"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 28, 2015

The Thing Under The Barn

Well, now, it is like this.  Way back when winter began, something strange happened.  You see the boys' side of the barn *butts* (Ha! Ha!  I kill me!  butts....) up against the Inner Sanctum where the hay is kept and the Holy Grail Peanuts reside.   Now whoever built our barn was, I suppose,  a bit on the lazy side because the Inner Sanctum is a step up from our side, leaving us open to the underside.  I suppose one might think it a good route of escape, but trust me on this, it is much too narrow for a goat.

At any rate, way back after we goats came to live here, the Goatmother decided this open space just bothered her.  It bothered her a lot.  You might say it offended her aesthetic sensibilities.  You know how she is.  And once she gets an idea in her head there is no turning back.  So, she enlisted the help of the Goatfather to place boards along this unsightly gap.  The trouble is, like everything else the former owners built, it is not level.  Surprise, surprise and what else is new?  So the back portion of said gap is pretty wide and it extends forward to become nonexistent at the front.  A novel concept in architecture to be sure.  But the Goatfather, being the master craftsman he thinks he is, didn't let that deter him and nailed in lengths of board to cover the gap. 

All was well.  The Goatmother was satisfied.  (Another novel concept ... oops.  Did I say that out loud?)  Life went on ... until.  Until what, you ask?  Well, until this last winter.  One morning, the Goatmother walked out into the barn to find a nice hole dug under the properly placed length of board into the boys' side.   Hmmm ... says she.  The hole wasn't merely a hole, but a tunnel, absolutely smooth and quite a good size.  Now why would something want to dig into the goats' side of the barn?  What could possibly be there to attract anyone?  Of course it had to be the hay, right?  I'm here to tell you, those boys are messy eaters, not like we dainty girls.  (Okay, like Boo and I because there is nothing dainty about Ella.)  And since Boo developed a mineral deficiency last year, we have been getting hay of the highest quality.  I mean this is good stuff and has a price tag to match.  It is like Neiman Marcus blades of grass interspersed with golden bits of Saks Fifth Avenue alfalfa.  Primo. What tunneling-type worth his salt wouldn't want to nick any chance at something like that?

So the Goatmother filled the hole, and guess what?  In a day or two there was another one. She filled more holes.  She even filled holes with rocks only to come out and find the hole dug around them.  And so this whole dance ( or was it a 'hole dance'? ) went on for weeks.  Holes being dug, holes being filled.  Like a beautiful orchestration.  Hole in ... hole out!  Mr. Miyagi would have been so proud!  Until ... the Goatmother got tired of filling holes.  I suppose it wouldn't have been so bad, except we goats are locked in at night in order to avoid chance meetings with things like, oh, say, cougars.   It just didn't seem like a good idea for anything to be intruding in an enclosed space with no avenue of goatly escape. 

And this led to the whole question of just who was going to such great lengths to intrude?  If the boys knew, they weren't telling.  It had to be someone who either liked hay or goats.  It seemed quite unlikely it was the latter since civet cats, weasels and big hairy rats aren't known to be great snugglers, so the Goatmother surmised primo hay must be the draw.  But who exactly would be that interested in hay?  Well, there were only two possibilities the Goatmother could think of right off the top of her head.   A mountain beaver or a rabbit.  A rabbit might not be so bad, but mountain beavers are known to have nasty tempers.  And since it wasn't Ella over there in the ring, it seemed highly likely any confrontation would end in a TKO.  Intruder, 1,  Goat, 0.

So the Goatmother got this bright idea.  (I know.  Goatmother and bright idea should NOT be in the same sentence,, should they? Oy.)  She purchased enough patio bricks (the long flat ones, not the building kind.) to go along the accursed line of demarcation.  Then she painstakingly too a pick axe and  dug a deep trench.  She first placed a length of wire and then artfully lined the patio bricks (remember that whole aesthetics thing?) along the expanse.  THEN she put large rocks along the bricks to hold them in place and filled in around them with dirt.  And guess what?  You thought it didn't work, right?  Well it did ... until ... one day it didn't.

The intruder dug under the upper part toward the front of the barn and then under the big rubber mat.  This angered the Goatmother.  (No.  Really?  You thought the Goatmother never got angry?  Oh, ye of little faith ... and brains.)  The Goatmother had not placed patio bricks at the upper part where the big rubber mat is.  She learned her lesson.  She bought MORE bricks, dug another trench, more rocks, etc. etc.  And it worked!  ... until ... a hole appeared from UNDER one of the patio bricks.  Now the Goatmother's friend told her that if you disturb a mountain beaver's den, the mountain beaver will leave.  Certainly the den had been disturbed.  Many times.  A great many times.  No sane mountain beaver would put up with that much disturbance.  It had become a contest of wills, much like occurs when the Goatmother trims hooves.  The intruder was NOT going to win.  But ...  what if it were just a nice, hungry little bunny? 

