“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Uno and The Gravedigger

Uno was the first goat born on the farm in November two years ago. She was an eleven day early surprise. So early, that we didn't even consider prepping our neighbor who was watching our first two goats while we went to a funeral in Connecticut. Imagine Karen's surprise -no - shock, when she went out the first night we were away to find a bloody mess and a little spotted goat kid.
Her daughter Claire was late to march in her football game, and her dad, home to see her perform, got stuck in our barn. I had to fake my way through instructions on what to do next, even though I'd never done it myself. It was what was in my head from books and the Internet. Nanny Zola was engorged, and Uno had trouble latching on, so Karen and Ron milked Zola and tried bottle feeding Uno. By the time we went to the Saturday afternoon funeral and drove straight home into pea soup fog to the barn around midnight, the neighbors had a favorite goat!

Little Uno charmed the pants off of all of us. She was the first kid and got her way with people and the goats. She even had Jock won over. She was no Shrinking Violet when it came to finding her way in the world. Usually, and often with assistance from her mother Zola, she got the pick of food and choice spots in the sheds. Or the best place under the umbrella!
Last November, Uno was bred. On May 1st, during a thunderstorm, she had her twins, Kato and Saba, at 11PM. Like her, they were spotted and beautifully marked, and were a favorite of many of the little children, because they were the youngest, smallest, and most spotted of all the kids in their group.
This is my last picture of Uno before she became ill. On Sunday morning Uno was showing signs of intestinal distress. She was foaming at the mouth and grinding her teeth in pain. I followed the recommendations of the vet in the morning, and again in the evening, giving her an antacid and warm water, but by midnight she was dead. I considered a necropsy, but between discussing it with my vet and my mentor, I came away with the belief, the range of possibilities was too large, and likely we didn't have something contagious.

So the next problem was digging a hole large enough in frozen ground. We had temperatures in the 20's and lower in the past week, and several inches of snow cover. I took the John Deere up the hill, and with assistance from the old farm hand and his pick axe, added a new position to my resume: grave digger. It was a slow go on the snow and on a hill, but I got better at it with practice. It took an hour or so to get it done and covered back up, but I can now dig pretty well with a loader. A back hoe would be the proper tool, but I didn't get that option with my tractor. It seemed like a huge expense. There have been many holes I could have dug had I had one in the past three years, but I don't.
So we are sorry to loose our Uno, but we look forward to seeing her daughter carry the line forward in our herd. Saba has the great markings, and I think a better build, and certainly the bold personality of her mother. And so life goes on in her kids.

1 comment:

tracy lynn said...

you have a beautiful farm.