Marble Creek Acres - Logo
Facebook

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Worrier

Goatcicles

Goatcicles

As you dive into this post, be sure to read it with Patty Smyth’s “The Warrior” playing as the sound track in your head.

The mother of Marble Creek Acres, that’s me. The rancher’s wife, mom of two fantastic teens, daughter-in-law to in-laws that I woudn’t trade if I could, I go by many names.

Mom, momma, Kathy, Wifey, and here on the farm, “The Worrier”. That is my role, The Worrier! I worry about everything from the chickens to the crops and now the goats. I am the worrier.

Initially, I was resistant to this idea of starting a farm, but you can guess, I lost. (That is a story for another day.)

Winter weather is always a worry for me. I could insert a load of facts right here but I will just say this, it’s only mid-January and it has been colder than I ever remember and the snow…I’m ready to pack the kids up and move south (I will let you decide how many legs and feet or hooves said kids have)! I am the worrier.

Kikos are a hardy goat I have been told, again and again. I watched the herd’s coat change as they prepared for cold days and nights ahead through the autumn. This is only our 2nd winter with goats and admittedly I don’t remember their coats bulking up like this last year. Was this a wive’s tale that I was not aware of? I am a study of the wive’s tale and all signs pointed to a long, snowy, cold winter. Were the goats trying to tell me something? I am the worrier.

The goat barn and the coop are watched by the tech-worriers in the house. The rancher likes, eh loves his technology and we are able to login to from our smart phones and check the security cameras in the barns. The app also tells us the current temperature in the stall and outside the barn. As a major Christmas snowstorm covered…blanketed…inundated our area, the goats’ area shrunk from their fenced in range to the space covered by the lean-to. The doe side gets afternoon sun, so they are able to stand in their hoof-to-hoof, hunched up, warming sun-soaking position. The buck side is shaded during the day so the mighty teen-son shoveled Zulu an area, at my worried request, where he could sun himself. I am the worrier.

The mercury dipped night after night with little relief during the day. It barely made it into the single digits, and of course, the wind was howling day and night. The wind chills were dipping dangerously low and I watched the girls’ on their camera at night when they bedded down in their stall. Warmer weather finds our 2-year old Kona as the watch-goat. She stands on the bench night after night, occasionally getting off her hooves, but still away from the other goats. She’s a curious but solitary loner. As the weather got colder, Kona got closer. I am the worrier.

Morning chores usually brings a beautiful goat chorus as you move closer to the magic barn doors. You know what’s behind the doors! HAY! Give us hay! Hey we want hay!!! Faster, faster, please, faster, why are you moving so slow human? You know this cacophony if you’ve ever been on morning duty! I am the worrier.

You’ve goat to be kidding me, not a single goat came out to greet us. Ratu (aka Big Momma the queen of the 8 girls) peaked her muzzle out, providing the humans relief that they weren’t all “goat-sicles”. Eventually, as the hay was being chucked into the feeder, all 8 goats came out to eat breakfast. They were cold and I don’t blame them for coming out slowly, it was so cold! I am the worrier.

Most of my worries go unheard. Okay, they hear me but don’t always react as fast as I like. Actually if eye-rolls count as hearing…whoops did I type that out loud? The goat barn doors close down to a small port for them and help keep the weather out. The windblast pushed right through their open port day and night. Although the stalls are small and hay-lined, they were extra cold during this time. I am the worrier.

As the 2-legged family sat down to lunch one afternoon, I proposed a stall-warming tactic that I was certain would go unrecognized. My worries are usually just that, my worries. Sometimes it is just being the last to know or not knowing at all. This particular approach reminded me of walk-in freezers with the dangling thick plastic blanket thingy! I proposed if we could hang a blanket in their small doors to cut the gale from gusting straight into the stall, they would indeed be warmer. I am the worrier.

The planet may have tilted a little off its axis that afternoon because the other 2-leggeds, including the head-rancher-in-charge, agreed that this was a great idea. To the barns I headed with the capable drill-toting 17 year-old armed with an old wool blanket, scissors, and a pocket of screws and washers. The girls were curious as we flung their doors wide open, allowing what little warmth that had accumulated to escape. We cut the blanket in half and Kevin set to attaching it to the small port. The “littles” (3 of this spring’s does) pushed their way in and nibbled on Kevin’s fingers hoping that they were a small snack adding to the exposure of bare-skin to the cold misery that Kevin was bravely tolerating to provide the girls some protection from the elements. I am the worrier.

That evening as we looked in at the family, the camera thermometer registered -11 Fahrenheit outside the stall and -3 Fahrenheit inside the stall. Even Kona was cuddled up in a pig er I mean goat-pile! I am the worrier.

While in the stall, Kevin and I were remarking that it was kind of cozy in there with the fresh droppings helping to warm up the stall. Out of the wind, that’s what I have been told, out of the wind. As long as these hardy goats can get out of the wind, they can weather the weather. By morning, the camera had stopped working and not a goat came out to meet the rancher for fresh hay. It was cold, air temperature according to the internet was around -20 degrees and the breeze had abated some. Future forecast predictions were for a warming trend, with a balmy 10 degrees predicted the following day. We made it through the cold spell. I am the worrier.

Amelia captured this cuddly picture from the security camera. Can you see all 8 goats?