A little bit of happiness can grow fast. We have survived yet another baby season. This year we had a plan that if we bred our Nubian dairy goat to a Boer meat goat, we could avoid bottle feeding and make life easier. Even as I write it, it still seems like a good plan. We did not need to add any more ladies to make milk. Boer goats are popular and would be easy to sale when they were old enough. We would have more time to make soap and keep caught up on the website etc. As the saying goes about the best laid plans, ours went off the tracks almost at the start. One of the first to kidd was Cindy Crawford, a two-year-old that was a first-time mom. Her labor was extremely difficult. She needed help to deliver her triplets and was not at all taking to her babies. Luckily, we were there to help and our neighbor is studying animal science and is more than happy to stop in for exciting times. All three babies made it and Cindy was back to herself shortly after the delivery. We had to hold her for the babies to nurse. Guiding a first-time mom to nurse is not really that uncommon. But with Cindy she was just not settling into motherhood so well and we had to continue for days. First time mothers also do not make very much milk and in a matter of a week she could not keep up with her babies needs. At least they had the colostrum in their system and were off to a decent enough start. It was time for us to start bottle feeding. Luckily to make soap we have to freeze milk so we had frozen milk on hand to get into their bellies. Baby anything has very sensitive stomachs and switching the diet can make another set of issues that is best to avoid if at all possible. Fingers crossed we started bottle feeding. Two days into it and there were no issues with the babies. We just had to feed the babies every four hours for the next two weeks, and then feed them three times a day for two weeks, and finally twice a day for three weeks. All the while more babies were being delivered.
In the middle of everything else Edna the pig was due to have her babies. When pigs get over weight they tend to be less than helpful when it is time to deliver. The pig feeder was moved further away from the barn so the girls would have to get more exercise to eat. Edna was in a really good body condition, not overweight, more athletic looking than she had been for a while. She had been out on pasture getting all the exercise she wanted until a week before her due date. Edna is a fantastic mother. She is capable of moving her 650 lb. body with enough caution that she has never squished a baby. We have not and will not use farrowing crates. Our sows are either going to be great mothers or sausage links. Edna’s weakness as a mother is, she is the laziest pusher when in labor. She does very little to help push out her babies and requires a “helping hand”. Usually she at least gets the first few out before she just stops pushing. The hope was with her being in good shape she would deliver every baby on her own and we could just dry them off and start them nursing. Piglets come out strong and ready to start eating. But if we have the chance to give them a little bit of help it makes us feel better at the very least. This time she her water broke and she just waited. Trying to keep in mind that patience is a virtue we also waited. But it had been too long without any sign that she was going to start on her own. Eric had to help. The first piglet was heading out backwards. That is not so uncommon and usually a nonissue. However, that was an issue this time and things would continue on without help. With the first little boy out and starting to nurse the next one should have been coming out within fifteen or twenty minutes. Half an hour passed and still no signs that Edna was going to be any help. It was turning out to be an all nighter. Yet another term that was fun when we were younger but now has us pooped out for days afterwards. When it was all said and done Edna had a litter of six babies and it took a full five hours of helping her. The babies were off to a good start and she was up drinking water.
With the most intense part of baby season behind us we had finally had a chance to turn on the TV and watch the news. As glad as we were baby season was over, we could have gone another year without watching the news. I always felt a sense of security living on a farm. I used to base that on the fact that we grow most of our own food, we can go weeks without shopping in the store. Now I think my sense of security was totally based on the fact that ignorance is bliss. Within five minutes of the broadcast I was certain the world was insane. Without any sort of thought process people were emptying shelves. Stores had to limit items so they would not have empty shelves as quickly. I am a fan of stocking up on things, when there is a bargain to be had. I have never felt the urge to have a cart full of toilet paper just to empty the shelf. It is a shame that a few folks can make a situation worse with just the most ridicules actions. I would like to think we are over the worst of panic buying and everyone has taken a step back, took a deep breath and realized that life is short. There are more important things to worry about than what your family’s net worth in squares of toilet paper totals out to be. Hopefully, there have been folks that have had a Grinch style change of heart and made a package of essentials for those in need. The longer I live the more I realize the fact that life is a funny thing. It may take twenty years, it may take five minutes, but I truly believe that you get what you give. What may be happening in the future beyond our control may be stressful. Honestly, the future is never cut and dry and we never know what to expect. Life has a way of throwing curve balls and humbling folks. What can be controlled is how we treat each other. Ten years from now people will remember those that lent a hand and gave someone in need some essentials. We are offering a special, purchase two items get an item of equal or lesser value free. Our hope is the free item is given to someone to share a bit of happiness. This is not a cure for anything. This is our way of getting the snowball of good rolling. There is one thing that will outlive all of us, and that is our reputations. Be good to one another and help when you can.
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