Saturday, April 26, 2008

Goats Just Wanna Have Fun!

Lily is three weeks old now. She has almost quadrupled in weight, from about 5 pounds to almost 20 pounds. She's been disbudded, meaning that we've burned off the tiny horn buds when they first appeared. Just one of those things that has to be done, and the sooner the better. Lily was eight days old and scarely missed a beat. I hope we did a thorough job.
She's getting all of Claire's milk that she cares to have, being the only kid. Only problem is that she's only nursing from one side of the udder. So Claire's a little lopsided most of the time. We've been milking out the other side every morning, getting Claire used to the idea and easing the pressure. If Lily's twin brother had lived, things would have been a little more equitable and we'd soon be putting the kids up at night, milking Claire from both sides of her udder each morning, and letting the kids have the rest for the next 14 hours. We'd also be selling them both, but as it is, with just one little baby goat, well, we'll just keep her. Not that we need another goat. More like, she needs her herd, being an only kid.
Plans change according to circumstances, and we're still milking Maggie every morning, just to insure a milk supply. It's been her job for several years now and she seems to enjoy being the lead goat. Still, we'll probably be drying her off in a few weeks, and hoping that Claire willingly assumes her new title, and that Maggie will enjoy her time off.
Our fragile lives can change in an instant, for good or ill. Plans change daily, sometimes. What we thought we were going to do, we're not, and now we're going to do something different, only we're not quite sure what it is, just yet. But God knows. He knows the end from the beginning.
I have a tendancy to fret about things future, near and far. I worry about little things and things I have no control over. I wish I didn't and I try not to, but still, the worries come in the dark hours of a sleepless night.
I had a dream the other night. In it, I was riding on a motorcycle behind my husband (when we met, he rode a Kawasawki and I spent many hours holding on for dear love). In the dream, we came up over a hill on a rainy night, and the other side was one steep, muddy, slick mess, with a sheer wall of rock on one side and a long drop over a cliff on the other side. I took one look and knew we would never make it, and that I had no power whatsoever to do anything about it, other than to hold on. So, I did just that. I put my head down, behind my husband's back, closed my eyes, and prayed as we slip-slided down the muddy mountain road. Then, I heard my husband's voice saying, "Open your eyes, and look." Somehow, we had made it down the mountain without going over the edge. We were on a tiny ledge at the bottom of the steep muddy road, with mere inches insuring our safety. But we had made it and we were together, in one piece! And all I did was close my eyes and trust.
That's all God asks of us, to just close our eyes and trust in Him to take us through, all the way. He knows the end from the beginning, and He has promised us that if we are His own, it will be all right in the end. He has promised. And I believe Him. Lord, help me trust.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lily Joy

Joy comes in the morning! And what a difference 24 hours makes!
Claire finally went into labor Saturday afternoon, April 5.
Her water broke about 10PM, and the first "bubble" of amniotic fluid from the first baby's sack appeared about an hour later. But, no delivery, in spite of pushing against hard labor.
So, novice goat mid-wives that we are, we decided to "go in" and take a look. A nose, a foot, and an upside-down foot belonging to a back leg. Not good. We called in the expert, the official goat mid-wife, who runs a local dairy, at 2AM. God bless her! Even if there were a vet around who knew something about goats, there is no way they'd come out at 2AM! No way. But Donna didn't even hesitate when we woke her from a sound sleep in the middle of the night. She just got in her car and came, and saved the life of our goats.
Just as she arrived, I managed to finally get the stillborn baby boy out. Donna said I'd done the right thing, the only thing I could have done under the circumstances.
Claire layed down, exhausted, and we all waited for labor to begin again.
An hour later, Donna washed up and went in, again, and pulled out another breach baby. This time, Lily Joy emerged, wet and breathing, around 4AM. We got a quick nap at 6AM after the newborn got some good colostrum in her, and started the new day ninety minutes later.
Her she is, none the worse for the trauma of her birth, later that sunny Sunday morning.
Claire is an outstanding mom and Lily Joy, named for my niece, whose 13th birthday was April 4, promises to be just as much a pickle as her mom! Just look at that face and tell me this "only kid" isn't going to be a handful!

Friday, April 4, 2008

St. Claire

Miss Claire is VERY pregnant today. Yesterday was her due date, and today, she still shows no signs of imminent labor. I'm waiting for the emergence of the white mucous plug to signal the opening of her womb, for her to paw the ground, arch her back, do something other than eat and chew cud!
Yesterday, I received this from a friend, after I told her of my anxiousness in assisting Claire at her delivery:

"...Clare of Assisi was in real life a sister to Saint Francis, patron saint of animals. The following seems so appropriate for your day. I am also thinking of the Navajo Clan of Many Goats! So I send you prayers and blessings for a safe delivery with many little goats! You will do beautifully, bringing calm and quiet love as a doula!"

"Service, in Clare's view, is a calling to be reflections of God for one another. Within each of us, Clare saw clearly, is a seed that awaits birth. We are encouraged to endure life's labor pangs and bring forth life."

Funny thing about her name, Claire: We had girl goat names all picked out when we went to purchase her two years ago. Donna led me to the pen with about a dozen little baby does and said, "your choice". I picked the first one I could catch - who could tell - they all looked alike!
We went into the dairy barn and she was filling out papers. I was holding the baby goat in my arms.
"What are you going to name her?" she asked, ready to write it down.
"Her name is Claire," I said, and the words just came out of my mouth without a thought.
Ken said, "That's not what we talked about." And in truth the name had not even entered my mind, until I heard myself saying it.
I said, "But that's her name." And so her registered name is, " Raindance Saint Claire."
I had no idea at the time that Clare was St. Francis' sister! But what an appropriate name for a dairy goat, full of the milk of life, so willing to serve mankind. God bless you in your motherhood, St. Claire!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sassy Lassie

A Sassy Lassie

I will not come
I will not go
I will not wear
That friggin’ bow!

I will not beg
I will not heel
I will not fetch
Oh please, get real!

I will not hurry
I will not rush
I will not stop
For comb or brush,

I will not smile
I will not stay
I will not please
In any way,

Did you say Treat??
I am your best puppy
Obedient and Sweet…
Now, where’s that Treat???

Kathy Rasmussen copyright 2008

Photo credit: Kathy Rasmussen copyright 2008

reprinted with permission from the author
April is National Poetry Month