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Moonlight Sonata

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Sometimes my bean is wise beyond her years. She seems to have an innate ability to see things for what they are, understand the greater picture, and she isn’t afraid to share her wisdom. Lately, she has been pointing out one of my character flaws, or bad behaviors, if you will. It’s not the fact that she isn’t afraid to call me on the carpet when she feels I am not behaving as I should; it’s her insight and wisdom that get to me. I just don’t understand how she has such knowledge and understanding. From where does this knowledge come? I certainly am not as insightful as she, and I am almost half a century old.


I often make fun of myself. Be it a coping mechanism, an emotional guard, or just poor self-esteem, I don’t have a problem pointing out or laughing over my shortcomings. I know I tend to make comments about my weight or appearance, but this is mostly said in jest. It began when we were shopping a few weeks ago. The Bean pointed out a few things she thought I would like for spring. She pointed out a pair of loose, flowing pants with a lovely floral pattern. I told her I really liked the pants, but if I wore those, I would look like a big, fat floral a$$. Jordan stopped in her tracks, looked at me quizzically, and said, “Why do you do that?” I kept walking and said nonchalantly, “What?” Jordan responded, “You talk mean about yourself all the time. You hardly ever say anything bad about anyone, and you’re always saying we shouldn’t judge people because we don’t understand their whole situation, but you talk bad about yourself all the time.”


I have never really thought about this, but she is not wrong. I told her I was just being honest and trying to be funny. I don’t believe those pants would be flattering on me. I could imagine the image from behind, and I think I would look like a big, fat, floral a$$. My dear girl told me I’m one of the prettiest women she knows, and I should treat myself with kindness and respect. Hmmm, I think she has heard that somewhere before.


I didn’t think much more about this conversation, but once again, Jordan pointed out the unkindness I speak about myself apparently regularly. I had a bad day with my lupus; actually, I’ve had a series of bad days. When I have a bad day, everything hurts, I feel exhausted, and my head feels like it is filled with glue. I just can’t seem to think straight, follow a repeated routine, or think logically from one step to the next. I lose words, struggle to express my thoughts, and fumble with speech. I hate how I feel these days. I had made a series of mistakes in the soap studio, and Eric seemed irritated with me. He later sat me down and told me he doesn’t get angry with me; he gets angry at seeing me have to deal with this. When I struggle, he feels helpless, worried, and frustrated. When I picked up The Bean from the bus stop, she asked me about my day. I told her I was having a bad day and had made a bunch of stupid mistakes. Again, she pointed out that I don’t allow her to refer to herself or anyone else as stupid, and I should not use that word to describe myself or my actions. She again pointed out that I am unkind to myself and how I speak badly about myself. Again, she is not wrong.


Last night was another episode and lecture from my very wise daughter. We go to Lone Oak Farm every week for raw milk. I now have a collection of seven glass milk bottles that need to be returned. I have had said milk bottles seat belted into my backseat for a week. I went to Lone Oak yesterday and forgot to return the glass bottles that have ridden around in my car for a week. I didn’t realize my mistake until I drove Jordan to taekwondo last night. Jordan pointed out that the milk jugs were still riding in the backseat with a seatbelt holding them in place. I sighed and said, “I forgot about them. Your mom is such an idiot.” My daughter took my hand and squeezed it. She then said, “Mom, you just did it again. Stop talking bad about yourself. You would tell me not to use the word idiot to describe myself or anybody else. Your body doesn’t know when you are joking or if you are serious. All your body knows is that you don’t speak well about yourself, which is bad for you.” I asked her where she learned this, and her response was, "TikTok. It's not all garbage."


My daughter is absolutely correct. I’m not sure how she has become so wise in all her thirteen years. I certainly hope it's not all TikTok. I've sorely underrated this app if it is from TikTok. Regardless of where it came from, she is right. I am not even aware that I do this. Is it instinct? Is it a knee-jerk reaction? Is it a poor excuse for a coping tool? Is it a window of how I really feel about myself? Maybe it is all of these things. What really bothers me is that I look, feel and sound like a hypocrite to my child. Obviously, the lessons I try to teach her have had an impact. She can reiterate my words almost verbatim. However, I didn’t lead by example, and I wasn’t even aware of my mistake until she pointed it out. She is correct, I would not allow her to speak in such a way about herself, but I don’t follow my own rules. I always felt my parent’s parenting style was, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I hated this approach and often felt frustrated and angry. I vowed not to be a hypocrite with my child, and I failed miserably.


I believe actions speak louder than words, and my actions don’t set the example for how I want my girl to treat herself. When she hears me talk unkindly about myself, it inadvertently gives her the green light to do the same. This is something I really need to work on and improve. I believe words have power. My words are powerful enough to make my child stop me in my tracks and call me out on my bad behavior. I have promised Jordan I will make a solid effort to be aware of how I speak about myself. Being aware and present about what one says is just as important as the words used. I need to do better.


Our teachers in this life come in all forms. My child teaches me something new about myself almost daily. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, don’t talk bad about yourself, and keep washing your hands.


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Monday was my least favorite day during baby season. On Monday, most of the now twenty-seven babies we have were old enough to be disbudded and banded if they were little boys. Disbudding is the removal of their horns, and it is something both myself and The Bibbed Wonder hate to do. Banding is when a small rubber band is placed around the boy goat’s scrotum, and the testicles eventually fall off. Banding seems to bother The Bibbed Wonder more than me…insert eye roll. Although we hate to do this, it is a necessary evil for our goat’s safety and our safety.


