"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.