January 28, 2011

The week before kidding starts

It’s amazing to me how you can re-watch a movie and the thing that sticks out to you is the thing that is most appropriate a few weeks later. At home we get by with less than the modern day technological advances (because let’s face it, which is more important, living with you happy well-fed goats or having cable or internet?) and we watch quite a few movies as a result. A few weeks ago we were re-watching an episode of Everwood that had this closing line about the moment in a production before the curtain goes up. In so many ways I feel like that is the way it is before kidding season. I suppose there are lots of other “waiting” metaphors, but this one seem to just fit somehow. The breath you hold. The scenarios fly before your eyes. Yes, the week before kidding season feels similar to right before a curtain rises.
It isn’t like waiting for the report card or test result. Yes, something could go wrong during kidding season. More than likely something at some point will go wrong. Last year we had 2 boys die one week after they were born no matter how hard we tried to save them. One kid died at birth from a broken neck. Sad but true, sometimes things happen. With all the first fresheners this year, something is bound to happen. But you don’t think about those things. You don’t sit and worry and dread the results. There is so much excitement and anticipation it is hard to get too worried about what will go wrong – we’ll solve those problems when we get there.
Similarly it isn’t the same as waiting for Christmas morning. Kidding isn’t a one day event where after you open the presents you go back to normal in a few days. The next eight months of our lives will be filled with milking, graining, feeding, clipping, showing, and everything else that comes with the show herd that makes my life so exciting and so full. It has possibilities as you evaluate 2011 kids for 2012 offspring. It has choices to make and you cull down your herd (because if I kept everyone – no one would get fed. Well, maybe Ysis but she is pushy like that). You admire the udders on your 2010 kids as first fresheners and you comment on how much better your older does look after another lactation.
Usually I have one doe who I am really excited about – this year I don’t know if I could limit it to just one; or even if I could limit it to just one goat per breed. What will the grade kids look like? Will I finally get color in my 1st generation Lamanchas? Will Arabica kids be long and tall? Will Auric put dairy character on Alba’s amazing frame? Will Fritter’s kids be togg colored or Saanen colored? Will Xymphony have a doe kid AND a buck kid so we can breed in her dairy frame to the rest of the herd? What will Brazil do for all the goats in the herd? What will Alpine-Lamanchas look like (and more importantly what will they act like)?
No, I think the only way to really describe it is the hush before the curtain rises. You plan. You’ve picked out the best bucks as sires and taken as much care with graining and vaccinations that you could have for these kids. You practice. (I won’t lie, my first kidding season was quite a bit more stressful than this coming one. I know what to expect – I’m aware of the risks but I’m familiar with the solutions). You prepare.( Kidding supplies stocked and at easy reach). Then you hold your breath as it is time to watch the curtain rise and for the show to begin. 

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