With the arrival of spring (though it seems to be a little late this year) comes the arrival of baby animals. For most farm kids, myself included, this is an exciting time. Although it was my goats that were having the babies, I was always proud when I finally had kids. I had waited so long, and in some cases, prayed so hard for my babies to be hearty and healthy. I have witnessed the miracle of life many times. Sometimes that life is snuffed out after only a few minutes, and sometimes, a life doesn’t even get a chance to begin. When there is a life, though, I get shivers when I see that baby take its first breath and wobble to its feet that first time. Many long nights have been spent out in the cold barn, flashlight in hand, trying to stay awake, waiting for a doe to finally decide to have her babies. Many hours have been spent trying to teach a hard-headed baby to take a bottle, and helping to dry off brand new kids when the momma couldn’t do everything herself. Sometimes I think that this is the most rewarding part of being an agriculturalist – preserving a life for the next generation to learn from and care for. If this is my duty, I know that I have done it well, and I will continue to do my duty in the future.
April, the first and biggest baby.
This is the second baby, a nanny, who we haven’t named yet.
This is May, April’s little sister. Her momma wouldn’t take her, so we are raising her on a bottle. She was still pretty weak in this picture, but she is strong and healthy today.
Meet Bess and Betty, who were the last babies born. They are twin nannies, and are Boer-Nubian cross. We had them on supplemental bottles for a couple of weeks, but they are totally with their momma now.
I guess I never noticed before, but spring kind of creeps up on you out in the country. One day everything is brown and covered in snow, and the next, there’s green grass almost an inch high. The buds on trees burst overnight, and baby animals just seem to appear out of nowhere. Being home for Easter was kind of a bummer since the new season is just now getting a good start at home. I had no sooner got out of my first class this morning when my mom sent me pictures of the only kids I’ll get this year. Leave it to temperamental, spoiled nanny goats to withhold their children until after I leave! On top of missing my kids, my duck eggs are due to hatch tomorrow. There are few things in life more adorable than tiny new duck feet, even if ducklings are louder than a tornado siren! At night, the spring peepers keep up a commotion in the pond, and I so enjoy seeing the mist rise off of the fields in the morning. As you may be able to tell, I really love spring! Yes, summer is lovely, fall is a huge relief after the heat, and winter is beautiful, but all life is renewed in the spring. The air is not yet muggy, and you can still smell the dirt in the air. In a few weeks the garden will be ready to plant, and there will be no end to weeding, tilling, watering, and rock picking. When the hay is tall, it will be cut, raked, baled, and hauled in a matter of days, only to be repeated again when the grass grows back. When the heat of the day is gone, there will be fishing trips and barbeques, swimming in the creek and catching lightning bugs. For now though, the nights are cool and quiet, and we still just flip through the seed catalogs. Balers and air conditioning are far from our minds as we sit in the living room with all the doors and windows open. We’ll enjoy these few brief weeks of spring before the Missouri heat moves in, and then we’ll pick okra and green beans, and dream of next spring.
A new little doe just born this morning!
Also a little doe, trying out her new legs!
These aren’t babies from this year, but they are the same breed that will be hatching this week. You can’t see them very well, but they have afros on top of their heads!