Casaubon's Book

Quack, Mehhhhh, Quack

i-0fdc95521daaefa0036f22278fddfd68-RescuedChick2-thumb-400x300-41976.jpg

It has been an exciting morning – and it isn’t even 10 o clock. Today was the day to pick up our new buck goat, Ring Bearer (again, not responsible for his name). For those of you who have never had the pleasure of having a buck goat, or do have buck goats, but own pickup trucks or other more sensible farm vehicles than our ancient Ford Taurus, you may not be famliar with the way a buck goat smells in close quarters.

This time of year, it isn’t that bad, but there is a definite musk. This muskiness makes said goat sexually irresistable to all ladies of the goat persuasion, but let’s just say lacks cross-species feminine appeal. Were we transporting him in the fall, when he was in rut, it would be a lot worse, so I shouldn’t complain. But I did know this morning that everyone would be happier if I covered the back seat of the car with towels.

And all would have gone well, except that the phone rang at 6 am this morning with a call from the post office saying that our ducklings are here. We had ordered 5 crested and 4 Buff ducks for slug control and, for some, eventual Pekinging. But the ducklings weren’t supposed to be here – the hatchery had called us up last week during the storms and said that because they were concerned about the harm that might come to the birds during weather delays caused by the storm, the wouldn’t be sending them until the week of the 7th, which by my calculation, begins Sunday.

Among the list of things we did not have prepared for ducklings are:

Food
Bedding
Brooder
Electric set up to run brooder
etc…

Baby ducks, like all baby birds, need to be kept warm until they feather out. We can do this in the house, but because we have a number of potential duckling predators in the house (cats, dogs) who instead of responding like any rational human with “awwww” tend to think more on the lines of “Ooh, new snack food!” it is safer to keep them warm in the brooder box in the barn. But this involves finding the box, getting it set up…

All of these things were on our “things to do Thursday” list, except that now they were “things to do right this second.” So between 6:15 and 9 this morning I did the following:

1. Picked up ducklings. Cooed over ducklings. Let kids coo over ducklings.
2. Set up ducklings in guest bathroom in a cardboard box with hay at the bottom with food (some lightly cooked oatmeal) and water, and two hot water bottles to keep them warm. Carefully stepped over small children now vacuum suctioned to brooder box.
3. Drove to Agway, was there as they opened, bought duck food and a few other needs.
4. Drove to pick up buck (on the way back from AgWay), realizing suddenly that I had not covered seat with towels, or brought towels.
5. Picked up buck. Rationalized that my husband would be driving the car today, and so he’d be the primary sufferer of my failure to mitigate buck smell. Managed to get unwilling buck goat into back of car with a series of moves that would provide great comic fodder for my readers if there was a video camera, which there wasn’t, thankfully.
6. Drove home, shoved buck into barn with his new harem (who had a varying range of responses that went from “what is this weird new thing doing in my pen” to “Well, hello sailor!”)
7. Bathed. Washed very well.
8. Still smelling very faintly of goat, gave husband and sons (who have been cooing non-stop over nonplussed baby ducks) the pleasure of figuring out where to set up the brooder – ideally anywhere but the present location, which is where my MIL will be sleeping on Sunday). Finally got a cup of tea.

For all the chaos, there’s something very satisfying about this. These things are all signs and omens for things to come – spring, the completion of the book, the shift to more farm time. The ducklings are out there quacking, Ring Bearer is making new babies and the seedlings are popping up. I will eventually acquire a working camera and show you pictures. There’s life. There’s hope. I’m just hoping the rest of the forthcoming life waits until after I’ve had my tea.

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 Adrienne
    March 3, 2010

    OMG cute duckling!

    The question is, are you going to rename the goat, or simply add a disclaimer every time you say or type his name? ;)

  2. #2 risa b
    March 3, 2010

    “eventual Pekinging”

    Mmmm.

  3. #3 Claire
    March 3, 2010

    I am certain that publishing the duckling photo is part of your nefarious plan to turn me into a duck lover. I’m doing everything I can to resist, but it’s not working too well.

  4. #4 Susan in NJ
    March 3, 2010

    Instead of always putting the disclaimer re the buck’s name when you mention him in print, you could just call him “Frodo” for short — although that wouldn’t necessarily be the perfect name for your stud.
    The terrified 6 a.m. call from the post office on Sunday mornings re the arrival of a shipment of bees is the most fun to recieve but doesn’t have as cute an outcome.

  5. #5 Lauren
    March 3, 2010

    “This muskiness makes said goat sexually irresistable to all ladies of the goat persuasion, but let’s just say lacks cross-species feminine appeal.”

    What a well-written line, Sharon. Made me laugh out loud.

