Grit Blogs > 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.