"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, June 2, 2020


On Friday, the governor announced that Washington state was ending the stay-home order as of Monday morning. All that really means is that we are now officially allowed to leave home for “non-essential” reasons. There are still no gatherings allowed and stores and restaurants have not reopened. Those activities can begin whenever we make it to “phase two,” which depends on a number of variables including number of new cases weekly, hospital capacity, and I did remember what else. Daily life has not really changed, but it’s still a big psychic relief not to be in actual quarantine anymore. 

Today our last baby goat was born. Lilac was the last to pop. She’s our first freshener, the one baby I chose to keep from last year because she was the biggest, healthiest, and cutest. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a super easy birth. She had a single big buckling, and one of his legs was back. The kids and I had put her in the mama barn when we went out for afternoon chores and saw she was straining, and then we went inside to eat dinner and watch an episode of cutthroat kitchen, our new favorite show. 

When I went back outside to check on her an hour later, she had a head protruding from her rear, and, after a closer examination, a single foot. Luckily she was quite calm and in no distress, and the baby was alive. I called the vet and asked what to do, since I have never corrected this presentation before. 

“Can you push the baby back in?” he asked. 

“No way.” There was no way in hell I was going to try to push the entire head back into poor Lilac. It was completely out, up to the base of the neck. 

“Ok,” he said, “sometimes you can pull them out with one leg back, if there’s enough room.” 

“How can I tell if there’s enough room?”

“Feel around the baby on all sides and see if you can slip your fingers in between the baby and the bone.” 

I could (Lilac was being extremely cooperative, just standing there eating grain while I felt around in her vagina), so the vet said I could wait for a contraction and just apply some gentle traction - “but stop if she starts to really cry out or struggle, and I’ll come out.” 

It worked. The baby came out a little more and more, until right at the widest part of the shoulders Lilac gave one big bleat - but the baby was on the straw five seconds later. 

What a good mama goat! After her rough delivery, she still took an interest in him right away, and vigorously cleaned him up, talking to him the whole time. The poor little guy took quite some time to stand up. Maybe he was just tired, but for a few minutes I was worried that the poor presentation had caused some nerve damage because he couldn’t seem to support his weight. Eventually I decided to hold him up by the teat and see if he would nurse. He did, and after he got a little milk into him, and rested for a while longer, he was able to stand up on his own. 

I think I made a good choice keeping Lilac. She was bred a little young, but she did great, and having been a bottle baby she’s very friendly and used to being petted and touched. Assuming she becomes a good milker - no reason she shouldn’t - I’ll be very happy with her. 

So that’s all the babies this year. Three does and three bucks. One of the does and one of the bucks are already spoken for; I may keep both of the other does and just sell the buckling. We’ll see. Now begins my favorite time of the year, early summer with baby goats gamboling about outside and lots of milk and cheese making in the kitchen. 

Hopefully it isn’t too late, if Whatcom country progresses through stage two and onto stage three fairly quickly, for a few summer activities that were previously cancelled to be revived. Paloma told me that her theater teacher said that if we reach phase three by the early part of July, they can go ahead with the summer play. Who knows, there might even be Fair in August.