratty Alpine in the vicinity, you might not. So when the goatmother went through carrying an armload of hay, Ella pushed and was welcomed into the inner sanctum.

That picture up there is the consummate face of innocence. But we all know better, don't we? The goatmother dropped everything and ran yelling after the impudent jackanape. Ella ran straight toward the Have-A-Heart live trap the goatmother had set in the barn with a very looooooong rope attached in case she happened to ensnare that particularly smelly visitor (in case you don't remember, you can refresh your memory about this 'visitor' here. ) Naturally, when the goatmother yelled, 'No, Ella! Not the trap!", Ella thought, "Not the trap? Oh, Yes! The TRAP!", and promptly ran into it. Oy.

Well, sometimes when you set a trap you catch things you don't expect. All I have to say is it sure isn't the time of year to be getting caught doing something bad. On the other hand, it sure couldn't happen to a *nicer* goat ... snicker. So, as the song says, Ella, ' You better watch out!' 'cuz "Once you begin being naughty, it is easier to go on and on, and sooner or later something dreadful happens." - Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Then ALL the Peanuts are mine!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quinnahl and the Night Visitor

When you are a herding dog, well, that's what you tend to do...herd. So it came as no surprise to the goatmother when she flipped on the outside light to let the Mighty Quinn out last night and he took off into the darkness chasing something. But this was no ordinary something. This something was very large with even larger wings. Of course Cabra had to dash out right behind him. It wasn't much of a problem except that the huge winged thing was taken by complete surprise and almost didn't make it off the ground. Well, it did manage to fly off...or so we thought.

In truth it just flew up into the birch tree. However it was dark and the great bird blended in so well that the goatmother almost didn't see him up there. Woe be unto small dogs who do not remain vigilant. As it was, though, the goatfather brought out the flashlight and they proceeded to shine a light on it. Whatever the reason, I guess it didn't think it could carry the Cabrarator off. I mean she has gained some weight lately what with it being the holidays and all. Happens to the best of us. Just ask Boo.

Anyway, the owl was one of the two specimens you see below. We can't be sure which because, naturally, it was dark. So it goes without saying that the goatmother did not take either of these two pictures. Anyway, the first specimen is the rare Spotted Owl. This is a possibility since the road behind us is named Spotted Owl. As point of fact, the only way to really tell the difference between the Spotted Owl and the owl pictured after it, the Barred Owl, is that the 'stripes' on the chest of the Spotted Owl go across while the 'stripes' on the chest of the Barred Owl go up and down. Well, no one really got that close. And besides, it was DARK.

Now both of these owls are very large. The Spotted Owl is somewhere between 18 - 19 inches and has a wingspan of somewhere between 42 to 43 inches. The Barred Owl is normally around 17 inches and has a wingspan of 45 inches! Quinn can tell you it could have been either one. But all he cared about was chasing it and apparently he didn't stop to look at which way the stripes on the chest went either. Well, maybe he did, but he sure isn't telling. We are, however, extremely thankful he didn't catch the visitor since he most likely would have come out on the short end of that candy cane.

The Spotted Owl.

The Barred Owl.

In the end, the owl flew off and the Mighty Quinn chased him all the way to the road. I'm sure he thinks he did a great thing, but the reality is that the owl probably just got bored with those stupid people shining lights and trying to take pictures of him in the DARK. Oy.

Amahl: "What is that?
Kaspar: Eh?
Amahl: What is that?
Kaspar: A parrot.
Amahl: Does it talk?
Kaspar: Eh?
Amahl: Does it talk?
Kaspar: How do I know?
Amahl: Does it bite? " - From Amahl and The Night Visitor.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


No. This picture was not taken at night. And, yes, this is what many of the days have looked like lately. So, being Thanksgiving and all, as I stand here contentedly munching my hay, it occurs to me that I am thankful.

1) I am thankful that it only rained a quarter of an inch last night instead of and inch and a quarter.

2) I am thankful the pond stayed where it was instead of bypassing the drain and frolicking down the hill to the neighbor's house all by itself. It shouldn't be out alone.

3) I am glad the goatmother's basement didn't flood again. It is unsightly having the hose running down into our pasture, not to mention it makes things even soggier.

