Today we took off the normal Saturday feed buying duties and went to Austin. I got new moccasins, which I needed badly because my old ones are so loose, the pups step on em as we walk, yes, it’s a tight pack, and I walk right out of em. Went down a whole size, maybe these will stay on. Also got 3 charms for my new pouch. Nothing wrong with my old pouch, but when I saw a white elk skin pouch I had to have it, now I’m adding the charms to it. Here’s my philosophy on that. When I place a buffalo pendant made of fossil, on my pouch, I believe, that I now carry the spirit medicine of that animal AND the stone. A Lapis Lazuli dolphin, well, I get both energies. So todays get was Snake, boy do I need that medicine, dreamcatcher, and Lady telling stories to the babies. Love that one!
Looked at the girls at feeding time and count possibly 8 big bellies. 8 at the most, 3 absolutely for sure, and one is getting close, Dessa, a 2 yr old first timer. How do I know this? Because her back end is puffed up.
Since today’s events are short, I am glad I felt the need, or call, to write last night. First time in so so long. And I wrote two pieces!!! Yay for me. So, which one to post, hmmmm. One is easy, the other is one that makes my stomach crunch up tight. Maybe I should post the stomach cruncher to get it out of the way and before I chicken out. There is a story in it that I had never never planned on telling. Not sure why I’m telling it now. Maybe to take the weight off. It’s so heavy, I’m choking up now. Ya, that decided it, I’m gonna fess up my sin and release it. Hopefully. Nobody has died today, so don’t let the title scare you. Oh God, here goes.
Death on the Farm
When we first moved here to our little house in the country, we, or I, deemed the space outside my window as the animal graveyard, so I could look upon my babies from my chair. In the beginning, every animal was buried there, in one of the worst digging spots in the huge 2 acre yard, because it was pure red clay. The majority of the graves I dug myself, sometimes with the claw end of a hammer, the clay was so hard. They were cats and birds and baby birds and I even carved their names in rocks as grave markers. I believe there is one out there that says Buttercup but I couldn’t tell ya what it was. We literally lost hundred of birds. I know we bought 25 guineas, 25 exotic chicks, 25 Rhode island reds and then I was incubating eggs at the time too, turkey, duck and then there is the baby woodpecker we got out of the middle of the road who committed suicide that night in his cage by stabbing himself in the head with his big long sword tongue.
Soon it progressed to the back yard in the softer dirt and there are many grown birds there. One time, I had 4 dogs. I discovered 5 red chickens laying in a 3 ft square area. No blood, but all dead. Dogs. I loaded em all up and took em to the pound, requesting they be found bird free homes. That time, I not only lost the 5 chickens, but the 4 dogs, 2 of which were born here and one was named after my grandfather, Brownie. This was before we got the Livestock Guardian Dogs. We haven’t lost a single animal to predators since, or dogs, unless you count the eggs and the baby moles they find in the yard.
The goats are my passion and I’d had them 2 ½ years before anything bad happened. The first was last spring, with baby Koko. Koko is Kitchie’s twin (my still black yearling buck), and he died because there were too many black babies born that day and I didn’t have them in stalls and all seemed well when I went to bed, but alas, when I woke, Koko had ended up at the wrong side of the pen and his mom lost him and he was too weak to be saved. Lordie did I grieve……Or so I thought…. Next, was Lulu…… Gosh, I don’t know if I can do this…. Or if I should do this…. But anyway, here is the horrible story of Lulu, God forgive me….
Lulu and Angelica were baby lambs I bought from Oklahoma for $2400. They had hair like my goats, but it was wool and one of them, Angelica, had the tag # of 44. That’s the Angels, to me, thus her name. A couple months later, during the Texas heat wave and drought, with temps over 100 for over a month, both lambs got heatstroke. I tried everything. Called the vet. Put up a mist hose, sheared them in my lap,(way early, which means I sacrificed the $$$ wool) etc, and Angelica started to improve. Lulu didn’t. It got so bad that I brought her inside the house and put her in an empty plastic water trough. Wish I’d left her in her pen. As the night progressed, she got worse. The moaning and kicking, jerking, crying,… not the normal cry, but an anguished cry. A pain filled cry. I ached for her. My 17 year old son was unexpectedly living with me at the time and he sat in the living room, as I sat with Lulu in what we call the Stove room.
