Great Escape

The New Kid: Tiffin' It Out

Recently, we acquired a new citizen on our homestead. I shall briefly give an objective account of her, so that the rest of this post makes some sense. The new member is a young saanen/nubian cross doeling (unbred girl goat), who hitherto our purchasing her had been raised primarily as a wild goat, being allowed full access to all pasture without human interaction. Other than being backwards in her manners toward people, she seemed friendly, healthy, and exactly what we wanted for our next goat, thus inclining us to purchase her.

“Mother! It is a goat, another goat! Aren't I right Mother?” Meringue asked.

“Why so it is, she looks so sweet,” Kitty replied.

“Hmmph. How do we know it is a goat? Could be an impostor!” Maybelle conjectured.

“I think she's purdy,” Cadbury chimed in.

“Well, I am going to say 'hello' like a polite goat, while you all stare at her, making her feel uncomfortable,” Nutella said as patronizingly as possible.

Without waiting for a remark from anyone else, Nutella walked straight up to the little doeling, looked her in the eye and said, “You're new here aren't you? If you need anything, I will be here to help, I know how it is being new. Are you scared?”

The little doeling shrunk back from Nutella, because the size difference only added to her insecurities. Nutella didn't miss her reaction, and asked quietly, “do you have a name, dear?”

After a quick “I wanna go 'ome!” maaa, from her, she said that her name was Tiffin. Cadbury rushed over, feeling very mean for not going over to greet her with Nutella, asked how did she do, and grabbed Tiffin's hoof and shook it heartily. When he let go of her hoof, she looked puzzled, then looked at him, and said, “Howd'ye doo?” and poked him with her hoof.

This was a very unexpected reaction, so Nutella and Cadbury did a quick retreat, to discuss with the others the etiquette she had showed thus far.

“She seems to be a little backwards in her manner and speech,” Nutella mentioned before the others.

“Possibly, but I think she was funny,” Cadbury said defensively.

Maybelle looked over her shoulder, “She looks like an honest to goodness spy. Out to steal our hay. Nothing funny about that.”

“No Maybelle, she is just uncomfortable, and remember, not everyone received the education that we have been privileged to,” Kitty intuitively stated.

“I think she's a redneck,” Meringue said in a very indelicate manner.

“We don't call others names,” Maybelle and Kitty reprimanded Meringue sternly.

“She's just a lil Tiffin. It's a cute name,” It was clear that Cadbury had taken to her already.

“I don't care if she is not as well educated as we are. I am sure that she is a sweet soul, and will have lots of interesting things to say,” Nutella was getting exasperated.

As a group they all walked over to where she was standing. Seeing five goats approaching her made her start to shake in her hooves, and one of us humans gave her an encouraging pat. The goats stood in a line from oldest to youngest, and politely introduced themselves.

“I am Maybelle, part Boer, but not sure what else. Two and a half years old. Queen of this pasture.”

“My name is Kitty, daughter of Maybelle. One and a half years old. Next in line of succession.”

“Pleased to make your acquaintance, dear Tiffin. Sorry for not introducing myself properly earlier. I am Nutella, milk producer in chief.”

“I'm Meringue. Daughter of Kitty. Six months old. Hi.”

“My name is Cadbury, but you can call me Bury-bury if you want, that is what some of my friends call me. I hope you can stay with us a while.”

“Howdy. I'ma Tiffin. I ain't completely postitives why I'ma here but y'all seem really freindlay like, so I think I might 'swell be here fur a while. Hope y'all don' min' too much.”

“You are welcome to stay as long as you wish,” said Maybelle graciously.

“As I jis sayed, it is a real pleasure to bea sho'. Meetin' nice folks sich as yurself, and even tho' I'ma longa ways frum home, this'll be real nice. It sho' will. I ain't sho' when I had last meeted nicer folks.”

“My dear, we will have you all polished up in a bit. All you need is some refining, and you will be one of us,” Kitty said with much hope.

“I suppose tha' one 'ome is jus' as good as 'nother, when them people innit are kin' and frenly.”

“If you all want to go back in the pen, I think I will take little Tiffin around, to show her the place.”

“Can I come too, Nutella?” Cadbury asked.

“Please let Bury-bury come if he wanna. I don't mind a' all, Nutella.”

“It seems as though Tiffin says you can come.” Nutella was doing her best to make Tiffin feel welcome.

“Okay lil Tiffy, I want to show you my fort where I can jump out at the people to scare them real bad,” Cadbury stated with all the enthusiasm expected from a buckling whose main goal in life is to derive amusement from the activities of others.

“Cadbury, it is 'badly' not 'real bad'. Grammar matters,” Meringue took pleasure waving her intellect over him.

“Meringue. You need to know when it is a good time to speak. You are not his mother,” Kitty said, embarrassed that her daughter was showing so little refinement despite months of royal tutoring.

“Oh, I'ma sho sorry, y'all. I prob'ly ben speaking all wrong, this whol' time. I really wanna speak right, I do.”

