Monday, February 14, 2011

Last night I didn't sleep well. All I could think of was digging a hole for my little Annie pup. Her body has been in a bag laying in the hamper bed since Marcia brought her back from the vet's office. So, even though I didn't have a morning shift today I still found myself very much awake and in a manic state. The hole. I need to dig the hole. I needed to dig my hole before the other pups found my little Annie's body in the shed and started to tear her apart. They're nice little pups, but they like to shred anything they can get there little razor sharp teeth on.

I finally got her buried though. It was raining lightly when Deleah and I decided to go out and start digging. We dug and dug and dug. And after tons of rocks and a few feet into the ground later we decided it was deep enough. Then Deleah went to get the hamper bed that had Annie's body in it. It was then that I realized once more that she was really dead and that I wouldn't been seeing her anytime soon and started to cry again. As the tears started to roll down my face I became very protective. I wanted Annie pup to be buried correctly. I wanted her to have a respectable funeral. The hole was to have the sides straight and the bottom flat, like the kind of hole you would lower a casket into.

Once Deleah got back with the hamper she untied the bag Annie's body was in and then I, using another bag, reached in and picked up Annie's body and lay her in our freshly dug hole. I made sure she was comfortable and helped her into her puppy napping position. She would sleep on my bed, her feet curled up, her head on a paw. Naturally, that's how I positioned her. Her body now comfortable laying in the bottom of the hole, I said a few words. I told Annie how much I had grown to love her in the week we had shared together and that I hoped puppy heaven was a lot of fun. I then reached into the hole and gave her a final pat on the head, another "I love you Annie pup" and then began to toss dirt back into her hole.

Her body now rests under the ground and her grave is adorned with a tire we found nearby, a big beautiful mossy rock and a few smaller sized rocks to fill the area with.

I love my Annie pup and I won't soon forget her.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"I'm going to go check on the goats," said Marcia. Ten minutes later Marcia comes back running to get me. A baby goat had been born and was discovered by Marcia when she went to 'check on the goats'. Baby goats are the most adorable thing EVER. They're born with their little hooves first, then a little nose/mouth/tongue combo and BAM! Baby goat on the floor.

I ran to the barn with Marcia and helped keep watch over our new goat mom, Persephone. After popping a 'pregnancy bubble' and a pull later, we had two baby goats. One more pop and pull and there's three kid goats walking around! It was around this time that it was discovered that another goat, Edna, was going to be delivering her babies tonight as well. This time, however, I was going to be left in charge of the birth because Marcia had Valentines Dinner reservations with her hubby.

After quizzing me about what to do under different scenarios, she left and I felt powerful. Soon, a baby goat would be born to my hands. At this point all that was happening was the mucus like goop hanging out of her girl parts. Next would be the bubble, maybe another bubble, maybe another bubble after that and then the bubble with the baby in it. I continue my work of feeding all of the farm animals and check back regularly.

Looking over the gate, having been gone what felt like minutes, I see the bubble and a little hoof inside of it. This is THE bubble! I feel the rush of excitement take over my body as the thrill of having another baby goat in the room gallops about my mind. I already decided I wanted to be the best happy helper to this goat and make her birthing process as easy and pain free as possible. I stood there and watched, poked and prodded a bit.

As her contractions got closer together, the fear that also accompanies the thrill of having a baby goat born by you, began to set in. What happens if I fuck this up. This is a freakin life and I'm being in charge of it! I haven't gone to school for this...!! I called for Deleah who was in the milk room a short ways away. I needed reinforcements stat! We watched, poked and prodded some more. Edna was pushing more and more. Deleah poked around Edna's lady bits to see what baby goat position we were dealing with and was greeted by a not so gentle baby goat bite! It was right after this I put on my gloves and was pulling out a set of hooves, followed by the cutest little mouth with the cutest little tongue sticking out of it.

There was only one problem we could see now. Edna insisted on walking around. And there was now a baby goat dangling half in and half of Edna's body. The cry of life filled the room. Edna responded with her motherly goat noises, her baby still dangling half way out of her body. It was time for action. We pull the baby the rest of the way out and I pick it up and start swinging it from side to side gently trying to relieve it of any liquids in its lungs.

"DON'T MESS AROUND! DO IT HARDER! Don't mess around! IT'S DEAD! OH MY GOD IT'S DEAD!" Deleah had taken the baby out of my hands and was swinging it around the room trying to bring life to this baby goat that she swore was dead. I stood there stoopified. I had just been talking to this baby. I had just watched it lick its nose and talk while being thrusted out and sucked back in to its mom's body. There was no way it was dead. Deleah put it down on the towel and watched it freaked out and thinking it was dead still. I prodded at the baby, I knew life was in it and that it was still getting used to be out of the womb and in a stinky goat stall.

Baby goat began to move around on the towel.
"It's ALIVE! It's NOT dead! and it's a boy!" Joy overtook Deleah and we continued our process of 'goat delivery'- squeeze out it's nose and mouth to get rid of gunk, rub it with the towel and get it to suck on its mom's teat. Operation goat delivery was successful. A short hour later her second baby was born and could be found walking around with its sibling.

