"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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Learning Mode

So where have I been?  Well, you may remember that we got a new camera recently.  This is the first time we've ever had an SLR type camera and there is a certain amount of learning involved with such an undertaking.  Actually there is a whole LOT of learning involved.  Nonetheless, being the smart goat I am, I have managed to at least form a certain platform from which to build my skill.  Still, you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to push that tiny little button with a hoof.  Oy VAY, Mama!

So, without anymore talking the talk, I present to you at least the beginnings of the walk.

What can I say?  They insisted.

Everyone has to get in on the act.  Oy.

Ahem ... did I say everyone?

There are even show-offs in nature.


Whew!  Pulled up just in time.

The end.  For now.
* For Dear Auntie ... these photos are *real*. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's Here! It's Here!

Some time ago, we joined the Planet Penny Cotton Club (which can be viewed here) and put in our order for some lovely skeins of cottony happiness!  And guess what?!  It's here!  It's here!  The famous pink package  arrived in the mailbox today from all the way across 'the pond'.  I'm glad no ducks were in the way.  Anyway, you know what this means?  It is an omen.   Since it arrived on the Spring Equinox, as far as I'm concerned that's a better harbinger of spring than any old ground hog.  Thank you, Penny!  I can't wait to see what the Goatmother makes for me.

Ain't it purdy?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Best Gardening Hat - EVER!

It's green for growing things.
It's reversible.
It's washable.
It's adjustable.
It's packable.
It's cool in the summer, but warm in the winter.
It's made of moleskin on one side (the material - not the animal), so it sheds water (very important in Washington).
The brim can be worn up, down, or any combination thereof.
The top can stick straight up, or be kind of crumpled (as shown).
It is all stitched on an old treadle machine (no electricity used) and parts hand-stitched.
And the best part ...
It's shaped like a Witch's hat!
It's going to be a great Spring!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Pencil Sharpener

Okay, well, I should be reading my camera book, but what am I doing instead?  Writing.  What can I say?  When the muse calls, it is important to listen.  'Now what is so all-fired important, Marigold, that you are shirking your photographic responsibilities and writing instead?', you ask.  Well, let me just say there are times when things simply have to be said, need to be said, literally beg to be said, and this is one of those times.

You probably remember the Goatmother?  You know, that woman with all the aliases?  As Goatmother's go, I suppose you could say she is a good one.  I mean she brings us hay, cleans up after us, passes out Peanuts.   She is kind-hearted and mostly even-tempered.  Mostly.  Well, perhaps not always.  But she does manage to still love Ella even though Ella is a punk and doesn't deserve it. 

Anyway, for all the good qualities the Goatmother possesses, there remains one area in which she is sadly lacking.  That, my friends, is in the area of all things technological.  Now I wouldn't say that she is completely lacking in technological or mechanical skills because, like most people, she is better than some and worse than others.  So really, I can't say she is exactly technologically-challenged.  Exactly.  Nor is it a matter of intelligence, for the Goatmother possesses as much capacity in that respect as most people.  No the problem is of an entirely esoteric nature, I suspect.  Something that no one can quite explain or fully comprehend, unless, of course, one happens to be similarly challenged.

Allow me to explain.  For one thing, the Goatmother's computer seems to take on a life of its own.  Things just happen.  Sometimes without her even having touched the thing.  Naturally, the Goatfather always accuses the Goatmother of having done something which caused whatever occurred.  But those of us in the know, realize that this is not the case and that the Goatmother actually didn't do anything.  No, machines seem to mysteriously know when the Goatmother is coming.  It is my belief they actually begin to snicker and  sport impish grins somewhere deep within their mechanistic souls, silently communicating with every other machine in close proximity.  You know, kind of like those studies they've done where when a tree gets damaged it somehow signals all the other trees to make them aware?  It's like that.  And of course when the Goatfather asks the Goatmother what exactly happened, the words are right there in her head, but, in some sort of misguided act of solidarity with the machines, they refuse to come out her mouth.  Thus you get such phrases as 'the thingy', or 'oh, you know that thing, or 'that whatchamacallit doohickey', or 'that thingamabobber dowidget'.

Which is why when I read this post by our friend, Lisa, in Maine, it prompted the comment I left.  'This sounds just like the Goatmother having a conversation with herself.'  And it did.  Go take a look for yourself.

