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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
4 H FRETTER-ER
A BUCK GROWS UP
ADAPTING
AGAIN, THE SKY IS FALLING
ALL YOU NEED IS ... CARDBOARD
AMANNAMEDJED
AND THEN IT GOT COLD
AND THEN IT WARMED UP TO ZERO
ANGRY GOAT FARMER
ANTIQUE GOAT FARMING
ANYTHING BUT THAT
ARE BUCKS EVER BABIES
AROMA THERAPY
ARTFUL DODGERS
ARTIC FRONT
AUTUMN BOQUET
B U B - B U B - B U B
BABY BACK EXCUSE
BABY MONITORS
BACK TO NATURE
BAIT
BARKING AT GOATS
BARN SOUR TRUCK
BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
BE HAPPY
BEAUTY MISTAKES
BEHAVIORS
BEHIND THE GATE
BIG 10-4 GOAT FARMER
BIKINI WEDNESDAYS
BILLBOARD GOAT FARMING
BILLIES & STICKWEEDS
BLIZZARD OF 92
BLONDE GOAT FARMER
BLONDE HUMOR
BOTTLE BABIES
BOTTLE BABY TALK
BOTTLE BABY WITHDRAWAL
BOXING SUNBEAMS
BRONCHITIS.
BRUISE OR DIRT
BUCK LOVE
BUCKETHEAD
BUCKS IN STOCK
CALLING YOOOOU
CAN'T TOUCH THIS
CANE I DO IT?
CARPAL TUNNEL HAY
CATCHING PEARL
CHICK CHICK CHICORY
CHOCOLATE PLUM
CHRISTMAS KIDDING
CHUCK
COLD IS OUR FRIEND NOT
COUGH DROP WORMER
COUNTING
CRUMPLED
CUD CHEWING CONTENTMENT
DAYCATIONS
DEAR FAVORITE RELATIVE
DELOUSED
DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW ...
DOES ON KIDDING
DOWNSIZING
DRAMA QUEEN
DRENCHED!
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
DUCT TAPE.
DUMPSTER RAIDERS
EARPUGS
EGG SHELL MASSACRE
EMMITT
EMPTY NEST SYNDROME
EQUIPMENT OPERATORS - DANCERS
ESCAPE ARTIST
ESCORT SERVICE
FALLING SKY
FARM WALK
FARMER C S I
FEEL LIKE A NUT
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE
FIRST YOU TAKE YOUR SOCK
FLOATING MUSHROOMS
FORKS IN THE ROAD
FULL OF BULL
G G
GATE ATTACK !!!!
GIRL WATCHER
GLIDING
GLOBAL SUPPORT CENTER
GNAWED AND BASICALLY CHEWED
GOAT ADDICTION
GOAT CELEBRATIONS
GOAT FARMER SONG
GOAT FARMER WEIGHT TRAINING
GOAT FARMER'S CREED
GOAT FARMING CAMP
GOAT HOLIDAY GIFTS
GOAT HUNTING
GOAT KLEENEX
GOAT LANGUAGE
GOAT OLYMPICS
GOAT PROFILER
GOAT SCIENTIST
GOAT WHEELS
GOAT WRITER
GOATS RULE
GOOD GRIEF
GOT RUNS?
GOTTA WORK KIDS
GRAND CANYON OF CHILDRESS
GREAT KIDDERS
HAULING GOATS
HAVE MILK WILL TRAVEL
HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE
HAY MONITOR
HE-BE-GEE-BE'S
HELP! HELP! HELP!
HELP! I'M IN THE BATHTUB
HELPING HOOVES
HERD OF TURTLES
HERE COMES KIDDING TIME - A CHRISTMAS TUNE
HOBBLE, HOBBLE
HOLIDAY TRADITIONS (A GROANER)
HOME DECORATOR
HORNLESS
HOT CHOCOLATE
HOW TO BUY GOATS
HOW YOU FEELING?
HUGS
HUNDERD YEARS
HUNTING LUMBERJACKS
I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE
I FEEL PRETTY
I PREFER LONG EYE LASHES
I REALLY DO HAVE A HOME
I'LL HOLD HIM BACK
I'M A LITTLE TEAPOT
I'M STILL HERE?
INDIAN SUMMER
INNOCENT 1ST TIME KIDDERS
INTERNET AUCTIONS
INVESTMENTS
IRON WILL
IT TOOK TWO
JINGLE BELL GOATS
JOKE - GET A JOB!
JOYFUL
JUMPY LITTLE SNOWBIRD
JUST 1 MORE GOAT
KEYSTONE KOPS
KID CATCHING
KID IN A BOX
KID SENSORY OVERLOAD
KIDMARES
KNUCKLE SANDWICHES
LADYLIKE BUCK SELLER
LAST BUCK STANDING
LEFT OVERS
LETTERS
