Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I don't love goats

This from Sunday night...I'm just now getting caught up enough to post this.
I'll have to preface this update by saying that I've had exactly 12 minutes of sleep in the last 2 nights..... the first night was sleepless because the darn earth was tilting the wrong way. Last night? Robbed by goats.

I tell you the truth: I don't love goats. Nope. Not even them little skip poppin' babies, as cute as they are... just don't love them at all. Now I don't hate them like I hates them twice cursed pigs. I just don't love goats. They are troublesome and always look like they are up to no good. And the keep you up all night.

So yesterday we actually did feats of strength, hard work, and discipline. We got A LOT done, the least of which was to have The Burnpile of Tears... or The Burnpile of Horrors depending on how you look at it. It was a big success. We were proud of ourselves as we threw the last bucket of feathers from dressing the ducks into the pyre and we marched up the hill to doze on the deck. We also wanted to  see if there was anything on the news about the International Space Station seeing our burn pile from above atmo... Everything was going great.

And then we went to round up the critters and put everyone to bed. That's when I found our momma goat, Debbie, in a heap hiding in the back of the stall. Yikes! She was down but reluctantly got up and I took her to the milking stand as I was trying to get her used to being fed there. This is when the goat trouble really started. She didn't eat a bite.


So I called the neighbor kid who came running. We stood there both shaking our heads and not knowing what to do. Debbie wouldn't eat, she didn't want to stand up, she was doing some kind of weird stretching thing...and she didn't have any milk. At all.

Clearly over her head the neighbor kid said to call their most excellent vet. Of course these things don't ever happen mid-day on a Tuesday. At 7pm on a Saturday I figured that this was going to cost a gajillion dollars but I called and left a message with the emergency service.

But don't worry - I didn't have to pay that vet's fee. When they finally called us back, they said that because we weren't current clients with them it was tough too bads for us and call someone else.

Me: “Huh? Call who?” (Thinking: So how do you become clients!?!?)
She:  “Um..like.. so.. you can call Fast Freddie's Fly By Nite Vet Office.”
Me:  “Do you have a number?”
She: “Um no.  And we have REAL emergencies here so you can just look it up yourself.”
Me:  “What town is that even in??”
She: *rattled off a town about 100 miles away*

So I stood there slack jawed and buggy eyed and honestly had no idea what to do. Really. I was completely stumped. I called Fast Freddie's and it went as you can imagine.... bad recording, person sounded confused, and no, I didn't hear back.

So we did what we could with Debbie... gave her fluids, took her temp (normal), looked up symptoms on the websites etc etc.  But we still had no idea at all what to do. Pretty much it was as if someone had thrown us the keys to the space shuttled and said: “Golly, I cant get this thing started - can you fix it?”

The Big Man and I just stood there staring at poor Debbie. The only thing I ever wanted to know about goats was: hay in, milk out. Goats are too complicated. They are weird and they do weird things. Chickens, dogs, cats are easy - goats? Who the heck knows. Not us thats for sure.

So we decided to call our old vet. We were way too far away to expect a house call but we were hoping for at least a clue, a guess, or something.

Mercifully our old vet called back immediately and gave us some things to do (treat with vitamins for possible deficiency, treat also for colic symptoms). We did as told, asked if we should get the gun? (“No”), and finally at 10:30pm we wished poor Debbie luck and went to bed.

But between the geese screaming (we are now in The Season of Gander Anger), the guineas shrieking like howler monkeys, and me filled with dread at having to go out there in the morning to find Debbie dead.. I'm guessing I got about 9 minutes of sleep last night. Most of the night I was thinking how a cow wouldn't do this to me...stupid troublesome goats.

I trudge out there with trusty dogs awaiting my fate... Was it shovels for all hands? Or go into town and get a better remedy than we had last night? I didn't know what to expect.

I took a deep breath in the early morning and opened the door to find....

Debbie standing there. Happily. Then she pooped. Perfectly.

For heavens sakes. Not only was she fine, she was really fine. Stupid goat with her troublesome fake symptoms or whatever was going on.

