There is nothing like the smell of new hay in the house. The fragrance wafts through the air, reminding you of hot summer days, sunshine, and the security of having food to feed the animals all winter. Yes, the delectable scent of hay floating through the house brings so many fond memories.
You are saying at this point, wait one dog gone minute. Why is there hay in the house? Why, for bottle babies, silly. It makes great bedding for their Rubber Maid tubs, a bedding that is always on hand and easy to dump outside, wipe out the tub, and add a new flake. And, until the babies poo and do number one more then they are fed and it takes on a slightly unpopular odor, the fresh scent of hay floats sweetly through the house.
True, the bottle babies only stay in the house in their Rubber Maid tubs until they start popping out like little red headed popcorn, but till then, the smell of hay is wonderful , as is the fond memories of past bottle kids. One little girl reminded me of the fun of kids in the house when she was less than one day old. I woke up one night and had the feeling that something was standing at the foot of my bed, looking for me.
Awake in an instance (from watching too many horror movies, I bet) I reared up and looked at the foot of my bed and saw no one standing there. Still, the feeling persisted and I got out of bed and peeked down at the floor. There stood my little bottle girl, having escaped her tub in the hallway, to remind me it was bottle time. She looked up at me in the darkness and went, “Naaaa?” In other words, “Bottle time?”
Lee and I have made quick dashes to town during kidding season to pick up groceries and have come back to find no bottle babies in their tubs. Now, you would think that as soon as they had heard us come through the front door they would have rushed to us saying, “Finally, you are back! Got a bottle?” But, no, not a peep was to be heard, not a baby in sight.
Then that would start our early Easter Bottle Baby Hunt to see where the babies were hidden. Because as soon as they escape their tubs, many will get scared and look for a place to hide, and they won't call out to you when you start calling for them.
We have found them under couches, behind easy chairs, behind the drapes, and one had somehow made it all the way down the stairs to the basement and was hiding in a dark corner. It's a wonder we found her because who would have thought that a day or two old baby could have handled those stairs and then had the nerve to hunt in the dark of the basement such a good place to hide.
Now, these are first time escapees that want to go and hide. After they have popped out of their tub a couple of times, they get less fearful and will come hopping to you, happily jumping from side to side, oh, and stopping to do number one in their happiness, as they try to hunt you down.
Usually after they have accidentally escaped one time, it takes a couple of days to get up the nerve to try again. But, each baby can be different, with boldness, or meekness. Some would happily stay in their tub until they were an adult, if you could find a tub big enough. But, most eventually get the wanderlust and just have to escape.
When the bottle babies do start popping out too frequently and there is no room in the barn, we move them to the garage and put them in a child's wading pool with plenty of sawdust, wrap a hog panel around that and sometimes an old shower curtain around the hog panel to cut down on drafts, hang up a heat lamp, and there they stay until an opening comes up at the barn. And, it sure makes it a whole lot easier to bottle feed them there instead of walking to the barn in the arctic blasts of winter. And, talk about a conversation piece. People drop by and we say, “You want to see something cute?” and we show them the bottle babies in their sawdust filled wading pools. That's always a winner. Who can resist cute bottle babies that love you?
I don't know why we still call the garage a garage. Its been a long time since that garage has seen a vehicle. Being goat farmers, we have found that garage to be unbelievably handy for putting a couple wading pools of bottle babies in the winter, also old outside dogs and barn cats that can no longer handle being outside have their beds in there and their food bowls, and then us just storing handy things we want to get to at a moment's notice. Sure, we have to scrape our windshields every winter to see to drive anywhere, but a small price to pay for the convenience of that garage for a goat farmer.
But, back to that wonderful smell of hay in the house. There is nothing like it. It's all natural, organic and to keep it smelling wonderful, all it requires is cleaning the Rubber Maid tubs every day and putting fresh hay back in for those sweet little bottle babies. I go even farther than that. I have extra tubs where I can put fresh hay in ahead of time, set them inside in front of the wood stove to warm the hay up, before I put my bottle babies in them. Seems awfully mean to throw cold hay, stored outside, into their tubs and then put the little things in.
Yes, I can rear back now and take a good whiff to smell that wonderful …. Ooops, time to clean the tubs. Then, I'll rear back and take a good whiff of that wonderful hay and milk scented bottle babies wafting gently through the house.