"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Things I Saw Today, and Stuff I Thought About Those Things.

1) A bunch of goats in the house. I let the goats out to browse, and contrary to all my previous experience, I tried to do something else while they were out. You'd think that it would be possible to plant a few beans while simultaneously supervising a small herd of goats, but you would be wrong. It is impossible to watch goats and do anything else at the same time (except drink a glass of wine. You can do that, as long as you can hold a glass of wine and a long stick at the same time. And run, while holding both of those things. Plus maybe a book tucked under the arm. Not quite as easy as walking and chewing gum, but possible. If you don't mind the occasional twisted ankle or skinned knee.) So I planted three boxes (The Tippler's Garden) of scarlet runner beans, and meanwhile, Iris and four baby goats made it into the house.

They did not want to leave the house. It took me about fifteen minutes to get them all out. First I had to straddle Iris, clamp her neck between my knees, grab both of her ears, and frog-march her out. Iris weighs about 150 pounds and is quite strong, for such a skinny goat. Then I had to chase four fully panicking baby goats up and down the hall, vainly attempting to snag one of them by the leg as it hurtled past me at a speed approaching that of sound. I think I heard a tiny sonic boom, in fact, although it may just have been my aging, flabby heart bursting in my chest. It was a very warm and muggy day, which is why the doors were open in the first place. Not the kind of day that makes you think "I think I'll wrestle a few goats today, just for fun."

2) My family using less energy. On the left you see my new clothes-tree, with a bunch of clean clothes on it, for the first time. Yay, air-drying! On the right, Rosie pony, acting as the lawnmower. Actually, we have no way of power-mowing the back yard, since it is fully fenced in for the dogs and we can't drive the riding lawnmower through the playroom. The pony, however, can be coaxed through the playroom and out into the back yard. So I have to shovel a few piles of pony-poop over the fence. BFD.

Oh - and in the background at the far right, you can see the neighbor's new mega-house going up. The farrier came last week, and he asked me, "what are they building over there, a Holiday Inn?" No, no.... just a 7,000 square foot private house. For two retired people whose children are all grown and gone. People who are apparently determined not to leave a red cent to their children if they can instead spend it on propane and landscaping.

3) Baby spiders. I know this picture is a bit hard to interpret: let me guide you through it. The wood is one of the posts on our front porch. The grayish-blue part surrounding the post is an area rug that I threw over the front porch railing sometime last summer. I thought I would clean the rug with the hose and some dishsoap, let it dry, and put it back on the floor. Now, nine months later, I think I may still be able to use the rug. To keep weeds down in the garden. The tiny golden specks in the middle are dozens of baby wolf spiders. Hooray! I love wolf spiders. (No Arachnaphobes....) They keep the local noxious bug population down a little bit, and they are also very handsome and fun to watch. Paloma in particular adores spiders and will watch them for hours.

4) A zombie rooster. Not sure if the picture shows it very well, but this rooster looks like hell. He looks like he rose from the grave, at least a week ago. He looks like he went sixteen rounds with Oscar De La Hoya. In actual fact, he probably went sixteen rounds with the other rooster. One of his eyes is nearly sealed shut with scar tissue; his comb is covered in scabs; and he limps.

What should I do with this rooster? He is still relatively young - about three. He has a small harem of hens who follow him everywhere. He is doing his roosterly duty - inseminating hens and protecting them from predators, and marshalling them around the yard. I sure as heck don't want to eat him. I don't doubt he tastes like an old shoe.

I'm sure this rooster could benefit - theoretically - from a visit to a vet. He looks like a course of antibiotics would do him good. Will I take him to the vet? Hell no! Should I? Maybe, I don't know. I am enough of a city girl still that it bothers my conscious to own animals that I deem unworthy of veterinary care. Good people take financial responsibility for the well being of their animals, right? No matter how lowly? Lots of folks have rats as pets, right? Or even things like stick-bugs and tarantulas. Is there such a thing as a spider-vet? Most likely there is - because good people take their animals to the vet.

I guess that means I am not a good person, because I am not taking a rooster - that I got for free in the first case - to the vet. If it appears to be suffering, I'll put it out of it's misery.

And feed it to my dogs.


Garden Lily said...

Aimee - I love your posts. More life and death drama than I ever see. Speaking of stick bugs, I noticed a few of mine recently with missing legs. Like you, I guess I have a sort of "live and let live" philosophy - feel sorry for them, but who am I to decide on their "quality of life" (I don't agree with that concept) so I just let them limp along - literally. I suspect there was a small spider on one of the blackberry branches I brought in about a month ago, I think I saw him at some point, and he is hiding somewhere, taking the occasional leg off the bugs. Weird. One was dead on the cage floor - missing a head. I hope to one day track that spider down, and relocate him outdoors, if possible.

Garden Lily said...

Ha, I relate to that part about the neglected rug. My husband has occasionally taken a mat outside with the intention to clean it, and after a few days, I quietly pull it back inside. It's not that I don't like things clean either, but at least I can admit that we won't get to it.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing. I always laugh and marvel at your fabulous landscape. I cannot BELIEVE those people are building that house there. My GOD. I'm sorry. Anyway, keep posting. The goats-in-the-house was the best.

AnyEdge said...

I'm willing to bet that the people will be leaving PLENTY of red cents to their children despite the Holiday Inn they intend to live in.

polly's path said...

so sorry about the hotel in your back yard. Yuck.
I can't believe the momma took her babies inside your house! But then again, our goats will trample over me and rush into my little storage barn just as soon as they see me near the door.
I love the pony. I have always wanted one, but hubby swears they are useless and mean.
And, I can't even look at a picture of a spider, or even one of those little plastic halloween rings. I know, they make meds for that kind of stuff.

Aimee said...

Lily: good luck finding that spider!

Heidi: you made my day, thanks! And you know what's even worse about the house? I used to have a gorgeous view of Mt. Baker right in that same spot.

polly: your husband is right, ponies are useless and mean. But I LOVE them.

Cattle Call Farm said...

I can't wait until your animals go over and visit the new neighbors. Wouldn't they trip if they found your goats venturing around in their house.LOL Our goat took out the neighbors roses and when he tried to catch him, he rared back and acted like he was going to whip him. Of course that's when I got the call from the neighbors.

The Idiot Gardener said...

That rooster looks in need of a stew pot ... and some onions and carrots.

penelope said...

you know you can buy broad spectrum chicken antibiotics for about $2 at the feed store (I probably have some here you can have). You just put it in the water, if you don't want to have to abstain from eggs, throw the rooster in your old bunny hutch for three days while he's on antibiotics, that way it will just be in his water, not the while flock's. I don't think it's bad at all to not take a free rooster to the vet, but it's not a "vet or nothing" thing, either give him some simple home medical attention or cull him, letting him suffer would suck.