“Nutella, can lil Tiffy come with me to class when we have school this afternoon?” Cadbury pleaded.

“If she would like to, she may.”

“Whut's school?” The word 'school' apparently did not exist in Tiffin's vocabulary.

“The place where you have to learn stuff to make you a smart goat.” Cadbury explained.

“Well, I suppose that'll be fun. I never done nuthing like dat before.”

“My dear, you are welcome to come when we start. We have really small classroom sizes, so don't worry about being ignored,” Nutella did not want Tiffin to be worried about having to introduce herself to anyone else for a while.

“It won't be much different than the stuff your mother would have taught you. Just more challenging. Your mother did teach you something right?” Maybelle asked with a sniff.

“Yea my momma teached me stuff. Like howta jump offa a feed trough. An' how I need to always say stuff like please, an' thank ye. O' course, I ain't allowed to fo'get when people's is near to always be right an' gud to them. 'Cuz persons is about treatin' us righ'.”

“It seems as though your mother has done a good job teaching you about manners, I am sure she is very proud.” Nutella tried to give her as much support as she could.

“Yay! Lil Tiffy will be coming to school with me! Oh, Tiffin this will be fun!” It was funny to see the little Bury-bury so happy.

That day they didn't get to have class, because showing Tiffin everything on the homestead took precedence over all other activities. However, the next day they enrolled her in their education system and Nutella had her start at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start.  

I Am Uffie, And I Approve This Message

Rosalind head shotI believe that I ought to warn everyone who is reading this that this was transcribed by me, and dictated by a chicken. This chicken has been a prominent character in a number of my other stories, and goes by the name, Uffie. According to her, she has always wanted to write a blog post and because I was in a generous mood, I agreed. This is a verbatim translation of what Uffie wished to write herself, but since she is equipped with claws and I had no wish for my keyboard to get scratched up, I ended up typing it for her. My notes are written in brackets.

Hello, captive reader audience. [A very good start, I told myself, no harm in this.] There is a serious issue at hand. Being a chicken hen, I have witnessed this problem first hand. [Good job, Uffie, building some tension.] There is a need, a dire need, for more worms. We get cicadas and caterpillars, but this 'lack of rain' as my loyal subjects [*sigh*] have described it has made many earthworms shrivel up and die. [Is she really going to talk about worms?] I am a large supporter of the worm population, which is the current minority. [Looks like she is.] Worms are essential to the health and well-being of the garden and soil, besides being a tasty treat; although, of course, I would not eat one if it was willing to vote for me in the coming election. [The election for Farm Mascot is not for a while.] My campaign promises to always support worms in their efforts to cultivate the garden, as well as any other endeavors. [Is she giving a speech?] 

Now, I don't mean to be rude to the cicadas and caterpillars, but they are a number of them that are extremely annoying. The cicadas make buckets of noise, literally. [Noise isn't measured in mass, Uffie.] For some unknown reason the caterpillars cannot seem to participate in simple courtesy. They eat all the low hanging tomatoes when they can easily climb to munch on the taller ones. [So it wasn't the chickens eating those?] All of this behavior has led me to the conclusion that I do not want these sort of bugs voting for me, so they are not even allowed to vote. [I didn't know she had that much power.] However, I must make up for the lack of voter attendance so I am going to be letting the trees vote. The trees are very populous, and they think I am cool because I, unlike other chickens, do not perch on their branches. [Uffie, trees don't have opinions about chickens and you cannot fly to get into their branches.] 

Branching out, onto other topics, [A pun, really?] I think I should mention my growing popularity. Very recently, I received a wonderful piece of fan-mail. It was a beautiful, well written letter, which clearly shows that chickens are highly intelligent creatures. [A proven fact, I'm sure.] In fact, chickens are so intelligent that no one should ever think about voting for any other animal for a position of power. Only us chickens know how to establish a working pecking order, where one person has supreme executive power. [That would be Uffie.] We only ever think of using this power for good, such as good food, good perches, good grass, good bugs, etc. Ducks and goats often like to manipulate the little power already given them and do stupid things like escaping and dirtying their drinking water. [I agree whole-heartedly with Uffie here.] 

I wish to claim that if they had it their way, that there would be no, absolutely no clean water in the entire vicinity. [She's pulling out the big words now.] Us chickens would be treated unequally, because we are apparently stupid. They always say that, you know what I mean, 'chickens are the only animals more stupid than sheep'. It is sad isn't it? Sheep have feelings. Chickens have feelings too, but we do not cry every time someone says something mean about us. Sheep are not stupid. They are highly sensitive creatures who love people. [Awww... She is sticking up for a type of animal she has never seen. What a good strategy.]