I trudged back in a sleepy fog hopping to get two winks. Just as I laid back down OD really started cranking on The Season of Gander Anger. He was screaming his heart out. No, he wasn't been attacked by wolves. He was just mad. And loud. It was useless to lay there I pulled on my shorts and shoes and decided to go and get the better remedy for Debbie. Off to town I went. To Walmart of all places.

By the time I hit the Walmart parking lot I had entered my own Season of Anger.... I have a special kind of hatred for the Walmart and having to miss church to play nursemaid to a goat, combined with my lack of sleep was starting to grate on me. Bad.

I snarled at the greeter as I stomped into that hideous lighting and was blinded by that horrible blue corporate color plastered all over every surface with the stupid smiley signs... by the time I got to the vitamin section I was as angry as one of those enraged silverback gorillas that come crashing thru the jungle to chase off the poor cameraman. (Did you ever notice they always tell that guy not to run and he always does?) 

Angry as I was and seein' as how I was technically half in my pj's and I hadn't even tried to comb my hair... I probably looked like one of those gorillas. I may even have been dragging my knuckles too.

Luckily for them they had what I needed. But unluckily for them... they had moved the pet section. So I had to tromp the equivalent of 9 city blocks to get back there only to find that they hadn't stocked the new pet shelves yet.  I roared my anger and scared off a few of the blue frocked employees and I crashed thru the jungle.. I mean the baby section... still on the hunt for what I needed.  I eventually found everything I needed for Debbie.

Still mad, there was only one thing that would help me now.. coffee. And cream.

Of course you can't easily get cream from goats (like you can with cows). So I stormed back to the dairy section to find that the only cream they had was that stupid "Great Value" brand. Seriously? Great Value cream? Great value my patootie....who are the fooling? Its today's answer to the old generic brand. They might as well just have white packaging and black lettering like they did in the 80's.

And the price was so low that they either had gotten their great value cream from China... or there is an honest dairy farmer selling his cows at auction right now because there is no way anyone is making any money on cream that cheap.  I wouldn't buy it. I refused to be a puppet to their evil ways!  Boooo Sam Walton! Booooo!!!

And another thing. Now I don't have the exact verse (I think its in Lamentations) but I'm fairly certain that its some kind of sin to miss church and be at Walmart on a Sunday morning.

I could just see myself before the Judgment Seat – after a very long reading of each unfortunate word ever uttered:

Him: “So it also says here that you forsook the faithful to go to Walmart on Sunday.”
me: “Well, what happened was...”
Him: “Shhh!  No excuses!”
me: “But what I was trying to say was....”
Him: “Zip it!”
me: “Damn!”
Him: “Well, we'll have to write that one down too.”
me: “Oh sh*t”
Him: “Quiet!”


I stomped off in search of coffee. I got a bag of Seattle's Finest Triple Black Obsidian Javamania and grunted in satisfaction...Now on to donuts!  Reliably bad, at least they were full of sugar and technically, if only in an academic sense, it was something chocolate.

Ummm... Coffee! Donuts! Happy now I hurried out of the parking lot to avoid a smiting bolt of lightening.... I promised The Almighty I'd listen to the cowboy country gospel hour on the way home, if that would help with my iniquity from missing church and all.

We worked most of the day outside and kept a close eye on the goat. Debbie didn't fall over dead. Mission accomplished!  Whoot!

So finally I could lay down. Or so I thought. Basically it was a giant conspiracy involving all of the animals on this property - and the surrounding ones – to keep me from the one or two winks I desperately needed.

First, all the house cats had to come around and see what I was doing. Then one of the stupid guineas got up into a tree near an open window. And, brother, I'm here to tell you that if you have a house full of cats and a guinea in the window it is some kind of party.

Our 17 pound Maine Coon x raccoon sat in the window and ACK ACK ACK ACK'ed at the bird so deliciously close. The guinea screamed back, of course. I threw a pillow to get Cat 1 out of the window. But he just swatted it away with his king sized mouse stompers and went back to chattering with the screeching guinea.

Cat 2 arrived on the scene. She promptly put her litter box paws in my mouth.

