Mama goat died in December. She took a couple of days to get ready. My vet – Dr. Nebs – came just so I could be sure that she didn't have a bug or something that I was overlooking. She had never been sick. Ever. She was old. She came to the farm in 2013 – 8 years old or so – with her last two babies – Echo and Henri(etta).
She lay in her stall – quiet, warm and dry – taking an occasional walk out in the snow, looking at me in her sideways way and enjoying a scratch behind the ears. I knew. She knew. She wasn't eating her grain. And she never skipped a meal. On her last day I brought her some baby spinach and a slice of raisin bread (her fave) and she enjoyed them both.
A final bed of hay.
I was out of the straw I use for bedding. And with carpenters on site, Mama got a beautiful, custom, final resting box filled with the hay she loved to eat. I think I may have put her directly in the ground if they had not built that box. But either way, she is buried next to the rock pile where the goats like to soak up the sun rays in the summer.
Life and death.
Mama lived well. She was part of a meat goat herd before she came here. She got hung up in a tree as a young goat and was nursed back to health by the kind farmers who raised her. They developed a relationship and she never made it to the processor.
Here on the farm, Mama focused on food. It's what got her up and going in the morning and back into the barn at night. She was a regular burglar of the feed room, making a colossal mess and irritating the heck outta me. It's funny what focused motivation can get you (note to self). As she got older, in winters you would find Mama in her red-trimmed navy goat coat. She looked proud every time I put it on her.
Mama also died well. Of this I am most proud. She was comfortable and died naturally with no intervention, in a home that she loved and where she had lived for 9 long years. And that is where she rests now. Right next to the rock pile Echo hangs out on all summer.
A new world order.
For nine long years, the goats and donkeys were separated. On the off chance they would get into each other's pasture, things would not go well. Murphy would try to kill them. Especially Mama who was an easy mark with a stiff leg from her early injury.
Just the other day, the goats pushed open the stall door that connects with the donkey pasture. “Are the goats supposed to be in with the donkeys?” my husband called from the living room window as I pulled up in the truck. No. SMH. But there they were. Henri chasing Murphy. Murphy kicking up his heels. A little entertainment. No risk to Mama. A new world order.
xo, Farm Girl