LETTERS FROM THE FARM
M. D. GOAT
MAD AGGIE
MANIPULATE WHAT?
MASTER BLASTER
MAYBE THIS TIME
MEMBER ME
MIND CONTROL
MR. SNUFFY
MUSHROOM HUNTING
MUTTER MUTTER
NAMING GOATS
NANNY BERRIES ~ DEAR FAVORITE RELATIVE
NEW "KID" ... SHOWING
NEW HAY IN THE HOUSE
NEW KIDS.
NEW YEARíS RESOLUTIONS
NORMAL
OCTOBER KIDDING
ODE TO ODOR
OH, MY
OUCH
PANIC ATTACK!
PAW PAWS
PHILOSOPHY OF HYPOCRISY
PHONE CALLS
PHONE CLASS
PICK POCKETS
PIRANHA PEN
PLAYING DEAD
PLEASED AS PUNCH
PLEASING GOAT CUSTOMERS
PLOP
POOF POOF
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
PRESENTS
PRISCILLA THE HUN
PRO WRESTLER OR PUPPY
PROFESSIONAL POO CHECKER
PSYCH ME OUT
PUTTING ON A SHOW
QUIPS & QUOTES
QUIPS-N-QUOTES II
REAP THE WILD WIND
RECORD KEEPING
REDNECK TANK TOP
REFEREE
REQUESTS
ROAD TRIP 2003
ROCK ON
ROLL'UM ROLL'UM
ROLLIN', ROLLIN', ROLLIN'
RUB DIRT ON IT
S-T-R-E-S-S
SANDWICHED
SAWDUST.
SCHEDULING
SCREAMING BANSHEES
SECRET AGENT
SHAGA GOOBLE SHAGA BLIP
SHANNIGANS & KID SLOBBERS
SHORT TIGHT STEPS & OTHER ODD EVENTS
SHOTS
SHOULD EVERYONE VOTE
SLEEP DEPRIVATION
SMART GOATS
SMUDGED
SNAP, CRACKLE, POP
SNATCHED BALD
SNEAKY
SONG OF THE FROG
SPIES, SECRET AGENTS, SPOOKS, AND OTHER GOATS
SSSNAKE
STAMPEDE!
STARGATE BOERS
STEAM-IRON SANDWICHES
STEP BY STEP
STICK IT WHERE
STOMPING ORANGE STRINGS
STUCK AGAIN
STUDENT ANALOGIES AND METAPHORS
STUPID IS...
SUNSHINE BOO BOO'S
SUPER HERO
SUPER SUCKERS
SUPPER AT SEVEN A.M.
SURVEY SAYS
SURVIVING KIDDING
SWASH - BUCKLING BUCKS
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
TALKING POCKETS
TATTOOING
THANK GOODNESS FOR MUD
THE $37.50 BUCK
THE 2003 DARWIN AWARDS
THE COWBOY WAY
THE DACHSHUND AND THE LEOPARD
THE DANGERS OF GUM BOOTS
THE FARM WOOKIE
THE FLYING GOATZANIES
THE FRAGRANCE OF HAY
THE GAME'S AFOOT
THE GOAT WHISPERER
THE MOB SQUAD
THE MORAL BUCK
THE PET CHICKEN
THE PIED PIPER
THE PLAN
THE SCARECROW GOAT SELLER
THE SMELL OF MONEY
THE TALKING GOAT
THE TARP ANNIHILATOR
THE THINKER
THE TICK
THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS
THE V WORD
THE WINDY TAX
THE WORM HAS TURNED
THEN THE KNEE DOCTOR SAID
THIS END UP
THUMP, BANG, WHOOP, AND HOLLER
THURSDAY, THURSDAY
TIE THE ROPE TO THE HAMMER
TOO MUCH FENCE
TORNADO ALLEY
TORPEDOS AND TIDAL WAVES
TOSS THE BLOCK
TOY TRUCK
TRAINING HUMANS
TRUE LOVE
TWITCHY HANKEY
UGH DAYS
UNCLE ARTHUR
UNWITTINGLY
USING CAFFEINE WISELY
WALK LIKE A TURTLE
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
WALK THIS WAY
WANNA BUY A GOAT (WINK, WINK, WINK)
WARNING LABLES
WAS THAT 65 OR 66?
WAS THAT CHRISTMAS?
WAS THAT THE WIND
WATER BUCKET TOAD
WAY TO THE HEART
WEANING WEANERS
WEE GOAT FARMERS
WELFARE GOATS
WHAT A DAY
WHAT DAY IS IT
WHAT'D YOU SAY?
WHATSTH THISTH
WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU VEGETABLES.
WHERE'S THE BRAKES
WHOOWEE
WIDE LOADS
WILD GOAT MILKING
WINTER LIST
WOE, DISPAIR...
WRONG.TURN!
YOU CALL HIM WHAT?
YOU COME HERE, NO, YOU COME HERE, NOÖ
ZAPPED!
autumnfarmsboers.com
Lee & Connie Reynolds
Autumn Farm
Ravenswood, WV