I am an open, honest chicken. I am going to prove to you that I have nothing to hide. Just an average chicken with good ideas. [Average? My dear, you can give speeches!] Here is the type of hen I am. I like to sleep on the lowest roosting pole all by myself. I am the first to be out of the coops in the morning. My favorite drink is goat's milk that one of them has stepped in. [I thought she liked stale bread?] I am a kind mother. [When you remember that you have chicks.] I am not a vegetarian. [Bold and controversial. So bold.] I can talk well for a chicken. [You sure can.] My popularity is based on the fact that I am always right, because I am a hen. It is inconceivable that I should be wrong. [I do not think that word means what you think it means.] I have a diverse group of friends, and was even on friendly terms with the pigs, rest their bacon. [The bacon has been smoked, just not the hams.

Since I believe in a tyrant-dictatorship-democratic-republic, this is the most crucial part of my address, so please pay attention. [I am writing this very carefully, so as to not be in error.] As WKH populous, you are all required to act in a certain way. Never leave the coop without a strict sense of decorum and structure, being careful to avoid treading on the little ones. [Sure, that happens all the time.] If you are a rooster, it is mandatory that you hold the door open for the hens. [We prop the doors open so they don't close in the wind.] Always be as kind as you can to everybody, they might be having a bad day. [This doesn't apply to people, I guess.] Remember to do your duty to help in community service, because I just can't do everything myself. [When does Uffie do anything helpful?]

Thank you for giving me this opportunity. It means very much to me. [Will I live to regret this?] I hope that this answers all your questions on why we need more worms. [You lost me there, Uffie.]
 Postcard frontPostcard back 

Chickadee Commentary: Olympic News

Rosalind head shotWith the start of the Olympics, our farm animals thought it would be fun to have a little celebration. To commemorate this event, they decided to participate in their own sports. The wild birds did full coverage on this important occasion. Of course, if I translated everything that they said, it would take me a while, so here are just some snippets of their conversations:

“Why hello to all who are out there today! I am sure that you are all in anticipation for these lo-o-ong awaited games to start! Am I right or am I right? What do you think Jeremy?”

“Oh, most definitely. This is going to be the biggest event yet! Did you know that we have 8 teams competing this year?”

“How could I forget? With the Bantam, Standard, Juvenile, Rooster, Guinea, Duck, Goat, and Dog teams this will be insane!”

“Jeremy, I think we need to tell our listeners a bit about all of these teams, that way they can fully appreciate how momentous this occasion is.

Let's start off with the Roosters. This team has been practicing in a very interesting way. For months now, they have been strutting around so that their posture is improved for handball. It is going to be really a tough game if these guys make to the finals, these are they ones to beat.

Next, we are looking at the Bantam team. Uffie is the captain of this one, and from our inside reports, she has really turned this awful group upside right. But from our source, it seems that they team doesn't always feel the need to win, so we might find that these fellows stink if they can't hold it together during on the archery field. Jeremy can you take over for a bit?”

“Sure thing. I am looking forward to see how the Guineas perform, from what I hear they all have some serious natural talent in Judo. Their main competitor will be the dogs though, I think in will be a dangerous thing if they are pitted against each other in the final round.

The Standard Chicken team is one of the largest that we have here with over 25 birds. This is incredible that they have so many on their team. We do know that they have really improved their pole-vaulting skills, so we will see how they do.”

“Thanks Jeremy. For the first time ever we have some youngsters participating in the athletic field. Any chicken under 12 weeks we are allowing to participate in the Triathalon! This is great, because it is an individual sport so we shall see how they do. Jeremy, can you tell us something about the two Juveniles who are the ones to beat?”

“No problem. As you listeners might know, there are two young ones that have really stood out in their training. Their names are Deja and Vu. These two are both a breed called the Sultans, and it really does seem like they were descended from royalty.

If you don't mind, I want to talk about the ducks now. These birds are very proficient in all the aquatics, but from what I hear there maybe a surprise awaiting for them when they compete. We have had some of our sea-gull friends fly down here, so that it will be challenging for these swimming stars.”

“Jeremy, the only groups left are the Goats and Dogs. Both of these teams are rather small, the goats only have 5 members, and the dogs have 4. As always, the goats pride themselves at being the very best at gymnastics, so we expect them to take almost all of those medals. The Dogs are a loose cannon though. Last year they had some self control issues when it came to being around birds, so if they can stay in their pen, I think it really could be any body's game.”

“I agree fully. Checking out for the time being, we will be back though, to give you complete coverage on all the medals won and the opening ceremony.”

***

“Jeremy is back! I am here to give you full coverage on the OOOOPPENING Ceremony! This is going to be spectacular folks. I have a great spot in the old tree, so I can see everything that is going to happen.

Oh, my gosh. I can't believe it! The Possum band is doing the beginning song! This is great! I am a BIG Fan of the Possums! They are renowned for being really good at performing old blues songs.

What have we here? It looks like a crazed fan is jumping over the guardrail and chasing the band. The security are chasing after the culprit. What does this mean?

