To the uninformed, it may appear that I spend nearly all of every day standing around or nibbling tender grasses, but I think it would be easy for all of you to understand my importance if you only just looked deeper. I have many jobs on Bent Barrow Farm but there are seven that are especially key.
1. Taking FarmWife on our weekly tours of the countryside. This is the one that most people think of when they meet me and I don't really understand completely, since this is leisure time for both of us, but it's got to be important because the humans talk about it all the time.
2. Providing the goats companionship and guidance. I do realize that the goats have feelings too, even though their feelings are usually jealousy or spite or false superiority. It would be sad if they had no one to set a good example for them.
3. Monitoring the Perimeter. I make sure that no one can come into or out of the Bent Barrow Farm vicinity without sounding the alarm. The alarm, of course, is my very pretty bray which is not so much an unpleasant consequence as it is a delightful surprise, so for this reason it is good that so far all of the trespassers have been good people.
4. Crying then news. I do not have a fortified rampart from which to cry the news but I do try to keep the neighbors abreast of our goings on as well as I can. This means that everyone here knows when there is A) motion in the FarmWife's kitchen or bedroom, which windows I can see from my paddock, B) motion in the driveway where the hay is produced, or C) motion in the shed where the hay is stored. This is important in case any of the neighbors should ever have an emergency and need the assistance of either the FarmWife or the hay.
5. Eating the hay. The FarmWife has a magical station wagon which produces hay at regular intervals, and without me to eat it I'm sure it would soon overrun our small lane. I don't know what the neighbors would do, since they can't eat hay and the goats surely aren't big enough to do the job themselves. Soon the families on the dead-end beyond us would be trapped beyond salvation, and without a road or an intrepid mule to escape on they would surely starve. It is very lucky that I am here to keep the scourge of the hay from becoming deadly. As it is, I have turned a dangerous threat into a tasty treat simply by maintaining my healthy appetite.
6. Offering aesthetic pleasure. The humans are silly creatures in many ways but I like them nonetheless, and one thing I like about them is that they think I'm beautiful. I don't mind being admired as a work of art, and I especially don't mind if it means that the FarmWife will stay home and look at me and give me hay on a regular schedule instead of traipsing off to some fancy-schmansy urban art museum to look at some glorified soup cans.
7. Carrying the larval humans to the salmon pond on Innis Creek. I don't do this often, since the human parents seem to be of the impression that riders under three need an assistant to spot them. I don't really get it, since I am Reliable and Steadfast, but I like them well enough to let it go.
There is also the job of watching the baby goats, which doesn't really need a number because it is more of a favor than an obligation, but which I sort miss now that Jasper Jules is all grown up. We will have more babies in the spring and I sort of kind of think it might be fun to play with the little tykes again. They are very cute before they get to the tail-nibbling age.