"I Want You To Be My Love" from the CD Drunkard's Prayer used with the gracious permission of Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine. Visit their website www.overtherhine.com If you liked this song, buy the CD. Buy their other CDs. Their music is terrific!
The results of the goats' Fall sojourn at the Tickleberry Manor love shack have been emerging with astonishing rapidity this week. Baby goats everywhere. In the garage, in the Big Barn, in the Little Barn in the Woods and this morning in my bed. Only the buck barn remains kid free. And any day now, I expect riots to break out among the does concerning childcare inequality. In fact, the does have been wroth about gender inequities ever since one of those mysterious polar vortexes hit Tickleberry Manor this past winter causing major housing upheaval here. Much to the does' chagrin, they were rehoused in the garage while the bucks got the guest bathroom. Wisely, the bucks managed to lock themselves in. Fortunately, my husband knows how to pick locks, a hitherto unknown (to me at any rate) talent, upon which I have been meditating with some suspicion ever since the Great Lockout of 2014 as I now refer to this brouhaha.
But Spring has sprung, snails are on thorns (which according to Robert Browning means all is right with the world if not with snail), and I, between 530 emergency calls to Dr. Cindy our veterinarian, have managed to make ... you guessed it: another home movie.
Music: Used with permission from Malcolm Dalglish. "For the Future" from the CD Hymnody of Earth by Malcolm Dalglish & Ooolites. Visit their website at www.oooliticmusic.com. Support artists everywhere. If you liked this song buy the CD.
goats are made from the stuff
that bonds with a tender heart
and makes softies of the tough
poetry by Poetic Homemaker at http://poetichomemaker.hubpages.com/hub/Whimsical-Goat-Poems
music by Kislap from the group called " X-KREW" in the Public Domain
Let's admit it. None of us likes watching home movies unless they are of our children or grandchildren. Our children do not like watching these movies. Our neighbors wish we wouldn't show these movies to them, and our siblings would rather we watch their home movies, which are, of course, much more interesting (to them). But we persist. Having no children of my own, I enthusiastically spend large portions of my day (when I could be doing useful tasks like weeding the garden) making movies of the goats and their kids. Thanks to technology, I can also splice, edit, add sound, and generally make a nuisance of myself with iMovie; or so thinks my husband who would rather I was weeding or fixing dinner. But being a wise man, he keeps his thoughts to himself (usually) for he knows that a wife on a home movie editing binge will not be moved except by her goats. I have no siblings, my children by marriage would rather not discuss my goat mania, and they privately consider I have led their father astray. And my neighbors? They see my beloved herd every day as we hike through their fields and yards. They also preempt my invitations to watch home goat movies by inviting me to their homes to watch movies of them walking around Florence (Italy, not South Carolina). So in the absence of an audience, you dear readers are it. Enjoy.
Music Credit: Used with permission by Trace Bundy, "Canon," from his CD Adept. Check out his website at http://www.tracebundy.com. And if you liked this song, buy the CD. It is terrific!
Mama's little helpers
When the going gets tough (i.e., monsoon rain Indian style), human helpers go … elsewhere (anywhere but the goat barn that is). And monsoon rains have been falling wrathfully here in East Tennessee for the last few days. As a gardener, I normally welcome rain especially in July. As a goat keeper, well that is another matter altogether.
For those uninitiated in goat barn upkeep, let me explain. When the weather gods are with you, cleaning a goat barn requires little effort. You sweep lightly and carry barn waste to the compost pile where three months later it will turn to gardening gold and will excite envy in the breasts of all your non-goat keeping neighbors especially if their soil is like that around here – hard red clay atop solid rock. After you have completed the aforementioned tasks, you spread agricultural lime topped with a light coating of wood shavings on the floor and you are good to go until the next day.
One detail (and an extremely important detail at that), the goats are not in the barn while you clean it. They are happily browsing in the fields, ruminating on the sorts of things about which goats ruminate (best not inquire too closely here), or establishing who is head goat. At Tickleberry Manor, Linnea (sometimes referred to as the High Priestess of Darkness by goat malcontents) currently holds this title. But I digress. Instead let me repeat, THE GOATS ARE NOT IN THE BARN WHILE YOU ARE CLEANING IT.
Rainy days, however, pose difficulties for those who do not have Kentucky-sized, horse barn Macmansions complete with air conditioning and satellite TV. For on a rainy day, your goats are with you while you clean. And goats love being helpful; however, your notion of helpful may not coincide with theirs.
Let me elaborate. You climb on the benches intent on sweeping off nannyberries and washing said bench down. But lo, you find eight goats already standing on the spot regarding you in a helpful manner. You sigh, decide to sweep the lower bench instead, but behold there stand the same twelve goats joined by a baby or two regarding you helpfully. So up you climb to the top bench, only to find the same twelve goats (give or take one or two) once again regarding you in a helpful manner.
What to do? You give up on the benches for the time being in favor of sweeping. Easy, yes? No. Five goats are standing right where you want to sweep, two goats are nibbling on the broom bristles, and somehow a baby goat has ended up on your head or shoulders, no doubt intending to supervise. Move to another section of the barn. Five goats right where you want to sweep and an extra baby on your shoulders butting heads with the baby that was already there.
“Perseverance,” you tell yourself. You wait until no goat is looking, dash back to the benches, fling yourself lengthways on the bench and start brushing, easing back slowly all the while. Four little baby goats and one tweenie examine this spectacle; decide that cleaning must be fun; thunder up the ramp; leap to the top bench and onto your back; and start issuing maahs of encouragement, which you by now sorely (and sorely is the operative word) need.
Eventually - after many hours - you have all barn matter swept into neat piles, at which point you bring in the trash barrels to load aforementioned and painfully gathered barn matter. Now if there is one item that excites a goat, it is an object that is round and makes noises if you hit it or it falls down. If you can jump into it, all the better.
You start to load the barrel – one pitchfork of barn waste in, two babies retrieved from the barrel, and so on. When the barrel is full, Esther, goat princess of high places, jumps on top, knocks the whole barrel over, and looks at you as if to say, “What a good goat am I.” At this point many thoughts are running through your head (what is left of it), but “Esther the good” is not one of them.
“Stiffer upper lip, think of England, and right ho,” you tell yourself. Somehow, someway, who knows, the waste gets carted out of the barn and into the tractor scoop … at which point, the rain ceases and the goats run out to play.
For the record, the author cleans out three barns a day. Life is good.
John Clark and Joseph the roving goat
For those of you who feel a sudden urge to leash train your goat, a couple of important tips to keep in mind ... well quite a few more than a couple:
The authors of this blog vary from entry to entry. Occasionally, I, Head Goat Breeder and Chief of Operations at Tickle Manor Goats, manage to get in a word edgewise; however, a lot of opinionated Nigeran Dwarf goats in fact rule the manor, so you may hear from them more often than from me.