Today, as usual, the time set back threw me off and Surge's insistance that I feed him at his five o'clock - not mine, promted me to begin feeding. (I plan to circumvent this by starting to feed the crew at 3 - I swear they will have me feeding in the AM before too much longer!) I gathered up my gear, slipped on my crocks and trouped outside, to be greeted by a courus of "maaaaaaaaaaa!!!" and "baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! - along with Surge's "I'm going to starve to death!" yelp.
Since, as you know, my first goat breeding season is upon us and LaLa is a HUGE prude. This would not be a big deal for a more seasoned goat herder, but for me it has made getting her bred difficult; I have been checking her downright religiously every twelve hours wince November 6. I always feed CJ first, then LaLa because when she is done eating I relieve her milk bag and check her for heat.
Boy, did she have a surprise for me.
As I emptied her milk bag, I checked her lady bits - only to discover she was in RAGING heat! Of course she wasn't flagging or peeing or any of the other signs I had prepared to look for! (She has her own special set, pawing, trying to mount CJ, and head-butting Jazz - she's not even very vocal!) I thought: "CRAP! Crap, crap, crap, crap, CU-RAP!" LaLa shot to the barn to munch on some hay I'd pulled down. Thinking I was right, I went a head and trimmed her hooves up. Threw some hay to the sheep and went inside to think.
Let me start by saying - I was completely unprepared for this, even though I knew it was coming this week. I really thought she would hold out until Thursday or even better, Friday when Chris has the entire day off and could lend me a hand. Then we could all pop over to S-Stock and put her in with Excel. Oh, no, no, no, no! Miss Prim and Proper, had to wait until Chris was gone to work. I've got a potential "bean" in the "cooker", so I could not lift anything heavy - including the camper cover or LaLa. So, my wheels began turning.
I shot my sis-in-law, a quick text to confirm my suspicions of the unusual signs I saw, she quickly confirmed them. I shot an email to S-Stock, the buck's owner and KD, LaLa's co-owner. S-Stock encouraged me to bring her on by, which I had no real thought of doing. At this point I was manic with excitement, I had actually CAUGHT her heat early! This means girl goats! (Well, at least I think I had since I still have no firm idea of when she came into heat, how long her cycle is, or when it will happen. We are working on that.) Quickly, I realized that if I waited until Thursday I would miss a very important window of opportunity, but this was going to be very very hard.
A few of my FB friends gave me some suggestions as I had no where to really put her, but in the truck in an open bed. I knew that she would raise all kinds of cane and probably jump out on me, so I began contemplating putting her in the cab with me. I did not relish the idea. What if she peed on me? What if Chris was upset that I put her in Monica? What if it stressed her out to much and caused her not to settle? Realizing that LaLa is basically calm and sweet, I thought it can't be that much different that driving a large dog around - right? I decided then I would put her upfront with me, open a window, keep her on the passenger's side as much as possible, and somehow clip her close to the door.
Okay, now - how to get her from the ground to the cab. She is much to refined to JUMP. I searched among our hardwood pallets and found one that would serve as a ramp - yes! I clipped a leash on LaLa and hooked her to a T-post outside the fence, there were a few more things I needed to take care of first.
I dashed inside, my brain doing somersaults. Write check. Grab towels. Grab feed. Grab flashlight. Check, check, check, check. Grabbing a sip of tea, I zoomed out the door with my arms full. I stuffed the check in my wallet, threw the towels in the cab's floor, put the feed and flashlight on the hood of the truck. I went to get the start of this show, LaLa.
She was standing there complacently, waiting. I led her across the red porch around the cottage and back to the truck. Grabbing the grain, I began easing her up the ramp. She followed fairly willingly, but wasn't sure about actually getting IN the cab. I climbed in the bed and pulled - nope that wasn't going to work, it was completely pulling her in the wrong direction. Fussing, I clamored down the side of the truck into the cab shook the grain and began pulling her into the cab. She jumped in easily and promptly tipped her grain bucket over. I shut her in and ran around to the passenger side, freeing the ramp so I could shut the door. I grabbed her leash and shut it in the door. Then grabbed the ramp and tossed it in the back - who knows If I would need it or now.
Sighing a small breath of relief, LaLa was now loaded in the cab. I jumped in with her and pushed her gooey rear away from me so her back feet were in the floor board, her front feet were on the seat and she could see out the back window. I put a blindfold on her, but that caused her to panic and she immediately fell between the door and the seat so I yanked it off her face.
