Monday, March 30, 2009

Guests, Then Goats

Yesterday we held the last salon of the season. There was a fine talk, clear and articulate, by a friend/reader/writer about the history of the spy novel. There was wine and Vermont sharp cheddar. And there was hilarious conversation about belly dancing, Facebook, and whether or not women should color their gray hair (this being Vermont, both genders voted Nay).

We won't meet again until the last Sunday in October, which marks the end of leaf season and the beginning of stick season. Between now and then Vermonters will disappear into their vegetable gardens, not to emerge until the first killing frost.

After everyone went home I found myself in a funny state, tired and over-stimulated and unable to relax. The dogs had been imprisoned in the bedroom during the salon, since their wagging tails wreak havoc on wine glasses, and to make it up to them I took them into the field. The weather was anything but friendly, drizzly and muddy and a cold wind blowing--more November than almost April—so we didn't stay out long.

I dried their bellies and sent them inside and went to do the evening chores. I fed Blossom and Alsiki their sweet grain and put fresh hay in their feeder, then sat down on the plastic milk crate that I keep for visitors. Alsiki put her little hooves up on the crate so she could get her face close to mine. Blossom came over to my knee. Using both hands, I stroked and rubbed and scratched and talked utter nonsense at them. Alsiki, who has long lashes on her lower lids, always wants me to kiss her nose. Blossom likes to suck on my finger, though I'll have to break her of that because her molars are razor-sharp.

Meanwhile, next door, the chickens were hopping on the roosts and saying their good nights. “Good night, Charlemagne.” “Good night, Buffy One.” “Good night, Charlemagne.” “Good night, Blackie.” “Sleep well, Charlemagne.” “You too, Buffy Two.” And so on.

I kept on stroking and hugging and rubbing Blossom and Alsiki. Their breath was sweet on my face. Their hair was soft under my hands. Their eyelids were at half mast.

So were mine. Eventually, it was either lie down and spend the night on the hay, with two goats in my arms, or behave like a human being and go back to the house. Reason prevailed. I tore myself away and turned out the light, leaving my critters to their slumbers.

Back in the house, I sighed a big sigh and felt that I had, to paraphrase the Shaker song, finally come down just where I ought to be: somewhere between the world of guests, and the world of goats.

4 comments :

  1. Lali -- I love reading about your life. You are such a wonderful storyteller. Goats and chickens and dogs and people. What a full and interesting existence you live.

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  2. Thanks, Dona. It IS a full life, and would be even fuller if I were left to my own devices. For instance, I'd have a Mediterranean donkey--you know, those small ones with the black cross on their back? Actually, I'd have to have two, because they get lonely. Fortunately, my husband, who is the voice of reason around here, sometimes prevails.

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  3. lovely. i think i would have slept out there.

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  4. I did once sleep with the goats, a long time ago. It was my first pregnant goat, and I decided she was going to give birth any minute and I didn't want to miss it. So Ed and I sat in the barn all night, and we kept dozing off, and the goats kept giving us funny looks, munching their hay and chewing their cud. Finally, about 7 a.m., I threw in the towel and went to bed. No sooner did I fall asleep than the girls came to get me, all excited. There were two baby goats in the barn!

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