Monday, May 19, 2014


Lily of the Valley

I've been trying to get the little barn organized quickly
because two of the does, Lily and LeShodu, are expected to give birth
sometime between the 13th and 26th of May.

I had hoped that Lily, her yearling daugher Tsuga, and LeShodu
would share the barn for a while,
but that peaceful interlude lasted less than 24 hours.
LeShodu started throwing her weight around,
so I moved her into the Chalet
with the similarly assertive Violet and Sambucus.
Lily and Tsuga have been temporarily enjoying Sole Occupancy of half the new barn.

And over just a few days, I've watched flighty Lily relax more and more.
It's been very pleasant to see.

This is Lily, casually examining her bucket:

"Is it worth getting up for?"
No. She just pulled it over with her nose
so she could eat laying down.

That's right, Lily. You take this chance to be Queen of the May.


With a list of small pre-kidding projects slated for the barn,
a weekend of "100% chance of rain" was a bit of a concern.
Hammering and drilling and sawing would drive the goats outdoors,
no hammering and drilling and sawing on a rainy day.

It rained all Friday night, as predicted.
Here's what Saturday looked like: 

Yes, 100% chance of rain looked like this:

Joyfully seizing the day for the gift that it was,
as soon as morning chores were done,
I commenced hammering and drilling and sawing!

I had a lot of input from Tsuga:

And supervision by the team of Acer and Bet:

The priority task was building a simple bench for kids to tuck under,
with a choice of cubbyholes:

I added cleats to the goat ramp for safety,
attached hardware to the dutch doors for individual use,
ran a heavyduty extension cord from the workshop through the barn wall,
set up a drop light and remounted the goatcam,
swept and rebedded the big stall,
fetched hay and unloaded it,
stored 900 pounds of feed,
and ran a hose to the paddocks.

It was a splendid, magnificent, glorious day!

This morning, like most mornings lately, I was a bit tired.
I've been waking up about every 2 hours to check the goatcam.

So today, although another nice day weather-wise,
was not likely to be a very productive day.
Kind of a lazy, slouchy Sunday, actually.
Sun porch, chaise, audiobooks and watching the birdfeeder.
Catching up on PBS programs on the laptop.

And in the middle of "Call the Midwife,"
I heard a strange bird.
I looked across the porch at Piper.
"Did you just say, beep...beep...beep?"

Then I heard it again.
And I headed for the barn.
A very loud, very insistent, very newborn goat was calling. 

And here's where Lily decided to have her babies this year:

Under the new barn.
Possibly a swell choice for a wild goat.
Not ideal, from my perspective.
Or, really, from Lily's perspective.
Because the first kid, the one who was beep-ing,
had started to stumble off, half-bathed, even further under the barn.
Lily, who was in the process of delivering the second kid,
could not go after the first kid because it is apparently hard
to crawl into an increasingly shallow space whilst giving birth.

So I slid (that sounds much smoother than it was)
under the barn, like a mechanic going under a car but 
without benefit of a wheelie-board,
got my hands on the first half-cleaned kid
(the not-yet-cleaned part was not only gooey and slippery,
but also coated in a layer of earth)
and slid back out into the light of day.
Checked his nose, gently toweled some earthen-coating off,
and set him on a nice pillow of clean hay
in the barn.

Went back under for the second kid, who had had less attention from Lily
and was therefore as gooey and dirty as a newborn kid can possibly be.
Unlike the very vocal silver firstborn,
the black one was quiet, and struggling to get all four legs working.
(The struggling was a good thing, though. Long hind legs can be tough to manage.)
I told Lily, who was still under the barn and shouting about two inches from my face,
that both babies would meet her in the barn, and started inching out.
Lily and I got to the stall simultaneously, and she got right to work:
cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. 
She really is an excellent Mamagoat!

I promise there will be better pictures soon,
but for now, I thought you might like to see exactly what I'm seeing.
It's after 2 AM and I just checked the goatcam: