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.