Saturday, October 12, 2019

a long life

May 7, 2004 - October 11, 2019

LeShodu moved here from Maine in 2010.
She had just turned 6.

She became my foundation doe, the Matriarch.
She is the mama, grandmama, or great-grandmama
to every Cloud Harvest Cashmere goat.

She ran the entire herd - including goats who grew to far outweigh her -
with an iron hoof. I was sometimes genuinely surprised when one of the big boys stood next to Shodu and I could see that she was not the Biggest Goat.
She certainly seemed like the Biggest Goat.

LeShodu has always been my favorite to comb.
Not only for the quality of her cashmere, but for her willingness to negotiate.
We had a deal.
She didn't want to be tied for combing,
so I offered to comb her untied if she would stand still.
I also suggested that when she had had enough,
she signal restlessness with a tilt of a horn
and I would soon stop combing for the day.
It worked.
(I don't know if even cashmere people will believe this, but it is true.)

LeShodu has been with me for over 9 years, and has been an Absolute Presence for all of that time. Every night when I've finished the chores and am walking back to the house, I always call a "goodnight" to each animal by name or nickname, "Goodnight, Campion my Scampion...goodnight Betula, my birch-boy...goodnight Acer, my maple-man"...etc., always ending with, "Goodnight, LeShodu, Queen of the May."

I know some of my readers follow this blog for the goats, and I've written about LeShodu several times on Comptonia so I know this will be sad news. But please try not to feel too sad. LeShodu had a very long and good life, and a blessedly brief decline. The vet came out yesterday morning and LeShodu was quietly euthanized as I sat on the barn floor next to her, holding her head in my hands as I've done thousands of times, telling her what a Good Girl she has always been.

Good night, LeShodu, Queen of the May.


  1. So sorry for your loss and glad it was a brief decline. You took the best care of her.

  2. What a wonderful tribute to a great friend.

  3. My sympathies and tears
    Long and beautiful life fortunate to have you care for her

  4. Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. How blessed that it was a short decline. She was a beauty. How lucky to have known her!

  5. I'm so sorry Quinn. She left this world knowing she was loved and there can't be more than that.

  6. Oh no! I'm truly sorry to hear this. Losing one of them is something we're never completely ready for. I'm sure herd dynamics will be in flux for quite awhile. Beautiful tribute.

    1. Yes, the herd is thoroughly unsettled and the new order remains to be seen.

  7. Replies
    1. Her oldest kids are now themselves 8 - time really gallops along.

  8. I'm so, so sorry, Quinn - wow. What a darling girl, and I'm so glad you made her passing easy.

    1. Thank you. I'm so grateful that I was able to do so.

  9. I am so very sorry. My eyes are filled with tears but I know for sure that she had a Good Life.

  10. So sorry. It's hardest to lose the first goat you ever had, so many memories. I do believe you about combing her, I had one like that years ago. She would stand still all day long for combing, even take a nap resting her head on the grain pan, as long as she wasn't tied. It will be interesting to see who becomes the leader of your herd now.

    1. Not my first goat, but the first cashmere and definitely special. I'm glad to hear about your experience with untied combing :)

  11. Ohh, I am so sorry. She sounds especially wonderful, and you have told this story (that made me cry!) so beautifully and evocatively.

  12. Our sympathies on LeShodu reaching the end of a Good, Long Life. She indeed was a presence; we had a great deal of respect and admiration for her from afar.

    I had a dream the other night (after reading your post) - my husband was fiddling with something, and when he was done he showed me a lovely miniature LeShodu "bust" made from twisted fiber (cashmere?) - horns and all. It's a lovely "memory" of your beautiful Queen of the May.

    We do hope that the herd sorts itself out into a new order without too much sturm und drang.

    Chris from Boise

    1. Thank you so much, and thank you for sharing that lovely dream!!!


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