Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Goat Day

I haven't posted about the goats in a while. Other than taking care of their daily needs, I haven't done much with the goats lately. So naturally I had to do everything at once yesterday, with the help of my DH.

Imagine taking a ton of tools out to the barn in a wheelbarrow. With the puppies, because they needed some quality time with the goats.
Imagine the goats immediately starting to play with any tools you don't happen to be using at the time.
Imagine the ripe scent of composting manure as we stripped away the relatively clean top layer and started mucking our way down toward bare earth. Mmm mmm mmm. Then of course wee little white flies arrived and hummed about. Then somehow, while going out to check on the dogs, I managed to get a bug, I think it was a flying black ant, in my eye. I got the body and wings out, not sure about all of the legs.
Imagine hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of muck (my DH did this part all by himself) out to the garden at the far end of our property (on the top side--at least he didn't have to manage the hill.) Some of it was dry and light, some quite damp.
Imagine, just as you're starting to really dig in, the nature of the muck changing such that it wants to come off the ground in big chunks that keep falling off the shovels, sometimes by breaking in the middle like old, crumbling pottery. This same stuff, when chopped at, bounces shovels. Try not to imagine the coughing and the snot as our bodies tried to fend off the dust.
During those times when my DH made a wheelbarrow run, I worked on pulling out the old hay feeder (the goats had torn it to shreds) and put up a new one. Then I took out the old fencing that divided the goat side from the chicken side. So easy to say, so difficult to wrestle with twisted sections of wire field fence and to yank out staples with a hammer (we couldn't find our fencing pliers, which are perfect for this sort of thing.)
Imagine the feeling of satisfaction when we finish spreading the diatomaceous earth and straw. We turned the old chicken coop we kept in the barn into a sleeping shelf for the goats, and Snowblaze immediately had to leap up on top of it. Top bunk! (The inside is big enough for a goat to use as a house, and I suspect that's where Scooter will probably sleep, if not cuddled up to Snowblaze on top. Or they might both end up inside, because Snowblaze had to play around in there too.) The barn glowed with cleanliness and smelled great. I stayed to bask for a while, then buckled down to trim goat hooves. A piece flew off at one point and hit me in the eye. The same eye. But I persevered, and the goats have nicely trimmed hooves again. Those hooves really grew a lot in a month, which is normal for this time of year. Later I'll be able to trim much less frequently.
Left to do--one more dose of Panacur for the season (spring is worm season. Ick!) and the goats could use a good brushing. I also (eventually) want to build a stanchion because when they're not in the mood to stand for hoof trimming, they're pains in the butt. Weirdly, though, I had fun. If you don't have fun doing this sort of thing, rethink any ideas about having livestock.
I was sore even before we finished the work. I'm even more sore today. Maybe I'll take my camera out and take a pic, but it's more likely that I'll make tea and curl up around my computer and write most of today. It's too rainy to garden anyway.

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