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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Pickles, pickles and more

Here is the current column from my "Tails & Tales" which I write monthly for the Lincoln County News.

I was having a coffee break in the garden near the barn when I heard approaching hoof steps. I saw little Opie the goat peering between the picket fence at me.

“Mrs. Dunn! Mrs. Dunn! It’s Pickles, she’s stuck!” he said.

I took a breath, counted to three and headed to the barn where I found a bunch of small, wide bodied pygmy goats staring into a corner.

“Pickles, what have you done?” I asked as I pulled her stuck head out of an opening into the hay area.

“It’s another pickle for Pickles!” said Henneth the blind hen.

Pickles is a baby pygmy goat that we brought home a couple weeks ago, along with two elder pygmies to add to our herd of elders. I wanted to add some youth into the elder mix. I thought Opie would enjoy a youngster to get old with too.

“I told her not to do it,” said Ollie, “but she never listens to me.”

I pulled her little head out and held her for a bit.

“I’s sorry, Mrs. Dunn, can I go now, I’s busy!?” said Pickles. And she ran off.

“Nothing to see here, everyone, move on,” I said as I returned to my now cold coffee.

Opie followed me to the gate, “I think she gets in more trouble than I did, Mrs. Dunn.”

“I think so, Opie. We might just have to pickle Pickles if it continues,” I said and chuckled. Opie looked at me perplexed, and returned to the barn.

Later that day as I began chores, I heard deep sighs of worry, and chattering in the barn. I looked in a side stall to see Earnest and some others gathered around little Opie, who was doing all the sighing. They had a cook book opened. How do they find these books, I wondered.

As always, I kept my ears wide open while I worked.

“Now, Opie, Pickles is not a pickle, she is a goat. Mrs. Dunn was employing what we call satire when she suggested she would pickle Pickles,” Earnest the pig said.

Henneth the blind chicken chimed in to console Opie in her own blunt manner, “Pickles wouldn’t physically fit in a pickle jar, Opie.”

Just then, Ollie the goat appeared, out of breath, and said, “Pickles is in another pickle, Mrs. Dunn!”

I looked out to see Pickles in the pumpkin patch, on the wrong side of the fence of course, but she could’t squeeze her wide belly through the picket fence to get back in. She was crying out to the herd,
“Help, I’m in a pickle!”

I climbed over the fence and lifted her out.

“I don’t know how I got in there, Mrs. Dunn, it just...happened,” said Pickles.

She is so irresistible so I held her, secretly smiling. She put her head into my shoulder, and whispered in my ear,

“Mrs. Dunn, please don’t pickle me.”

“I won’t,” I said.