I’ll Take Another Coffee – thanks.
I’m not going to pretend that what we’re doing out here is grueling, 24 hour/day work. So far. So far it’s just been the type of work that involves blood, sweat, and tears. There’ve been lots of tears already. I’ve found that the three best remedies to combat the “oh HOLY CRAP what have I gotten myself into” realizations that wash over me at least twice daily are the following – in any order:
1) Hot coffee
2) Iced coffee
In fact, since we moved here our wine intake has increased approximately 271%. This might make some of you concerned but, I assure you, we generally just drink red wine and are therefore strengthening our hearts. As for the coffee, well, I used to be a one cup per day drinker. One nice steaming cup in the morning was enough to smack my eyes open long enough to get ready for a tough day of sitting at a computer, in traffic to the office, or through a boring work meeting. I’ve found that this amount doesn’t stretch quite so far anymore. In any given day there’s no telling what extra labor will be required of us. Will we be tossing bales of hay from the back of the truck? Extricating a hoof from a fence? Scrubbing concrete floors covered in excrement?! The unexpected work is never-ending and always exciting! But regardless of what it ends up being each day – it requires more caffeine. Or wine. I think you get the point.
Friday afternoon was such a day. This was the beginning of what would be my first weekend at the land without Jer. I had a few qualms about undertaking the new animal chores alone, not to mention the reality that I was a woman alone in the woods (save for my 5 dogs and 6 donkeys – all of whom are excellent burglar alarms). The day before Jer left, Willy Boots suffered from something people in the goat world delicately call “scours” which actually means wicked diarrhea. It’s something you take seriously, generally, as these animals can dehydrate and die quickly if left untreated. Since he was not lethargic and very hungry Thursday night, I didn’t intervene. By the time I returned from work Friday afternoon, he was frighteningly sick. In such a situation, Jer will usually help me remove the animal from the larger group that always clamors for my attention and fights to get out of their yard. In this case, being alone, I literally elbowed the animals and fought my way out clutching the sick little Boots. After determining he had fever, I managed to give him one shot of antibiotics (I inadvertently got some too – oops. And ow.) and forced some electrolytes down his throat. For the first time in 20 minutes I finally stood upright and surveyed the situation. The animal was standing crumpled before me next to 5 or 6 dirtied paper towels I’d used to clean his bottom. They surrounded the hastily ripped open syringe bag, lying next to my little medical kit, in total disarray at this point as I’d rummaged through it for this and that. A long smear of goat poo was up one arm. I was still in my work clothes. It was 95 degrees. I was sweating horribly and assumed I would lose my first goat in this most pathetic fashion. So I did the first thing that made sense which was to gulp back a sob that was creeping up my throat – and call Kimberly at Star Creek Country.
Kimberly has become my goat and cow guru, aside from just being an all around great friend. Because of her, I have completely reconsidered how I will care for my dairy animals, and also because of her, I have complete confidence in myself. Usually. In this case, I needed a pep talk and advice. I think she’s getting used to my frantic calls and emails, and this was no different. She calmly explained what should be done, what should be looked for and how to proceed with the situation. Having managed my emotions this long, I hung up the phone and did the only other thing that felt natural: called my mom. And lost my sh*t.
Mom: Hey – what’s up?
Me: So, um, nothing really. It’s just that…um…that..
Mom: That what?
Me: Well…(voice starting to quaver)…it’s Willy…he’s..(sniff)….he’s really sick (small sob)…aaandMOM(sob sob)Jer’snothereandidunnowhattodoandican’tdothisanymoreand…and…
Mom: I don’t understand you.
Me: Iprobablyhaveagoatdisease!!(high pitched wailing now). I GAVE MYSELF A SHOT!!!! MMMAAMMAAAAAA!!!
There’s a good chance I didn’t actually scream “mama” – but there’s a chance I did. I was a complete and total, hot mess. In typical, full throttle, mom-fashion – she was here in under an hour. Luckily by that time the few electrolytes he’d swallowed and the shot had taken effect, and Willy was slowly recovering. Slowly.
This was a situation that required the wine remedy, which we both used late into the evening as a way to self-medicate. It worked. I survived the weekend, Willy survived having me as his owner, and Mom (and Kimberly) endured another episode of “Jenna is a Part of my Life.”
|Willy Boots: Recovered|
There is really no moral to this story except that, taking on farm life is like a long, slow motion wave to carefree living. Buh-bye! You’ve got to arm yourself with the basics like iodine and antibiotics. Stock the pantry with coffee grounds and liquor. Make sure you’re surrounded by really supportive friends and a very forgiving family. If you’ve got that, then you’re all set. And you’ll be just fine.
|Yes, they’re worth it.|