Once again Iíve let the excitement and the adventure of being a goat farmer make me late in my letter writing to my relatives. So, Iím sending out another type of "form" letter, not farm letter, but "form" letter and sending it to all the relatives to make them feel special.
Dear Favorite Relative,
I am so sorry that I have let the adventure of being a goat farmer keep me out of touch with you. So, taking pen in hand, I am sending this very personal letter just to you.
As you have come to realize over the years, January is a very exciting month. Usually the first week or two has to do with kidding. And, kidding in these cold northern temperatures is taking farming to the extreme. But, with the help of our faithful old barn and plenty of heat lamps, all kids were born safe and warm.
And the girls were particularly kind this kidding season. They would start kidding at 4:30 a.m. and cut off all kidding by 11:30 p.m. Canít get more considerate then that on us two old goat farmers. We also had a running joke going, if we wanted a doe to kid, we just went up to fix up a meal at the house, and as soon as it was sitting on the table and we were ready to dig in, one or more of the does would start kidding!! Every meal they did this for an entire week. It just goes to show these does have a good sense of humor.
February is always interesting. The first part of it is taken up with a goat farmerís birthday, mine! Mom and dad thought they would take me out for a birthday lunch to celebrate my youthful fifty-three years of being on this earth. They thought the Golden Corral would be an excellent place for a birthday lunch celebration and evidently the cashier thought so too. Not only did she give mom & dad a senior citizen discount, but gave me one too! I thought it high time I started saving some money on my age and vast experience. Glad the young cashier thought so too.
Next in line for February was the dermatologist. After so many years farming and having the sun bake me into looking like a crispy critter, the dermatologist has to keep a constant look out for sun boo booís on my skin. He had never seen me in winter and was appalled at the appearance of my hands. Winter farming is never easy on hands. The constant cold, wetness, cleaning out water buckets, handling rough equipment can keep the hands a rough, red, split mess.
The dermatologist asked how on earth I could work with such sore looking hands. I told him it helped to say "Ouch" and keep on working. Work donít stop just because your hands are chapped and cracked. He told me to super glue the cracks and start using a lotion with a Norwegian formula in it. Evidently this lotion was made for those Norwegian fishermen having to handle salty fish in the really cold north. I thought if those rough tough fishermen could carry around and actually use lotion on their hands, then I could too. It takes a real man to carry little tubes of hand lotion in his pockets.
And, naturally, this time of the winter what do we usually start running out of? Thatís right, hay. No matter how much I figure it, the goats always seem to be able to eat more hay then I figured they would. So, last weekend found us on the road with our big flat bed trailer hunting hay for sale.
We surprised ourselves and found some hay just over the hill from us. I donít know if you all realize this, but West Virginia is made up of hills, and a few good mountains. And, unbeknownst to us, it seems we have a mountain right behind us. Now, we always thought it was just a hill, but we never tried to bring a load of hay over it before.
Full of confidence and faith that we would return, we started up that hill. The farm on the other side had thousand pound round bales and 45 pound square bales for sale on the other side. We could use both. We took our big truck and big flat bed trailer on that teeny tiny road and one third of the way there, a sign was put up beside the road informing us that from here on out we would be on a one lane road. Well, what had we been on before!! Letís just say their idea of one lane was my idea of a ground hog trail.
Up that hill we went on their "one lane road" and so help me, before we got to the top of that long and winding road whose edge kept caving away out in space, my ears popped from the altitude. Now folks, we have hills around here. Ears donít pop on no hill, this had to be a mountain. We finally got to the top and started our slow path down the other side to the farm in a beautiful valley.
We quickly loaded up 6 of those thousand pound round bales and sixty some of those 45 pound square bales and headed for home. We didnít want to get caught on that mountain after dark. Half way up that mountain, the road tilted with a dip at the edge. Our trailer tires caught it just right and I heard Lee holler, "Weíve lost a round bale! Did you see any others fall off?"
I quickly looked in the mirror, forgetting about the little warning that all objects appear larger then they actually are, and shouted, "Holey Moley!! Four big round bales are sitting in the road right behind us!"
Lee shouted back, "Well, Iím glad they are just sitting there. The first one bounced on over the hill. Hope there wasnít a house in itís path!!"
"Me, too!!" I shouted back. Even though we were sitting side by side in the truckís cab and there was no need to raised your voice, it just seemed the occasion called for a lot of shouting.
Fortunately, the road at that point had a touch of land still attached to it and Lee was able to pull the truck and trailer slightly off the road. We both leaped out to see how much hay we had lost and if we had flattened anyone in losing it. Right behind the trailer on my side were 3-4 small square bales sitting in the road. The side mirror made those little square bales look huge, so I had thought they were thousand pound round bales sitting in the road. Car manufacturers must think its a great laugh to do this to drivers, put on carnival mirrors for our side mirrors. But, this time I was thankful those bales werenít the huge round bales.
One round bale was long gone. Fortunately no homes were on that side of the mountain for it to roll over. Lee tightened the load back down and we proceeded very cautiously home. So now we are set with some hay in case the next snow storm hits soon, so donít worry about us, Favorite Relative.
Well, I must close and go do the feeding. I did super glue the cracks in my fingers, but if you should ever try this, remember to keep your fingers spread apart until the super glue dries. Fortunately for me, I do have some mittens around here someplace to put on until my fingers become separate again.
With lots of love,
Your Favorite Goat Farmer Relative