ANYONE WHO OWNS GOATS FOR A WHILE HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF GETTING HARD OF HEARING. Oooops. Sorry. Didnít mean to shout at you. I forgot we were inside. But, itís true. Goat farmers have an excellent chance of becoming hard of hearing, all because of their beloved goats. I noticed this the other day as Lee and I were having a pleasant shouting conversation outside while feeding the goats.
The goats were hollering to be fed, all in different fields, screeching at the top of their lungs, "HEY! IíM OVER HERE! DONíT FORGET TO FEED ME! WHAT! YOU ARE FEEDING THEM FIRST?! I CANíT BELIEVE IT! I THOUGHT I WAS YOUR FAVORITE!" And, when you get 5 to 100 of them or more screaming at you in this fashion, well, kiss those ear drums good-bye.
I have to tell you, I believe our neighbors are saints. We never get one complaint about all the hollering going on over at our place. Not only are the goats hollering, giving their opinions on everything going on, but Lee and I are hollering to be heard over the goats. The neighbors are constantly hearing quite clearly things like, "LEE!! IíVE GOT A COUPLE OF RUNNY BOTTOMS OVER HERE. I NEED YOU TO HOLD THEM!"
Our neighbors, not being goat farmers, would have no way of knowing the translation of the above sentences. Sometimes goats get diarrhea (runny bottoms) and that usually means worms. They need to be wormed. I need Lee to hold the goat quiet so I can worm it, plus I also give it a Fortified B shot (around 4 cc or more) under the skin to help with stress and fight any goat polio that might occur, because of the diarrhea messing the goatsí rumen up and messing up its ability to produce the B vitamins. This works for us. Our neighbors, not being goat farmers, probably are imagining Lee cupping his hands around bottoms that are runny, for some odd goat farmer reason. Or, maybe they try not to think about it at all and cover their childrenís ears when they hear us shouting next door. After all, you never know what those crazy goat farmers are going to be shouting next.
Not only is the goatsí hollering and your hollering hard on the ear drums, but itís hard on sensitive souls who do not want to be noticed. Not naming names, but Lee has a hard time yelling. It greatly embarrasses him. Me, on the other hand have no problems whooping and hollering. Iím use to it as another form of social communication.
It think I recognized this great form of communicating years ago when I would visit my Momma and Granddad in the real mountains of West Virginia. It was so straight up and down there a lot of the homes were built on stilts. The back part of the house wedged into the mountain and the front part built on stilts, hanging out over the mountain and a deep holler running between mountains. Homes were built all over the mountains this way and it almost seemed you were within arm reach or a rock toss to touch the house across the holler from you. Of course by the time you walked down the mountain, crossed the creek at the base of the holler, and climbed up to your neighborís house that was almost sitting in your face from your house, it would take an hour or more.
So, hollering to your neighbors was very acceptable instead of doing all that walking for a short chat. Sure they had phones back then, but it was on a party line. Five or six people could be on one party line, each with their own rings so they know itís for them to pick up, and the party line was always busy. Two people would be chatting along and several people would have picked up to listen to what you all were talking about. The party line was constantly busy. But, if you had an emergency you could butt in on the conversation, such as, "Ruth, get off the phone. Iíve got to call Doc and get him out here. Elmer has cut off his toe with the axe. Iíve got coal tar on it so that should hold him until Doc gets here." Back then, doctors made house calls, and coal tar for medicinal purposes was king.
So, hollering was very acceptable for gossiping with the neighbors, yelling across the hollers to that, straight as a crow flies, close neighbor. Thatís why they call this form of communication, "hollering."
So, after coming back from the barn where the goats have been hollering at you and you are having to holler to each other as you feed or work with the goats, you think your poor olí ears can get a rest at the house. Oh, I should point out that you are hollering TO each other, not AT each other. Big difference. Hollering TO means you are holding a productive conversation and getting the chores done efficiently. Hollering AT each other is never productive and gets in the way of goat farming efficiently. Just wanted to clear the air about hollering. And, as I was saying, your poor olí ears do not get a rest at the house. Not if you have baby monitors up connecting the barn to the house.
Why on earth would anyone who wants to rest their ear drums do that? Kidding time. It helps catch those does who have waited for you to leave to start kidding, and/or you get to hear new born babies cry and get yourself down to the barn as quick as possible. Thatís the up side. The down side is the goats can continue to holler at you. I honestly believe they know those monitors are on and they line up to yell and give you a piece of their mind on what they think of your care taking.
Four oíclock one morning, all the girls in the kidding stalls joined in a chorus of, "We Want To Be Fed NOW!!" Lee and I both hit the door running, ears vibrating from the insistent yells, thinking that every single one of them had decided to kid all at the same time, only to find them looking smugly at us when we got to the barn.
So, goat farmers, rest your ears when you can. No telling how long youíll have them.