Friday, February 11, 2011

RIP Annie

I just found out that Annie died at the vets this morning at four. They think it's because of the vaccine which was given to her as an eight way. Which means they injected eight different vaccines into her in one big jumbo shot and it wrecked her body and destroyed her life. Instead of being a cute a puppy that gets to hop about, chase chickens and live a long life like all of her other brother and sister pups, she spent her last few days feeling horrible and dying young. I'm glad that I got to spend the time with her that I did and cover in kisses at every possible moment and that she was able to sleep that last night with my tyedye blankie. I pray that she gets to live on the rest of her days in heaven as a happy go lucky pup chasing butterflies and frolicking about everywhere and that the people who returned her and gave her those vaccines go to hell and burn.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tomorrow I have been here for two weeks and boy, does it feel like a lot longer than that.

Being on a farm means you have to change the way you think. Not every animal is a pet or wants to be pet for that matter. Not every animal can be your friend, and as much as farming is fun, it is also a job and you have to think business to stay successful.

Here at this farm I have already encountered more than enough of these 'farm moments' for this reality to set in. First came the moment I had to help load Piper the goat into the truck so she could be taken to the butcher. She was a nice goat and had six nice years of life, and has already been enjoyed in more than six meals already. We make sure to include her into the title of the meal to remember her by. Today we had Piper Tacos. They were delicious. The other night we had spiced Piper and Coconut Sweet Potato soup.

Another moment came when pregnant Natasha, another goat, became very ill. She was having trouble breathing and stopped eating and drinking water. We called a vet to come help us, but the stress of him poking and prodding her pushed her over the edge. I sat in her stall talking to her all night and petting her and giving her encouraging words when I saw her eyes flutter and her life slip away. We didn't realize she was walking the line of life and death and had to make the quick decision to cut her open and try to save her two babies who we felt moving just moments before. I was soon in a stall with a dead mommy and her two dead kids. Along with the guts and fluids that spilled out of the mom in the impromptu attempt to save their lives. I pet her velvety nose and spoke kind words to her until there was not an ounce of movement in her body. Then I had to help load her into the tractor and look up how to recycle her body. So that night I experienced death, but the very next day I experienced life!

"Look for the bubble and then call me on  my cell phone, alright?!" said Marcia, our boss. Me and Deleah agreed and then looked at each other and then at the butt of the mom goat Gabriella who was standing in front of us and then back at each other. Bubble? Right now we only saw a long mucus looking string swaying and gooping out her back end. Gabriella had started having contractions earlier in the morning. It was now 8am and freezing and we are sitting in the barn waiting for a goat's bubble to show. As her contractions progressed I found out what the bubble was. And boy, was it bubbly. Have you seen one of those pooping cow keychains where you squeeze it and that sticky stuff bulges out its butt? Well, picture that, but with a goat and goat's vajay and you now know what the bubble is. The bubble appeared, we made the call, and some time later a little hoof, another hoof, a nose with a little red tongue sticking out its mouth. She pushed and pushed and pushed and finally we could help pull the little kid out. It's a boy! Gabriella licked him and talked to him and he talked back and within minutes he was trying to walk around and having his legs go out from under him like the scene from Bambi where Bambi is on the ice trying to walk. A while later Gabriella had her second kid. A boy again! The baby goats were fun to play with and stayed at the barn for a few days nursing on their mom and playing in their stall until they were sold. Bummer. But we have more than a dozen goats waiting to give birth this month so there will be more chance to pull baby goats out of goat vajays and play with them!

The next tough moment happened today. Earlier this week a woman returned one of the dog's she bought from the farm five weeks ago because the dog had an overbite and she had wanted to breed her. I saw the dog when I finished my shift and instantly fell in love with her. I also noticed that she wasn't feeling good at all. I named her Annie because she had little freckles around her nose. Annie slept in my trailer on my bed and in the hamper bed that I made for her. Annie also got very sick. She wouldn't eat and the few times she did over the past few days she either threw up or diarrhea'd out. Many of these happened in my trailer during the middle of the night. So not only was I working my shifts, but I was also taking care of a sick puppy and cleaning all of her messes. Today she hit a rock bottom though. She was breathing really hard, was having difficulty walking, and was throwing up a lot. We gave her some liquids through an IV and brought her to the vet. Now she's at the vet and I'm back at the trailer. Turns out she somehow got a twisted intestine, which is not only very painful, but very expensive to fix. The toughest part of this tough  predicament is the fact that Annie is a farm dog. She's being sold as a $500 dollar farm dog and in order to save her life it's going to cost around $3,000. Essentially, the farm can't afford to give her the surgery, so we're left to pray that her vet miraculously cures her and she gets better and can come back and be my trailer dog. I left her at the vet in her hamper bed that I put together with some pillows and my all time favorite tyedye blanket which I hope brings her good luck and comfort at the vets.

So, so far the farm has made me some fabulous friends (both animal and human), and has toughened me up. I don't cry when I go sliding around in the mud outside my trailer and scratch up my knuckles on the big rough tree, I don't cry when I slice open my fingers opening up the barbed wire gates, I pick up bales of hay and bags of alfalfa only half struggling and waking up to begin a shift outside at 5:30am when everything is dark and frozen no longer phases me. I slide my feet into my rubber Guess boots I bought on sale at Macy's before I left, pull on a couple layers, put on a smile and begin my day.

Every day comes with a new adventure and every day I learn something new.
I couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I have arrived at my new adventure site! I call it GOAT FARM! And as long as I'm not being chased by the evil turkeys (that tend to linger outside my door) everything is hunkydory! I get to milk, process the milk, feed the animals, clean stalls, make homemade meals, and soon will be starting to garden! The best part of it all is that no matter what I'm doing there is always an animal around to keep you company and talk to. Inside the house there are cats and rat terriers, and around the farm are parrots, big guardian dogs, goats, chickens and turkeys. Never is there a dull moment. Ever.