As you know, we recently had a family tragedy for which we had to travel out of town. A dear friend took on the responsibility of our farm during our absence, and we’ve asked her, The Fabulous Ms. Julie, to do some blog posts talking about her experiences here. This is the first of what we hope will be many posts from her in the future! Thanks Julie!
A couple months ago, I let Trase know I was interested in learning how to care for the goats ‘just in case, you know, something happens’. So I had a visit, met the goats, learned how to milk them and general care and feeding. Animal husbandry is damn cool in my mind, and they have all my respect for the hard work that happens at Serenity Acres.
A few months later something did happen and it was a late night Monday FB message asking if I could come up and cover the farm while they travelled out of state for an emergency. When I showed up the next morning, they weren’t even sure when they would be back. But I got a review of goat maintenance, the where and how of chickens and ducks – and a few hours later they were gone. And I was alone. And things were going A-OK! The goats behaved, the chickens did as expected and the ducks quacked loudly until their demands for fresh flowing water were met.
Day two I fell ill, but struggled through it, managing everything pretty well, because HELL YEAH! I’M FARMIN’! The excitement had not yet worn off. That night the lung funk took over, and I wasn’t breathing well at all. Albuterol saved me a huge ER co-pay, and kept me going on to day 3.
Day three is pretty much when it all began to fall apart for me. Two wily goats escaped into the non-goat area of the barn, and while trying to get them back into the pen – the biggest goat barreled through! Once those were back in, I walked away and made the mistake of not properly latching the gate. Cue the Benny Hill music.
It was a goat free for all. Goats everywhere. Five of them around the grain bucket, two of them trying to topple the grain bin. The surefooted dainty twins crawling over the box fan and the pallets – eluding me at every turn, and all the little ones underfoot. NO NO NO DON’T EAT MY HAT!!! During all this I notice that one of the baby goats looks too thin, I think? Maybe – I don’t know! Get back in the pen! Argh! And when that debacle was over, I spot a chicken that doesn’t look well. I think it had fallen. After I got the milk decanted and went back out to check on said chicken, it was gone. Too much. I was exhausted and sick and something DIED!
It was then that I really began understanding what it means to truly care for over 200 living, breathing, eating, pooping things.
The next day I was better. The goats had simply figured me out, they watched and waited, and knew I wasn’t as loud and/or pushy with them as I should have been. I figured out how to properly herd the goats, gained some respect from the ducks and tended to the chickens like I was not in fear for their lives.
And when it was my last day of waking up early and getting to hang out with the goat ladies in the barn, I was sad. But also relieved.
Farming is no joke, and the pressure is real. Respect.