Thursday, January 14, 2010
The Case of the Calamitous Caprine Collar
It was a humid late summer day when I found myself once again embroiled in very enigmatic circumstances.
On this particular August date my associate and I were to be found inside the confines of our pastureland. I was reclining on a most ingenious hand-crafted playground hewn from massive logs that our dear friend Chief Inspector Yodeling had built. As this hamlet for immature caprine frivolity lies directly in the cooling shade of a considerable evergreen and affords one a wealth of cooling respite from the sun, it was the ideal place for supervision of my associate.
Miss Yodeling was in the process of rudimentary behavioral classes for the candidates for our county`s annual exposition. Four outstanding does had been chosen for this prestigious event, each one hopefully endowed with mammary systems that would enrapture the judge’s most critical eye thusly winning my partner the highest of honor- a blue ribbon.
“Now do recall that one should not step between the judge and the doe,” I called between sips of heavily creamed and sugared coffee.
“I`m quite aware of that!” Miss Yodeling commented whilst arranging the rear legs of her ivory Lamancha.”What say you? Does her top line look favorable?”
I studied the goat carefully as I swatted a caprine nose that seemed intent on robbing me of my beloved beverage.” Try that again my good sir and I shall be forced to use more drastic measures!” I warned the young fellow firmly.”I say, why don`t you try tickling her above her tail and see if that straightens her out some!”
“I have been tickling her yet she refuses to co-operate!” Miss Yodeling called back over the hum of honey-bee`s and the snuffle of curious caprine on-lookers.
“Hmm, well perchance she grows weary of the exercises. If you wish, I would be more than willing to enter the barn and lead one of the other exposition participants out!”
“Yes, thank you very much Mrs. Yodeling! That sounds like a stellar idea!” Miss Yodeling replied before blowing a loose strand of hair from her face.
I rose, taking great care to carry my mug with me lest an unwanted snout should decide to partake of my delicious roasted drink. Into the sturdy outbuilding I went, mug held tightly in my grip. Several of our goats were inside the building. Some were feasting on hay while others merely lounged in the coolness of the barns interior.
I moved through the languid beasts until I laid eyes on our sable doe. It was then that I noticed a most perplexing sight! It appeared that the rascally thing had slipped her collar. This is not an uncommon situation to say the least, yet as our local exposition was only two days in the future, it was cause for concern for my associate is MOST strict about having restraining devices that are all the same in color and pattern.
“Miss Yodeling,” I called loudly,” Did you by any chance remove Jennifer`s collar?”
“Why no Mrs. Yodeling, I did not,” my young yet clever associate replied boisterously.” Dear heavens!! Did she lose her collar?! I pray not as that was the last one the local farm supply had! What a calamity!” she cried in a tone rising with distress as she dashed into the well-bedded barn.
“Now, now my good woman,” I said reaching into my denim pocket to extricate my bubble pipe.” This is far from calamitous yet. Let us just stop and gather ourselves, then once we are again in possession of our facilities we shall begin the search and gather clues.”
I looked over at her with my pipe clenched betwixt my teeth. Much to her credit Miss Yodeling swallowed her anxiety and nodded pertly.”Yes, you`re correct of course. Where should be begin the search?”
I ruminated on her query for a moment, chewing the plastic in deep and purposeful thought.” What say we look thoroughly inside, as this is where the absent collar was first noted missing?”
“Very good reasoning Mrs. Yodeling,” my associate exclaimed. I nodded with a small amount of discomfort for the praise then we set into hunting.
“Perhaps we should widen our search to include the pasture?” Miss Yodeling said as she swiped at some hay that lingered in her hair a short while later.
“I think not for I believe I may have come upon a clue that will lead us directly to the missing collar and the one who absconded with it.”
“No! Why Mrs. Yodeling, you`re not saying the collar was, was, stolen!?” my erstwhile partner in crime-solving gasped.
“Indeed I do Miss Yodeling, and I shall explain why I came to this conclusion as we make our way to our domicile,” I said tapping my pipe against my thigh then slipping it back into my front trouser pocket. I took a sip of the now luke warm java to wash the dust from my palate as we set off for our home with undue haste.
“So tell me Mrs. Yodeling, what clues did you garner to lead you to proclaim such a heinous thing,” Miss Yodeling queried as we left the caprine pasture.
“Did you take note of the rather large area of excavation directly beneath the most western of hay mangers?” I asked latching the gate firmly behind me.She shook her head and more chaff fell from her golden tresses.
”Ah! Well then perhaps you should have for THAT is the one clue that would have shown you who the culprit truly is! When the goats make a gulley in their bedding they simply move the bedding about. The ransacking of the bedding I found was not merely a caprine attempt to fluff their clover-rich sheets! It bore the marks of another animal, one who is fond of digging for not only had the hay been shifted but the ground beneath had been reached and flung about in a most haphazard manner.”
Her brows knitted as we hurried up the stairwell and into the house.”What does that mean?! Scattered soil can hardly be used as a reliable….”
“I beg to differ my dear woman,” I said strolling over then kneeling down beside the long wooden bench that matches my kitchen table. Reaching with caution under the trestle that supports the darkly stained wood I then tugged out the missing collar.
“How did you know!?” Miss Yodeling inquired taking the collar from my hand then assisting me to my feet.
“It was elementary Miss Yodeling. Perhaps you failed to notice the rather dirty canine prints covering the linoleum when we entered? If you recall, the Chief Inspector had been here before we left for our nightly round of caprine behavioral exercises? Very good! Then you should also remember that he lingered a bit to watch before leaving to socialize with our good neighbor Mister L.? When he readied himself to leave we inquired if he would take the three hounds and return them to our humble home,” I said as I rinsed the hay particles from my clay mug then refilled it with fresh coffee.
“Why yes! Now that you mention it I do indeed recall all those incidents!”She said still gripping the collar tightly.
“I should think that if you were to look closely at the front feet of our black Labrador you would find soil packed between her pads. Soil that she gathered while digging in the bedding beneath the manger in the barn,” I said stirring three level teaspoons of Splenda into my brew.”What drew the beast to dig so I cannot say but she must have had the collar in her jowls when the Chief Inspector summoned her from the pasture. She then carried it into the house and deposited it in her cache as she is want to do. “
“Good heavens,” Miss Yodeling sighed,” Our own dog, a collar-napper!”
“Don`t be too harsh on the beast, she was merely being over-exuberant in her quest to assist us. Although I should think we would be well served to find the sleeping canine and hurry her into the tub before she leaves further proof of her criminal tendencies all over our furnishings,” I commented lowering myself and my mug into a seat at the table.
“I think we may be too late for that,” Miss Yodeling snickered and it was then I heard the tell-tale sounds of my bed springs squeaking.
“Well, it appears a load of laundry is in store for the world’s foremost farming detective,” I sighed wearily.