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.