Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gertie Is A Manipulative Shrew

Just today as I was lugging a pressure canner of chicken to the camp stove outside I thought, "Hmmm, Gertie hasn't been up to the house in a few days. It's unusual not to see her out the front window more often."

So, it was with a touch, a touch, of delight that I saw her rotund little goat belly jostling its way past the door a few minutes later. She banged against the door a few times. "Ahh, that Gertie...," I chuckled, "There's my girl."

Now it's evening and I just went out to pull the last canner of the night off the outdoor stove and Gertie saw her opening. Taking advantage of my cumbersome burden, she sneaked in behind me and darted out of sight, and I was almost to the counter with the canner before I heard her telltale clip-clopping letting me know she'd made it in.

There she stood in the kitchen looking from me to the cereal cupboard expectantly. Expectantly! She knows the crunchy treats are kept in that cupboard and she had no intention of leaving until she'd scored some. Grumbling that I couldn't believe the indignity of bowing to a goat's demands just to get said goat out of my house, I grabbed a handful of Corn Chex and began the game: give her a Corn Chex (or Triscuit, or Melba Round, or potato chip...) and take 2 backwards steps toward the door, give her a treat, take two more steps, and continue till you lure her right out the door.

Well, we made it across the kitchen and the dining room and I had just butted the door open and stepped outside when I noticed her shift her weight, plant her feet and crane her outstretched lips just as far as she could towards the Corn Chex, not daring to lose her step and stumble forward. Sensing I was on to her, her eyes suddenly widened, her fur flew straight up down her back, and she turned and bolted for the kitchen.

I couldn't believe her gall.

Nor could I believe that I was reduced to walking back into the kitchen, scooping out another handful of Corn Chex, and starting the charade all over again. With no intention of being outsmarted again, I lunged for Gertie's collar and just managed to snag it although she'd already tried to duck away. I was (jerked about a few times) now fully in charge and drug Gertie skidding and grunting out the front door.

Seriously, what did I do to deserve that darn goat? And why do I love the silly little turd?

Gertie aside, I mentioned the pressure canner. Turns out, you can eke out 62 pints from 80 pounds of chicken, and that's mighty gratifying to see all lined up on the table. And the counters.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say Lynda was not squeamish, rather she got right to trimming fat and stuffing the cold meat in the jars. And, to give her credit, if she hadn't convinced me to borrow a couple of additional canners and the aforementioned camp stove from a friend, we would have surely been at it all night. The prep part is fast - it's the processing for 75 minutes per batch that does make the project drag on.

So, the jar lids are plinking, the goat is outside and the fire is burning. All is right in our world.

Hope it is in yours, too.

Love from the farm,

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