Friday, April 27, 2007

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Well, one of the goats didn't get the message that the kidding season is over. She had a single doeling yesterday. Now I'm doubting she'll be the last.

The weather is beautiful and we had some rain last night. Everything's suddenly popping up and blooming outside. This includes poke and other noxious weeds.

I planted beans and harvested lots of nice asparagus. This afternoon, I blanched it and it is now in the freezer on a foil-covered cookie sheet. When it it totally frozen through, I'll vacuum seal it in portions. I see tiny lettuce seedlings in the garden.

Friday, April 20, 2007

They Once Were Lost, But Now They're Found

Hi. I'm back from the imaginary "home." It was actually a head trip to tranquililty while we were working just as hard as usual, and maybe more so. Since I last wrote here we've had some hard freezes after warm weather which have pretty much ruined the fruit crops for this year. Sixty-mile-an-hour winds blew shingles off roofs and kept sleep at bay for three days.

I think I perfected the baby socks to fit my friend's baby girl. Some pretty purple cotton/wool sockies are in the mail and I hope to get feedback on how they fit.

The "bybies" have all learned to follow the herd with the exception of the last triplets born about a week ago. On the first day they went outside near the nursery barn, two managed somehow to get lost somewhere in the next pasture -- probably by walking through the fence, as they are very small. Their Ma was up on the hill with her third kid bawling when I arrived. There was no sound from little kids. We searched for hours until it was dark and put the mamma goat and kid inside. She continued bawling. Neither of us got any sleep that night. I was convinced that coyotes had snatched the kids. That suggested that we would have a continuing problem with predators. I was freaked out by the idea that the tiny kids were dead.

The next morning, I had to go out to do some errands after attending the animals. I kept the bawling mama goat and kid inside along with the rest of the newest kids and mothers. I got back later in the morning and got a call from one of the men working on siding the barn. He said there was so much noise from the goats that he couldn't stand it anymore.

I went down to the barn and there were the little lost ones screaming for their Ma and milk. She was screaming. Her third kid was screaming. I felt like screaming, too. The happiness at finding them overcame the grief.

The men said the kids came down the hill out of a thicket and through the fence. They had tried to put the two lost kids in with the mamma goat, but she was butting them and acting crazy. I asked for help to hold her while I milked out two bottles, since she wouldn't feed them. They guzzled the milk like they'd been starved for days. We had to repeat the milking procedure at night and included the third kid, who, evidently hadn't been fed either. I assume that she was so upset that she wouldn't feed him and her bag was swollen, so it hurt when the kids tried to nurse. Queenie was simply out of her mind with grief and anxiety about the lost kids. All three kids were visibly upset.

By the next morning, she was back to normal, having calmed down and gotten used to having her triplets again. They're doing fine, but have been confined to the small fenced pasture around the barn so that they can get used to following her and not wandering off.

We've all sighed a collective sigh of relief and are just waiting for the next farmy emergency. Can you see why I need to take imaginary vacations?
Just after I wrote this, I went to the nursery barn to tuck in Queenie and the triplet kids. They are the last little family in the nursery, the rest of the goats having "graduated" to the big barn.

Just before I left, I stroked Queenie and told her she was a good mother. Then I picked up each little triplet kid and kissed it on its goaty forehead. A light jazz rendition of, "Amazing Grace" came on the radio, played sweetly and clearly on jazz flute.

"Boy," I thought "this is pretty spooky." I took it as a sign that, for now at least, all is well.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Guest Columnist

This is Quince. I'm writin' this from the five star maternity barn since I have a lot of time on my hands, uh, hooves, while I'm restin' up with mah little twins and waitin' till they're big enough to go out with the rest of the herd.

Miz Scahlet Oil is MIA. She was mutterin' something about checking into a rest home the last time I saw her. I guess she had a bad day rescuin' bybie goats who kept gettin' lost between pastures on the first day they got to follow their mammas out to the big pastures. They were doin' a lot of screaming that day, and Miz Scahlet kept climbin' up the hills to get them out.

She was ravin' about sittin' in a chair and knitting bybie socks... Oh, lawd! If she tries to make socks for all the bybies -- why, that's 45 (bybies) X 4 (feet) = ? I'm not too good at multiplycation, but that's a LOT of socks!

Oh, NO! I'm such a ninny! I'll bet she was just talkin' about makin' socks for that cute little human bybie that her friend brought to the barn! What a relief! That bybie shouldn't need more than two socks at any given time.

We three mamma goats in the nursery barn have been lettin' our bybies go out in the little yard and lie in the sun each afternoon. Today, it's freezin' so we'll probably keep them in most of the time.

I'm hopin' Miz Scahlet will be feelin' better soon. She does keep us fed and clean and comfortable. We need her and hope that knittin' socks will keep her sane.