Lee calls it our Vacation 2003, but since it lasted from Monday at 10:30 a.m. to Tuesday (next day) until 6 p.m., I doubt it qualifies as a vacation. I was able to trick, er, talk my extremely kind and big hearted (in case she reads this) sister into farm sitting for us for that length of time. Sheís a nurse and knows her way around needles if a goat gets sick.
I had planned this road trip really about two years ago. On a trip to Florida to visit relatives, we had stopped off at Misery Farm in SC to visit Jerriann and Prentis McDonald and pick up a Boer buck kid with Bodacious Hunk bloodlines. And, donít ask me why they call their farm Misery Farm. A lot of times Iím tempted to change the name of our farm to Tired Acres or Empty Pockets or Will It Never End Farm. We get a lot of teasing about the name or our farm, Autumn Farm. Wannabe comedians ask what we do the rest of the year. I tell them not to quit their day job.
I have heard the rumor that Jerriann and Prentis use to take in and care for abused horses and their vet once said they had brought in some miserable looking animals to take care of and thatís what they decided to name their farm, Misery Farm. But, it might just be a name they picked for themselves after a long, tiring kidding season, because they do have a lot of goats.
Anyway, I knew that I would be needing some new bloodlines in the future and I figured that Jerriann and Prentis would be bringing some in that I could use. So, I schemed and planned and started saving my quarters, because in two years I should have saved up a lot of quarters, to buy a new baby buck with brand spanking new bloodlines to try on my does.
Finally the time had come and I emailed Jerriann and after a series of pictures were sent, the choice was made. I was getting a baby buck with something called Eggs in him. Sounded strange but it must not hurt him because he looked a dandy. After that I noticed a lot of other goats around with Eggs in them and they seemed to be staying healthy, so it was settled.
A thought kept niggling at my brain. If I am going that far, why not ask for a baby doe and see what she has that we can use. I know, I know. I already have 20 full blood does and 62 purebred and high percentage does, what did I need with another doe? Why, to try out different bloodlines, silly. I checked it out with Lee and he thought it a great idea and there would be room for her in another cage in our van.
Almost as soon as I had emailed my request, I got a call from Prentis. "Have I got a doe for you. Sheís an ex-bottle baby and sheís a nuisance. Sheís always underfoot. I canít stand bottle babies, always in the way. You canít work without them being right there. I like a goat to be stand offish." That Prentis is a real salesman.
Being very wise in the buying and selling of goats and with years of experience in always trying to get a better deal, I gushed, "I LOVE bottle babies. I ADORE bottle babies. They always trust you and you can always catch them." All Lee can do is shake his head when I do things like this.
"Oh, really?" Prentis said. "In that case, I have three others, still on the bottle. Let me send pictures and their bloodlines and you take your pick."
I donít think anything came as sizzling fast over the internet as those pictures, bloodlines, and prices. They were adorable. How can you not love bottle babies?
I got another phone call. "Well, which one do you want? If you want them." Prentis asked, I heard Jerriann in the background hollering to remind him to tell me of who the kids daddies and moms were. He relayed the message. She then hollered in the background when their shots and wormings were. He relayed that. I learned real fast to listen to Prentis and the floating voice of Jerriann in the background.
"I want them all," I said.
There was silence over the phone. "Really?" Hope and visions of no bottle babies in his near future came through the phone line.
Thatís how I ended up buying 4 bottle baby does, one not bottle baby doe (I had to have her), and the buck we had originally asked for.
Lee called me from work. "Well, howís the goat buying coming along?"
"I got them all."
He never missed a beat. Iíll say this for Lee, he can always land on his feet. Married to me for 29 years, heís got to know me and expects anything. "Well, the van is out. Canít haul that many cages. Weíll take the farm truck and find a topper for it." In less then two seconds flat he had accepted and adjusted and made plans for the new kids. Spouses of goat farmers have to be very adaptable.
Next was finding a truck topper. We soon learned that a cab level aluminum topper started at $600! Wow. Now itís time to check the used topper list. We finally found one, aluminum, tall and sloped for $75. A friend said, "But itís red." Our truck is pewter colored. I said so what. Itís $75 and the red will match the tail lights.
