Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day One

Sometimes you can start over just like it was your first day.

That is what is nice about farm living.

It was a long hard winter here as it probably was lots of other places, and it seemed to go on forever with the usual litany of tedious complaints. And it was a bad year for baby goats, and even when things started looking up - like when the pipes were finally almost fixed and Cora Belle won her championship - even then the farmer walked around with a gloomy look and a long face and an expression that said, well, if things are going right today, that probably just means there will be a tornado tomorrow.

And today when Big Orange went into the kidding stall the farmer just didn't like the way she looked. She had a barely perceptible tremor along her neck, and that almost always means milk fever, and she was moving a little too slowly and her eyes were starting to go glassy.

But she took a little calcium, and even though the first kid was a big buckling, he was nose-and-toes, so that wasn't really a problem. The farmer was just getting him dry when all of a sudden there was a lady's voice coming over the stall door, and sure enough the farmer had forgotten that visitors were coming by.

"I'm right here," the farmer called, and the lady looked in over the stall, and so did her kids, a boy and a girl, and just then Big Orange laid down to push again. Right away this didn't look good: one rear hoof, coming upside down.

The farmer ditched the usual pleasantries and ran past the visitors to grab some gloves, and straight back to the stall, because this one was certainly going to need to be rearranged and pulled out quickly.

But before the farmer got back the baby was out, who even knows how.

And before the farmer even got to the stall the visitor lady was saying, "oh dear,"

The farmer took one look at the baby goat and turned to the kids and said, "you know, it's very sad, but the baby goats sometimes are too little to be born, or they aren't in the right position, or something happens as they are growing," as a preamble to telling them that this baby goat, which was twisted and motionless and an awful stillborn putty color, just wasn't going to make it.

That is one of the problems you can have when you think you know what you are doing. You don't always pay attention to the finer details.

Whereas, when you have no idea what you are doing, you see everything, as the little girl did.

"The baby goat is moving," she said politely.

The farmer looked down and sure enough, there was a leg kicking. And the baby bobbed its head. And so, without much hope, the farmer got busy, and cleaned it, and cleared its mouth, and rubbed it warm, and swung it upside down to get the goop out, and finally gave it a puff of air in the mouth to get it started breathing since it didn't seem to want to do that, and lo and behold, within a few minutes the baby goat was breathing on its own, and once that happened the pink came flooding back into it.

"She's a fighter," the farmer said. It was a beautiful little doe kid, Big Orange's first doe kid to have perfect gopher ears.

There was no need to take the little girl and make her a bottle baby. She gobbled milk greedily from Big Orange as soon as she shook off her traveling funk.

Why wouldn't she. It was her first day, and she wanted to get off to a good start.