It seems as though they are having to interrogate the disturber of the peace... The announcer is coming on... I am sorry folks, but the opening show is getting cancelled, because we don't have enough security to stop wildly crazy fans. This is a big bummer, because I really wanted to see the racoons do a really influential and inspiring speech about how there are people everyday who are not as tasty as chickens.”

***

“It looks like the Pole-vaulting competition has begun!”

“Yes Jeremy, it has. This is really exciting!”

“It looks like the Standard team is doing really well. Much better than last year.”

“Holy Mackerel! Frankenstina just broke the record! How did she do it? I thought she was half blind? Isn't that right Jeremy?”

“Yeah, she is half blind, that is even how she got her name. One eye is different colored from the other! Her fans call her little Frankie.”

“This is so impressive! I think she is going to go places Jeremy. To be a witness at something so spectacular is incredible, we are very privileged.”

“Did you know that the humans just put out free food? We should go get some before all these hungry athletes get to it.”

“Righto Jeremy. I like the way you think.”

***

“It looks like the competitors for the Triathlon are lining up! Do you see Deja and Vu down there, Jeremy?”

“Yes indeed. They look pumped up for this to begin. I am not sure how they can be this confident with the three challenges they have to complete.”

“I don't know if some of these young 'uns will survive the racing, the flying, and the perching. This is going to be very nerve wrenching if any of these precious dears get heat exhaustion with it being so hot here.”

“I know what you mean. The only ones who don't have to worry about the heat are the ducks with their aquatic sports.”

***

“Hey Jeremy, we have a very special guest.”

“Yes we do. He is one of the Seagulls who flew up here to give the Duck team a real competition.”

“Quite right. His name is Hodge Podge, and he has come to speak with us about how it was competing against the Ducks. Listen up Jeremy.”

“Hello, everyone. My name is Hodge Podge, as you just said. I flew down here with my team so that your Duck friends could have somebody to swim against.”

“And where are you from Hodge Podge?”

“I came a long way to make it here. All the way from the East Coast.”

“That is a far distance, and what made you accept our invitation to come over?”

“My crew has been begging me to take them to the desert, because it rains a lot where we are from, but when I received this invitation to compete, I explained to them that the chance of Kansas getting rain at this point is just as likely as it raining in the Sahara. Besides, it just about as hot.”

“So are you all enjoying the weather?”

“Very much. A couple of our fellows even have some sunburn with as much as they have been outside.”

“Well thank you very much Hodge Podge for giving us this exclusive interview. It has been wonderful talking with you, and I hope you have a safe flight home.”

***

“And Nutella takes gold, with Cadbury at silver, and Maybelle at bronze. This wasn't much of a surprise was it, Jeremy?”

“Not really, the goats almost always beat everyone in gymnastics, so there really isn't anything special about this, except that Cadbury got silver.”

“It is rather astonishing that he did so well. He is the newest addition to the team, right Jeremy?”

“Exactly the point I was going to make. He is also the youngest member of the team, which I find an important thing to point out.”

“Something else, Jeremy, that I think must have been hard for him in his training, is to not let his fur get snagged on any of the equipment. He is a very special breed of goat, as you know.”

“Yes, of course. The pygora is a rather new combination between a pygmy and an angora goat, producing a breed of goat very similar in appearance to a sheep.”

“Jeremy, you really have done your research about pygoras. I am impressed.”

***

“As you are familiar, the wrestling team often has difficulty with keeping the rules.”

“Quite right, Jeremy. Last year there was no winner because all the contestants got disqualified.”

“Why was that again? I don't have all the reasons memorized.”

“As you know last year there were only three members to the Dog wrestling team, Ceylon, Crumpet and Cappuccino. Ceylon got eliminated because she kept escaping to go through the compost pile. Crumpet sort of refused to move, and we learned that he exceeded the age limits for participation. Cappuccino was too hyper, and wouldn't stop checking his PuppyBook, DogSpace, BarkedIn, Digterest and Yapper accounts.”

“I remember that that proved a bit of a problem.”

“Yes it did Jeremy, yes it did.”

***

“So Jeremy, that was the last event.”

“I am sad.”

“Why are you sad Jeremy?”

“Because.”

“Okay Jeremy, you be sad. I will do the end by myself.”

“Go ahead.”

***

And that is how our farm celebrated the Olympics. Jeremy still hangs around with his buddy, as well as many other birds who do nothing but eat our chicken's food and drink their water. I suppose they make some nice music in the morning. One day I might talk to their choir master and see if he can make them more harmonized. Have fun celebrating the Olympics at your farm!

A Chicken's History of America

Rosalind head shotOur farm was all alive and abuzz for Independence Day. The animals told us not to worry about entertainment and that they 'had it covered'. Not being entirely trusting we made ourselves food, just in case. We found out this was prudent of us, because none of us are particularly fond of chicken scratch or dried bugs. As we sat down to eat, our family was informed that Uffie (a chicken hen in case you don't remember) wished to make a speech. Since it was so amusing, I feel compelled to share it with everyone.