  6. #6 Martin
    March 3, 2010

    You make your mother-in-law sleep in the guest bathroom? What, is the guest BEDroom full already?

  7. #7 Raye
    March 3, 2010

    oh, Sharon, we were both surprised. Happily, I (this is out of character for me) had the brooder ready, just no food when the post office called ahead of schedule with my ducklings one week ago. All is working out well. I am also raising them for slug control (11 runners, chocolate and black, plus 4 blues until my friend picks hers up this evening).

    Cute little guys you got, there!

    Enjoy them, enjoy the buck, thanks for the many gifts we receive through the blog.

    (Pics of my runners are on FB, but I have been so busy with them and squeezing in the rest of my life between bedding changes I haven’t posted the last few days’ worth yet. . .)

  8. #8 NM
    March 3, 2010

    Adorable duckling! I hope you managed to get a cup of tea. We’re having an exciting time too, but much less satisfying. The field work season for my husband started Monday, meaning he will, generaly, only be home on weekends for many, many, many weeks to come. Saturday night, the electricity to several rooms mysteriously went out when I attemtped to flick on a light switch. Said rooms are the hallway, bedroom, TV room, and the kitchen. (Thank goodness, just the LIGHT in the kitchen. The stove still works.) Husband spent all day Sunday trying to figure out what happened, and mumbling “It just doesn’t make any sense.” He finally managed to restore the light to the bedroom, TV room (which I am attempting to clean and declutter in my spare time, in preparation for selling house), and one of the two kitchen lights.
    Monday, husband left for the week.
    Tuesday, cat woke me up howling, threw up and fell over. Cat then appeared to recover, and I went to work.
    Wednesday, got up, cat wouldn’t move. Rushed him to vet. Still waiting for results, but he doesn’t appear to be, as I feared, at death’s door. Came home. Gave medicine to cat. Fed cat three or four times. Notified work that I would work from home today. Forgot hall light was out and tried to turn it on so I could see to fold and put away towels. Lights in the bedroom, TV room and kitchen now back out, for the remainder of the week. What was that about emergency preparation? Candles set things on fire, if jumped by mischievious cats. (Two cats. One sick, one mischief maker). Hand cranked flashlight uses one hand continuously. Why didn’t I buy a ##%$@!@ solar lantern?! Why the hell is the emergency box, wholly inadequately stocked so far as lighting goes, located in a dark closet?! Is it still tea if heavily dosed with booze?
    Ah, well. Enjoy Frodo and the Ducklings. Sounds like a band …

  9. #9 Nancy
    March 3, 2010

    Note from afore-mentioned MIL: If the question is “who’s been sleeping in my bed (bath/whatever)”, then I’d rather have the answer be cute ducklings than musky goat…

  10. #10 darwinsdog
    March 4, 2010

    When my wife & I raised dairy goats in Illinois many years ago, we would buy unimproved does at the local sale barn for little or nothing, then breed them to a registered buck. We’d use him the next year to breed his own daughters then sell him and buy a new buck, then do the same. After four years the kids looked like purebred Nubians altho of course they didn’t have papers. Their mammary conformation was much improved over the original does.

    One year we had arranged to buy a registered buck in southern Illinois, a couple hundred miles from where we lived. My brother-in-law, who was a teenager at the time, and I took a two week long canoe trip down the Little Wabash River, from near its source to its mouth on the Wabash. It was an epic trip in many ways. Once we had finished the trip my wife drove our pickup down to pick us up. We spent a night in the motel then the next day drove to the nearby farm and purchased our new buck. On the way home, with goat & canoe in the back of the truck, the transmission went out. I had to call my mom & stepdad to come rescue us, about half way between home & the mouth of the Little Wabash. They arrived in my stepdad’s new Ford Thunderbird. We made it home with the canoe on top of the car and with me holding the buck goat on my lap in the back seat. My mom said that the buck’s musky odor never really completely faded from the T-bird.

  11. #11 Laurie in Mpls.
    March 4, 2010

    OMG duckling! :D Is that a stock/previous picture or did all of your snow melt?

    I have no fun goat related adventures to, er, relate, but I do have a suggestion: call him Bear. Already part of his name (assuming he was called by his name) and conjures up a friendly, cuddly image. (Not that I’m imagining that you’d want to cuddle a full buck goat in rut…. :/ Unless you were a doe, of course.) It also gets rid of the eye-rollingingly geeky name that you have to disclaim every time you write it. ;)

    Looking forward to pictures of your handsome new man. And the various expressions on the girls. :D

  12. #12 Comrade PhysioProf
    March 5, 2010

    Cute duckies and horny goats kick motherfucking ass!

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.