Pregnancy checks are daily.
Bulging womb? Check. Puffy hind-quarters? Check. Softening ligaments? Check. Any day now, the kid/s will arrive. I’m more than ready.
I’ve found myself nesting even though it’s not me that’s giving birth. A few weekends ago, I cleaned out the stalls in the barn. Then I took on the tack room, reorganizing and cleaning it out. The cat watched me impassively, as if contemplating my sanity at whacking down cobwebs and stacking paint. So did my husband.
But, as if the impending arrival of baby goats (baby goats!) wasn’t exciting enough, I was contacted this week by a young woman wanting to know if I’d like to buy a doeling she has for sale. I had been in touch with her mom the year before at a county fair, when I saw a beautiful young Nigerian Dwarf doe she had raised. The mom promised to pass my name along to her daughter in case she had more goat kids become available. Weeks slipped into months and the whirlwind of a wedding, a busy spring at work and the rigors of second and fourth grade eclipsed all else. But my email pinged yesterday. She has a white Nigerian Dwarf doeling, just 6 weeks old. Camanche Hills Charlotte. Would I like her after she shows her at the fair. As if I needed any cajoling, there was a photo of her, bright blue eyes alert and interested, black spotting dotting her white frame and tiny pink nose.
I spent a fair chunk of the evening trying my best to talk her up to my husband. A veteran to livestock ranching, he brought up the pragmatic points that my heart didn’t want to hear but my brain told me to listen to. Retrofitting a space for her. Separating the herd. The fact that we will have babies on the ground in a matter of days. Babies that I’ve been (impatiently) waiting for this spring and summer. I spent the remainder of the evening trying to talk myself out of it. But on the drive to work, my mind drifted back to her face, and the thought of my daughter’s desire to get involved in 4H and showing goats. This one is registered, and her offspring could be too.
My first goats were Nigerian Dwarfs. Twin doelings that came home in diapers and cardboard boxes, sitting on the laps of my newly-minted farm kids. I was so inexperienced the rancher taught me how to trim their hooves, and schooled me on diversifying their feed. Something about the little stature and sweet, spunky dispositions of that breed stayed with me, long after Scout and Boo were killed by a predator.
Everything happens for a reason. What’s one more baby to fold into this happy life? Retrofitting can be done. Some building can happen. The herd needs to be divided as it is. Like Alan Jackson sang, “Might as well share/Might as well smile/Life goes on for a little bitty while.”