CATCHING PEARL
by
Connie S Reynolds

Thatís right, Pearl singular, not Pearl plural. No, we donít have a crystal clear lagoon on the farm where I entertain tourist and farm animals by diving into the pure clean water to bring up pearls. I could try it in our creek, but the couple inches deep water would cut short any spectacular dives. And, the crawdads discourage any type of exposed skin. Heaven forbid, me in a bathing suit. I decided years ago that the designers and manufacturers of bathing suits were all out to get me. Now, I could be put in a bathing suit and hire out to be used in clearing out overcrowded swimming areas. But, thatís another business scheme to think about later. What I want to talk about now is Pearl.

Pearl is a three-year-old guinea. The lone guinea on the farm. I swore I would never again get guineas, but she was the exception. Years ago we read all the wonderful things about guineas being great watch birds, screaming if anyone new came on the place. That they also ate ticks. You wouldnít have a tick on the place if you had guineas. Sold us, so we got a small flock to add to our chicken house.

At the time we had laying chickens, White Leghorns. Best little girls in the world. They would free range and then come back to the chicken house to lay their eggs. We used the eggs, plus we sold them.

Our guineas had a whole different idea about these Leghorns. Any time a hen would go into the chicken house to lay, our "hit squad", as they became known, would go in and beat the crap out of that poor hen and chase her out. True, they did tell us if anything or anyone came on the place that didnít belong, but they were destroying our egg selling business. And, I never saw any ticks on the place, but as soon as someone expressed an interest in the guineas, off they went to their new home. I swore Iíd never get another guinea again.

Then came Pearl. A friend of ours had guineas and loved them. This one guinea decided to sit in September and hatched out a bunch of baby guineas. Our friend knew these baby guineas would not survive the northern winter and was adopting them out to good homes. Taking pity on the little cute snookums (the guinea, not our friend), we brought one home and named her Pearl. No, we didnít know if it was a boy or girl, we just liked the name Pearl. And if it were a boy, heíd just grow up tougher with a name like Pearl.

We were not set up out in the chicken house to keep a lone little guinea warm all winter. We decided that the wise thing to do was to raise her in a box in the house. And, so she wouldnít be lonely, we decided she should be raised in the box in the living room. We are kind people, after all.

