Being a goat farmer itís just amazing what all you get use to and never think a thing about. Today I had to take a toad out of the water bucket. Again. This one particular toad keeps showing up at the main barn and if there is a water filled water bucket sitting on the floor for a goat penned in the aisle way, that toad will figure out a way to get in it. The first time I walked by that bucket and a head popped up above the water and happy splashing sounds followed, I spooked like an unbroke colt. Found myself outside hollering for Lee before I even realized I had left the barn. Now a days, little surprises like that donít even phase me. I donít know if itís because Iím too tired to spook any more, or Iíve finally got some common sense to stop and study something out before totally freaking out.
But, tell me this, toad experts out there, a toad is a dry lander, right? I mean heís not like his cousin the frog who adores water, has to be in water. Oh, I know a toad would get thirsty every now and then, but donít they lick dew off the plants? In West Virginia we have more then plenty of dew. So, why does this one particular toad come along, and with great effort, hop into one of my goatís water bucket? An accident? Didnít see where he was hopping? I donít think so, he looks way too happy.
Naturally the goat is disgusted. Will not drink with a toad in his bucket. The toad keeps bumping into his nose when he tries to drink. And, Iíll see the goat seriously studying the bottom of the bucket like heís saying, " Whatís that?! Toad, whatís at the bottom of my bucket? What have you been doing? Do you think this is the town swimming pool?"
So, quite regularly I have to take a toad out of the water bucket and give fresh water to the offended goat. The next thing you start getting use to is snakes. I canít believe I just said that. Oh, you are tuned in enough to recognize the poisonous snakes quite quickly and do one of two things - run away or run screaming away to get Lee to kill the thing.
Now, if itís a black snake or garter snake or house snake (no, it is NOT in the house!), you find yourself going on about your business. The other day I was at the upper barn checking on a doe that had been sick. She was coming along nicely and as I stood there studying her in her stall, a large black snake came slowly into the barn, came over my way, slowly cruising, just out looking out for any unsuspecting rats.
I was leaning over the stall door and as the snake cruised by my feet, I asked her in a conversational tone, "I think sheís coming along nicely, donít you?" The snake paid no never mind to my question and went on her way, searching out that one rat that was a bit on the slow side. I called the snake a she because she was big. I had always understood that the big ones were females. I donít know why I think this, must have been from a snake program I had watched in fear frozen fascination in the past.
You also get use to all sorts of yucky stuff, taking care of goats. I canít think of anything that is any slimier then kidding. You got floods of water, you got blood, you got sticky slimy stuff and Iíve had does even refuse to lick their kid until I had cleaned off the grosser stuff with a towel. They knew what a towel was for. Or worse, the doe licks and chows down on all the slimy stuff like itís the next best thing since peanut butter, in order to clean up her kid. Talk about wanting to barf (me, not the goat). Iíve even got use to that and donít even blink an eye.
I remember thinking exactly that at kidding time, I have got use to it all, nothing can make me sick to my stomach now. I was wrong. The other day I was actually at the mall (I donít get out much) and walked by one of those hearing aid centers. There the girls were busily testing the hearing on people who had walked in, even cleaning the wax out of their ears (wax out of the customersĎ ears, not the girls), so they could hear better. When I saw one girl take out a glob of ear wax, peel it off the cotton swab, roll it up, and smell it, I almost lost it right there. I remember frantically looking around for the nearest restroom, waste basket, or unguarded open shopping bag. I finally got a grip and reminded myself, that after all, I am a goat farmer. No one is tougher then a goat farmer. Unless itís those hearing aid center girls.
And, I am quite calm anymore when I find myself out in the middle of the field with a grain bucket and fifty head of does charging straight for me. Well, anymore you will never find me out in the middle of a field with a grain bucket and a herd of goats at the same time. Hey, it only takes me twenty or thirty times to realize this is not wise. But, I have these reoccurring nightmares... Anyway, I have learned to not take off at a dead run carrying that grain bucket. The best thing to do is fling the offending bucket up in the air, the goats go for it, and you have a chance to escape.
So, yes, being a goat farmer, you get use to a multitude of things that would have rattled you before. I wonít even mention about accidentally giving yourself goat shots or worming yourself. See, how calm I am? All in a dayís work. Now I have to go out and band some boys. Iíd better take some needle nose pliers in case I accidentally get my finger again.