So, then, by now you are probably wondering what all this has to do with the title of this post.  Trust me.  I'm coming to that, the reason being it is a perfect example of the mysterious phenomenon of which I speak.  It was like this.  The Goatmother was trying to calculate her Weight Watcher points.  This is an important task.  One needs a sharp pencil.  However, the Goatmother's pencil was as dull as a politician fifteen minutes into a campaign speech.  In the drawer, the Goatmother and Goatfather keep a small pencil sharpener which runs on batteries.  Now the day before, the Goatmother had sharpened her pencil.  (You realize that a LOT of point calculation goes on in this house and pencils become really dull, really fast.)  Anyway, at that time, she sharpened the pencil and placed the sharpener carefully back in the drawer.  But this time, when she went to sharpen her pencil, the Goatmother punched it into the little hole and met with nothing but silence. 

Please note, here, that no one else had touched the pencil sharpener since the day before when it had actually worked and been subsequently placed back into the drawer.  Nope, this time there was only silence.  The Goatmother shook it a little.  Nothing.  She put the pencil in the hole again.  Nothing.  'Hmmm ...', she thought. 'The batteries must be dead.'  So she looked at the bottom where she found a little plate with a small arrow pointing out the direction to push to get to the batteries.  She pushed.  Nothing.  She pried, she pushed, she banged it several times and pushed some more.  This went on for probably a full minute.  Finally, in desperation she marched up the stairs, and handed it to the Goatfather.  'How do you get to the batteries of this thing?' she asked.  The Goatgather turned it over and, with one tiny flick of his fingernail, popped the lid off.

That wasn't the end of it.  The Goatmother marched back down the stairs to the other drawer where the batteries are kept.  She took the old batteries out, noting which battery went in which way, because, after all, there were four of them.  She put the new batteries in and , after a struggle, got the little plastic lid back in place.  Now then!  Time to sharpen the pencil!  She put the pencil in the hole and  ... nothing.  She banged it on the heel of her hand a few times.  Still nothing.  'Hmmm ...', thought the Goatmother.  'I guess those new batteries weren't good.'  So, she commenced trying, yet again, to get the little plastic plate off the batteries.  'The Goatfather did it.  It was easy for him.  How did he do that?'

Back up the stairs marched the Goatmother, sharpener in hand, to give it, yet again, to the Goatfather.  The Goatfather  promptly popped the lid, without a struggle, and arranged the batteries. (Whose positions, by the way, were marked on the inside of the slot and did not need to be memorized at all.)  He replaced the lid and stuck a pencil in it.  Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

'Harumpffff!'  The Goatmother trudged back down the stairs, mumbling to herself .  She went to the place she had left the pencil so many minutes ago, and picked it up.  She placed the pencil into the hole and ... nothing.  She shook it.  She banged it a few times.  Nothing. By now, she knew she was beaten.  She turned and simply placed the pencil sharpener on the table, along with the pencil, and went outside.  I'm sure if we had thought to listen very closely, we might have heard the sniggering coming from somewhere deep within the bowels of that pencil sharpener.

This kind of thing happens a lot.  It's just like I told you.  The Goatmother is like one of those people who can't wear watches because they stop. Or one of those folks whose presence causes equipment to malfunction - one of those SLIders.   Oh well, don't worry Goatmother.  "Technology ... is a queer thing.  It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other." - Carrie P. Snow.  Maybe you're really better off.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Anatomy of a Picky-Snit

The weather has been dreary, which means a lot of time spent stuck in the barn because, you know, I just don't do rain.  Anyway, it has given me a lot of time to think, and one of the things that occurred to me was that I'm always going on about the picky-snit.  Because, really, that's how I am; I get started on a subject and then there I go and everybody better have their minds engaged and their seat belts fastened.  In light of that, I thought it likely that some of you might just be wandering about with a blank look on your face going, 'What the hay is a picky-snit?  That Marigold is always going on about picky-snits and I just don't understand what that means.'  Or something like that.  So, since I seem to have so much time on my hooves of late, I decided I'd just fill you in a bit on that subject.

Getting down to brass tacks, as it were, first allow me to describe the physical properties of the picky-snit.  It works like this:  something is offered to a goat.  Now normally, even if said offering is not good to eat, any reasonable goat will at least smell it to see what it is.  If it smells good, then it is snatched hurriedly into the mouth before anyone else has a chance to get near it.  However, for a goat infested with the picky-snits, this is where all semblance of normalcy ends.

Yes, the goat will sniff, but after that there are several ways in which the picky-snit may be manifested.  The most common form is when the offered prize is sniffed, then the lips clamp shut and the head is turned away as though recoiling from a nasty odor.  Occasionally the offering will be sniffed and may even make it as far as the mouth, but then it will be crunched once and consequently spit back out along with a plethora of sound effects.  Almost an accusatory action rife with an air of, 'WHAT the hay are you trying to do, POISON me????!!!!'

