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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 

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