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:
Electric set up to run brooder
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.