Feb 23, 2012

It's all in the mind

Yes, it is what you think it is: click for a larger image.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

Feb 2, 2012

Goats on the loose

We are on our morning walk, striding past Alain's house, as he stops us and asks for help. "Les chèvres." As you possibly know, Le Trayas employs goats to control the brush growth around the hill to protect us from forest fires. And the goats are on the loose again. During previous outings (using openings that wild boars had helpfully created in the fences), they had already devastated well-tended gardens, and climbed on neighbors' roofs, dislocating roof tiles and provoking costly leaks.

Fences have been mended, and electric fencing put into place two rows deep, but the goats have learned to jump over said fencing now to seek out the greener grass on the other side.

Alain packs me into his car. We cannot see through the icy windshield. Alain divines us up the hill to meet the goats, but we survive. The goats are on the road, one step away from the no-longer-so-well-tended gardens of our neighbors. Alain brings out a plastic box with goat feed that he shakes rhythmically to attract their attention. The animals are unimpressed.

Goats, Alain. Note the snowy top of the Pic d'Aurelle (323 m) in the background. The yellow shadow is a blossoming Mimosa

The goats are everywhere, in particular in Josie's garden, grazing on the terraced meadows below her infinity pool. Max (Annie's husband --- Annie, our neighbor, the famous cook) and I are charged to chase the goats back to where they belong, wherever that may be.

Josie's infinity pool
Josie's villa
Josie is famous for her crie de coeur, "mon amour, mon amour," which she extends to her husband Gianni when he is in sight, but Gianni is not in sight, so Josie restricts herself to friendly gestures gracefully delivered from her balcony.

We learn that the idea is to lure the goats back into their shed and lock them up there until le bureau can reach a decision on their uncertain future. This is easier said than done. Some give-and-take ensues, involving Jojo, (le réproducteur) the only male element of the herd and a necessary condition for the numerous offspring that causes the herd to seek more food on the greener side of the fence. Jojo is stubborn ("balls").

Jojo, réproducteur
goats, unwilling to enter shed
kerfuffle, involving Alain and goats

The goats are quite unwilling to enter the shed, seeking all sorts of flimsy excuses despite our well-meant efforts. Finally, Pasha, the wonderdog, arrives on Annie's leach. The goats are quite impressed by Pasha and do what he wants. A happy ending ensues.

Max, rasender reporter, Alain, Annie (note the leach, Pasha in off), picture taken by Josie

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