Cat 3 showed up.  He and Cat 2 hissed and batted each other on the head. On my head.

I shook those two off.

Cat 4 came to see what all the action was about...

Finally, finally... it was quiet and no one was standing on me... I was just about to drift off when.....


I sat bolt upright and cats flew like shrapnel in all directions.

For heavens sakes. Well, I did in fact ask The Big Man to fix that fence.... and there he was with the fence post pounder....

So I abandoned the effort and just got up. And now I am just waiting until I can finally go to bed.  Oh wait. But first I have to tromp out there and check on that troublesome goat.

Dang you goats!  Why cant you be cows!?!?! If I had a cow I could have my own "great value" on cream... it would be FREE and Sam Walton and his dang Walmart could just go fu.... well. you know...but I'll keep it to myself..it is Sunday you know....

Monday evening update: 
1. Debbie the goat is still fine
2. I slept all last night and I can't wait to get to bed now

Happy Monday everyone!


Sally said...

Happy Monday to you too! Thanks for making me roll on the floor laughing on my Mundane oh, I mean Monday!

;o) Sally

Chai Chai said...

Rene Descartes: I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake. (Farm life?)

How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams. (Goats or cows?)
Bram Stoker

"To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
for in the sleep of death what dreams may come.
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause." (OD and cats?)

William Shakespeare (Hamlet)

Wonderful post, I have been wondering where you have been.

Which quote best describes you?

Chai Chai said...

OK, I have to say that I thought about you when I put on my church clothes this Sunday.

What was the malady and what was the remedy? I totally agree about Walmart but I may be interested in having the cure on hand.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Hey Chai Chai! wow i love what you are doing on your place! and Addison is just adorable. Still can't leave a comment. I had to change my comments to open in another page for mine to work correctly.

Ah sleep.. for me its:

Psalm 127: 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.
(except of course if those darn goats keep you up!)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Ah yes the malady.. lemme work on a post for that.

Basically it was either a gas/rumen problem or more likely a vitamin deficiency. We used a short cut for the vitamins.. and "real" goat keepers would probably shriek at what we did... so let me look up what the 'real' solution is so I'm not giving any bad info out.

But I do want to give a shout out to the Tennessee Meat Goat site - wow.. they are fantastic:

and I'll update the links to the right so its there.

Mimi said...

If you switch to cows, you could have grass fed beef when you change your mind about them....

Does anyone drink sheeps milk? It makes better cheese and then you get wool...

Ohiofarmgirl said...

You said it Mimi! Actually I'm waiting for the local dairy to start having calves. They dont ever want the males - so we could take one (they are sold for $2 each!), feed it on the goats milk, and in 4 months have a lot of humanely raised, finished on grass, tender and delicious veal!

My buddy has cows and the beef is like nothing you get in stores... ahhh.. yum!

I know folks who are milking sheep. The report is the milk is sweet and delicious for drinking. Sheep are our next project - meat, wool, 'free' lawn mowing.. and cheese.. oh yes, there will be cheese.

Mimi said...

I can't wait to see you blog about sheeps milk cheese. It's my favorite cheese!

It's so strange that everyone goes with goats instead of sheep. If you can drink the milk and it tastes good, it seems to me that sheep should be the #2 choice for dairy animal behind cow. How strange. I keep looking around for someone to say there is a reason not to raise sheep, but I can't find it. I think most people raise them for wool and don't think about the other possiblity.

Chai Chai said...

Mimi, two words, Icelandic Sheep. Icelandi sheep will give you wool, meat, and milk. They are medium sized so they are not too difficult to handle.

Biggest problem - shearing. Shearing is a money loser unless you can do it yourself. That is why we are starting with Soay. If that is successful then we will move on to Icelandic sheep. OFG, sorry for butting in on your blog.

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

I am so late! I loved this post - you made me laugh though the whole thing. I'm glad everything worked out with Debbie.

Alaena said...

Funniest. Farmy. Post. Evah! I totally know what you mean about "Litter Box Paws". What is it about cats that makes them want to snuggle right after taking a big stinky poo? It's one of the great mysteries if you ask me....

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