It was a dramatic morning here at Sweetgum Acres. I am typically up by 4:45 am to start milking. My alarm clock died last year and I never replaced it. I haven’t needed to. Somehow, this internal alarm clock still wakes me up on time - most mornings. That wasn’t the case this morning, however. When I opened my eyes and looked at the clock it was almost 5:30! I flew from the bed and scrambled to get all my milking supplies gathered up and ran to the goat pen apologizing to poor Lucy and Cocoa Puff, both loudly letting me know they really needed to be milked. Cocoa Puff’s kids were already screaming at the top of their lungs from their room. Since they turned three weeks old, I’ve been locking the babies up at night so I can get some milk out of her in the mornings, and then they stay with her all day. They basically drain her supply during the day, and while I may get an ounce out of her in the evenings, that’s the most I have managed so far. Cocoa Puff’s kids have less than two weeks to go until they’re weaned and I can remove them from the doe pen, and I can’t wait! I am dreaming of the morning milking session listening to my song birds singing, instead of baby goats screaming in protest. I will miss the little noise makers when they’re gone, especially Little Benny, who is the runt of the three, and who I bottle feed before bed at night (using Lucy’s milk!) because he’s so much smaller than the other two. But what a relief it will be to not do the evening chase and grab to put them to bed, and to not listen to their screams every morning.
Back to my dramatic morning: I turned the goats loose, as I normally do, and got Lucy set up on the milk stand. I’d only gotten a couple of squirts of milk out of her when I noticed Layla was unusually attentive to Daisy, standing under a tree out in the paddock. I paused my milking for a better look, and suddenly my heart skipped a beat. I ran from the milk room to attend to Daisy. Daisy’s leg was wedged in the V of a double trunk tree, and it was twisted at a funny angle. I couldn’t dislodge her leg. It was twisted at the knee, and my fear was that one wrong move could snap her knee. That is when panic set it. I left Daisy standing under the tree, and with dread, I ran to the house to wake David. By the time I made it back out to Daisy, she had fallen to the ground. Luckily, the leg still appeared to be unbroken, but she’s a heavy goat, and things were certainly worse with her now laying down. I had to position my lower body under her head and shoulders to keep weight from pulling on her stuck leg. David came out and with one look uttered, “how in the world!?!” Daisy and I were both helpless on the ground. Her breathing was beginning to get labored and I could tell she was stressed. I just rubbed her neck and tried to sooth her, and tried my best to keep her from making any sudden movements. David left to find a pocket knife to cut some of the tree bark back so we could attempt to dislodge the leg. By the time he returned my legs had begun to go to sleep. Once he had cut away the bark we worked in sync and, very carefully, maneuvered her leg free. Unfortunately, I was on the heavy end, which required me to lift her body with the leg to keep from adding pressure to the knee joint. We were able to free Daisy.
We all three stood, David, Daisy, and I, waiting to see if the emergency was over. Instead of testing out the leg, Daisy squatted and peed. She did take a few steps, and, observing no limping, relief washed over me.
David went back to bed, and I went back to the abandoned Lucy in the milk room.
I’m so grateful I was home when Daisy got stuck. I can’t imagine how that would have turned out had she been forced to stay in that position all day while I was at work.
I imagine when David gets out of bed he’s going to remind me how much simpler life was before goats.