The second way in which a picky-snit may be manifested is when the goat smells the offering, takes it into the very front part of the lips and then begins to shake the head up and down.  This occurs as if to say, 'What the HAY is that???!!!!  I thought it was something good to eat, but now ... Ewwwww!!!!  It touched my lips, it touched my lips!!!!!   Oh, the HORROR!!!!!  GET.   IT.   OUT.    NOW!!!!!'  There does seem to be a bit of a variation on this theme in which the picky-snitter gets as far as shaking the head up and down, but in the ensuing motion, the offering is smashed to bits.  The latter scenario seems to happen a lot to Nubians and seems to occur because they actually forgot they were putting anything into their mouth in the first place rather than because whatever they put in there was actually distasteful.

Now then, the third way the picky-snit shows itself is with a forward motion of the goat's head and the tongue sticking out ever so slightly.  This seems to occur in an attempt to sort of 'taste' the offering before it has a chance to actually reach the mouth.   Just in case.  'Just in case' it is a noxious substance, or perhaps because one is not really in the mood for a treat but does not want to appear ungrateful.  Mostly this occurs in cases that are not epidemic in nature - not full-blown cases, if you will.

Okay, so there you have the physical representations.  It would seem that, at our little farm, at least three goats are infected with the dreaded picky-snits.  Ella is the worst.  Actually you could say that about Ella in a lot of respects, but we shall refrain from further comment and stick solely to the subject at hand.  Ella ALWAYS wants to be first and wants to have EVERYTHING for herself.    So, Ella is ALWAYS first in line.  The trouble is, for reasons known only to her and maybe not even then, she is stricken by the evil picky-snit quite often. Too many of those times, however, the affliction results in the offered treat being spit out on the floor.    Naturally, no one in their right mind wants to touch what is now covered in a layer of spit.  It is simply unhygienic.  The problem is that Ella can't seem to just accept that she has been besieged by a picky-snit and keeps insinuating her nose in everybody's way for another treat.  Of course any ensuing treats are spit out as well, and that only serves to evoke THE WRATH OF THE GOATMOTHER.  ( Trust me on this.  You DO NOT want to incur the wrath of anyone who has to count points for their daily bread.  Not a wise choice, my friend.  Not wise at all.)  Actually, though, it all serves to be a blessing in disguise since it results in more treats for those who are not plagued by this unforgiving affliction. (That would be a picky-snit affliction and not a having-to-count-points affliction.  Just to be clear.)  Anyway, that blessed soul mentioned would be moi.  And Watson.  But I'm much faster than he is.

Anyway, Boo seems to be plagued by the second of the picky-snit manifestations - that one which seems to be unique to, or at least occurs mostly in, Nubians.  I don't believe that, with Boo, it is a case of the 'Ewwwww' factor at all, but strongly indicative of the 'What is that in my mouth and where did it come from?' factor.  The problem, here, is that once the head bobbing, smashing and subsequent falling out of anything that has actually made it to her mouth has taken place, she forgets that it happened at all and sticks her nose up for more of the same.  Rinse.  Repeat.  She only gets two chances before the Goatmother says, 'No way!  No more!  That's IT!'  Of course Boo never hears this and just carries on.  My theory is that it has something to do with the fact that since Boo's ears flop down, the sound never actually makes it to the eardrum.  As a result, all she hears is something akin to, 'Mwo Wah! Nuh Muh! Thsstt!'

The last of the manifestations, unfortunately, often befalls Peanut (the goat, not the nut.)  After his fourteenth bout of trying to butt Watson from atop the hoof trimming stand, Peanut will stretch his neck forward with his tongue sticking out just a teensy tiny bit.  When the treat comes near, if having a picky-snit day, he will draw back and refuse any except those thrown on top of the stand.  I have often thought that perhaps the Goatmother's hands stink on certain days.  I mean, who really knows?  But again, since I am never afflicted, more for me!  A win-win all the way.  Then my only competition is Watson since he, too, is never embarrassed by bouts of picky-snitedness.  However, since I am decidedly more nimble than any fainting goat, you can see to whom go the majority of spoils.

So there you have it.  I am quite sure, now that you understand the mechanics of the picky-snit, you will undoubtedly begin to recognize afflicted souls everywhere - at the office, at home, in your social endeavors.  Do try to remember that these souls are deserving of our pity.  Mostly.  Okay, maybe not so much.  I mean, how many times have I tried to tell Ella, 'Don't even go there.  You KNOW what the Goatmother is going to do.'  But has she ever listened?  To my way of thinking, all picky-snitters would do well to remember this:   "None pities him that is in the snare, who warned before, would not beware." -  Robert Herrick.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Pied Point-Pincher of HalfAsMuch

It so dull around here.  All I can do is start another story because, Goat knows, there's certainly nothing else exciting happening.  Anyway  ...

