"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.