“ATT-HEN-TION! … I wish to begin the long awaited speech.” Uffie stated very matter-of-factly.

The crowd of animals gathered there who were contently munching on watermelon rinds, seemed to have some confusion about there being a speech as a part of the evenings proceedings. However, Uffie continued.

Chickens Gathered For Watermelon 

Chickens Eating Watermelon 

“As you all know, it is customary to give a speech about Tuppence Day, and this year I have been given the privilege to do so.”

“Uffie! It is 'Independence Day' not Tuppence Day.” my Dad, who is from England, corrected her.

“Yes, yes, quite right, 'swat I said.” Uffie said defensively.

“For all of you gathered here who are not familiar with the origin of Independence Day or of our proud American history, I wish to fill all of you in on your missing pieces of education.

Also, I wish to remind all of you loyal citizens that today is an important milestone in the history of our nation. Many many years ago, even before Cinnamon was a little egg, America gained their independence from Great Britain. Every year people across America and even to the far reaches of Mercury, commemorate this event. Therefore, I feel that it is my duty to give you some history of this great nation.

In the year of 1775 B.C. (Before Chickens), there was the world. And there was no America. But by the kindness of the mosquitos, our dear America began to take shape. It started out as just a little island where the passengers of the Aprilflower landed. The Aprilflower had a famous captain called Lewis Clark. When the humans from the Aprilflower landed they paid tribute to us kind chickens for our supplying them eggs during their voyage. Each person went and placed a pillbug or a cockroach or a spider or a moth on a special rock. Now it happened that moths were very easy to catch, because all you had to do was light a candle at night and they would all come flying. So the rock was often covered in dozens of moths giving it the name of FlyMoth Rock.

Then America grew a bit bigger, and people called Ative Mericans came about, and they helped the Aprilflowers, by giving them lots and lots of turkeys. The Aprilflowers liked turkeys and in turn gave the Ative Mericans cool hats. This is why every year we celebrate Thanksgiving with turkeys and cool hats. After a lot of time something similar to what we call America came to be. 

The people that came from the Aprilflower as well as those that came later (like those from the MayShower and JuneBug) were called the Colonists and there were those across the pond were called the British. After sometime the British and the Colonists disagreed about stuff.

To clear up any misunderstandings they had a friendly tea party on a boat. There were scones and crumpets, but I suppose the tea itself must have been terrible, because they ended up dumping it overboard. After a little while later they had a kindly war. It was over in a very short time, and only a loss of three chickens were reported. So then America was free to have its own rules regarding whether or not chickens are allowed to cross the road. The law states that if a chicken wants to cross the road, that they first must explain why. Hence the question 'why did the chicken cross the road?' Unlike England, America decided to have a President instead of a Queen or King. For our first President we chose George Washington, who liked chickens. He also was a great leader in our peaceful war.

Eventually, we in America had a civil war. All kinds of people sat around a table with civilware and civilly chatted to one another. They accomplished a good many things. All the people there agreed to not eat iguanas or camels, which up until this point had caused some contention.”

We noticed Uffie quickly look down at something that must have been her notes, then she looked up and sorrowfully said...

“Ohhh Nooo!! I forgot to mention the Coolisiana Purchase! Real quick, this won't take but a minute. The leaders of this country went to the world shopping mall and bought some land that was connected to the piece that we already had. So we expanded America to include places that had really cool air. At least in the winter, when summer rolled around it got pretty warm, just about as hot as it is right now [Uffie waved her wing for dramatic effect]. In these places that America bought there was good farm land, so lots of people moved out there. 

A long time later a bad thing happened. The world went into a world war. Being a chicken, as I am, I happen to know very little about it. Personally, I think it had something to do with catnip, because I have heard it can be very troublesome for certain types of domestic animals. But as I said, I am just a chicken, so I really don't know much about the whole situation.

Then something worse happened. Another world war got started. This is WWII, which I think stands for World War International & Intergalatical, because there was war everywhere. Somewhere I even saw that a telegraph arrived from the north pole asking our help to aid the penguins in their fight to conquer the puffins. Since I was not alive then, I really can't tell you who ended up winning, the puffins or penguins. At least the humans in America and those on their side ended up winning their war. 

Another important step for us Americans, was landing on the moon. Some smart people worked on making a ship that could go to the moon. They succeeded. Please forgive me for being short about this, but they haven't yet sent a chicken up there, so I don't really know what it was like. I can't read English. And I am not bilingual. I do not talk to monkeys or dogs. [hmmph]

As far as recent history goes, if you don't know it, pay more attention. My purpose of giving you a history of our beloved country is so that you can realize how great it is to live here. You see, on the moon there are no chickens. Since you all love chickens, you wouldn't want to live there. So be thankful you live in America where there are stores and farmers to buy our eggs from. 

