Conversational Circle of Death


While riding in my parents' minivan, King and Curtis were having an all too familiar circular conversation.

Pointing at the video screen on the ceiling, King said, "I could play Xbox on that."

Curtis responded, "No, you couldn't."

"Yes. I could."

"No. You couldn't."

King finally realized that he was caught in his dad's conversational circle of death.

He tried to break free, "If I was the only one in the minivan, I could. I mean it would be possible."

But Curtis delivered what would normally be the conversation-killing death-blow, "And if my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle."

Then Michael jumped in and turned the conversation on its head, "Well… not necessarily."

Bucklings to Wethers

First of all, I'd like to announce that we finally named the other two goats. The doeling is named Pearl and her brother is Melvin. 

From left to right: Melvin, LaChonky and Pearl

From left to right: Melvin, LaChonky and Pearl

As I mentioned in a previous post, the bucklings needed to be castrated ASAP. LaChonky in particular was "bothering" Pearl. She had taken to jumping on top of the hay bale to get away from him. 

Chiminea fire pit base turned hay bale and goat perch holder.

Chiminea fire pit base turned hay bale and goat perch holder.


I did look into castrating them ourselves. There is a technique called "banding", which I won't go into in too much detail, but think of wrapping a rubber band tightly around your finger and waiting until it dies and falls off. The other do-it-yourself method I looked into was using a tool called an emasculatome to crush the cord and blood vessels leading to the testicles. Curtis even offered to cut the bucklings. "How difficult can it be? You cut and pull the balls out." Considering he has balls himself, his cavalier attitude surprised me. In the end, I decided to call a professional to do the cutting for us. 

I thought it would be easy to find a farm veterinarian in our area, but it took me a while to find one nearby. After an interenet search didn't turn up anything, a call to the friendly folks at the county extension office gave me the name of "the vet everyone around here uses for goat castrations". 

I woke up King and Mike early yesterday morning to "help me load the goats in the minivan". It was surprisingly easy to get them to jump in. The tricky part was to get them all in there at the same time. Pearl ended up coming along for the ride, as it was too difficult to remove her without the other two escaping, especially Melvin. Thankfully, once we got there we met a county sheriff animal control officer who helped us unload.

While the boys were away at castration camp, Pearl was left all alone. I don't think she had ever been alone in her life, not that goats are ever really happy without a herd. She was particularly distressed. She yelled for her herd-mates all day, until her little goat voice was hoarse. 

A very unhappy lonely screaming Pearl.

A very unhappy lonely screaming Pearl.

We picked up LaChonky and Melvin in the afternoon. (Would you believe the same animal control officer pulled in as we were arriving and helped us load them in the van again? For real.) The new wethers were a little groggy and wobbly, but otherwise in good shape and ball-less. It was just in the nick of time too, as both Curtis and I independently concluded that just today Pearl came into heat.


For more information on different methods of castration click here.

What up, Britches? Little Britches.jpg

I just started reading aloud to the boys the book Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody.

Mike looked at the title and asked,

What if the "r" was missing?

My response was:

Um... How do you know that word?

Both boys looked at their father.

Me? I don't use that word.

To which King responded:

What about that time you kept saying to us 'What up, Bitches?'

Oh, yeah.

You Know How Difficult Angels Can Be


Every year at Christmastime, Curtis sets up the tree, and the boys and I decorate it. I always have such idealistic expectations for this tradition: we will listen to Christmas music as we lovingly pull out ornaments and reminisce about Christmases past. Joy to the World. Peace on Earth. And all that.

Of course, this is rarely how things actually play out. Most of the time, the tree trimming session ends with me yelling at the boys because they aren't being careful with the breakable ornaments. I usually finish the job myself, after forbidding them to even look at another ornament, lest they break it. I've learned to alleviate this problem somewhat by storing the non-breakable ornaments separately and instructing the boys to pull from that box while decorating. 

This year things went surprisingly well. I remained relatively calm and there were no broken ornaments during the process, although Jethro ate a few later.

"Christmas is yummy."


After we finished putting all the ornaments on the tree, it was time for Curtis to add our Christmas angel to the top.

The boys and I crafted our angel ourselves. She is supposed to be singing,
but she looks more like someone just jammed a Christmas tree up her butt.


I gave Curtis his cue, indicating his role in our little Christmas drama was upon us,

Alright, Honey, all we need now is our angel on top.

He replied,

As I remember, that's sort of a pain in the ass.

So far this year, our pain-in-the-ass angel has yet to make it to the top of the tree.

Are you Fun-King Serious?

Curtis loves to torture the children. The more they protest the more he needles. He's like a bear; to avoid attack, it's best to play dead.

One of his favorite harassments is tickling. He threatens King: "I'm going to tickle you 'til you pee your pants." So far, he's succeeded twice.

Through gasps and laughter, King will yell, "Stop! I'm serious!"

"Hi, Serious. I'm Curtis."

This gets King totally exasperated, which I have to admit, is very entertaining. A few weeks ago, we were teasing him using this tried and true method.

King: I'm serious!

Curtis: Hi, Serious.

Mama: I don't like Serious. I like King much better.

King: I am King.

Mama: Are you Fun-King? I like Fun-King.

Curtis: Are you Fun-King Serious? (He starts laughing and staring at me like he's trying to send me brain waves.) Are you Fun-King Serious?

Mama: What?

Curtis: Are you FUnKING serious?

Mama: Ooooooh.

We have gotten a lot of mileage out of this one. We laugh like first graders sharing a good fart joke. The best is when you get him to say it, which I know is going to backfire when he uses it outside the family.

The Dog House

Mike and King were taking turns sitting in the dog's kennel.

"Look, Mom. Now Michael and I have two homes."

King locks Mike in the kennel and says, "Michael, aren't you late for something?"

Intentional irony or accidental nonsense? I'm not sure.

It's time for school*. King picks up the dog kennel to bring it upstairs with him.

Curtis says, "No. No. No. Leave the kennel where it is."

"But it's my cage." He sounds so sad and disappointed. 

"No, the cage is not for school; school is for learning."

"But I will; I will learn in the cage."

I am absolutely fascinated by the ridiculousness of this conversation.

"I said, No."

"It doesn't make sense. How can I not learn in the cage?"

"Because it's RETARDED!"

"What does retarded mean?"

I think Curtis realizes the depths to which their argument has fallen.

"It means you're not bringing it upstairs. Now get up there."

*For those of you who don't know, King is homeschooled by a tutor during the week. It's not that I wasn't willing or able to homeschool him myself, it's just that our personality traits are such that it would be a disaster if I were to do it.