It suddenly occurred to me on this last Valentineís Day that I knew what true love was. Every now and then while goat farmers are doing their chores, theyíll get revelations like this. Itís the combination of chores and barn fumes, or maybe just the barn fumes. But, Iím pretty sure I got this revelation right.
Because the last couple of Valentineís Days has found me and my husband of almost 35 years, sitting down at the barn waiting for a doe to kid. Absolutely freezing cold in the barn and there we sit on our buckets in our insulated outfits and boots, with thick wooly hats on, in a stall watching a doe ready to kid.
Our buckets are close together and we are leaning against each other for warmth as we sit, ready to leap into action at the first sign of a kid poking its little feet and nose out into the world. And, while we sit there waiting, we talk about everything. Now, if there are outside chores that need to be done, one would be on watch while the other one did them, and then they would come back to see what was going on, but all our outside chores were done, and now it was the waiting.
This doe already had one enormous kid and she sure looked like she was big enough to have another. The enormous kid took us by surprise because I had given up on the idea that the doe was even bred. She had no udder, was not loose under the tail, just looked oddly fat, but we had put her in the kidding stall for a just in case and good thing!
I was walking into the house that evening when I heard a new baby cry over the baby monitor. I hollered to Lee, who was bringing in firewood for the night, and we checked and there was the huge beautiful girl standing beside a doe we thought that might not be bred. And, of all things, the doe was developing an udder right before our eyes. So, now we were waiting to see if another kid might appear.
Listen, on these does kidding, thereís sort of a general rule of thumb on how they usually go about doing it, but thereís always does breaking the rules on our place and not doing what the books and manuals say they are suppose to do. So, follow the general rules on things but be prepared for the unexpected. At least this doe was in a kidding stall.
There we sat, quietly talking and laughing about things. We had already got the huge new girl to nurse and put iodine on her belly button. I told Lee to watch the doe in the next stall with her two kids. The little kids had been romping and bucking and leaping and having a wonderful time and in the last twenty minutes the doe had stopped them three times so they could get something to eat. I told Lee no wonder I couldnít get my bottle kids as hog fat as the momma fed kids, how could I compete with that doe, three times in twenty minutes have a bottle for the bottle kids! It just couldnít be done.
And, on we talked and laughed. After an hour we couldnít take the suspense and youíre always afraid if you wait too long that a kid will die inside the momma if he doesnít get out in time. So, I put a collar on the doe and held her and Lee gloved up and went inside to see if there were any more kids.
This time there wasnít. She just had this one huge girl, but that was fine. I didnít think she had any not long ago. I went and got the penicillin shot because we did go in to check her and we also wormed her because of how active the worms can get after a doe kids. We also checked the safety of the heat lamp and made sure the big girl was under it.
It was just that Valentine morning we had been doing the same thing with another girl kidding. She was a small first timer and Lee and I took turns sitting with her when her time was close. When a hind foot came out and then a nose and a front foot, we knew there was trouble. A backward kid wanting to come out with a frontward kid, all at the same time.
I held the doe and Lee gloved up and manipulated things around and was able to deliver both kids, one at a time, and mother and kids were just fine. That would have made a great Valentine Day, but the evening kidding of a surprisingly bred doe and a huge kid and being able to sit together and talk, just completed a great day.
I guess true love isnít always big dinners, movies, flowers, chocolates, diamonds. Sometimes itís just sitting on buckets together down at the barn, waiting for a doe to kid, and enjoying each others company. May there be many more wonderful Valentineís Days like the last one.