Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hello, God? It's me, Deborah

Today is the first day I have ever, in six years, thought that maybe I was nuts for dragging us all out here. I'm seeing it through different eyes. This isn't Walden. And for once, I miss a convention of suburbia. I want to call in sick today.

Hello, God? This is Deborah. I can't make it to work today. Sorry I can't milk the goats. You see, I haven't milked more than one goat in about four years, and there are three goats out there that really need to be milked -- and six more that should be milked, although they do have a single kid on them. I did it last night, but it was really, really hard, and the goats were patient with my rusty technique and tired hands. If you had any input into their sweet dispositions, I want to say thanks. So, if you could please just turn off the udders, so they don't produce any milk for a few days until Margaret's arms and hand are healed enough for her to milk them again, I'd appreciate it. Not to be greedy or ask for too much, but Mike worked really hard picking about three quarts of blackberries yesterday, and I don't really feel like making blackberry jam today, so if you could stop that whole decaying process, that would be great.

Life out here stops for no one. I was milking goats last night at midnight, saying aloud, "I can do this. I can do this. We can do this, right, Lizzie? Yeah, you're a good girl." When my hands started to cramp up, I'd stop, and Mike would try. But he has only tried to milk a goat once in his life before this. He made little headway, but I appreciated the effort. He was especially helpful in moving the goats into and out of the milking stall, because all nine wanted to get in there and be milked after 18 hours. I was glad he was sitting out there with me, or I think I would have been certifiably insane by the end. As it was, I did catch myself twice chanting, "I think I can. I think I can...." in rhythm with the milk swooshing into the bucket.

Hey, God? It's me again. I just realized I never officially said thank you for not letting Sovalye crush Margaret's face or her arms or her hand. We all really, really thank you for that. I guess if you could just make my hands a little stronger today, that would be great. Now, I need to get out to the barn and milk the goats. Don't worry about the blackberries. If I don't feel like canning this afternoon, I'll find something to do with them so they don't go to waste.


Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Deborah - you can freeze the berries to make preserves out of them later. Don't worry about keeping them in the fridge until you're ready to put them up, freezing them for a few weeks or months won't hurt at all. I do it all the time. And milking...maybe you can call on a few friends to come help for a while, they can all take turns helping milk the goats. If you have to, milk ony once a ND's do fine being milked just once a day. Their milk production will go down but you will still have milk and happy girls. :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, freeze those berries! Throw them in the freezer bags and they'll look and taste no worse when they end up in preserves, when you have the time.
Wish I was closer and could practice my milking skills (or lack of..)for you.

Michelle said...

Oh Deborah, I don't know what to say! I wish I was close enough to offer real help, although my milking skills are far rustier than yours. I have admired everything you all do ever since I first discovered your blog, and I don't think you are crazy at all. I can think of worse nightmares in occurring suburbia, personally. Big hugs for all of you, and prayers, too - especially for Margaret in the aftermath of such a traumatic attack.

Anonymous said...

You might want to build a temporary milker like the one shown on this page - . The directions are about half way down the page under "Hand Milking". It's very easy to make and works too!

Gone2theDawgs said...

Deborah, you have definitely been through some trials. Yes, your guardian dog could have done much more damage, but that doesn't make him any easier for you to live with. There is not one single person out there that has a farm or has dealt with guardian dogs that wouldn't back you in whatever you decide. Even though I find the quote "that which doesn't kill you can only make you stronger" irritating it can be true in some instances....I think that even though you have gone through so much, further on in time, you'll find you wouldn't trade your choice to move to a farm for anything. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Hugs, Tammy

Deborah Niemann said...

Thanks for the tip on the blackberries. I've frozen raspberries before, but my brain just is not working today.

Someone came to look at goats and asked me why these two kids have different coats. I just stared at the kids and looked around the pasture and some goats with fuzzy coats and some with super short hair. I couldn't figure out the answer to that question. Finally I said, "Well, the fuzzy one, that's more normal. Most kids have a fuzzy coat like that. Jo is just more sleek, I guess." And then it clicked! We'd clipped her for a show a month ago. Duh! So, I explained about clipping goats for shows and apologized for my brain being on vacation since I only got three hours of sleep last night.

Laura said...

Michelle said you needed a cyper hug - ((you))

I want you to know you are not alone - this has been a really bad year for lots of people, and, like you, we make decisions and move forward.

I also had an experience with my guardian dog. He was really bonded to me, so protected the place, and by extension, the sheep. When my boxer, Ceili, was alive, she kept both Harry, the border collie, and Bruce, the Akbash in line. Ceili died of bloat a year ago April. In the intervening 2 months before Black Sheep Gathering in June, there was a power vacuum. The day that I loaded sheep up to haul in for BSG, Bruce went after my turkey hen (he NEVER learned that poultry was off limits), and when I shouted at him, Harry, the enforcer, went after Bruce. Bruce turned on Harry, and soon had my 55 lb. border collie in his mouth, behind the shoulders, shaking him like a rag. It seemed like it took forever to get them apart, but it was probably only a couple of minutes. In a split second, I had to make a decision about what to do with him, since I was going away for the weekend - obviously, I couldn't put them back together. My decision, though I miss him terribly, was the right one - I took him with me to the animal shelter with a trailer full of sheep and had him put down.

Whatever your ultimate decision is, it will be the right one for you, and no one has the right to tell you differently.

Sorry for the long-winded comment, but I'm hoping that knowing others have been there helps.

Hang in there!

Kara said...

Hi Deborah,

I tried to leave a message yesterday, but must have not clicked on publish. I am so sorry for all your troubles, you have had more than your share. To see a child, no matter how old, attacked by anything is a mother's worse nightmare. Know you are in the thoughts and prayers of many people as you deal with this difficult situation. Give your daughter a hug for us all too.


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