Friday, May 16, 2008

small vibrations on the web of life

Today was library day. So we went there. And to the Salvation Army store where we spent $20 for tons of stuff, clothes mostly, but also a bag of toys and it makes everyone feel so opulent. And other places so that by the time we are on our way home, everyone is very glad to be on our way home, and when we get here, everyone is very glad to get here.

Back here again, everyone quickly changes back into farm clothes and does his chores. I can't milk yet though because the chickens haven't gone to bed yet, so I read for awhile. Ok, I also eat some chocolate.

Finally, I milk. If I can whine for just a moment, I will tell you that I hurt my leg a week ago and it is still killing me and the bruise just continues to get worse and it is a little freaky. So by the time of milking, my foot is all swollen and I really just think about getting in bed and getting the load off the leg and foot. So I'm focussed on milking, feeding the horse, and getting in bed.

Milking goes as usual. She's fun and she loves me and I love her, and I scratch her chin and tell her I love her every time I finish milking her. I take the milk to the house and go back out to feed the horse.

The horse, however, is not at the shed. I can see him in the field and I whistle and say his name in the sing-song way I do to let him know I'm calling him, and he raises his head and looks at me, but he doesn't come. This is very unusual but he just keeps grazing. Ok, fine. I'll take his bucket to him. He does deign to meet me part of the way. I stand with him to keep the donkey and the goats from getting his feed. He's gaining his weight back and looking good.

Gradually the goats all come and test themselves against my diligence in guarding his bucket. Most give up easily, except the queen, who I end up just holding by her collar. About halfway through I hear them, baaaas that I know are babies I haven't met yet. I start hollering softly, which seems like an oxymoron I guess, but I make loud sounds that are calm, so on the off chance that anyone in the house does hear me, they won't think something is wrong but they will know I want something. As fortune would have it, eldest comes out to finish his chicken chores and comes to me.

You see, it is getting dark fast now, and I can't leave the horse or he won't get to eat, but if the babies aren't found before dark, well, we might miss something we shouldn't miss, so I send my son to find the babies. I can tell just about where they are by the sound, and I tell him I will be there just as soon as the horse finishes eating.

When I get to that side of the field, and back up into the woods, I find a first time mom with two little babies who, in the fading light, look a lot like their father. And a lot like the last babies, except with ears. Trouble is, one was "left behind" and is not standing on his own. He is up on his back feet but only on his knees in front, and the worst part is that left behind part, and so I interfere first thing and put baby back near mother and then watch from a distance. Not much happens. That is really common in midwifery type stuff. Patience is a virtue. And invisibility. I send son to get some feed for the new mom, and when it comes, I place it near the weaker baby. The stronger baby is up and following mom just fine. Both are completely dry so they are not brand new or anything. Mom comes and eats and weaker baby looks to be nursing.

I know I could keep colostrum and milk replacer and bottle raise a baby like this. I don't. I need the goats to fend for themselves. And I'm sure that a wild goat, if it has two babies and one can follow her and one can't, the one simply gets left behind. It is the way of things. Nature's way is infanticide. Exactly how far we think it is ok to interfere is interesting to me. I choose to not interfere very far but I do hope this baby lives.

I stay with her, and send son home to tell husband who doesn't yet know. I become a tree and watch as mother goat mothers. And she does mother. She isn't rejecting this baby. They speak back and forth almost constantly.

When husband comes, his movement and his light frighten momma goat off a bit. I can tell she wants to make her way up the hill, and I think all the goats usually sleep up there, so I pick up the weak baby and follow her, making sure to not push her. We get to the goat sleeping quarters, evidently, as all the other goats are there and laying down, and so I quickly and without a light slip over and lay the baby down not far from her in a protected spot by a tree. She comes to it right away. Husband and I again become trees and watch. Baby still doesn't seem to be completely standing but is in a position that it is likely nursing again. We move further away and the goats remain. I decide they are stable and that now it is up to them.

I do not know if, in the morning, there will be one baby or two, or none even. We'll see. I think we've given this baby a shot. I can't wait to get a good look at the other one in the light tomorrow because I couldn't even tell what color it was for sure, much less sex and all.


Kitt said...

How sweet and mysterious. I hope the babies make it.

laura said...

what a beautiful story. patience and resisting too much interference. those are good parenting tools too!

i'm so glad i get to really read these entries now. i mean really read not quickly read. ya know.

i noticed you're reading "pigs in heaven"...have you read "the bean trees" which is the first part turtle and taylor's story, really really good. both are. i love all the characters, wish i knew them...i felt like i did when i was reading them and still sometimes just a random image from the books will pop into my head. so if you haven't read that first one yet, ya gotta =)!

CG said...

so, should I not read pigs until after beans? I was totally taken by Poisonwood but much less so with any other of her books. Poisonwood was like the first book I read again after that hiatus in reading that small children impost -- when all you can read is magazines, how-to books, parenting books, and essays. Anyway, I picked pigs up in the library yesterday after they didn't have the Logsdon book I thought they had on reserve for me. The other two I found in the new books section.

Both babes are still alive this morning, and still being tended by mom. But the one is still not really mobile or stable standing which is not good. We'll probably be planting the other half of corn today. There is a plow day today near me but this year won't be the year I get to go.

CG said...

"weak" baby, btw, just has slightly contracted tendons and is the bigger baby actually and seems to be improving. Although I'm always prepared to be heartbroken. She's black and a girl (duh), the other is brown and a delicious boy. Both have frosted Nubian ears.

Alecto said...

On the books, I think Poisonwood is by far the best thing she's done. The others are quite good but of a different category just about.

I'm hoping for both babies but I do understand. We used to just 'interfere' and do away with them that weren't strong or right enough and that never did sit well whether I understood or not.

Also, I'm not happy about any bruise getting worse and I'd suggest you see the vet about it but I'll get in trouble for that!

laura said...

i don't think it matters which one you read first. and i don't know that they are as powerful as i've heard poisonwood is. just different, but good. simple, easy reads really.

about the bruise...i too would not like a bruise that got worse. although i would want to go to a people doctor for it...LOL! still some bruises do that. but you know your body. listen to it.