Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Miracle of Birth

This morning as I was taking the mail to the mailbox, I heard some noisy goats.  They are very vocal when they are hungry, so I thought that was it - Brandon, our animal guy, had some cow trouble at home so he hadn't done those chores this morning.   So I got a bucket of grain and took it out to the trough when I saw this mama on the ground, evidently in distress, with baby goat parts just barely coming out of her hoohah.  Yuck.  She was the one making all the racket.  Cripes - I don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies! As I was planning to run up to the house and get Richard, and hoping I wouldn't see him driving off down the road to the sunchoke harvest, he showed up at the fence and said "What is all that yelling about?"  I said, "She's giving birth right now and I think she's having trouble!".  "Doesn't sound like it's going well.  I'll be right down."

Richard slowly walked over to mama and asked me to give him a hand. OMG no, I'll give you some moral support, I've got your back about 8 feet over here.  So he reaches in and we encourage her to keep pushing.  Richard said it looked like one of the feet was stuck, but once he cleared away some of the goo I could see a little nose and mouth sticking out and breathing.  Whew.  We didn't know how long she had been in distress, so it was good to see the baby was still alive.  Mama gave a push and the baby slid out and started wiggling and sneezing.  Mama was in shock, with her head way over on the other side, out of reach of the baby.  But she soon stood up and went straight over to the grain, leaving her baby!  Duh, you have to clean him off and get him to suckle right away!  So Richard went over to the trough and got mama by the horns to muscle her over to the "maternity pen".  He asked me to pick up the very gooey baby - I asked him "Eeeew!  How?  By the belly in the middle or what?"  "Aw, he's just a little slimy - get under the front and back legs".  I'm thinking, I don't have any emergency pants or shirts here anymore, it'll be a mess, eeeew.  Long story long, I was off the hook and let Richard do the dirty work of getting mama penned and then picking up the baby to bring him over to her, cooing "you have a baby, here you go" and gently putting him in the pen.  I checked on them later and it looks like baby number 5 is doing well! (I gave her some grain and water, so I'm not completely useless)

This is baby boy number 4, the curious cat.  He is always sniffing around and escaping, exploring the great big world, kicking up his heels.  Making mama worry, of course.

In other farm happenings, things are growing!  The large greenhouse is full to the brim with various onions, kohlrabi, parsley, fennel and more!
Fennel on the left

In the nursery greenhouse, the celeriac continues to thrive and get transplanted and the  lemongrass is greening up.  Guess what? We're going to grow ginger this year!  We just got a box of bulbs and will start sprouting that soon. Hopefully a successful experiment, here in Wisconsin.

Onion and garlic
Outside, I can still smell the spring onions and garlic growing and we had a dry enough time to get out to the sunchoke field and harvest!

Spring Onion

Our favorite, Porcelain Garlic

Fresh overwintered sunchokes

Cleaning up after harvest (left to right Adelina, Natalya (spraying), her husband Jacinto and the lovely Irma

Jenny, one of the new packing shed supervisors, labeling a bin of just harvested sunchokes


Ann Z. said...

Thanks for this very amusing story of birth...made me laugh outloud this a.m.!

plicuri said...

Love the way the herbs are growing.