Tuesday, July 14, 2015

End of a Long Day (A Post Script)

TJ, my gentle giant, takes over...
(we've been too busy to name the kids)
    Earlier today I blogged about the odd behavior of one of my Pyrs, who managed to get to newly birthed goat babies before I did, and as a result, would not let me near them. At first I scolded Hix, but given his tenacity in the matter, came to realize he was simply doing what Pyrs do, and that is protect goats at all costs (even if it means offending the hand that feeds him).
     As the earlier post conveys, I entered this day to the sound of a mama goat's all too familiar cry. Lucky for Pygmies (I'm told it's different for larger breeds) most births take less than an hour, from the mothers first squawk to the newborn's shrill cry. ( In Cupid's case, she has it down to 20. I know, because today she proved it.)
      Grateful she had my attention, Cupid happily ate her breakfast separate from the others, after which she began pacing to find that perfect spot to have her kids. From her very first birthing (today marks round 4) Cupid has a favorite place. First of my original herd to give birth on my land, she created what I call the Birthing Bay--an area immediately visible from my kitchen window, nestled in a group of trees, making it easy for me to spot her and get to her quickly from inside or out.
     Her firstborn was Ari, and because he was our first,we went nuts with the camera, clips for which you can find on YouTube (most of which involve him jumping on my head). Next, came Stoli born mid arctic blast. Headed back to the Bay, Cupid got derailed because I locked her up due to sub zero temps. Still, Stoli came, likewise within view. (I call her my ambassador goat. She is more human than some humans I know and our bond quite strong.) This past January, she birthed "Biskit and Triskit" ...again, returning to her original Birthing Bay area. And today, when last I left her, I anticipated she'd wind up at the same spot again, which is why I was startled to find her back in the barn. (Thanks to Hix.)
      Thinking I had at least 30 minutes, I headed to the house, grabbed towel, journal and laptop (the phone I keep on me at all times, though most often silenced). I return to find Cupid, NOT in the Bay, but in the barn, where in a very dusty stall, she had already given birth to 2 beautiful, healthy baby goats (one boy/one girl). But unlike every other birth before, there was one obstacle: my 2nd in command, Hix, has body blocked her stall door, at times stepping IN the stall with her, so determined was he that NO ONE touch these babies. (Very odd; he's never done this before.)
     The ordeal I've already written about, so I shall not repeat it here. But what unfolds next shifts the paradigm completely.
     Shortly after noon, from inside my kitchen, I hear an odd noise and race out to find Hix and Rosebud fighting and grounding a very large buzzard in the very same area we call the Bay (now newly fenced). Had it not been for Hix, Cupid and was wired to head here. His aggressive behavior I now understood. Hix had a job and he was doing it...
   It honestly takes my breath away as I think now, with benefit of hindsight and reflection. In the moment, however, with adrenaline pumping --my animals' safety was my only concern.
    Oddly enough, other goats curiously wandered out to watch the commotion, not at all phased nor fearful (so trusting are they of their protectors). Getting them to safety was my first order of business. Seeing my Pyrs with blood-pecked faces, prompted my second wave of adrenaline (with a side of nausea).
     To be clear, there was nothing fun about this ordeal, NOR is it fun to contemplate why the predator flew INTO this area in the first place.
     As a matter of perspective to my earlier FB updates, I post a conservative clip of the scenario, taken after securing all goats in the barn with Cupid and babies and TJ (my alpha) standing guard. First responder to the scene was Hix, who was also first to bond to the placenta covered babies this morning and first to sense the danger perhaps before the babies were even born.  That he bolted from his watch, tag teaming it to TJ while he went after the bird...again, speaks to the power of nature and the bond between this breed and their charge. It also speaks to the reality of day to day life on a farm, which yes, some days (as prior blogs will attest) is not pretty.
     Much as I hate to see the demise of any of God's creatures, when I brought life onto this land, I took on certain responsibilities, number one being to care for, feed and protect my babies. As part of that commitment, I have Great Pyrenees. Today is proof positive as to why.
     To the one who asked, "Why must you film it?" I respectfully reply, "Because this is part of it. To pick and choose only cuteness, is an inaccurate portrayal of my life or any life lived on a farm. Did I want to see a bird die today? Absolutely not. (I've all but moved one red bird in with me, I am so taken with birds here of late.) Am I happy my goats were protected from things I did not see coming? An unapologetic and resounding YES."
     As one documenting her journey as a first time farmer, not to include days like today would be inauthentic...It would be shallow.  Yes, their faces are cute and my Pyrs I love to hug. But days like today serve to remind that life is not all cuteness and hugs. Life is not always tidy, and life on a farm, because it is real, often includes unpleasant things as I strive to tastefully share.
    As more and more people consider this proposition as a way of sustainably living (and based on the ever increasing requests I receive, I'd say the trend is rising), this is part of it. Had children been on the farm today, they would've seen this (and worse).
     If you want candy-coated,  I suggest you play Farmville. If you follow my writing, my pictures, my posts, I am sincerely grateful, but if you do, you probably know by now you're going to get the real with the real cute. And I make no apologies for that.

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