Monday was a rough one here at the farm. I have written before about our little twin, Flora, aka Little Sick Goat. Flora suffered a bout of listeria four years ago. It was a scary situation, a terrible illness, and could have ended very badly. However, we were able to save our little girl, and she recovered from the listeria with a lot of time, love, and attention. Once she recovered from the listeria, she was never what we considered quite right. Her health was fragile. She suffered from chronic “allergies,” as the vet referred to her congestion, snotty nose, and dry cough.
It was as if Flora’s little body could not fight off infection or disease after her illness. She was delicate and would suffer from anemia, worms, or general malaise. Often, we thought of her as our guide for the rest of the herd. If Flora needed to be wormed, the rest of the herd was wormed as a precaution. We’ve had the vet out several times out of concern for Flora. His diagnosis was always inconclusive. We didn’t know what was wrong with her; we just knew she was delicate.
On Monday, The Bibbed Wonder went to the barn to do the morning chores and found little Flora nestled in the hay, looking like she was sleeping peacefully. He knew she was gone when she didn’t push her way in for her grain. It all came as a great surprise. She seemed a little off the night before. She was not as interested in her grain, and her nose was particularly runny. However, it was not anything we hadn’t seen before. She did not have a fever; she was up and nibbling at her food but slightly off.
Little Flora is the first of our adult goats we have lost. We all have a soft spot for Flora because she was such a lovely girl, we nursed her through a difficult time, and she was outstanding on the milk stand. Eric often says, “if I could clone one goat, it would be Flora.” Her herd and we will sadly miss Flora. Flora and her sister, Fauna, are one of our first nannies born and raised here. Flora, Fauna, Wacko, Yacko, and Dot are all from our first years of kidding. It makes it especially difficult knowing she was one of our firsts.
Our little farm family grieves for the loss of Flora. Her sister, Fauna, is particularly lost. Like people, the goats have friend groups they always hang out with and prefer. Flora and Fauna spent a lot of time together. Although she had a good life and high quality of life, part of me is relieved she passed peacefully. There is no more suffering for our little girl. No more snotty nose, no more feeling not quite right. She’s at peace.
I am not looking forward to my core five girls getting older. Losing this group, in particular, will be hard for me. They are the five girls who started our journey and brought our family closer together. Because of these five goats, we began making soap and working together. If it weren’t for them, we might not be living at my dad’s farm, raising our girl where my dad grew up with his brothers, and spending more time apart than together. Our goats are special indeed.
Eric buried little Flora next to Misti, The Bean’s pony. This is the second significant loss for our farm this year—sleep, sweet dear Flora. We will miss you.
As always, stay safe, be smart, appreciate the time you have with the creatures you love, and keep washing your hands.