So the Goatmother got another bright idea (Oh, Heaven help us!)  At the other end of the Inner Sanctum of the barn, when you open the door, there is a space that can be seen between the board the floor is laid on and underneath the floor.  What if?  What IF, she were to take some hay and stuff it in that space, effectively feeding whoever is under that barn?  Then they wouldn't have a need to dig into the goats' side, would they?  So she tried it.  She stuffed that space full of the primo Cadillac hay, and lo and behold, the digging stopped!  Every so often the space under the door would become empty and the Goatmother would dutifully re stuff it.  The rest of the winter passed uneventfully.  Relief.  She had won ... until ..

Last week the not-so-bright Goatmother was carrying a large cache of tree limbs to get chipped.  She managed to give herself a severe case of tendinitis in her hip joint.  Life being what it is and Mr. Murphy being ever the opportunist, guess who decided the meager proffering under the door was no longer adequate?  You guessed it.  The Goatmother hobbled out to the barn to find one of the patio bricks completely pushed aside.  With a great deal of ouching, grouching and fanfare, the Goatmother managed to dig out beneath the brick, place rocks UNDER it as well as behind it and get it back into place.  SO FAR no further occurrences have manifested.  Wanna' take bets on whose going to win this one? 

"Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”
Robert Strauss

That is nice, but I sure hope there isn't a gorilla under there.  Oy.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Year of the Goat!!!!

Happy Year of the Goat!!!!!  Let the Peanut munching begin!!!!!!

Oh, sorry.  I got carried away.   Well, okay then.  Let me get back to the third and final installment of the Year of the Goat trilogy.  Doesn't that sound exciting?  I mean it is like you expect a goat to come marching out followed by Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli.  Hey, it could happen.  Unfortunately, around here all you're gonna' get is one beautiful goat followed by Arrogantform the Alpine, LegsofLess the Nigerian, and Gimpy the Nubian.

But back to my treatise on qualities abounding in Year of the Goatees.  Let's see now, where was I?  Oh, yes, I remember (which is thanks to the fact that I am only half Nubian and the Nigerian half won out.)  All Sunday Paper retrievals aside, the information I found goes on to say that 'due to their indecisive nature (Hay!  Indecisive?  Who is indecisive?  I know exactly what I'm about and it's all about the Peanuts.) goats like to study the esoteric to know more about the unknown.'  Well, OF COURSE!  Why do you think I like philosophy and why in the hay do you think I'm so blasted good at it?  Oy.  But esoteric?  Well, now, I can't see that I'm all that 'woo-woo'.  Llamas are more into the 'woo-woo'.  Ever look one in the eye?  Now that is esoteric.  And as for the unknown, there just isn't any unknown for a goat because we already know everything.  Just ask one.

At any rate, it goes on.  'They enjoy reading books about horoscope and fortune-telling.  Therefore, it will not be unusual to find Goats working as astrologers or fortune tellers.'  This is completely erroneous information.  I have never met one goat astrologer and the only fortune telling I've ever seen going on is when Ella looks up and says, 'today is not your lucky day'.   Let me tell you, literally every one in sight believes her prognostication and moves just as far away as possible.  Even the hordendous Ur Duck H'ai, in their ever growing masses, move.  It is written on the wind, grasshopper, that when the almighty Alpine speaks, it is to be assimilated and acted upon immediately.  No rumination necessary.  Or prudent for that matter.  In fact, even a moment's hesitation or indecision is downright stupid. (There goes that all important indecisiveness factor again. Now you understand, yes?  Indecisive?  Ain't gonna' happen.)

Year of the Goatees are also supposedly disorganized, but make good craftsmen, artists or writers.  Ahem.  NOT disorganized, but most definitely a good writer.  I'm just sayin' ...   (Disclaimer:  This statement does not apply to Nubians since they usually forget they were trying to write in the first place and eat the pen.  Trust me on this one.)

To quote the Chinese Astrological dudes, Year of the Goatees 'are very romantic, sensitive, sweet and darling.'  Well, gorsh.  'In relationships they could be sometimes a little bit bossy and lazy.'  Now wait just a goat-darn minute here.  Who exactly is bossy and lazy?  That is just offensive and I demand that you consider disregarding this information.  I'm just gonna' rest my eyes here while you are considering that.  Not napping, just resting my eyes ...

