Monday, February 2, 2009

'Tired' goat, tired horse

Some moons ago, Molly returned from Birdsong Hollow Farm, complete with progeny. She was accompanied by a triumphant ribboned wreath, as if being given the freedom of the city. On Saturday she was spotted trailing the rest of the herd and sporting ... a wreath on her stubby horns. How could this be? An unsuspected Saturnalia among the cloven-footed? A late-night party? How could Molly have found the wreath, and begun to wear it? Had she been made queen? What was going on? A couple of years ago, I discovered that the sliced sides of car tires would form an effective donut-shaped ring mulch around a newly planted tree. One such slice with a frizzy penumbra had been left lying around. And somehow Molly had got it tangled in her horns. She was not parading, she was in distress. But would she let me near her to sort things out? She ran off, with the weight of this encumbrance dragging on her head. Yesterday I went back to find her, hoping she was worn out, and I could catch her. I found the herd, and feared the worst. No Molly. I talked to Buddy with my best dog-whispering. In the movies, the dog understands what you are saying, and takes you off to find the goat just in time to save it. Buddy smiled, but seemed to understand nothing. The goats were in two parties. There was a nursery at the barn, with the two nannies, and their five kids (two black, three b/w) - only days/weeks old. Then the main herd, from which Molly had been missing. They were coming back to YB central. And somehow Molly was with them this time - looking very tired, but wreath-free. Had she had help? Those goats cooperate in pushing over my wiremesh tree protectors, exposing the now protruding leaves for each other. Did they have a wreath-removing clinic after tea? OK so she did not need me. The goat herd has lost a few old guys, and seems well-served by some strong rams. Perhaps that's how there are still five kids, despite coyotes.

After this, it was time to check on the horses, if only to be reminded of their gently different natures. Big Mama had a little limp - arthritis? Stone in foot? Melissa will check. But Chance was worrying. He was lying down - mid morning. And did not get up. He seemed to have mud caked in his hooves. Wasn't that heavy-breathing? Was he dying? He did not respond to the ordinary excited encouragement that would have got me to my feet. Then he lay his heavy head down on the ground. He must be terribly sick. I tried calling Jay on his cell w/o success. Would we be able to pick up the body on the front-end loader? Could we leave it deep in the woods for Nature's helpers to help themselves? When all seemed lost, Chance got up and walked off. As he did so, I noticed that the patch of ground on which he was lying was no longer quite as much in the sun as it had been when he first lay down.