Please never forget that Independence Day is about having the right to let chickens cross the road if they want to, people can eat with civilware if they choose to do so, and in America we like to be AWESOME!”

For those listening to her speech we were afraid to applaud lest it should not have finished, but when she just kind of stood there for fifteen seconds without moving or saying anything, we all started to cheer. The humans were mostly laughing at her account of the important events of this country, but we gave her credit for trying. Hope every one had a great Independence Day!

Passamaquoddy And His Dragon

Rosalind head shotTo hopefully make up for my negligence in the writing field, here is a short story for you all:

Perpetually interested in stories of any sort, Passamaquoddy often talked to different animals for entertainment. On one occasion he even asked me to tell some human stories. Every time story night rolled around the corner he was the first to line up. He always loved to hear the ones about adventure, daring, and outright courage. The night Sunset told her story, Passamaquoddy wouldn't stop talking about it for weeks.

When the ducks were just ducklings, they went on an adventure. Each had their own goal, and almost all of them succeeded in achieving it. Everyone but Passamaquoddy, who, in his heart, wished to find a dragon. He didn't find one. But, being a determined duck, he once again made an attempt at this goal.

Because the ducks have been together since their childhood, they have developed a certain type of bond, that only comes when one is in constant company with another. It is because of this bond that they agreed to assist Passamaquoddy in his desire to find a dragon. It did increase their willingness to help, the fact being that all of them held a firm conviction in the existence of dragons. Without much ado, they all had their gear packed up and were headed off into the great unknown, where they hoped to find a dragon.

On the first day of their excursion, the sun was shining and the wind was blowing softly. They missed their field where they had often taken a nap, but the thrill of hunting the dragon overpowered all other sentimental feelings. They traveled fast, and to speed up their progress into the unknown borders of WKH, they soared low across the ground, yet it was high enough for them to avoid having to maneuver through the weeds the goats had left to eat.

Their expectations to find a dragon, coupled with their enthusiasm for the task, often resulted with shouts of “Dragon!” and “I see wings!”, even though it might have just been a tree branch or a shadow playing off of a rock. Despite these apparent set-backs (because each sighting had to be properly investigated), they knew that this is what ducks were meant to do. Ducks were made to find the dragons, and in so speaking, hunt them.

Why they decided to leave their home, with all the comforts and luxuries of the pond beside it, for the unknown, is a mystery to those do not understand the complexities of the nature of ducks. They left home because they were bored of the guineas cackling in the tree and the singing birds that come in the early morning. They set off on their adventure because they knew what beautiful things were, but they had not the hardships and the trials to compare it to. The ducks' dilemma could be likened to a philosophers question: when one has experienced only good things how can one measure the absence of good without first having encountered some bad? Whether they actually understood this, or it was more of an the impulse to find a dragon, I have doubts; yet, I digress.

It is not to be supposed that they left entirely lighthearted, or without having attempted this same feat before. They had in the past got themselves packed up, ready to leave, just saying the last goodbyes, when they would find themselves distracted. Ironically, the items that made them stay were also the items that, in part, were making them leave. They would want one last drink from their pond, or one last look at the chicken coops, or one last look at the wild birds, and then they would not find it in their hearts the courage and determination to quit their owner's roof.

Also, let it not be presumed that they went upon this quest without any sort of preparation, save that of food and basic supplies. They had been told stories of the dragons by the older hens, who loved to hate the dragons as much as anyone. Of course, these dear old hens always said that their was nothing to fear, for dragons had become extinct many years ago. Needless to say, this did not stop the ducks from heading out to find dragons.

Now we shall head to the part of the story when the ducks find themselves in a strange place. Up until this point, their guide map, if you will, was the tales of the dragons from the old hens. When they awoke, their instinct informed them that based on a change in the atmosphere and tension of the forest, a dragon was near. The clouds were not clouds today, no, it was smoke emanating from the very nostrils of the beast they sought. The light reflecting off the dirt road was a shadow of the dragon's shining tail. The sunset fire that they had looked upon every night since a young age was different, it was red, red with the blood of the dragon. In the middle of that night the horn was blown, the horn that signaled the rising of the ducks. They were close, very close.

Passamaquoddy awoke with a start, not sure if the horn had been real or not. His comrades lay sleeping under the blanket of stars that sheltered them. The guineas were asleep in the tree, ready to sound the alarm should any strange beast try to trespass. The fireflies buzzed around lighting up the night with their little lanterns, and the quiet tune of the crickets had the effect of a lullaby. Before Passamaquoddy lay his head down to return to sleep, he muttered to himself “the death of a deathless dragon, that is the life of a man”. 

THE END

For those who are interested in the oblique reference, please read G.K. Chesterton's THE HUNTING OF THE DRAGON.

