Saturday, 19 January 2013

On goats and disrupted days.

I've been meaning to tell you more about my various animals but get sidetracked. Like now, there is the terrific tennis match on, between Bernard Tomic and Roger Federer; ah, the lure of the TV...

Anyway, today has been a stinker: a slow roast of 37C (~99F) and high humidity - a 3H day, hot, humid and horrible.There was a low system forecast but no rain, so I was constantly watering my struggling plants. The gum trees were weeping drifts of leaves and I thought how well they are adapted to the vagaries of the climate: when there is insufficient moisture to support transpiration for their leaves they cut them off, then regenerate when the weather improves.

Whatever the forecast there were plenty of clouds around, only serving to enhance the sauna effect of the day. I retreated back to my cool kitchen. Suddenly there was the blessed sound of raindrops falling on the water tanks, followed by the clatter of hail. Dogs and I rushed out on to the back deck, where gusty wind was blowing rain right across under the roof. The temperature dropped to 21.7C within twenty minutes and I felt steam should have been rising from the ground as it was suddenly cooled.

I looked up the paddock to see all the goats standing in the open, thoroughly saturated. The reason was easy to spot - the totally stupid fellow, Dill, had hopped the fence into the next paddock and forgotten how to get back. So the other three were standing forlornly waiting for the cretinous creature to sort himself out.
 Dill (left), Parsley and Rebecca (pic by Duncan)

As soon as the hail stopped I took the dogs through the rain for a leg-stretch and went up to rescue the three 'good' goats so they could get under cover. They rushed into the dog paddock and headed for the shelter they use (an outsize dog kennel), while Dill bawled at top decibel that he was abandoned. He did locate what passes as his brain and suddenly sorted himself out, so I let him in to join the other three. Dill immediately proceeded to turn the other goats out of the kennel so he could enjoy it all himself. More sorting out required, sigh.

The other two goats are still goatlets, adopted before Christmas. They, like the two adult goats, are wethers (desexed male goats) and are both going to be fairly bright - relatively, that is, compared to Dill. The smaller kid, Basil, is very nervy so Sage is the leader, while Parsley has assumed the role of leader of the herd and is doing a very good job of it. He parents the two little fellows and is very sweet when he plays head-push with them, to the ecstasy of the kids. Dill, of course, has little idea and tends to thump the kids instead. He'll be sorry when they are as big as he is!
Sage (left) and Basil 
Having sorted out the goats I came back to the house and intended to use the computer to catch up and write the blog entry. The power promptly went out. I rang my neighbour down the hill to check if hers was out (yes, the whole area was out). We caught up with each other's news, not having spoken for a few weeks, and by the time we had both bemoaned how exhausted this weather makes us, the power came back on again. That was a relief because although I have a generator I wasn't sure how many hours-worth of petrol was left after the last power cut a week or two back.

And now I don't need to water my plants for twenty-four hours. Yes!!

Take care, stay safe, and folk in the UK - throw some snowballs for me.

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