Long ago there lived an old woman who was overweight.  The old woman was really named The Creature Formerly Known As Goatmother.  'GM'.  (This is not to be confused with the auto maker.  They've been around a lot longer and they actually understand engineer stuff.  The Goatmother just lives with one.  She does not possess 'The Knack'.)  Anyway, 'GM' was formerly known as The Creature Formerly Known As Goatmother because now she had come to be known as The Pied Point-Pincher of HalfAsMuch.  There is a reason for this.  Really.  I know you are doubtful, but the fact of the matter remains that the old woman had, in a momentary fit of healthfulness, decided to join Weight Watchers.  As a result, she had become but a pinch-faced shadow of her former self.  This was not, however, due to any loss of weight, as you might have supposed.  Instead  it was due to an incessant calculation of points.  Points allowed, points consumed, points left to consume, points you darn sure better not consume, and points resulting in an instant and fully guaranteed gain of ten or more pounds in one sitting.  Day after day was spent in furrow-browed concentration.  Wrinkles were beginning to form. 

So, then.  This explains the 'Point-Pincher' part of the sobriquet, and the 'HalfAsMuch' part is pretty obvious since she was getting only half as much to eat as she used to.  But what about the 'Pied' part?  Well, that part denotes a bit of a departure from proper Weight Watcher decorum.  You see, at one time 'GM' had a momentary lapse and actually 'fell off the wagon', as it were.   She sneaked a piece of pie.  It wasn't counted, but it wasn't really necessary since, in her haste to down the thing before anyone saw her, half of it missed her mouth completely and went sliding down her front.  Almost as  good as the Scarlet Letter, if you ask me.  At any rate, that is how she became the 'Pied' Point-Pincher of HalfAsMuch.  Shameful   Just shameful.

Now it happened that a small band of quiet, orderly, lovable, angelic, and peace-loving goats were living on a picturesque farm in a beautiful, albeit rainy, land.  They had a lovely barn to dwell in, warm hay and an ample supply of Peanuts.  Near the lovely barn was a nice pond.  Unfortunately the pond had become literally infested with and overrun by ducks.  Quacking  could be heard all hours of  the night and day destroying the peaceful atmosphere.  Grass no longer grew in the wake of hundreds of webbed feet.  No one could walk even a few steps without stepping in rejectamenta.  In fact, there were regiments of rejectamenta.  No one and nothing was safe.  All harmony was utterly lost. 

The goats had begun to lose all hope of regaining accord when there appeared an old woman dressed in baggy clothes.  She stood and looked about, then approached the exceedingly intelligent leader of the band, who was a beautiful and elegant black and white goat with chic tan facial stripes and modestly sporty, yet tasteful,  airplane-like ears.  (A tall and pushy Alpine had first tried to pass herself off as leader, then a rather Rubenesque Nubian [a BBW, if you will].  However, the old woman recognized where the real intelligence was right off.)  "I see you have quite a few ducks here.", said the old woman.  "Likely I could help you with that for I am ... (pause for dramatic affect) ... the Duck Whisperer"  And this is how 'GM' came to be known as 'DW'.  What is worse, since there were something on the order of 40,000 ducks in this hamlet, 'DW' soon became known as 'DW-40' as she went about 'freeing up' the space.

So 'DW-40' agreed to rid the place of ducks, and the goats agreed to pay her.  By now you are probably wondering just how 'DW-40' managed this task.  I can only tell you this:  corn.  Cracked corn, to be exact.  In essence, 'GM' was offering those ducks 'GM' (genetically modified) corn.  Since no one knows the long term effects of 'GM' crops, we can only surmise that the disappearance of the ducks occurred under mysterious and sinister circumstances  likely funded by multi-billion dollar monopolies.  Or perhaps the APA (Anatadaephobics Anonymous).  But disappear they did.  And what did The Creature Formerly Known As Goatmother, a/k/a 'GM', a/k/a The Pied Point-Pincher of HalfAsMuch, a/k/a 'DW', a/k/a 'DW-40' ask for in return?  A Cheeseburger.  One Cheeseburger.  With onions.  No calories.  Count free.  With Onion Rings.  Count free Onion Rings.  With Ketchup.  The goats offered to pay her in precious Peanuts, but she would have none of it.  She wanted a Cheeseburger.  With onions.  And Onion Rings.  And Ketchup.  There is something wrong with this. 

I suppose it all came out right in the end, but in my opinion one should never trust anyone with that many aliases.  And besides, what kind of idiot turns down Peanuts for a Cheeseburger?  Well, it is just a story.  Still, what did happen to those ducks?  Wait.  What is that?  Do you hear quacking?