Life is full of oddities. Strange little events that happen that wouldn’t quite make a story but there they are, plunked down right in the middle of your goat farming. You find yourself stepping back and saying, “Boy, that was weird,” you hesitate a second, and then just go on with life.
A week or two ago we had an artic front come through the area. It was only six degrees Fahrenheit, but it felt an unusually cold six degrees. You know it’s really really cold when you go outside to do the feeding and see icicles hanging down from the bucks’ sheaths. No joking here. The bucks were walking around with icicles hanging from their sheaths. Now, that’s cold, besides being a very odd event.
Last week I heard a goat calling out in distress. I looked out the window and saw Priscilla the Hun, the meanest goat on the place that is now being babysat by a young buck because she is just too mean to be put out with the other pregnant girls, lying flat on her back, screaming for help. She couldn’t turn over. She was stuck.
You have to realize that Pricilla is as broad as she is long. How she gets this fat is beyond me. She gets a handful of grain a day and all the second cutting orchard grass hay she wants, and has a protein block, if she wants it, but she never does. And, here she is as wide as she is long, has laid down for a good roll and got stuck on her back. It’s like a table that has decided to roll. It just can’t be done.
It is funny and scary at the same time. Funny that she got stuck that way, scary that if she stayed that way very long that she would die. Her organs were not meant to be upside down like that.
I charged outside, throwing on my husband’s old barn boots at the back door and basically went running in what appeared to be those too big shoes that you see the circus clowns wearing. I had to get to Priscilla fast, yet I also had to keep an eye on that young buck who was with her who could get quite territorial about his pen.
I ran with my floppy shoes down that hill and where the fat doe was, sprawled out, belly exposed, legs flailing, and I grabbed a front leg and a back leg and started tugging. The whole time I was keeping an eye on the young buck. He ran down the hill to see what I was up to, saw Priscilla’s predicament, and stood there in amazement. I pulled hard and flipped Priscilla over and out of the corner of my eye I saw the buck fly backwards, and start rearing and shaking his horns in my direction, but staying well back.
In other words, he was saying, “Sister, you better not try that with me. No sireee bob, you’d better not.” But, he kept bouncing backwards, just in case I had really long arms that could catch him and flip him like I just did Priscilla. He let me leave his pen in peace, staying well back from me.
When I have to buy feed, I leave early in the mornings. We get it mixed in the next county at a large feed mill. I call a day or two ahead of time and put my order in so I don’t have to wait a couple of hours there to get my feed mixed. Usually I am timing it just right to be back in time for the next bottle feeding or keeping an eye on due to kid does. This one day they didn’t have it mixed, plus they were busy waiting on customers. I had to wait a long time.
Finally, the fellow that runs the mill in the back, came out to apologize to me. You have to understand first that I have one of those unusual faces. Frequently while grocery shopping or whatever, strangers will stop me to talk. They tell me all the things that are going on in their lives, some very personal, and Lee will find me standing and literally crying with folks over their misfortunes. He’ll ask me afterwards if that was a friend and I’ll say I never saw that person before in my life. He shakes his head and says he’s never seen the like. The only thing I can think is that I basically walk around looking absolutely clueless. A clueless person is very non threatening. So, I get told stuff.
This young fellow started out with a polite apology and then he just couldn’t help himself after one look at my face. He explained to me he had got terribly sick last night and had to sit on the pot all night with a waste basket also between his legs as he battled the intestinal flu. While he was telling me this, my first reaction was, “Why are you over here near me with your flu?” Then as he went into more descriptions as just how miserable he was, I kept thinking of my younger sister whenever she innocently calls and asks how kidding is going. I’d find myself going into great detail of some particularly interesting kidding. Soon I’d hear her gag out, “TMI! TMI!” (Too Much Info) over the phone.
That was exactly how I was feeling when the young fellow was telling me in earnest how sick he was. I asked how he was feeling now at work. He said, “Pepto!” with a thumbs up. He also added that he still had to be careful and take only short, tight steps, and he always had to stay near the bathroom. Well, thankfully my feed had arrived at that moment so I didn’t have to comment about that. And, also thankfully, he didn’t attempt to strain and load my feed, he let another fellow do it.
I’ll have to admit, short tight steps is something we rarely take here on the farm. The goats won’t let us. We were worming and then trimming feet of the 9 month old bucks the other day. All was going along quite nicely, until suddenly, for some unknown reason, Salsa decided we were really there to eat him. He listens to gossip too much.
Over the hill he flew, which wouldn’t have been a problem except that Lee was still hanging on to him. No short tight steps there! I believe Lee was taking ten foot strides with each step. The only way Lee got Salsa stopped was by aiming him at the electric fence. Salsa is no dummy and stopped before he and Lee would have hit the electric fence.
So, if you find odd events happening in your life, just go along with it. Before too long something else much stranger will happen to make you think that the previous odd event was really quite normal in comparison. Thus, is the life of a goat farmer.