It’s almost midnight, and I’ve checked the goats each hour since 5pm. Inside is all hand-wringing-nail-biting nervousness, reading the same instructions about goat birth that I first peeked at almost a year ago. I guess I started looking at the goat birthing facts so early out of sheer, morbid curiosity. The “ew” factor of it all as enthralling as watching a train wreck. You can’t possibly look away no matter how desperately you’d like to. That’s how I’ve been feeling about goat birth since the very, itsy, bitsy beginnings of all this. Always, since the beginning of time (or I guess since age 8, if we’re being precise) – I knew I’d have goats tucked back into my life somehow. I knew there would be homemade cheese and idyllic milk stands. Quaint as that is, it comes with scary/gory stuff as well.
Can I sit this one out?
The thing about all this I never considered before is that you gotta take all of it. Farming isn’t a pick and choose kind of situation (unless you are independently/exorbitantly wealthy. Congratulations!!). With the idyllic comes the horrific. With the beauty comes the ugly. All the good with all the bad. Just as children don’t come with instructions, this life isn’t accompanied with warning labels (something I am seriously considering to lobby with USDA since farming is drug-like to many of us.) Shouldn’t someone, somewhere, somehow have throttled me along the way – given me the ‘ol shoulder shaking and a smack on each cheek – some sort of reality check about what I was getting into? Oh – NO – you say?!! It was my CHOICE to get into this situation? It’s no one ELSE’S responsibility???!!!
In between my absolutely freezing visits into the goat pasture, I’m back inside by the fire and skimming through old posts, reviewing the years of torment over getting out here and the determined (although completely uneducated) plans to set up pastures and acquire animals. In fact, this gem made me laugh out loud alone here in the living room. I actually mentioned a “babbling brook” or something to that effect at Pure Luck Dairy – absolute proof of my gift for hyperbole. In my drugged state, induced by the scent of goat barns and chickens that wafted over me at the dairy that day, I developed a fantasy image of a farm there at Pure Luck. The place is, from any perspective, beautiful. But there ain’t no babbling brook running through the place. Yet that’s how perfectly I saw it. That’s how perfectly I envision things. And what does it get me, all that hyperbole and envisionment (new, legit word I made up)? Where? Here, right here hunched over a computer at midnight, wearing two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, and three shirts so as to be ready in an instant to dash out into the 28 degree darkness to assist my beloved goat if she kids tonight (this morning now, technically. Oh Lord – tomorrow will be a rough one).
Shoved deep in my pockets are the remnants of a day’s worth of kleenex used to battle cedar allergies as I’ve tended animals outside between the day job inside. Exhaustion means I failed to thoroughly scrub the cow dirt from beneath my nails. I may have neglected to brush my teeth this morning. I am positive I failed to apply deodorant. Soon I’ll brew a pot of coffee and tonight I will not sleep. Not with impending goat birth and possible bottle feedings and goat health concerns against the backdrop of a cold, cold morning. For years this vision included butterflies and green pastures and, apparently, babbling brooks (?). I didn’t factor in all these dirty bits that are 50% of the job. I didn’t consider a lot of things.
Don’t worry. I’m not crying “uncle” against this place and the whole ordeal. I’m just saying that it’d be nice to take a pass on the hardest parts or send it on down the line to someone better suited, thicker skinned, country boned. It’s in these wee hours when I pace with worry about something farm-related that I understand how long it takes to gain confidence in this profession. You have to earn it in the trenches before you can wear it proudly on the sleeve. So out I go again to sit next to a little doe whose fate I – really – cannot know. Who represents another beginning here. Who should have come with a warning label: Tough as nails, breakable as glass, and loveable as hell. Handle with care.
I feel that way about this whole damn place lately.