Lee then start cutting hog panels and putting up the cut sections across the windows and the back of the truck. Any bouncing kids would not accidentally bounce on out of the truck this way and we could have good air flow from windows and the topper back being open. He also got a rubber truck mat so the floor wouldnít be slippery for the babies. The truck would be heavily bedded down with good hay, but they still would slide around if they didnít have a mat underneath the hay.
I told Lee the trip was at least 9 hours one way and I did not think we should try to make it all in one day, but divide it up to sleep over at a motel, then drive in to Jerriann and Prentisís place early morning, especially since we thought we wouldnít be able to leave until the middle of the day from our farm.
Lee got on the internet and fixed us up with a room at a motel part way down the trip. Jerriann said to come on down and stay with them, but I didnít think we would be able to make it that far. Next, was the packing. Riding in a single cab truck leaves very little room for suitcases behind the seat.
Lee came in that night and found me packing a garbage bag. "What are you doing?" he asked.
"Iím packing our overnight suitcase," I said.
"Thatís a garbage bag. We are possibly going to have to walk through a motel lobby. Do you really want to carry a garbage sack for your clothes? Iím taking my college backpack for my clothes," he says proudly.
Iím not sure, but I think his college backpack is older then both of our ages combined. At least, it looked that old. "You can put your stuff in my backpack," he said generously.
I continued packing my garbage bag. "What are you doing now?" he asks.
"Iím packing my backpack. If you can call that poor olí thing a backpack, Iíll call my garbage bag a backpack. Besides, there isnít enough room for my things with your things." Everyone knows you need at least 4 changes of clothing on an overnight trip. The places we go, who knows what you are going to fall in and repeatedly.
We loaded the cage for the baby buck in the truck, bedded down the truck with hay, and loaded our nice and squishy "backpacks" behind the truck seat and we were on our way. Things went better then we had planned. We finally got too tired to go any farther and about 45 minutes from Jerriann & Prentisís place we stopped at the motel. Not for long! Talk about dirty rooms. It must have been the maidís year off. We looked over two rooms there and said forget it. Weíre not that tired and headed on down the road.
We were stuck, it was too late to pull in and tell Jerriann that we were going to take her up on her room offer. I can be an inconsiderate person, but not that inconsiderate. Pulling into Santee, we saw a Best Western and signed in. The rooms were super clean. What a relief! I thought I had better call Jerriann and Prentis and tell them we had made it. They immediately insisted on us to come on out and visit and look at goats. Late or not, off we went. They were tickled to death to see us and out we charged to look through the goats.
I checked out our bottle babies. They were so glad to see us. Of course, bottle babies are glad to see anyone because everyone is carrying a potential bottle to them. We saw our baby buck. What a handsome fellow. Prentis said he wasnít very friendly. I sort of noticed that when the buck stayed way far away from us and was trying to hide behind a pole. After the visit, we headed back to the motel. We were to be back at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow to pick up the goats.
Morning came early and after a breakfast at McDonaldís restaurant, we drove straight to Misery farm. We collected up the paperwork from Jerriann, gave Prentis the money, and off we went to collect goats. Naturally, the bottle babies were eager to go. To their way of thinking, there is always a chance of a bottle around the next corner. The young buck was tackled by Lee and carried protesting to his cage. Lee was doing the protesting from the buckís heavy weight, the buck just seemed mesmerized in terror. The young doe kid that was not a bottle kid was nabbed and put in the truck.
So, now we had the buck in his cage and the girls running around the truck bed in the deep hay, the bottle girls immediately settled down to play in the hay, which settled the buck and the non bottle kid down. The hog panels were tied in place so the back of the topper could be left open for air in the hot southern temps.
Oddly enough, it was one of the most uneventful trips we have ever taken. Usually, something odd happens at varies times, but things went smoothly. It was the same-o same-o when hauling goats. You stop at rest stops and run to the back of the truck to check on the goats and in the process, pick up a crowd of people who run to the back to check on the goats with you. Nothing draws people like baby goats.
You stop to buy gas and the people on all the other gas pumps stand there and smile big time looking at the baby goats, nodding to you, laughing at the bottle babies running up to check and see if anyone had a bottle. Stop at another rest stop and you and a crowd of people run to the back of the truck to check on the baby goats. This went on for 9 hours until we got home. Talk about creating good will while you travel, those kids could do it.
Road Trip 2003 went great. Saw good friends, bought good goats, made good friends along the way and all because of some little baby goats. Yeah, being a goat farmer is great.