Apr 19, 2007

Getting My Goat

I'd love to have goats. If I did get them, I'd love to own some black and white spotty pygmy goats. Those little guys are absolutely adorable. I had a friend who sadly passed away in 2003 who was a huge fan of goats. He told me that when he was young he didn't have a great many friends and as such, was often lonely. He did, however, have a pet goat, and when he'd come home from school in the afternoon, he'd grab a snack and both he and his goat would go up to his bedroom and watch TV together and share the snack. Very sad, yet very sweet all the same.

It was a couple of years before he died that my friend attempted to persuade David that it was essential that I have goats. I needed goats, he'd say. He told David that it would be charming for me to raise goats and thus spin my own yarn from their wool, and playing on my husband's great love for it, make my own delectable goat cheese. David's counter argument to this was to say that we could a) buy wool sweaters and socks made by someone else whenever we wanted new ones, and b) we could either buy ready-made goat cheese at our local market or if we were so inclined, could still make our own goat cheese from goat's milk bought in a carton from that same local market. Either way, all arguments concluded the same way. Goat related products could be easily had without what my friend considered the essential ingredient missing from our lives: the goats. Thank you very much.

Goats are gentle, comical, affectionate and intelligent creatures. They are simply a delight to be around. However, after giving this much thought, (both before and since my friend's death), I have come to the conclusion that I think I just like the idea of owning goats, not the actual practice of keeping said goats, which is a far less romantic reality. Goats are dirty little animals who require extensive and time-consuming grooming. And to be honest, they smell rather vile. I have also taken into consideration the fact that by no stretch of the imagination could I ever be considered a "morning person," thus making milking time for my prospective goats something of a problem. Me, up before the sun to gather their precious cheese-making milk? I think not. Now, if pygmy goats could be bred to happily and routinely shovel their own shit and smell like roses (or at the very least not nearly so nasty as they do now), that would be a nice start. But the real clincher for me would be the invention of a self-milking goat. I could go out to the barn around brunch time to visit my spotty little friends and they'd have their milk in buckets all ready for me. How much more perfect could it get?

Throughout our many years together, David has often waxed lyrical on his dream of retiring to the country (most likely in the hills of Vermont) to a small farm and raising a large flock of sheep. But that's another story entirely.

Apr 16, 2007

Dog Shows

I love dog shows although, surprisingly, I have never been to one in the flesh. I once went to a cat show with my mother and Griffin, but I only managed to last about 45 minutes in there before my allergies went into overdrive and I had to leave in order to not die from suffocation and killer hives. Having one cat at home is bad enough on the old respiratory system but hundreds and hundreds of them in one big room? I thought I wasn't going to make it out the door alive. But since I'm not allergic to dogs in any way, shape or form, I'm desperate to go to a dog show. The problem is, no one I know is as into dogs as I am and without a buddy, I've never gone. What fun is there in going alone?

My biggest dog show thrill of the year is watching Westminster in February (me and about a jillion other people). Valentines Day? Chocolates? The love of my life? Who needs any of those when there is a two night parade of perfect and near-perfect canines parading through my TV room! I adore the toy group and the terrier group more than anything. I like to critique the dogs and talk endlessly about the dogs and drive everyone around me up a wall about the dogs. I almost always peg who is going to win each group and sometimes even the Best In Show dog and it's almost never the dog that I would have chosen were I the judge. In fact, my favorite breeds almost never place at all in their groups. Doesn't matter to me though, I get a rush out of watching them and hoping that maybe next year, just maybe, one of my favorites will win.

It also gives me the chance to live vicariously through others who actually own my favorite little dog breeds. I spend those two nights imagining that one day I'll own the dog of my dreams, just like the ones on TV (but not worth nearly that amount of cash, thank you very much). And if I went to a dog show in person, I'd be able to see all the breed groups competing as well, something you don't get to see on TV. Just imagine: dozens of min pins, or pugs, or toy manchester terriers, or chihuahuas, or toy smooth coat fox terriers all in one place at one time. I would be in tiny dog heaven and no one could bring me down. I can't think of a more perfect way to spend a weekend. And with a few dog shows coming up this summer in my area, I'm definitely going to go to at least one. Someone I know must love me enough to want to see me happy for one afternoon and will consent to go with me...Right?

Apr 9, 2007


Last night I saw my first rat that wasn't little and white and in a glass box in a pet store. It would have been loads better if it hadn't been dead. We were sitting in traffic at a red light when my husband pointed it out on the side of the road where it appeared to be rooting around in the grass behind the curb. Its bum and pink tail were in the road as if it were standing on its hind legs and it's front legs and head were bent over the curb and into the grass. There was some discussion between David and Griffin as to exactly what type of animal it was as it was very large, but I knew right away it was a rat. Rattus Norvegicus, the Norway or brown rat. I was all excited until I realized that it wasn't moving (my husband said, "Honey, it's dead. Either that or it's digging around in there really, really slowly." But hey, cut me some slack, it was nearly dark and visibility was waning fast). Still, it was my first sighting and it has to stand for something. I have always loved rats. They're amazingly intelligent and clean little animals. Extraordinary at adapting and surviving. They've also always been at the top of my "honey can I get a....?" list of potential pets for at least twenty years. I love the documentary that the Discovery Channel runs about rats every now and then. I've seen it a dozen times and it still thrills me whenever they re-run it. One of the best books I've ever read about them is RATS: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan, which is chock-a-block full of everything you'd ever want to know about the darling little creatures and then some. And anyone who knows me, knows that rats and one of my other favorite topics ironically enough go together hand-in-hand: plague. It doesn't get better than this. Here's hoping that the next time I'm lucky enough to see a real, honest to god street rat in person, it'll be alive and kicking. Maybe I should move into a dumpster in a back alley somewhere behind a busy restaurant?
Rat photo courtesy of sheppardsoftware.com. What a cutie!

Apr 3, 2007

Four Horses and a Front Yard

Had I been up earlier than usual the other morning, I would have had a front row seat to a very cool show that played out in my front yard. Apparently, three draft horses and a small donkey got loose and had made good their escape from the Massachusetts Lancers stables that are located just up the street from my house. The four fugitives wandered down to my house where they spent some time grazing on my lawn, took a stroll over to a neighbor's house and checked out the woods behind his place, and then returned to my house where they stood half in the street and half on my property, thoroughly holding up traffic while they considered their next move. After giving it some thought, they chose to meander up the street in the opposite direction where they were caught by the stable hands a short while later. I was really bummed when my mother told me that they were on my property long enough to have kept her from getting out of my driveway for at least ten minutes while they dithered about. I love horses and I would have been out there, even in my jammies, petting them and feeding them (and just maybe, hiding them so they could visit longer!). Instead, all I got was the story from someone who got to enjoy it while it was actually happening, a torn up lawn, and a whole mess of very deep hoof prints left by my four visitors. That'll teach me to be lazy and sleep in.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin