Monday, August 13, 2012

East of the Mountains




One of the farmer's friends has a family saying. It is a euphemism. It comes in handy to soften bad news. The saying is: East of the Mountains.

Here it is, used in conversation:

"What happened to that old cat Tiger?"

"Tiger went East of the Mountains."

It means Tiger is dead. Everybody in the family understands. It is a way of saying what you don't want to say. It is a way of telling the truth without telling it.

But what are you going to tell if you don't tell the truth? Nothing, that's what. We had an embargo on bad news because there was just too much of it.

That prevented us from telling an important story. And it wasn't right.

We were waiting for what should have been the last kids of the season. But it became apparent as Betsy went into labor that the kids inside were no longer alive. We don't know why. And when Betsy could not deliver them and the farmer couldn't get them out, the only hope was a c-section to save Betsy's life. It didn't work.

Even on this black day there were grace notes - once again, indispensable help and kindness from friends. And the luck to be in the hands of a good old-fashioned farm vet, who called a halt to surgery when it was apparent what the outcome would be. And then did what more vets should have the courage and kindness to do: he put Betsy down immediately when he saw, after the opening incision, that her uterus was ruptured.

At the start of this year our herd had three titans: Hannah Belle, queen of the Nigerians and Baby Belle's oldest daughter; Betsy, the magnificently goofy head of the part-Nubian Betsy Family; Brandy, Queen Mother of the LaMancha herd.

Now we have Brandy, 13 and tough as nails, as irresistibly ornery an old bird as ever walked the barnyard.

We lost Betsy. We lost her kids. If you want to know who Betsy was and how much we will miss her, just go to the search box and search "Betsy."

It's not a story we wanted to tell. But we can't live East of the Mountains. We have to live here.

19 comments :

Wendy said...

Here's hoping there's greener grasses east of the mountains. Sorry for your loss.

by Chickory Blossom said...

What a heartbreaker!!! Sincerest condolences.

Might i suggest that you provide Brandy with a hammock and an umbrella beverage, and then hide her backpack and tent in the attic or the falling down barn or someplace, so that she will not be tempted to vacation in the lovely Northwest Pacific outback?

Ozarks Goat Girl said...

Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. This is just horrible, awful news, upon too much previous horrible, awful news. Dear goat farmer, I am so sorry for ALL your losses this past season. I am sending strong vibes your way for good health to you and your goats. I really am. It is time for your luck to take a turn for the better. Much love to you and all my through-the-internet 4-legged friends at Herron Hill.

Amy L. said...

You guys have had way more than your fair share of tragedy lately. I am so very, very sorry. I've been following since the days of Baby Belle, another loss that shook me. Sending you so much love...

Marigold said...

There just are no words...only tears. This has been the worst year in many ways. Maybe the Mayan calendar people knew something we don't. I hope not. I hope that next year will be one to go down in the record books as the very best possible year there ever was. And that the ones following that get even better. Biggest of hugs to you all.

Millie said...

I am so sorry. This has been the absolute worst kidding year ever here as well. Our hearts are all breaking with yours. Here's to the end of this horrible farm year and looking to a new much better year.

Terry said...

What a year. Some animals are embedded in our hearts and are irreplaceable. You lost two in short order. When I lost my heart dog, I sought advice from a dear friend, who had trained and bred dogs and horses all of her long life. I asked her how I go about replacing my dog. She said I couldn't. That in her 90 years, she'd had only 4 such animals. They're not bred or trained. They just are. Not the most consoling words, but true. And yet we go on and find other animals to love. There will be more heart goats. That is true, too.

goatgirl said...

Thank you for telling Brandy's story. I know it was hard but it needed to be told.
A big hug for you.
Wendy

goatgirl said...

Of course I meant Betsy, the Puyallup Fair Goat.

Anonymous said...

Dear Farmer, I believe that the little boy, Todd Burpo, who wrote the book called "Heaven Is For Real" and told of seeing all the animals there when he visited during a serious illness is correct. It is a great comfort to me since I read that book. Just because some of us serve one purpose and others a different one on this earth doesn't mean that there is no place for the meek, the "lesser" and the dumb in heaven. Shoot, I wouldn't have a chance, if that were the case.
We grieve for our losses - but they are temporary. May the Lord comfort you and sustain you.

Grumpy Goat said...

I'm so sorry to read this.

Thinking of everyone over at Herron Hill.

goatsandhounds said...

Ok. No more... No more deaths. My heart breaks for you and all of your losses this year.

Willow Fen Farm Goats said...

Our deepest sympathies are with you! We, too, have seen many-too-many of our Grandnannies, MaaMaas, and NotYetPutHoovesOnTheGround babies move East of the Mountains this year. The food there must be very, very, very tasty and plentiful!

Karen C said...

It is unbearable to keep hearing of these losses for you. I am just so sorry. My heart is with you all, and your beautiful wonderful goats.

Goat Girls Rule! said...

The Goat Girls are running out of tears.

pictishwitch said...

Huge hugs to you from all of us. Y'all are way, way overdue for some excellent karma!

SueP said...

So Sorry.
Can't find other words.
Wishing you good karma and happier days to come.
They will come.

Buffybelle said...

Please, just move to Boring, Oregon

Jill Mulvey said...

So sorry to hear about Betsy and her kids. This has been such a rough year for all of you. I am keeping you in my thoughts and hoping things turn around soon. Love to herd and farmer, whose blog has made me laugh so many times and reminded me that I am not alone in goat-generated insanity many more times.