Ramblings: Heart Attack Farming Style

I was working from home, minding my own business when I suddenly heard a loud commotion coming from the goat pasture out behind the house. I went to the window and took a peek out. The goats had all run for the safety of their barn and the dogs were frantically running back and forth on the perimeter fence in that area. I watched for a bit to see if I was needed but nothing else appeared out of the ordinary so I turned to head back to my computer and the awaiting pile of work. As I was turning away my eyes happened to fall on a lump leaned against the fence. Upon closer look, I discovered the lump turned was one of my goats, sprawled against the fence, eyes closed and not moving. I yelled to her, “hey Sadie….”, nothing. I clapped my hands and whistled, hoping against hope that she was just resting, but there was no response. The rest of the goats had all run off in a panic and Sadie wasn’t moving. This wasn’t good.

My heart was in my throat as I ran for some shoes and raced out back. As soon as I was within eyesight of the pasture I started yelling for the goats. The entire herd rushed over to greet me at the gate, except Sadie. By now I was muttering under my breath as I opened the gate and made my way across the pasture. My mutters went something like this, “oh crap, please don’t be dead, please don’t be dead, oh crap!”. There might have also been a few, “What the *%#*!” mixed in for good measure. All I could think was that if I got there in time and she wasn’t dead, I would somehow be able to save her (apparently, I have a totally misplaced sense of confidence in my vetting abilities). My mind was racing with possibilities, did something get through the fence and attack her? Is that what sent the herd running and the dogs barking? She’s one of the friendliest girls and I could see her being more trusting of predators, but could it really have happened so quickly when I was only a few hundred yards away?

 As I stumbled down the hillside in Hub’s shoes (they were the closest ones to the door and the first pair I grabbed in my hurry) I continued yelling, whistling and clapping my hands, but not even an ear twitched. By now, sensing my anxiety, the dogs had given up on whatever held their fascination at the perimeter fence and sat just outside the goat fence that Sadie was leaning on, watching with some concern. I reached her and gave her a quick visual once over. There were no signs of trauma. No blood on the ground or on Sadie. I started wondering if she had a heart attack or choked. I gently nudged her in her ribs. But got no reaction. Nothing. Damn! Sighing heavily and facing my fears, I leaned down to roll her over so I could thoroughly inspect her and figure out what had happened. As I placed my hands on her head and shoulder to roll her over, Sadie opened her eyes, lifted her head a tiny bit and gave me a look of utter disgust. I nearly fell over from surprise, but caught myself and instead just sat down rather ungracefully in the dirt. Apparently when Sadie sleeps, she REALLY sleeps and nothing is going to wake her until she is ready. Not barking dogs, the herd running off in a panic, me yelling, whistling, screaming and clapping, or even a nudge or two to the ribs. To be honest, after recovering from my initial heart attack, my first coherent thought was to be a bit jealous of how soundly Sadie can sleep.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, a problem that apparently doesn’t bother Sadie in the slightest.

 By this time the rest of the herd had wandered down the hillside to see what all the fun was about. The dogs were still looking at me with puzzlement, as if they didn’t get the joke, and Sadie had wandered off, looking backward long enough to shoot me the stink eye capture in this picture.  As anyone with goats will tell you, they have tons of personality and can communicate their feelings quite effectively. Unlike the other goats she wasn’t happy to see me, in fact she didn’t seem at all appreciative of my efforts to save her life. It fact, it was clear that she was downright irritated that I interrupted her restful beauty sleep.

I took another minute or two to rest my racing heart before the other goats trying to climb in my lap, forced me back on my feet. Thanks Sadie for helping me get the old pumper thumping this morning.  I’m the first to admit that farming has a lot of heartache and loss, it also has a lot of mini- eart attacks, anxiety and downright comical moments.  I’m so glad this moment turned out to be one of the latter.