What, what???  Oh, you done?  Okay.  Well, then.  At least they end their synopsis by saying that Goatees are 'gentle and caring in nature and hard to resist.'  Darned right!  Resistance is futile and I care very much that you understand that.  Otherwise I may not get my Peanuts and I shall remind you with an ever-so-slight and gentle butt.  Yep.  Caring-and-Gentle-R-Us

So there you have it!  Now that you have been duly enlightened, I can go back to eating with a light heart.  On with the celebration!  Do you suppose they make Peanut flavored Moon Cakes?  Now that would be an auspicious beginning to a fantastic year!  But whatever the Year of the Goat may bring, remember this:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” ― Neil Gaiman
Happy Year of the Goat!!!! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Year of the Goat (Part 2)

Okay, back to the Year of the Goat! (See?  I promised...  and I'm nothing if not true to my word!)  So the information I found goes on to say that Year of the Goatees 'are dreamers, sometimes, they are pessimistic, hesitant and  over-anxious worriers!'  Well, now, in our defense, of course we are dreamers.  Isn't everyone?  Do you dream at night?  Well, sure you do.  And so do I.  I dream a lot about Peanuts.  What do you dream about?  It should be Peanuts.  I'm just sayin' ...  And don't ask the Goatmother what her dreams are like.  You do NOT want to go there.  Can you spell b-i-z-a-r-r-e?  Oy.

As for pessimistic, hesitant, over-anxious worriers?  Shoot.  Wouldn't you be if you had to share a barn with an Alpine?  Nothing wrong with a little pessimism either.  I mean you know she's gonna' have a snit of some sort or another.  So why not just accept that it is coming? No matter what.  It is as sure a thing as the sun rising in the morning.  Oh, wait ... this is Washington.  Okay, it's as sure a thing as the sun rising in the morning but you can't always see it.  How's that? But honestly, that whole over-anxious worrier thing is better applied to Fainting Goats.  Of course it is a whole matter of survival (not to mention staying upright) in the face of Alpine onslaught when she realizes you freeze.  So don't be putting no exclamation point on that, Chinese Astrological dudes, until you've walked a mile in, or fallen a mile (whichever comes first) in a Fainting Goat's shoes.  Ah. So. There.

Now then, further reading uncovers this:  'They can be lazy sometimes.  If Goats have any choices, they would definitely choose to marry a wealthy person and sit back for the rest of the lives'.  Now wait. Lazy?  Come. On.  Just because we lay around and chew our cud, you want to call us lazy?  It is a simple matter of proper digestion.  Cud happens.  And as for me, I'm not marrying any wealthy person.  I prefer a wealthy Goatmother, but unfortunately I don't have one of those, so I have to make do with what I have.  She kind of allows me to sit back.  Unless she doesn't.  And then I better get moving or I don't get any Peanuts.  And we all know that isn't going to happen.  And what about this 'for the rest of the lives'?  You thought that was a typo, didn't you?  Just because I have four feet instead of two ... and hooves.  Oy.  Nope, not me.  What do these Chinese Astrological dudes think we are, cats?  Like we have 9 lives, or 14, or 54?  Sheesh.  If you have to live with an Alpine, ONE is enough!   Trust me on that.  Well, come to think of it, maybe this explains why those guys can't tell the difference between a goat and a sheep.

Anyway, the last part says 'they are obsessed with appearance.  This plays an enormous part in their sense of personal stability.  If they don't look their best, they may be afraid to go out the door to pick up the Sunday papers'.    Now, you know, never having eaten a Sunday paper, I can't really say whether I would be afraid to go out the door and get it or not.  It might depend on whether or not it was raining.  Or it might depend a lot on how it tasted.  But come to think of it, paper comes from trees and I loves me a good tree now and then.  Still, to say we are 'obsessed' with appearance is going a bit far.  We don't have any mirrors in the barn so the only way anyone ever knows how they look is to ask someone else.  Which never works out very well, especially if you ask Boo because, being a Nubian, by the time she opens her mouth, she has forgotten what the question was and usually you get some reply like, 'I saw a bird' in answer.  No, I can't say any of us are obsessed with our appearance except if it is wet.  We don't do wet.  And as far as that playing a part in personal stability, well, that, of course, only applies to Watson.  His personal stability is very important to him.  Mostly because he doesn't particularly care for looking at the world from ground level.