4) I am thankful the wind hasn't gone beyond 49 miles per hour even though we reaped the benefits in downed MadroƱa limbs and leaves. Yum. Okay. I'm thankful for those.

5) I am thankful that sometimes Ella sleeps and I actually have a chance to get at the food once in awhile. Plus I am glad (occasionally) for Boo's size since it gives me something to get behind during Ellaesque onslaughts.

6) I am glad I 'm the middle goat and thus have someone smaller than me to butt.

7) I am glad I am fast. Really. I can snatch things up before the others even begin to think about it.

8) And the top reason I am thankful? PEANUTS! (Kinda' goes without saying doesn't it?)

Friday, November 20, 2009

One Man's Trash...

They say, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure'. It would seem that the Cabrarator has taken that quite literally. What is that she is holding so lovingly, you ask? Why it is a toilet paper roll. "Whatever we treasure for ourselves separates us from others; our possessions are our limitations." - Rabindranath Tagore. Okay. Now I'm just worried.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Blue Hole Gets The Blues

Even a Blue Hole has its days. I mean look at that. I guess the Blue Hole was asleep yesterday because it rained a lot. Hard. And the wind blew. Hard. Thank goodness the goatmother had the sense to get the neighbor to dump a big load of wood shavings into our lot about a month ago. Otherwise we would all be wading in knee-deep mud about now. Well, I can tell you I don't like rain and I SURE don't like mud. Besides I just hate a soggy Peanut, don't you?

Anyway, we had an inch and a third of rain yesterday. I know there are places over on the Hood Canal that probably got a lot more than that, but Sheesh! That is a lot for us in one day. And the wind hit 40 miles an hour. I guess we ought to count ourselves lucky since Crystal Mountain over in the Cascades saw 115. I bet if I held my ears just right in that kind of wind I could reach the neighbor's alfalfa field for sure. That's me. Always looking for that silver lining.

It would seem that living in the Blue Hole does not, however, exclude one from wind. Looking back at the data from the goatfather's weather station (Yes, the goatfather has a weather station - the geek. It can be viewed here.), we were, in fact, blessed with a 37 mph wind on the 15th, a 38 mph wind on the 13th, and a 49 mph wind back on the 5th of this month. For some reason these seem to occur often when no one else has wind to speak of ( except the goatfather, and we just don't even want to go there.). The neighbor says it is because we live in what the old timers called 'Hurricane Holler'. Apparently part of our pasture is an old logging road. I, myself, wonder how the neighbors know about these 'old timers', and do we need to watch out because they live in the woods or something? It all sounds a little ominous to me.

So there you have it. Into every life a little rain must fall even if you live in a Blue Hole. And just in case you're interested, more official information on our lack of Blue-Holedness yesterday, is available here.) Apparently we were just loaning it out for a day. So, in the immortal words of my friend, Millie, over on the Key Peninsula, Glub, Glub, Glub... Let a smile be your umbrella, and keep your Peanuts dry.

** Please note, if you go to the link for the goatfather's weather station, it will not show proper information from 9:00 pm (21:00) yesterday evening until 7:00 (07:00) this morning due to the power being off. What can I say? These things happen.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Out For The Season?

The consummate athlete must live with the ever-present knowledge that at any time he could blow his ACL. No, that doesn't mean he faces getting thrown out of a Union for not paying his dues. It means he could tear one of the Cruciate ligaments in his knee, more often the anterior. In fact, a torn ACL has been called the most devastating injury in football and could mean the end of a career. At best it usually means a player is out for the season.

So, two weeks ago, when the Mighty Quinn began limping on his left hind leg, spending the entire weekend as a three-legged dog, we were all just a little worried. Even me, and everyone knows I'm not much of a dog fan. But, being the gifted Frisbee snatcher that he is, not to mention an avid disciple of the Dervish School of Herding, things were looking rather dim. Like Nate Burleson, Seahawks wide receiver, the Mighty Quinn could well be sitting on the side lines for the duration.

