Peeping Toms

Some years ago when all of us were younger and probably significantly more attractive, a friend of mine had a peeping tom. She lived in a ground floor apartment in Takoma Park. Evidence of the peeping activity was discovered only after it had been going on for some time. I don’t remember a lot of the details beyond this, except that her sleek brown hair was standing straight up on end for several weeks after the discovery, and that she bought new curtains.

Out here in the country, curtains seem to be optional. I grew up in a curtain-conscious family, and the first question I always got upon moving into a new abode was “and you have your curtains up, right?” So when I had  to confess to my mother that not all of my windows actually have privacy coverings, we nearly had an international incident. I’m not sure if it’s a case of budget allocation (barn doors and fencing fall higher on the priority list than drapes) or domestic management (the dogs spit on them and then tear them down, so why bother), or ‘that country look’ – all of us have a few of those cutesy lace curtains that only cover the top part of the window (one has to wonder just exactly what private parts one is covering with such curtains?).

I can’t speak for other country residents, but in my case I have such a complex set of gauntlets that visitors have to run through to gain access to the property (padlocks, warning signs, wild Haitian dingo dog, followed by white polar bear-like dog with 3 inch fangs, followed by a guard goat who shall remain nameless, not to mention horned cattle who munch on car parts) that — really — I am not worried about privacy invaders. But my neighbors reminded me yesterday that privacy is nevertheless not exactly sacred on the farm.

Over the weekend they adopted some unwanted goats. Though they’ve now landed in goatie paradise, these poor guys do have some awful orthopedic problems and hoof rot from hoof neglect, and they had the day before gotten into some poultry feed which caused them to bloat and have gastric distress – and if that wasn’t enough, the farm vet came out (three cheers for best farm vet this side of the Mississippi!) and poked and prodded and did all kinds of embarrasing and invasive tests on them. But you can’t keep a good goat down. The neighbors had set up a nice area for them in their back yard to temporarily keep them separate from their sheep flock (goats can carry a highly infectious and incurable disease called CAE – a bit like goat AIDS – so both for that and for parasite control, responsible farmers always quarantine their new goats until they are medically clear, usually 2-4 weeks).

Apparently the neighbors forgot about Mr. Newman Goat’s proclivity for breaking down doors, climbing and jumping fences, and generally going places he is not supposed to be. Maybe they assumed that it was just a Newman thing. It’s not just a Newman thing. The wife was just getting into the bathtub in her uncurtained bathroom when she saw a bearded face staring right in at her. Momentarily nonplussed, she broke out into hysterical laughter and her husband came running in to see this large black and white goat halfway up the side of the house, staring right in the window at her nakedness.

It’s something about baths. More than once I’ve been relaxing in the tub only to be interrupted by hooves clacking in the living room, hallway, kitchen – uh oh, heading straight for the bathroom! It’s inconvenient to be wet and wrapped only in a towel, trying to get a large horned beast back outside. But this morning I heard something different from hooves. I heard padded feet, scuffling, then singing. I heard excited noises, then more singing. I rounded the corner and there was Herman, the Tom (term used for males) turkey, investigating the living room and staring right at me in my birthday suit. I’d say that this truly gives new meaning to the term “Peeping Tom”.

Till next time,

Farmer Anne

Star Gazing Farm 501(c)3

A haven for retired farm animals and wayward goats