A Moo-Moo Bedtime

Rosalind head shotIt was the start of another story time on the farm. Just before the bedtime of the little goats and the baby chickens (because the mothers don't like them up too late). Farmer P. had started the fire with some old newspapers, and was attempting to smoke an opossum skin that the youngest farmer had prepared. The schedule for the evening began with a story from each of the animals species: Uffie was the designated storyteller for the chickens, Bubble had promised to tell a story on behalf of the pigs, Sunset (our heifer) was considering if she should participate, and Nutella was excited at the thought of telling a tale, and thus earning respect of her new herd. When the fire was just right, and the smell of slightly burnt opossum skin hung in the air the ceremony began.

Uffie clucked a couple times to clear her crop, then started:

“Once Upon a Time, there lived six guinea keets. Each one of these guineas had a special power. The first could fly into trees, the second could camouflage into any---”

Bubble then solemnly asked for silence, gave a speech about enjoying the quaint story Uffie told, and then decided to begin her story:

“In the dark days of winter, a heavy frost hung upon the ground. It was blistering cold, and the poor humans, in their thin skin had to continue to do chores. Even in the winter they had to feed the---”

“Is is over yet?” the baby chicken Snuffie asked.

“Yes, yes, I am sure that Bubble is done now.” Maybelle replied.

Sunset blushed, for it was her turn, and asked if she might go last. Supposedly, it was because she 'wasn't ready yet' (however, I think it is because Sunset knows that only the last animal ever gets to finish their story). Nutella was excited to tell her story and was alright going out of turn. This is the story she told:

“There once was a rabbit, that loved to run around the woods. And this rabbit loved trying to make friends. She liked to meet the ducks, and the deer, and the foxes, and one day---”

“I love it!” exclaimed little Meringue.

“But I haven't finished yet.” Nutella said, acting puzzled.

“Aw, that's alright, it was good anyway.” Passamaquoddy told her.

“Next week you can add a little more to it.” Squeak explained.

“You see, that way all the animals can say a bit before bedtime.” Bonnie finished for Squeak.

After Nutella had completed her story, Sunset thought that she would tell an action story, and because she has time to think while she chews her cud, it was rather elaborate (I have formatted it with Sunset's distinct accent, and took time to explain some of her actions while reciting):

“The mountain looooms
Above the pasture,
Holding it in a shadoooow
Keeping light fromoo entering
The stalls and rooooms.

(She lightly moo'd as reciting poetry without moo'ing is very difficult for her.)

The top of the hill,
Nooo one can glimpse.
It's height immooonse,
No one dare climb
Tooo face peril.

But a foooolish bison,
Dares a small
Cow to challenge
A mooonster huge,
The Lion. (This moo was more of a growl.)

[And the poem went on and on and on... (you can read the full text at the bottom of the page)]

Sunset finished her story, and looked around to see that most everyone was already headed to bed. But she wasn't upset, because the humans stuck around, and that is how she knew that she had told a good story. Before she headed to bed herself, she sneaked a midnight snack of Alfalfa, for talking had made her hungry. She spent the rest of the night contemplating about what sort of story she would tell next time the humans built a fire. Then she went to sleep, and dreamed about having an entire field of 'Alfoofa' to herself. Meanwhile, the humans went to bed themselves, thought about the morning when the alarms would go off, and it would be time to begin the chores.

[For those who don't know who all the characters listed in this story, they are:

Farmer P. - This is the head farmer, we like him because he moves hay.
Opossum – This is possibly the animal that hurt Drip's (another duck) foot a while back. Now a ghost.
“The youngest farmer” (a.k.a. Farmer T.) - This is the farmer that attempted to raise rabbits, we like him because he kills the predators (that would otherwise kill my chickens).
Uffie – This is the daftest chicken on our farm, and we love her.  She is also the WKH mascot.
Bubble – This is the pig that likes to make noise.
Sunset – She is a red dexter heifer. She thinks that Farmer E. is her best friend.
Nutella – This is our milking goat, and the newest addition to the farm.
Guineas – We had six, but now there are only five.
Snuffie – It's just 's not Uffie. But I like the little one anyway.
Cookie – This is a golden-laced cochin bantam chicken.
Maybelle – This is our high-maintenance queen goat. For reference: she doesn't like me much.
Meringue – The very first little princess goat born on our farm.
Passamaquoddy – A magpie drake. He is still on his quest to find a dragon.
Squeak – The best piggy friend of Bubbles. She likes people.
Bonnie – Our new farm puppy. She likes to find dead things.

Remember: These are quick summaries. You may see these animals featured in other stories.]

Below is the full poem that Sunset told [including the 'moo' accents]:

The Stoory of the Brave Moo-Moo

“The mountain looooms
Above the pasture,
Holding it in a shadoooow
Keeping light fromoo entering
The stalls and rooooms.

(She lightly moo'd as reciting poetry without moo'ing is very difficult for her.)

The top of the hill,
Nooo one can glimpse.
It's height immooonse,
No one dare climb
Tooo face peril.

But a foooolish bison,
Dares a small
Cow to challenge
A mooonster huge,
The Lion. (This moo was more of a growl.)

