Yes, I am still among the living. Both my husband and I have been ill this week. I took two days off school, and should probably have taken a third day off. Richard is just now getting the stuff I had a couple of days ago, but now I'm wondering if we aren't just cycling it back and forth. Our school was in the news this past week. We actually had Channel Ten News come to the school and do a story on our absentee rate. We've consistently had about 20 percent of the student body absent this week. Of course, they came on one of the days I was out sick, so I heard all about it from my students, who were excited about being on T.V. for any reason! We are shutting our school down on Monday so it can be completely disinfected. This will use up our last calamity day, so if anything else happens, we will be making up time.
We have babies! This afternoon about four I was lying down when my husband came in the front door and shouted, "We have twelve. Get out here and help!" In my fog I'm thinking 12? That's impossible, no goat can have twelve babies at a time! Then I realize he's talking about the size our entire herd has become. Duh! But he was wrong, anyway. It wasn't twelve, it was thirteen! Our girl had triplets! We got out there and started helping get everyone dried off. They are all good sized, but right now all three are walking on the ankles of their back feet. Their hooves are bent under. I hate to see that because I'm always afraid their little legs won't straighten out. Heidi's (momma goat's name) last little one was born on our anniversary, and one of her legs was bent pretty badly. It straightened up the next day, though, so that's what I'm hoping will happen with these guys. There are two little males (not good), and a little female. One of the males is a real chooch. He's got a big fat belly on him. All of them fed within half an hour of being born, and that is wonderful.
Heidi is such a good mommy! Last year she had her first set of twin kids, and tragically, they both died. The male was stillborn, and her little girl - so cute - fell into her water bucket and died of exposure when she was three days old. If you've ever been around baby goats, the third day is when they really start jumping and playing and trying out their legs. Those were our very first babies ever, and both of us cried buckets over the second baby dying. I had gone out to check on her around eleven P.M. before going to bed, and I found her. Heidi's next baby was Annie, the anniversary baby, born on August 11th. She is so sweet - and ornery! I think this is really going to get her nose out of joint, since she is used to being joined at the hip to her momma. She is already climbing onto the pen where Heidi is penned with the new babies. I think this will turn her into a real juvenile delinquent!
After the first accident, Richard and I changed practices immediately! No more open buckets around babies, and we put an infrared camera system in the barn. I was actually talking to my mother-in-law on the phone one day when she was enquiring whether or not we had gotten new babies, standing at the counter looking at the monitor telling her no, no new babies yet, when I saw one being born! I screamed, "Hey, call you back, one's being born right now!" I ran out to the barn in time to see it drop to the ground. Babies are so much fun, but I'm just not cut out to be a farmer. I cannot inure myself to the dying that inevitably occurs. I just came in from cuddling all three of the new little critters inside my coat, and getting them used to being petted and handled, and I already have images of one of them dying before morning. This is our third set of triplets, and of the three sets, one died out of the first set, and we sold the mama and the three babes of the second set, so I don't know about them. I wonder, though . . .
So anyway, life is exciting and we are getting better at the goat stuff, and we still have one more mama ready to drop a kid any time. This goat, Bessie, had her first baby on Richard's birthday last year, March 1 (tomorrow). So that kid became Birthday Boy. Really - that's his name! Then Bessie had a little girl, Trixie, this summer. So now, maybe she will give us another birthday gift for Richard, but I hope it's a girl. After all, we can't have two Birthday Boys, now can we? That's another bad thing about me; I name all the babies, and then when it comes time to sell them, I have a hard time because they have become family. Like I said, we're not cut out for this farmer stuff.