So, this is part two.  Believe it or not, those Chinese dudes still have more to say about the Year of the Goat.  Isn't that special?  But until next time, I shall leave you with one last thought:  "I think most of us are raised with preconceived notions of the choices we're supposed to make. We waste so much time making decisions based on someone else's idea of our happiness - what will make you a good citizen or a good wife or daughter or actress. Nobody says, 'Just be happy - go be a cobbler or go live with goats." - Sandra Bullock. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Year of the Goat

Well, well, well.  I suppose it is time I rear my head from the hay feeder and start philosophizing again.  It has only been, what? ... a year?  Oy.  How time flies when the food is good.  How the goat flies when there is an Alpine on their tail ... well, that goes without saying.  So, no explanations and no excuses.  I'm hopping right back in here with all four dainty feet.   Although, with all the food I've been eating, I guess perhaps my feet are the only dainty part left these days.  Ask me if I care?

At any rate, February 19th is just four days away.  Now why, you ask, is this a significant date?  Because, my friends, this marks the beginning of the Year of the Goat!  Let me say that again.  The Year of the Goat.  Oh, wow.  The.  Year.  Of.  The.  Goat.  Doesn't that have a nice ring to it?  "It is the Year of the Sheep", would-be usurping Ovine types spout.  But alas, I say to you, it all depends!  You see, apparently the Chinese word 'y├íng' refers to both goats and sheep.  Who knew?  Maybe the Chinese need glasses?  No matter.  Some cultures celebrate the Year of the Goat, some the Year of the Sheep and some define it as the Year of the Ram.  Go figure.  Must be like the difference between Santa Claus, St. Nick and St. Magnus Peanutos.  (Don't ask ... )  Naturally, I choose to celebrate the Year of the Goat and what better time for me to get back to my stump?  Plus the weather is good today and I'm not stuck in the barn with Ella.  Best to get goin' while the goin's good I always say.

Supposedly, if you are from the Year of the Goat, there a 'lucky' things that go along with it.  Lucky colors are supposed to be brown, red and purple.  Brown I can see ... Peanuts are brown.  But red and purple?  The only red is the Goatmother's barn cleaning bucket and occasionally her nose.  The only purple is that stuff she puts on our hooves to keep the hoof rot at bay.  None of those things seems especially lucky to me.  And lucky flowers for the Year of the Goat are said to be Carnations and Primroses.  I've never eaten a Carnation.  They may be tasty.  Come to think of it, I've never eaten a Primrose.  But our weather has been uncharacteristically warm and I saw some Primroses blooming over in the Goatmother's yard.  They might be good.  I'll get back to you on that one ...  And lastly, lucky numbers for the Year of the Goat are the number 2 and the number 7.  Now 2 is definitely not enough Peanuts, so I'm goin' with 7.  Yes.  Seven is a good number.  Feels really lucky.

But what are the characteristics one possesses in the Year of the Goat?  Well, I found some information on this subject, and Year of the Goatees are said to be 'elegant, charming, artistic, gifted and fond of nature'.  So far so good.  They are said to be 'creative and very delicate, their good manners and charms always bringing them many admirers and friends'.  Yes, Yes.  Indeed this fits.  But then it says Goats are 'insecure'.  What?!  'They need to feel loved and protected and are easily drawn into complex predicaments'.  Oh, goat grief.  Well, who wouldn't be a bit insecure about whether or not some stupid Alpine is going to be in one of her 'moods' and decide to slam you?  And, yeah, sometimes those Alpines can draw you in, promising you can have the Peanuts first and without spit or having fallen on the floor or anything.  That kind of thing would turn anyone's head.  And of course it is never true and you always end up T-boned.   But caught up in any promise involving Peanuts like that, wouldn't anyone be duped?  And then it goes on to say that goats 'usually shy from confrontation, pull back when faced with heavy decision-making  and blatantly refuse to take an unpopular stand in a conflict'.  Now, Hold. The. Phone. Louise!!!  First off, do you think I'm stupid?  You bet your sweet bippy I'm going to back off if Ella comes at me head first!  Ain't no heavy decision-making involved there.  I'm gettin' the hay out of dodge before the iron-but-brainless-head comes a crashing.  And what is more, I can tell you that our stand isn't popular with anyone.  We see the Goatmother coming with those orange-handled hoof-trimming shears headed for that stand, and we are all gone in the opposite direction post haste.  There is definitely conflict in the offing and there is no thinking, let alone decision-making, to it.  So, hay, no.  We don't 'shy' from confrontation, we RUN from it, baby!  Warp 7, please, Scotty!  Oy.  Who comes up with this stuff?

Okay, well, there is more, but I've probably bored you enough for one read.  After all, it has been a long time and you're probably out of practice.  I wouldn't want you to 'pull back' from any 'heavy decision-making' about whether or not to read on. 

So with that, until next time (and there WILL be a next time...it is, after all, my New Year's resolution.) I will leave you with this.  Year of the Goat or Year of the Sheep?  If you 'pull back' from making a decision, just remember: "It is the theory that decides what can be observed." - Albert Einstein 
Think about it...