Today, Jeremy was home sick from work and had the pleasure of watching me move between chicken brooder, goat yard, grocery store, garden, kitchen, and couch time with the computer for the day job. This evening after dinner he mentioned that I seemed “busy” today; an interesting observation since we’re 10 days deep into goat farming, and he just noticed that it’s kept me busy. To be fair, he hasn’t noticed because he’s been quite busy himself with the driveway, finishing electrical repair, his day job, etc, etc, etc. And today, despite a nasty head cold, he did me the morbid favor of “culling” a chick which was unexpectedly gifted by a neighbor and came down with a terrible case of Marek’s disease. Thanks for the gift! This means that, in the midst of goat heaven, I was suddenly nursing a much-younger-than-my-own chick inside while managing a brood outside, along with the goats, the livestock, the older flock, etc. I cried a good cry after understanding that she would not recover, could infect the entire flock, and must be put down. Jeremy culled her when I was at the store today, and we have not spoken of the incident since, both understanding it is an awful reality of livestock ownership. As a side note, if you’ve ever considered giving an animal as a gift then – oh how sweet of you! – but please – reconsider.
I have stopped and started writing a few posts here over the course of the week, wanting to describe exactly how the transformation from pre-goat to post-goat occurred and exactly what the transformation has meant. But I can’t. That is to say, I cannot accurately explain what it has meant or how it all took place. There has been a flurry of activity that happened too quickly to capture here. There were the drives to and from the dairy, to and from the buckling’s farm, to and from the puppies’ farms. All of these locations were spread across four counties. Four farms. There was the trip to the vet for disbuddings, a procedure I thought to be quite routine until the vet came out to discuss the potential “pitfalls” of disbudding (neurological damage and, well, death) at which time my heart came to a complete STOP, and I nearly burst into tears over the potential loss of goats I had met only three days before. If it’s not already obvious, I am in love with these animals. They are inquisitive, hilarious, and affectionate. They are, and this is quite a revelation here – better than dogs. Let that one sink in for a minute.
Better than dogs.
Goats are rather neat and tidy (if they’re not suffering from milk replacement scours – ew), incredibly easy to tame – and they create amazing milk that can be turned into cheese. Cheese! When was the last time Fido did this for you? Rather than expound upon the virtues of our caprine friends, I will instead finally introduce the new herd. Without further ado: Pearl Snaps (grey goat), Jolene (black goat), Willy Boots (sable goat with ears that stick straight back), and Boss (spotted buck). Willy Boots will be castrated to be a buddy for Boss when he is separated from the does. The pups are Bruce (large white guy) and Betty, named after The Hulk characters. When the name The Hulk was vetoed by myself, our good friend Joe offered Bruce and Betty as a compromise, and I gladly agreed before Jeremy could move onto something much more frightening like Iron Man or Wolverine. What follows is an obnoxious amount of photos (Appropriate, since today I created an obnoxious amount of text). Eventually there will be more discussion about the land and the beginnings of homesteading, but while I’m bottle feeding four goats and training two great pyrenees puppies, it’ll be all goat/puppy, all the time. No hard feelings if you never return. I understand.