Goat farmers, at some time in their goat farming career, can expect to get the He-be-gee-be’s. I hate to break the news, but there is no pill, no lotion, no nose spray that will slow down or stop the sudden onslaught of the He-be-gee-be’s. It just has to wear off. So, we need to act like real goat farmers and just tough it out.
What’s the He-be-gee-be’s, you ask? Let me give an example of a mild one. Early this spring, on a lovely warm day, after bottle feeding the kids at the barn, I decided to go down to the road and check our mail box. Our mail is not consistent. You just never know when it’s going to appear. Anyway, happily walking down the driveway, something caught my eye and I stopped dead. Chills went up and down my spine. I felt faint, my breath came in gasps, and for a moment my eyes lost focus and then sharply zeroed in on their target.
About two foot in front of me, a little to right, a ten inch long garter snake had stopped. He had his head raised up and he was just coming out of the front pasture. He politely waited, no fear of me in his demeanor, for me to cross first to get to the mailbox. A very mannerly snake, yet still a snake. The first snake of the warm season. An odd thing happened, I could no longer walk straight. I sort of wobbled and jerked and shimmied past the polite snake to get to our mail box. This was a moderate attack of the He-be-gee-be’s. I was barely able to wobble and stagger back to the house, though the snake was now no where in sight. Which I think was worse.
I have also lost count the number of times of getting the He-be-gee-be’s when opening the barn door and happily looking into the stalls to see how my momma and baby goats were doing and seeing one stretched out, quiet as death. Once again a chill runs up my spine, my sight dims, and I stagger and wobble to try and run and open the stall door, and gasp out in a raspy voice, “You all right, baby?” Usually the kid or the momma, who ever is taking their turn playing possum, will slowly lift their head and look at me with sleepy eyes and say hello. The relief is almost like a blow, so welcome, yet a blow and then the He-be-gee-be’s passes.
I’ve discovered that two people can have the He-be-gee-be’s at the same time. Lee and I were kidding late one night and Lee was over in one section of the barn that had a wooden stall partition between us. I was finishing up with one doe that just had triplets and he was with another doe that was kidding. He had been talking to the grunting doe when suddenly he got quiet and the doe got quiet and Lee said in a hushed voice, “Connie, come look at this.” By his tone I knew it wasn’t good. I rushed to the stall partition and looked over and there stood the doe and two little kid’s heads were sticking out of her and both of them were looking around and up at Lee.
I think we both had chills going up and down our spine and our sight was dimming a bit from fright and then we both fully focused in on those two little sweet faces looking up at Lee. We stood there hyperventilating, trying to figure out what to do, when the old doe turned her head and looked at us and pretty much said, “For heaven sake’s. Let me handle this.” And, with a mighty grunt, shot both kids out at the same time. I will never forget that as long as I live. The relief! We both were a little shaky in helping the doe clean the kids up.
I just happened to think, the goats like to pull the stall trick of being stretched out like they are dead when they are out in the pasture. This is probably the favorite one of the neighbors, seeing me trying to run at full speed. I keep binoculars handy to keep an eye on the goats and when I see a goat down this way, I get the type of He-be-gee-be’s with the faintness, chills, and then wobbly run out to the pasture, trying to run at full speed, screeching at the top of my lungs, “Are you all riiiiiiiiight?” Then for once, I give the innocently sleeping goat the He-be-gee-be’s, coming screeching up on them that way.
A goat farmer can also get the He-be-gee-be’s just from hearing a story, not even being present when it actually happened. Lee came in one day from collecting the chicken eggs. I don’t collect the eggs in the warm weather after Lee found a black snake curled up in a top nest. He said he had just seen the weirdest thing. Some sparrows had decided to take over the rafters of the chicken house and he saw slowly crawling over perches and working it’s way to the rafters a two and a half foot long black snake. In trying to get to this particular rafter the snake decided to go across the laying boxes, which just happened to have two sitting hens in two of the boxes. Unperturbed, the snake simply slithered across the hens, the hens totally ignoring him, and he continued on his journey up the wall to the rafters to take care of the sparrows.
After hearing that story, I shook myself like a dog that had just gotten wet. Lee asked what I was doing. Just shaking off the He-be-gee-be’s, I replied. No pill, lotion, or nose spray helps with the He-be-gee-be’s. Sometimes you just got to shake it off and get on with goat farming.