Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Caprine Catch

She sat in the straw, hunched over with a towel pulled tightly around her shoulders, watching.  It had been almost two hours when I walked outside, mug of dessert coffee (decaf, lots of milk and sugar) in hand.  She unfolded herself, stood, yawned, stretched, and smiled at me.  I raised my eyebrows, half shrugged, and tipped my head to one side.  She pursed her lips, half shrugged, and shook her head.  I nodded and handed her the warm mug.  She nodded, smiled again, and returned to her focused hunch, while I tiptoed back to the house.  It seemed silly to tiptoe through (sort of, Alaskan spring) grass, but when your best dairy goat is in labor, you don't want any jarring noises that might give her cause to transfer to another birthing spot.  One not so easy for us to keep an eye on her and scoop up the babies immediately, like we do here.

About another hour passed with the rest of us more clamorous family members banished to the house, when a glance out the window rewarded me with a silent, frantic, jumping-jacking Clare.

Since I could be loud inside the house (!), I cheerfully shouted for the boys to get out to the barn for the birthing of the babies.  Rees was working and I swallowed a lump of resentment at the store for his absense and pushed more towels into John's arms, grateful that he'd grown responsible (Praise be.).  Ian opted to remain on the couch with Disney's old Swiss Family Robinson, a reward for completing the reading of a children's version ; the littlest boys trotted after John and me out the back door.

Have you ever heard a "whisper-scream"?  Clare has perfected this mode of communication and gave us the lowdown, her bright blue eyes blazing and her wiry arms flailing like a good Italian talker :

She has mucus dripping.
She hasn't gotten up in a long time.
Her sides are heaving.
I think I see the water sack coming.

Alrighty then.  I'll worry over existential issues and whatamIdoing later.
Small boys were instructed to stay by the fence with John, while Clare got into position, catching towel ready :
Caught.  No problem :

Another towel to mop up the sticky wood chips :
Next baby goes to Luke.  No catching picture, as I was assisting him :

And only two this time.
Mix up warm water, molasses, peanut butter and run it back out to Patches, then into the warmer house to clean off and exclaim over the kids :

So now we're bottle feeding one doeling and one buckling, cute as can be, and milking Patches again, who gives us half a gallon a day.  The children always beg to keep a baby  (We've only had 3 litters.) and we always sell them to offset feed cost, but maybe this time . . .

Must go get the bottle again,

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