New kid on the block – again!
Make that kids. Minnie had two girls a week ago. Please send congratulatory messages, cards and flowers (a tasty treat), to the following address:
1 The Goat Shed Paddock
Mackenzie Country 5742
No mid-wife was in attendance at the actual birth, which took place sometime mid-afternoon of the 11th January. All kudos to June for her twice daily visits to the mum-to-be (for the third time). All went well with the birth, and a week on, mum and baby girls are doing well.
Apologies to Minnie for making her sound more human than goat: it’s so easy to fall into the trap, especially with pets. To be honest I’d much rather celebrate their goatiness or dogginess or cattiness (so long as they weren’t too catty!) “Vive la difference!” I say.
I guess you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t give their pet the name or nickname of a person. We’re no different – including livestock that we regard as ‘sort of’ pets.
In fact, June named two of her doe goats after main characters in tv series. Lightbox (now Neon) had a crazy, quirky, out of our comfort zone series called ‘You’re the worst’, and she named a milking goat after the main female character: Gretchen. And after streaming ‘Westworld’ on Netflix, a prospective milking doe became Dolores.
We had a couple of friends over for a meal mid-week. After the barbie we waded through paddocks of stalky – tickle your thighs high – grass (that the browsy goats relish), to get to the farthest goat shed. Minnie and her two day old kids hung back by the shed while the others came within a moist nose of the electric fence, keen to get at the leafy green willow twigs June had for them.
Minnie was fine as June picked up a kid and took her over to us for a scratch behind the ears. You can see why there’s the standard joke about adults always being upstaged by animals and children.
And these days, with the technical sophistication brought to animated films, actors are being upstaged by animated characters. I bet without any help from me you can reel off half a dozen animated movies that are or were box office hits.
If A.I. bots take over the world, perhaps they’ll keep adult humans in zoos, children as pets, and watch heaps of animations of one kind or another. So much more interesting than us lot.
Well, to them perhaps – never to us. We’re human, and just plain critters like all the other plain critters on the planet, and you have to celebrate that. That LIFE exists at all, and it’s on this planet – WOW that’s some miracle.
Me, I’m all for doing our darndest to keep the bots as servants – never as masters. Our Earth is a Gaia – hypothesis be damned! It’s alive in ways we’ll never fully fathom – and I believe that life forms in all their unimaginably rich diversity are what keep it healthy as opposed to sick, diseased or, heaven help us, dying.
Even a conscious bot wouldn’t pass muster with me, unless it could eat food that once lived, breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, have sex like humans, reproduce and give birth after a human-length gestation, show emotion indistinguishable from human emotion, shit, etcetera. Oh, and have a human sense of humour. There’s nothing quite like a good laugh – keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously.
We humans continue to be the perpetrators of horrendously bad stuff. But on the other side of the ledger we’ve done and continue to do sublime stuff in all fields of endeavour.
We all have deep held beliefs (even those of us that don’t realise it!) – one of mine is that my way of life, on balance, has a low risk of doing irredeemable harm to the ‘Living Earth’.
The scientists tell us that we’ve lost so many species as a result of human activities that we’re now smack in the middle of our Earth’s sixth mass extinction. Tragically, we didn’t realise until too late how essential the seemingly infinite diversity of critters was for the planet to remain a healthy place for us and all other life forms.
David Attenborough’s is one of a growing chorus of influential voices bearing witness to the sheer scale of the biodiversity loss. His 2020 Netflix documentary: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, is essential viewing. As he says, slowing the rate of biodiversity loss and starting to reverse the trend are essential for the ecological health of the planet: our survival as a species may very well depend on it.
The intensity of our fondness for our pets (and goats!) and our fondness in seeing them as having some people-like qualities, is only human! So long as is doesn’t blind us to the joys to be had from being mindful of the marvel that is every other living thing on the planet.
David Attenborough, bearing witness in his 2020 documentary to all that he has experienced over a very long lifetime, reminded me of the necessity of paying attention to critters of all sorts that are right under my nose.
Andrew Crowe’s Which New Zealand Insect?, with over 650 life-size photos, enabled me to identify a couple of insects I came across and photographed recently. Rather misleadingly, the moth is called a ‘carpet’ moth: its caterpillars eat plantain not carpets! As for wetas, which are now found only in New Zealand, their ancestors were roaming the Earth 83 million years ago.
The moth was resting on the shady side of an old hen house nesting box. And it was the first time we’d seen a weta on our property; we could hardly miss it as it remained utterly still under the light switch in the back porch. After its photo shoot I carefully took it outside and put it on some leaf litter under dense foliage.
I’ll let them have the last word:
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully for this week. I look forward to having your company again next Monday. Bye for now.