Saturday, November 6, 2010


Fall is a conjurer, pulling tricks out of her sleeve, making things appear and disappear before your very eyes.  Those fruit trees in the front orchard, newly decorated with the glorious red and gold leaves, were completely denuded by a strong wind that came up yesterday morning.  If I'd blinked, I'd never have seen them.  Trying to keep up with the changes is like watching the pea in a shell game, almost impossible to follow.  Sweating buckets in the eighty-degree weather, I hauled more firewood to the porch because rain is predicted for this weekend.  The prestidigitator is touted to drop the temperature twenty degrees.  Now you see it, now you don't. 

How do you know when a goat is in heat?  Well, she tells you!  She tells you and every living creature within hearing distance.  Reading everything on the subject I could get my hands on when I got the first two girls, I learned, "...she will wag her tail."  This is such an understatement.  Like puppies, goats wag their tails when approached, while eating, flicking flies, etc.  When in heat, those tails go like helicopter blades and one expects to see the back end rise up in the air from the downdraft.  Normally a quiet breed (unlike Nubians and La Manchas), an Alpine doe will holler at the top of her lungs to announce her condition.  She's about as subtle as a hooker down on the stroll.  The girls are all coming into season at the same time, and the noisy goat pen is a hotbed (hmmm) of frustration right now.  There is furious head butting among the girls, and they circle and gang up on the one closest to estrus.  Nineteen is running around doing what he can without proper equipment.  Without the company of an intact male, does will take on the buck's role, making the same nuh-uh-uh sounds, tongue hanging out, and mounting.  It's sometimes a struggle to get everyone separated and into their stalls at night. 

Putting the hens to bed is also a challenge, as the flock also seems to be struck by the lonelies.  Progress is impeded by chickens in the path, doing their come-hither squat.  Ignored as I pass by, they will run ahead of me and assume the position again.  Gee whiz, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  I know I've addressed this subject before, but I'm surrounded by the situation with no solution.  Spring may be the season of birth and rebirth, but I'm here to say that none of that would happen were it not for Fall.  I wish I had her magic wand.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

It's a good thing the local wineries aren't having their outdoor music offerings at this time of year. I can hear it now..."Hey Fred, can ya play a little louder?? I can't hear ya over those Alpine Hookers "yodeling" in the valley below!"