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Friday, May 15 2015

"When the fruit is ripe, the apple will fall."

For the past three weeks I've been on Baby Watch. Yes, that's a long time. The first week was because her full sister gave birth one week early so I started watching Sparrow like a hawk just in case she chose to follow her sister. Nothing that first week. The second week she was due so I really, really watched her. And the neighbors watched her. Nothing. The last week she was wide as a 55 gallon drum, and overdue. I was calling friends in a panic. It's her first time. What if there are complications? Should I induce labor?

Dear Friend Cathy (Vet's wife): "No, don't induce. Let nature take its course."

Dear Friend Sue gave this advice: "When the fruit is ripe, the apple will fall."

Well, this morning at 5 am the first apple fell:

The second apple fell at 5:29 am:

Both bucklings. (I'm not complaining. I asked God for a healthy birthing with a healthy babies and a healthy momma. No complaints here!)

As I sat in the stall attending births, I thought about my life and how it was so different from everyone else whizzing by on the highway at this hour. Last week a well-meaning co-worker heard me complain about the impending rain and said,

"Why are you the only person in Texas that doesn't want rain?"

Hmmmmm. . .  I almost shot him. He meant well. He really did. He is a highly intelligent, very well-educated, dear, sweet person who is simply out of touch with life outside suburbia, and still thinks we're in a drought. Most folks don't notice rain unless it affects their morning commute. People who live in the country understand juggling animals in the rain. When the rain did come, it was torrential rain with high flooding, the kind that drowns baby goats and lambs. Farmers have to be on top of that kind of rain.

And the rain came and went. The flooding receded, leaving lots of mud and happy frogs. We have more rain due next week. Lovely. I've got sheep bagging up. Such is the life of the farmer, but for now I have two healthy babies on the ground, Other Half is returning home from working the border, and I can happily turn the farm over to him and go to my job-with-a-steady-paycheck.

I listen as the traffic zooms on the highway and think about my last 12 hours. . .

At 7 pm I check the goat. Nothing. At 9 pm she is talking to her belly and appears to be having contractions. At 11 pm she decides it is just gas. At 1 am she is sleeping. At 3 am she is sleeping. At 4:55 am the puppy in the house announces she has to pee. I inform her that I will check the goat, then come back and get her, and she can stay outside until morning chores.

Walk to barn. Peek in barn to see a baby flop out of the doe and land on ground. Grab doe's sister who rushes in and tries to steal baby. Escort new Aunt outside of stall where she peeks over and calls out advice to her sister. Race back to house for towels and baby stuff.

Towel off little guy. Check his privates. Yep. It's a boy. Figures. He's flashy. Get him cleaned off. Momma is really attentive until she stops cleaning him to have his brother. Yup. At 5:29  she drops another boy. She leaves him there to go back to Baby #1. Baby #2 is solid brown. By the time we are done, the babies are clean and I'm covered in amniotic fluid, sand, mud, and shavings. At 6 am I call Other Half and wake him up. He is in some motel room on the Mexican border.

The phone call is a slightly more polite version of: "Wake up. Babies are here. Hurry home. I gotta go to work today. You're on deck."

I feed the goats and milk the new Aunt. Brand new Cousins peek at the new arrivals with great interest until breakfast is served, then it is every kid for himself. The doe passes the first afterbirth  and I hurry to scoop it out and take it to the trash can on the street. Today is trash day. I wonder what my co-workers would think of this. While the rest of the world is emerging to join the Rat Race, I'm racing afterbirth to the trash can.

As I return to the stall I see the rancher next door going to feed his horses.

I call to him, "Justin! Two bucks."

"Oh good!"

That's it. Short conversation. Nothing more needs to be said. The watch is over. We can relax. He has been on baby watch over the fence for three weeks too.  We both go back to chores and that's when I have a chance to assess my wardrobe.

Uniform Of The Day: Brown yoga pants & White t-shirt smeared with mud and amniotic fluid, black rubber boots

Class. Real class. Sigh. . .

I decided that perhaps I should take a shower before I run into anyone else. Tromp into house. Take a shower. Thank you, Lord, for warm water and rosemary mint soap! Hear puppy in her crate. Oh crap! Puppy has to pee! Climb out of shower. Hastily grab up clean clothes.

Uniform Of The Day: Gray yoga pants & yellow t-shirt with mint green clima-cool running shoes

Rush puppy outside. Step about twenty feet off porch and muddy water seeps into the holes in the soles of my clima-cool shoes. WTF was I thinking!? In what universe does the birth of baby goats signify the end of a swampy yard? Trot back into house and trade mint green running shoes for black rubber boots.

Sip homemade frappuccino and watch the world wake up. The dogs do their thing as I reflect on birds, bees, butterflies, rainbows, and the fact that I still have amniotic fluid in my hair. Was distracted by puppy in crate and forgot to wash hair. Go back inside and wash hair.

Now let's try this again. The farm is awake, time to do the rest of the chores.

Check goats again. Second afterbirth has passed. Scoop that sucker up and race to trash can before garbage man comes. That should really be an Olympic sport - Running in rubber boots while carrying a sloppy afterbirth on a stall rake. Athletes must be able to open and close three gates and a large trash can without losing afterbirth. Time will start from the moment the afterbirth is scooped up until the garbage can lid flops back into place. No time is given if the afterbirth is not in the trash can before the garbage truck arrives.

I pass the test. The garbage truck comes and goes. I finish the chores. I sling a 50 lb bag of cattle feed over a fence and carry it to the feeders. A cow's tail flicks more mud on me as I slip and slide my way back from the feeder to the fence. Those words come to mind again:

"Why are you the only person in Texas who doesn't want more rain?"

Ahhh, the voice of suburbia - a land of manicured lawns, paved driveways, and sidewalks. Only here, completely out of touch with the rural life, can someone wonder why more rain isn't a good thing.

I finish my chores but now I'm disgusting again and decide I just cannot bear to wear that mud any longer, so I take another shower. It is 8 am. I've taken 3 showers already. Poor planning on my part, but I chalk it up to lack of sleep.

Uniform Of The Day: Black yoga pants, pink t-shirt, and black rubber boots - the uniform of the female farmer.

I can now stay clean for a while. It is 8:30 am. I need to leave for work in 4 hours. On the way I have to stop by the feed store for chaffhaye and beet pulp.  There will be no pass-off of the baton as my husband and I cross paths on the highway.  I will head to The City to my Paycheck Job, as he returns to the take the reins on the farm, but already the day can be measured a success. Two new lives have joined the world, and I beat the garbage man to the trash can.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:08 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Would Briar have cleaned up afterbirth for you??? Autumn slush and cool to cold here.
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 05/15/2015 - 01:58 PM
Yes, Briar LOVES to clean up afterbirth but then she pukes it up. It's just easier to scoop it up and be done with it. :)
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 05/15/2015 - 02:11 PM
Congrats on 2 new lives. Number one is soooo cute! I like your version of the race to the trashcan. Mine seems to involve a dead chicken far too often.
Posted by Patty on 05/16/2015 - 09:18 PM
ROTFL! Oh gosh, yes!!!! More than once I've done that Dead Chicken Dash too!
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 05/16/2015 - 09:34 PM

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