She takes a spear,
Her halter,
With hay,
Leaves her hooome
With many a tear.

In the cold
Of the mooountain
She shakes,
The sun she spies
So close to hooold.

It shines smoo bright
That for a moooinute
She is blinded.
The beast, hooodden
Strikes with all it's might.

Comes charging at our heroooooo,
The fearsome lion.
With claws flying,
And teeth clashing
Is an awful fooooe.

(She took a break, and caught her breath here. Moo'ing softly before continuing.)

But the brave hooofer
(With her halter)
Strikes back
Althooough strength
Is failing, she says

Moooooooooo.
Making a stooomp
Hits the flesh
Ooof the beast,
(Her halter askooow).

The lion falls
His yellooow coat
Is soaked in blooood
Of cooow and mooonster,
And lay with curled claws.

The heifer cannooot
Believe. She killed
The lion, that scared
All. She cooooked sooome
Hay on the spooot.

(Not sure if this was part of the poem, but a large, loud, elongated MOOOO was heard around WKH.)

Toooday, a farm-
Hooose is built
Where the
Dooel took place.
Here no animool is harmed.

There is now clover (She licked her nose thinking of delicious clover and Alfooofas.)
Here. Further oop
The hill, sooome goats
Have tooo,
Taken over.

The height of the
Mooontain is
Shrunk. The sun
Is seen frooom the
Town belooow.

Cooorn grows
In fields, for the
Sun shines.
In the distance
Yoooo can hear the
Rooooster's croooow.

And the sun
Sees the heifer
In the mooorning, and
Bestooows a kiss.
Mooooo.”

Sunset 

Sunset licking a salt block.

If Your Kid has a Cookie, You Need Some Milk

Rosalind head shotI wish to apologize that I have not written a blog post sooner. My excuse is rather simple, being that, I have had no time to dedicate to writing. So I shall do my best to summarize the most important event that has transpired since my last post. Right now I am rather tired, so please forgive that this is mostly devoid of humor.

This morning, I woke up convinced that what happened yesterday didn't really happen. I had completely, totally, utterly forgot that we had purchased a new addition. So I meandered downstairs at six a.m. to let my dog out, and when I casually looked over the beautiful landscape, I saw the brown blob. I say blob, because I had woken up about thirty seconds ago, and my vision remained blurry. Then it clicked. We really had purchased her, and I had to get dressed in a rush to take care of her.

24 hours earlier...

“If we got a milk goat then our milk expenses would decrease.” My mother was trying to persuade me that we should get another goat.

“I know that, but we don't have a stanchion or a place to quarantine a new goat. It would be impractical to look for one right now.” The inevitable rebuttal came: “Those are easy problems to fix, besides there is a really good deal on Craigslist for a milking nanny, she is a nubian.” When I had been considering adding another goat to our herd, I had really thought that the nubian breed would be the best choice, and my mom had not forgotten.

"Goat milk tastes funny.” That was my brother's reason why not to get a milking doe. Not sufficient enough according to mom, because you “will learn to like it”, even if you don't like it now. My father liked the idea of avoiding having to keep going out of his way to pick up milk every week, so there was not a chance that Timothy (my brother) and I could win this battle. Hoping that the person selling the nubian doe would be your average Craigslist seller (i.e. won't respond for days upon days, and when they do it is to tell you that what you are interested in has already been sold), I wrote a short sweet email just to simply ask if she was still available and if she is, might I call the seller to ask some questions about the doe. The seller replied within thirty minutes. I couldn't help but think 'Bah-Humbug'. 

Then I put together a list of questions that you should ask before looking at a goat and driving a very long distance. I thought that there was no way she could meet all the criteria. Confident of my own phone skills, I made the call to talk to the lady selling her.
“Why are you getting rid of the goat?”
“The man who owns her had a stroke yesterday and can't get out of bed to milk her twice a day.” 

“Is she a registered nubian?” “No she isn't registered but both of her parents were.” 

“How many kids did she have?” “She had two kids a month ago.” 

My questions went on, and the answers were quite satisfying, so that there really wasn't anything bad about her that I could tell my mother to dissuade her from wanting to see the goat. Thus a trip was scheduled for the day, so that we would go and see the goat around noon.

When we went to see her, I did a quick inspection, deemed that she had need of a hoof trimming, had parasites, and was thin.

"Alright, load her up.” An inward groan on my part, then she was all packed up, and we were on our way. There wasn't anything seriously wrong with her, because we have hoof trimmers, lots of goat dewormer, and good pasture for her to get fat. Soon enough we were home.

If the state of health was not exactly perfect, her temperament was. She was fine being led around on a halter and leash, didn't mind meeting the chickens, and liked eating weeds.  She had no intention of fighting with the other goats, or making any attempts at escape.  Around the dinner table that night everyone was puzzled about what to call her. Since she is black and brown, sort of a hazelnut and chocolate, we called her Nutella.

Nutella our first dairy goat