Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Goat Morning


When a goat gets up in the morning, it does not have an agenda. I have learned that when you live with goats, no matter how important your human agenda is, it will not impress a goat. Yesterday, rather than doing barn chores casually, I had an agenda - get the car packed with paintings and drive two hours to the coastal gallery for the Saturday show.

I keep the goats in a separate stall in the horse/sheep barn, and then walk them to their daily job of eating blackberries [which they take very seriously]. They share their daytime activity with the older rams. Most mornings, they trot right off to their duties, knowing some hay will greet them on the other side of the gate. But when one has an agenda, that is when a goat fairy lands on that goat and says 'You must confound the human this morning - be free! Be a goat!'.

Usually when my 'ladies' are being goat like, I am able to pull one of my many herding tricks out of a bag, and it works. On this morning, I did them all, including the one trick I use when all other tricks have failed - screaming at the top of my lungs "STELLA!!!!!!"...Marlon Brando must have turned over in his realm. The only thing this accomplished was that she stopped and looked at me with the calmest expression, as if to say, 'What in the heaven's name is wrong?' I then proceeded to lecture her, about how busy I was, how good Iris was [shame technique], how good I was to her [more shame technique] - all the while she listened patiently, but still no moving.

Finally, I let out a sigh, sat down on a stump, and she walked - slowly- through the gate. Least resistance pays off in most cases.

I then drove to the gallery, on a beautiful 75 degree sunny day, up through farmland, and then National Forests. At a certain point, one can feel the air change, the terrain becomes more ragged, caused by years of ocean winds and sea air. I treated myself to sushi while sitting looking at the ocean in my car. I hadn't been to the ocean for 6 months or so. That must change. It's like it said to me, 'Where have you been?" On the way home, I listened to John Prine cd's, good road music. I sang the old favorites, remembering how I was about 13 when I bought my first Prine album. As I drove, my head took me back to people I remember in college who I will never see again, and are nearing 50 too, but I see their faces as they were when they were 21. How strange, but nice too, faces caught in time. You can't paint that stuff, but a song can bring it out of your heart.

When I got back home, my ladies were eating, I greeted Stella and told her I was less hurried now, and sat near her while she ate. I then spent an hour grooming the little Small Rodent and Bird Cemetery, which has a nice new layer of fir mulch, and little English Daisies sprinkled throughout the friends buried there.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

:)

-penelope

AmeliaB said...

The goat sounds like a lot of fun (or a lot of pest in a goat). :-)

~Amelia

Xris said...

Thank you for your word-picture of human-goat interactions. It gave us a good laugh-bonding this morning.

Pam Aries said...

What a cute goat story! ..I have missed out lately,,my Pc was on the fritz! Good to be back and see all the creatures and hear the tales!

Kate said...

You write beautifully. We're the same age ... and so I had to smile thinking of John Prine. Now that brings back many memories. Stella and Iris ... great names...

Carla Sonheim said...

Oh, how I love your goats!!

Sara said...

I really enjoyed reading this story. Animals certainly have minds of their own. My hen always wants to do her own thing!
Sara from farmingfriends

Anonymous said...

I went to college in suburban Chicago and used to see Steve Goodman and John Prine perform. Love Prine's song about a dying Cubs fan. Here's to all of us who are nearing 50 (some of us closer than others!). Love your blog. You are a gifted writer and artist. Your blog is the peace in my goofy day.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~