Sadie 101518

Advertisements

The Relentlessness of Farm Life

 

dom headshot

I often talk about how farm life is relentless. It’s got all the ups and downs of a real life soap opera with all the drama of a Greek tragedy. It can be physically and emotionally brutal and there is no mercy given for the weak. My best example of this was the most recent April 13th, also known as the dreaded Friday the 13th.

I woke in the early hours of the morning with the worst stomach flu I think I’ve ever experienced. It knocked me completely on my keester for over 24 hours. The first day I was bed-ridden and struggled to just keep down ice chips so I could stay dehydrated. The whole mess left me weaker than a new born kitten.

So of course during this brief moment in time when I was completely incapacitated….Vessie decided to kid. I think she hates me. Hubs had just crawled into bed (I had never left it) and turned out the light. Less than a minute had passed before we both heard it.

The light flipped back on and he rolled over to look at me, “Did you just hear a baby goat?”.

I so desperately wanted to say no, the struggle was real, but responsibility called. I sighed heavily, “Yes, that was a baby goat.” My next offer was born of the good manners my mother worked so hard to instill in me, and also some measure of desperation, “Can you handle this yourself or do you REALLLLY need me?”

Hubs didn’t respond to my question, which was an answer in itself. I gave another sigh, “Ok, give me a bit and I’ll meet you out there.”

She had a buck and a doe and thankfully, Vessie is a phenomenal mother and managed just fine without our interference. We simply tied, trimmed and dipped cords, ensured they had nursed and then headed back to bed.

A couple hours after that I woke and forced myself to get up and put Dom out to potty. 30726462_10215495165749700_8650755276221787638_n[1] He’s been having health issues for the last 7 months and after tests with no definitive answers and trying a veritable cocktail of different drugs we had finally gotten him somewhat stable on steroids. The side effect of the meds were his ravenous appetite and drinking water like a camel with a hollow leg……which means I had to get up every few hours to let him outside or suffer the consequence.

He went outside but seemed confused and then couldn’t seem to navigate the single step to come back into the house. I went outside to try to help him but in my weakened state I wasn’t much better than him. Rather than try to pick him up and risk dropping him I stumbled down the hall to get Hubs. Hubs went out to help, but when he got to the porch, Dom had disappeared. Hubs called and called for him but there was no response. He then drove down by the chickens (one of Dom’s favorite spots) and then came back up by the house to search some more. I kept asking, “he could barely walk, how far could he have gone?”

30712084_10215495165389691_5501782310567233939_n[1]

We finally found him behind the house laying on the rain soaked hillside, confused and not responding to our calls. Hubs carried him inside and dried him off. We tried to go back to sleep….again.

A couple hours after that I woke to a horrible crying. I shoved Hubs off the bed saying, “go check on Dom!” knowing that it would take me way too long to get vertical without losing my stomach. He came back saying Dom was laying down and seemed fine. It seemed odd because Domino is stoic and I can’t recall him ever crying out, no matter the circumstances (and he’s had some significant ‘circumstances’) but there was nothing else to do. We heard him cry a couple more times over the night and finally gave up the idea of sleeping around 4:00am.

As I sat on the floor next to Dom I finally observed him during one of his crying spells. He appeared to be having small seizures. Hubs and I looked at each other and knew, it was time. We sat with him on and off for the next few hours waiting for the vet to open, reminiscing about better days with Dom.

As I shakily dressed for the trip, I briefly wanted to skip the whole thing and ask Hubs to take him. I had a legitimate reason. I was still horribly sick, shaky and slightly feverish….. but he was my best friend. How could I not be there when he needed me most? I dragged myself to the car and we made the silent drive to say goodbye.

I don’t know how to say goodbye to the one that loves you more than anyone else in the world. He was my shadow, my constant companion and my best friend. He was better than most people I know cheerful, loyal and loving. I’m going to miss him tremendously.

So you see, farming really is as dramatic as a soap opera. In just this 24 hour period we had sickness, new life and heart-breaking loss. As I’ve said before, hold your loved ones close (2 and 4 legged) and count your blessings every chance you get. They aren’t guaranteed.

30723769_2224757920884591_5176930618256130048_o[1]