Eventually, it got to the point where the screams and cries and jerking were happening every second. Every second. I had to stop it. I asked my son what to do, how can I kill her, I have to kill her. I have a gun, but that wasn’t logical at midnight, inside my house. It was so horrible, listening to her pain, I just couldn’t stand it. Finally, God forgive me, suffocation came to my mind. My son offered to do it for me, but I didn’t want him to have to live with it, so I got a plastic bag, placed it over her head, gathered it as best I could to close off any air and squeezed. It was slow. Very slow. She jerked even more now. My legs grew weak and I got lower and lower which hampered my grip and air kept getting in, so finally, I squeezed the neck as well as the bag. I’m not sure which killed her, the strangulation or the suffocation. They both start with an s. They both killed her. I was so grieved, that I was trying to call for my son, to help me, because it was taking so long, but no words would come out. It wasn’t until it was done, that the sound came out and he came running in time to catch me.
There. I’ve said it…. In print. Out loud. I killed my lamb. I killed my lamb. Oh dear God, I killed my lamb. My Lulu.
That was last summer. This winter, my Duchesse died of worms. I saw she was sick, so I wormed her. I gave her more the next day, but it turns out you’re supposed to TRIPLE the “cow” dosage. Seriously? I dug the hole myself and grieved while I dug. Fine. Then, soon after, I arranged for my neighbor to keep watch, but confusion reigned that day and she didn’t realize that we had left the house. So here I was thinking that they were being watched over, you know, kidding season, and when I called her to find out how it was going, she said, oh, no, I didn’t check them. So she found Bella dead and when we pulled in she said one was alive, one was dead. I ran down and gave it mouth to mouth and shook it around, then typed in the situation to a post on FB and tossed the phone to my husband. The consensus was to grab the baby by the legs and swing like a pendulum. I did and the fluid came out. But not soon enough. I did mouth to mouth for an hour, and swung, and swung, but baby Bella died. MY friend Cathy dug her grave while I grieved in front of the goats. Little boy pup kissed my face. In all honesty, I don’t understand why Cathy didn’t do more to help the baby to live. I guess it’s a passion thing. I struggle with that.
And we come to Kya. Kya, the baby who walked her first steps toward me and away from her mom, even though I was being silent. Kya, who lit up when she saw me each day. Kya who would run to me when I came in the pen. Kya who would then jump in my lap and kiss my face all over until she tired of that and laid down in my lap and went to sleep. Every time!!! My Kya.
I believe in signs. I had a sign. If I went to the Fiber Fest, I would die. I got sick with a lung infection. I wanted to go, so I asked for prayers on FB. I got well enough to go and I defied the signs and I went. When I got home, Kya was dead. Too weak and small, unlike her healthier sister, to withstand the ruckus of a bunch of girl goats in a confined area, waiting for feeding time. I was late, cuz I went to the festival. I looked for her first thing. Didn’t see her. Saw her mom, Mimi, and her twin, Milky, waiting at the gate with the rest, wanting food….then my eyes drifted to the shelter. And I see her. And she’s dead. I screamed, literally, for 10 minutes. She came back to life and made a sound. I scooped her up and brought her inside and tried to save her. Her breath smelled of death. She was unsaveable. So I just held her and cherished her until she passed into the next place. I called Cathy and whispered,
please come help me. She dug Kya’s grave as well, while I rocked her and bellowed my grief. Mimi came to me. Never before or since. So, in essense, a part of me did die. The Kya part of me. All of my beautiful goats, who I love so much, while being the hardest deaths to experience, were also the easiest graves to dig. Soft brown dirt, lifts up magically. Ironic, isn’t it? And very soon after that, my cat Zephyr left to die as well. So much death on a farm. But at the same time, so much life. Babies due any time, and even though they are accidents to me, they are not accidents to God. Kya says she’s coming back as twins in this batch. I will know if it’s true and I will name them as the Supermoon told me to name them. You will know which ones they are. Please all, forgive me for Lulu. I just wanted to end her suffering. I can’t forgive myself, but it’ll help if you can forgive me.