I spent another night in the barn, and Sherri is still pregnant. I think her ligaments are gone, but Margaret doesn't completely agree with me. When people talk about tail ligaments, they make it sound so easy. I don't even bother to try to explain it to new people any longer, because Margaret can often feel ligaments when I can't. If I haven't perfected it after six years, and it took Margaret about three years to get it figured out, most newbies don't have much of a chance.
Yesterday she told me that I need to learn how to do it myself because she won't be here next year. So, I was really sure last night that I couldn't feel anything, and she came out there and said she thought she could still feel a little bit. I used to think that when they said "tail ligaments," they meant there was one on each side of the spine near the tail, because on one breeder's website, he said they feel like rubber bands. So we pronounced several goats' ligaments gone a week or two before they'd kid. We even asked on Internet goat lists about this, and several people would say that they had goats who'd lose their ligaments a couple weeks before kidding also. Well, Margaret insists that we just didn't know what we were looking for back then, and apparently a lot of people think it's just feeling for a rubber band on each side of the spine. After my most recent tutoring, I think tail ligaments actually cover quite a large area, so you feel softening of ligaments near the tail (the rubber bands) earlier than the ligaments higher up. And until ALL the ligaments are soft, they don't kid.
The temperature is 14 below zero, and the water buckets were frozen solid this morning, even though I'd refilled them with warm water at midnight last night. I know I have quite a few readers from Canada and Alaska, and I have no idea how you deal with this kind of weather on a regular basis. Our normal high this time of year is 29; today's high is predicted to be 1 below zero. At least Sherri is laying under the heat lamp, but I imagine her babies would turn into little kid-sicles within a couple minutes if no one is there to dry them off. I'm thinking I need a blow dryer in addition to my towels!