Come Monday morning, Quinn was whisked off to the vet. Upon examination, it was determined that it was very likely an ACL injury had been incurred. Oy. Not only would this mean surgery, but it would require 8 to 12 weeks of inactivity for a decidedly VERY active dog. I could see a definite shortage of Peanut hand outs in my future from sheer lack of time with the goatmother.

Anyway, nothing could be done for two weeks. So for two weeks, the goatmother and the goatfather have been inventing ways to keep the Mighty Quinn from dashing about, jumping, climbing, playing, or any of the myriad other active things he loves to do. But today was the day. Early this morning the Mighty Quinn was returned to the vet ready (or maybe not so much ) to face the dire consequences of his actions.

The goatmother and the goatfather went home and waited. At 9:30 the call came. And guess what? The knee was proclaimed *solid* and NO SURGERY need be done! The Mighty Quinn would not be out for the season after all! Everyone breathed a great sigh of relief, extra Peanuts were passed out in celebration, and a vow was made to keep those Frisbees and balls a little closer to the ground from now on.
"I pass with relief from the tossing sea of cause and theory to the firm ground of result and fact." - Winston Churchill.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Blue Hole

What is this, you ask? This, my good friends, is a stunning example of The Blue Hole. You stupid goat, you say. That is an old Elvis Presley movie, isn't it? And, you would be indubitably WRONG. No, The Blue Hole is actually a phenomenon peculiar to where I live. Not that I am peculiar, mind you, but the weather sure is.

You see up there on that map where the little red circle is? That's us. No, really. It is. Trust me. You will notice that all around there is a huge band of green and, in spots, yellow and orange? That would be the horrendous rainfall occurring in western Washington. Right now there is a flood watch issued because so much rain is falling, and much more is expected. And the wind is supposed to blow. But you know what? Right. Here, no rain and not even a breeze. Strange. But you see, we are contained in that large dark blue circle in the middle up on that map. For that, mi amigos, is the infamous Blue Hole.

Why on earth does that happen? Interestingly enough, if you look somewhat down and to the left, you can see the snowy tops of the Olympic Mountains. Notice there is no bright green there either? That is because the storms blow in off the Pacific, hit the Olympic Mountains and just bounce around and over. Nice, huh? It is really nice when one considers that the average rainfall within the Olympic Rain Shadow (that's us) is somewhere around 16 or 17 inches a year, compared to 25 inches just 15 miles to the East in Port Angeles, and a whopping 121 inches over in Forks where that Shrimpy UnDead-American recently visited. That's right. One-hundred and twenty-one soggy, drippy droplets a year. Oy. I bet those goaties have floaties to keep their Peanuts dry.

Anyway, nope, no flooding for us. Besides, we live on a hill. A perfect environment for a goat, if you ask me. So, with that, I'll leave you with an Old Irish Blessing: " May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea [or Peanuts] beside the fire [which hopefully is not too close to the hay], laughter to cheer you, those you love near [but not near enough to butt you or get to the Peanuts first], and all your heart might desire."
- O'Marigold, over and out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Good - (or not so) - Die Young

Well...now that Halloween is over I thought we might have a little peace and quiet before all the holiday hub-bub begins. It would seem, however, that as long as that Lifeless Green Lilliputian (you remember him?) insists on staying around, some things just won't die. Or come to think of it, maybe they will.

Witness what you see below. Apparently *someone* (we wouldn't want to point any fingers...or hooves...or stakes...) has been teaching the Cabrarator to play dead when *shot*. I suppose had I responded more kindly to his calling me MariBella, The Diminutive Deceased-One would not have felt the need to move on to another so obviously impressionable member of the household. But there you have it. It is what it is. You might also note the Little Departed Dummy managed to enlist the services of that stupid disembodied hand he brought home with him from Forks. Oy, a magnum he ain't.

Anyway, when all is said and done, you just can't keep a good man (or dog) down, and you will notice that Cabra refuses to actually stay dead. After all, what's in it for her? She's obviously Team Jacob anyway.

As for that Dinky Done-For, I suppose he's pretty good as a dog trainer. He certainly had no skill as a goat trainer. Still, I have one thing to say on the matter: "I like a man who's good, but not too good - for the good die young, and I hate a dead one." - Mae West.