You may ask why we remove our goat’s horns? We remove their horns for several reasons. First and foremost, horns create a safety issue. If a goat has horns, they have built-in weapons, and they aren’t afraid to use them. They use them on each other, their human caretakers, and their environment. I have personal experience with a billy goat with horns that would charge and hit me every time I went outside at my aunt’s house. He was a nasty creature. I also have friends who are bruised from the front to the back of their legs because of their goats with horns. Goats don’t always mean to hit you with their horns, but if you are in their way, they think nothing of doing whatever it takes to get around or through you. Eric and I have both been accidentally caught off guard by our girls with horns. It doesn’t happen often, but a hungry, pushy goat with horns can be a menace.


Goats with horns are also in danger of getting stuck in fencing, boards in the barn, and even feed troughs. We have a friend who does not disbud his goats. One of his does got her head stuck between boards in the barn. This terrible situation happened overnight; when my friend went out to do the morning chores, he found his doe dead. The doe who had gotten her head stuck had been beaten to death by another doe. It was a gruesome find. We also have friends who have had goats with horns get their heads stuck in fencing and end up breaking their necks trying to get free. For us, it isn’t worth the risk. Our barn was built in the 1880s. There are nooks, crannies, and wooden stanchions constructed in the center of our barn. These obscure little areas are perfect for a goat with horns to get her head stuck. We feel it is best to remove their horns when they are babies for us and our situation.

The disbudding is usually done when the horn buds develop. This usually occurs between a week and two weeks of age. The sooner it is done, the easier it is to remove the buds. We place our babies in a tall wooden box that has an opening for their little heads to stick out. This stabilizes the baby and makes it safer for them during the disbudding process. Once the baby is locked into place, their little heads are shaved in the area of the horn buds. Eric then takes the disbudding iron, which looks like a hollowed-out curling iron, and places it on the horn bud for eight seconds. Eight seconds of pure hell. In that eight seconds, a copper-colored ring develops around the horn bud. Once this copper-colored ring develops, the process is over, and the baby is returned to its mom.


We struggle with this process. So much so that we even chose to leave the horns on our babies two years ago. However, the choice was a poor one. We have three girls with horns, and it is a choice we regret. One of the girls is a wildcard. She was one of The Bean’s favorite babies, but she is almost feral in her behavior unless we have grain. Belle acts like a goat in a petting zoo if we have grain. I guess that makes her an intelligent wildcard. Anyhow, Belle has hit several of our girls, leaving lumps on two of them. We have decided that the girls with horns must find new homes. They are too much of a menace to the herd and us.


It takes approximately two weeks for the horn scabs to heal and fall off. Once this occurs, the process is complete, and hopefully, the horn base has been destroyed. Every once in a while, a scur of the horn will continue to grow, but it usually falls off entirely without having to be burned a second time. It is not a long process, but it is traumatizing for the babies and, if I am honest, for us as well. I don’t typically help with the disbudding process because I make it worse for Eric. I have been known to cry and ask silly, annoying questions like, “Oh God, can’t you go faster?” I don’t try to be annoying or make it harder for Eric; I just can’t stand to see them in pain, and I don’t hide my empathy well.


Banding the little boys is not quite as traumatic for the goats or us. The little boy is held with his underside facing out; a bander tool spreads the band wide open, it is then placed around the base of the scrotum, and then the device gently releases the band. The babies don’t even cry when this is done. The blood flow is cut off from the scrotum in a few minutes, and the area becomes numb. It is best to band the little boys as soon as their testicles drop. This usually occurs within a week or two of age. Eric compares banding to the circumcision of baby boys. Every once in a while, a little goat will act like a drama queen, but for the most part, the babies sleep for a day or so and, within twenty-four hours, are back to acting completely normal. Eric tends to fuss more about this process than the baby goats. Men and their testicles! (Insert an eye roll)


On Monday, we successfully traumatized all our little babies and stressed ourselves out. Although I love baby season, I hate some of the things we have to do to ensure the safety and well-being of our farm family. I kept repeating to the babies that this was the worst thing that would happen to them. The only other unpleasant thing we have to do is vaccinate the herd, including the babies, for CDT and give the babies a coccidia treatment. However, they have a few weeks before this must be done. This is merely a sub-q shot and an oral drench.


I am relieved that the disbudding is over. Now, the babies are acting as though nothing happened. Everyone is healing and comfortable, which is good. The babies are bouncing and playing with each other, and they aren’t afraid of us. That is always my concern, but they are resilient little cuties. Sometimes we must do difficult things to ensure the safety and well-being of those we love. It isn’t pleasant, but we won’t regret it in the end. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, know you can do hard things for the good of those you love, and keep washing your hands.

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Our Tuesday Spotlight is shining upon everything oatmeal this week. The weather is finally turning nice and warm. Soon, we will be showing more skin. Whether it’s a bathing suit, shorts, sleeveless shirts, or even sandals, our winter skin needs some help getting ready for summer. Oatmeal soaps are a great way to exfoliate, moisturize, and improve skin texture.


We take natural oatmeal and grind it into a fine powder before adding it to our soaps. Grinding the oatmeal gives it a fine, powdery texture making it a very gentle exfoliator. However, oatmeal is also moisturizing and soothing to dry, itchy, inflamed skin. I frequently recommend our mild Goats and Oats soap to those who suffer from skin issues or very dry skin. Unless, of course, they have a gluten-based allergy.


This week all our soaps that include oatmeal in the ingredients are half-off on the website. The special includes Goats and Oats, Milk, Honey & Oatmeal, and Lavender & Oatmeal. Whether you have skin issues, need to get your skin in top shape for summer, or just like a gentle, exfoliating bar, this is a good week to stock up, try something new, or purchase a gift.


As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, get ready for summer, and keep washing your hands.

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