We were not expecting the guinea to become addicted to TV. It wasnít long until she insisted on getting out of her box and sitting on our arm or shoulder to better see the TV. Throw a paper towel under her and we all were happy.

During the long winter months a couple of hours out of the box every day kept Pearl happy. She assisted in putting up the Christmas tree and helped in taking it down much faster then I had planned. The guinea grew big, healthy, and strong. By early spring we were ready to put her out in a cage in the chicken house with a light bulb to keep her warm. It wasnít long before the guinea became boss of the chicken house and all the chickens in her domain. But, that wasnít enough.

She took an interest in our kid goats. She insisted on keeping watch over our weaning pen. Pearl also insisted that the baby goats get their daily exercise by chasing them from one end of the pen to the other. A couple of times a day I was in that weaning pen, catching Pearl, and carrying her out of the pen. Oh, she always found a way to get back in, but the kids got a short rest break.

Finally she decided that the kids were hers. She was there to protect them. She would proudly walk among them, supervising their activities, jumping into the feed trough and walking around while they tried to eat. She would steal a small bite of grain every now and then, but mainly she was making sure everyone was eating properly.

Our barn cats were getting old so Lee and I picked up two cute kittens from the humane society. The kittens had a wonderful time in the barn and then one day their eyes strayed to the weaning pen. They had to go and investigate. Pearl was horrified that we would bring home anything as dangerous as those two kittens (both could have sat in your hat with room to spare). She saw them in her kidding pen and immediately went on the attack. Feathers and kittens were flying everywhere. Pearl would latch onto the backs of those kittens with her toes and go to flogging, rolling end over end in a flogging, kitten screaming ball down the hill.

I just about tore the gate off its hinges to get in there and snatch Pearl off the kittens. The kittens had a second to get their bearings and streaked to the house. Pearl was still in battle fever and latched onto my thumb with her beak. She was quarreling and cussing in guinea language bad enough to make me blush. She refused to turn loose of my thumb. Keeping her in the hand that her beak was imbedded in my thumb, I drew back my arm and threw. Fortunately, the force was strong enough to make her lose her grip on my thumb and she went quarreling as she sailed over the fence. Minutes later she was back checking every crook and cranny of the pen and shed, hunting for those dangerous kittens with the mean throwing arm.

You would think that the kittens would be terrified of birds in general after that day, but they had a hate in their hearts now. I started noticing chickens walking around without tail feathers. I pondered on it and knew they all couldnít be molting now and just in that one area. Then I saw what was going on. My kittens were stalking my chickens, attacking, and plucking tail feathers. They had been innocent before the Pearl incident, now they had an obsession. They werenít stupid. They left Pearl alone, but the chickens were fair game. I had to keep a bucket of small rocks by the door to whiz at a kitten stalking a chicken every day. Pearl had created monsters.

Pearl will go out and check on her older goats she has raised, looking them over, pecking them to move aside. They politely listen to momma Pearl. We did have a small problem when we got the two livestock guard dogs to protect the goats from coyotes. To them, Pearl was a tasty, walking doggie treat. They had to be trained to not eat Pearl or the chickens. Pearl doesnít even take into consideration that these huge dogs could swallow her in one small gulp. We caught her the other day following one of the livestock guard dogs around pecking her on the hind legs, fussing at the dog, and herding her around. The dog was definitely mad, saying threatening things to the strange bird, but was controlling herself admirably until we could go get Pearl and put her someplace else to boss.

It seems like a lot of Pearlís life is spent me catching her and putting her some place safer, for either her or the animal. But, she doesnít hold a grudge. She takes her duties of boss of the weanlings and supervisor of the farm very seriously. She comes to the house daily and makes sure the backyard dogs are behaving properly and looks in through the patio screen to make sure Iím not sleeping on the job. If she catches me zonked out on the couch in a really good nap, she screeches, in her excessively loud guinea screech, to quit being a bum and get back to work.

There are many blessings living on a farm. I am just so thankful we have but one Pearl.

THE END

 

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