Monday, February 28, 2011
Yesterday I was going about my work and heard frantic Luna calls. Sydney was coming in from the pasture as I was going out to explore. "Luna is on one side of the creek and Latifa is on the other. They'll figure it out." Being a new goat grannie (another terrible name) I could not quite let it rest so I went out a little later with my big boots to see exactly what was happening. Another thing to learn: goats are definitely curious. And the pasture is full of thickets of blackberry caves along with some open grass land. the goats are tunneling through the blackberry and there is Luna in the middle of it with her little sweater stuck on the thorns. I thought I was sore last night from a wonderful wellness class workout but I suspect that it was more from hiking over and under and through those blackberry canes that left thorns in my hair, my boots and all manner of scratches everywhere else. I carried Luna out of the thicket and back to the safety of the smaller penned area. Now I can rest. For a moment anyway. New work to be done figuring out baby proofing the fencing. Lessons learned. I rather like that I do not have it all figured out.
Luna is quite friendly. She will hop up onto my lap and lean into the body scratches she has grown to love. She also puts her head into my hand indicating the desire for a head scratch too. Warm Velvet Softness. That's the feeling.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I've been waiting. Wondering if they are late this year. Worried that they might not come. That something is wrong. I have heard one or two here and there. But not the deafening surrounding sound I thrill to every year. What am I talking about? Frog chorus. Tonight at about 6 PM they gave their first concerto out on the pond. How is it that they wait until a certain time and then start? Is it the right temperature? Is it the right amount of daylight? Does it vary from season to season? I do not know. I only know that I adore frog song and the way they dominate the forest when they are mating. Full orchestra builds from that first voice or two and then under guidance of unseen conductor: a sudden stop. What mysterious clues do they follow to begin and cease? I've never studied their ways thoroughly except to enjoy the brief weeks of song and delight in their varied colorations and sizes. Frogs are special. Water bound beginnings. Transformation. Land life. Higher notes of winter tree frogs change to the deeper groanings of bull frogs in summer. I'll sleep well tonight serenaded by this wonderful indicator species.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Feeling along the spine above Latifa’s tail yesterday both Sydney and I knew birth was near. The pencil shaped ligaments had finally softened and disappeared, readying the birth canal. Sydney had a flight to Los Angeles this morning and a storm is dumping showers of water all over the state. We decide Sydney should go to Redding and stay overnight to be sure she could get out of the mountains. Good call. 8:30 PM and Latifa is dripping a little fluid. Rain pouring down. I go back inside and sleep until waking suddenly at 2 AM. Three inches of snow on the ground and fat flakes flying. Down jacket, rain coat, heavy boots and layers. Out to the stall with a flashlight. The birth kit is already nearby just in case. Goats have been at this for thousands of years and sure enough a little kid is standing wobbly and dry near her mom. Earthy fragrance of birth sweetly pungent attracts the other four goats who poke their heads into the stall to meet the newest member of their herd.
What does an expectant goat granny do while waiting for her doe to kid? I join women through the ages and knit little goat sweaters. Really. I’m not so sure generations have been knitting sweaters for their goats, but I have been accused of having grandma baby fever so I’ll cast aside denial and admit that perhaps knitting goat sweaters could be a sign. Good thing I followed the urge to knit as temperatures are below freezing. Now I’m sure that goats have been figuring out this one too, but truthfully my nervous hands were happy to have made something useful. I put the 4 pound velvet soft darling into the sweater and stayed with them for three more hours while Latifa labored without results. We all curled up together and slept in the hay until 5:30 AM when I came inside to put myself into a hot tub and then sleep for half an hour. Consulting with my ‘experts’ I figured out there must be another baby but what to do? Bouncing.
Layering up once again after a cup of hot tea I returned to the stall. ‘Bouncing’ is like hugging a goat from behind and holding her belly just in front of the udders. When there is another kid there will be knobbly bits to feel. I bounce and don’t feel knobbly bits but soon after the bouncing another kid begins to emerge. This one is not alive and very tiny. I scrub up and then pull the kid from Latifa and carry him/her away. The baby must have died some time ago for it is not fully formed.
Latifa eats, baby nurses and everyone seems happy. Six inches of snow on the ground and still falling. The evening was surreal. Latifa let me know there was another baby. Communication happens even without words. We all know this and yet to live in relation to others who never use words is a gift. I am so blessed to have time to learn the rhythm, the sweet scents, the ways of goats.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I do. I look out my window and look at their branches reaching out to the sky. I notice the silhouette against the sky, sometimes pink with sunrise. Or like now when the light comes bursting through leafless branches onto my keyboard casting twiggy shadows as I type. Blue jay calls. Red Wing Blackbird joins the chorus. The drum beat of a pileated woodpecker takes me outside to hear the early symphony even though the world is still frozen here.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Home again I walk to do my work. Goat care. Walking dogs in the foggy moist forest. A construction project underway here at my home. Up on an orchard ladder in the winter sunshine cutting branches from an ancient apple tree. Computer work for an art installation. The actual art for the installation. Wheeling loads of firewood. Sorting seed for the garden plantings. A night of music with Beeeaters. Awesome young musicians. This is a four mile drive away. The longest I make since my return home.
Some answers to what is a simple life: less driving. Less noise.