Stomping the gas to warm Monica up, jamming the gears and spinning the tires - LaLa and I headed down the driveway much to every one's disapproval and chagrin. (Surge and CJ were pitching royal fits!!!) LaLa bumped her head as I overly-eagerly left the driveway excitement possessing my body.
I had even managed to write directions down and everything went off without a hitch! We made it down the highway with no big deals, but I was panicking and praying inside. Wolf had taken our last monies to work with him. I have no idea why as he had left them here all week. And the truck sat on empty, I prayed that I could at least get there and back without and problems.
The sun dipped down behind the horizon and darkness settled upon LaLa and I. Fortunately, I was able to read the directions sufficiently enough to get us to the destination. Even though I did drive by it the first time.
We got to S-Stock, got her unloaded (where she promptly peed - good girl LaLa), and put her in with Excel. (I'll have to write more about that experience later on!) I talked with Excel's owner for a long while and would have stayed forever - I stayed a good long while, but seriously I have so much to learn.
Using the push pull method again, LaLa was reloaded now smelling like a buck and seemingly determined to put her bum in my face. I pushed her to the passenger side again and hoped the truck would crank. It did. (And I know I probably woke some one up or at least scared the daylights out of someone, you have to gun the crap out of the truck to get it going!)
I swallowed my fear and set off again. I must of turned the wrong way or something as I got lost in suburbia for at least the first 10 minutes until I finally found my way back again. Retracing my steps LaLa and I were quickly back on the highway.
We were doing great (minus LaLa's smelly bits and her dropping goat pellets every 30 minutes), until we crested a hill and the truck started missing, then coughing, and sputtering, then she died. I pulled off the shoulder at the top of the hill, absolutely dismayed. But I refused to give into my fear. I pushed it away and began thinking.
Now my sis-in-law lives about 10 exits from where I was and I was pretty sure they had some gas I could borrow, so I called her straight away. I dialed her number and waited. There was no answer - my heart sank. I left a message anyway thinking she was outside or something. I also texted her. But I knew, I simply could not sit there and wait for her to reply - I had no idea what she was doing or where she was. Though her habits would dictate that she was home watching her favorite prime time TV show, I could not be sure. So, I went back the drawing board.
I looked over at LaLa, she seemed to be doing okay. I petted her and discovered she hates semis going by up on the open road. She was panting a little, so I knew this was stressing her out and that for her sake I had to get help to get us moving from someone I could trust and fast.
I looked at my phone. Wolf doesn't have a cell phone, but some of his co-workers do. Now, I had no idea who would or would not be working. So, I selected everyone I knew from my phone book that I thought might be at work with Chris - it was about 7 to 10 people and I sent them all the same message. Within a few minutes, I got a reply from someone I knew and trusted well, CC. He was sending a friend of ours, L, with some gas. I was told to look for a big red Chevy truck. I thanked him profusely and began waiting.
LaLa was getting really stressed with all the vehicles zooming by and rocking the truck. Fortunately, I had brought a blind fold with me. I folded it over 3 times and tied it tightly around her eyes. She still was worried and it was getting cold in the truck, so I put a thick towel over her eyes, neck, and shoulders. She almost instantly started calming down.
Well, it was dark - as in pitch black - so I knew I would not be able to see the color, but I could identify the headlights. I began searching for the flashlight, and couldn't find it. Crap! I left it on the hood of the truck back up! No good to me there!!
Sure enough after about thirty minutes, two Chevy headlights popped up behind me. I unlocked my door, waited for cars to pass and for this person to approach. I automatically took my defensive Tae Kwon Do stance, with my weight resting on my front leg and my hands ready. But I saw L's white-blonde hair and knew it was him. I called out in a wavering voice and thanked him as he approached. It was a fairly awkward conversation.
He emptied the contents of the can into Monica as my feet froze. I was so GLAD I had enough sense in my head to bring a sweatshirt. He said, "See if this works." So, I hopped in Mon, pumped the petal and nothing happened. Man - oh man - did my heart jump in my throat. I tried again. Nothing. I jammed my foot on the clutch, my right toes on the brake and my heel on the gas and stomped her. She jumped to life! The roar of her hot rod engine cutting off L's words.
I waved a very grateful thank you. I could have hugged him, but that just isn't appropriate or my style. I gathered my wits. Watched the traffic and pulled back onto the highway. Finally, we were going HOME!!
L followed me a good ways as he lives just an exit or two before mine. I waved again as he got off to go home and continued on to my exit, just up the road. The truck quickly heated up, warming my toes and LaLa. So, I took the towel off of her and yanked the blind fold off . She looked around, grateful for her sight again and seemingly comforted that we were moving.
I breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled off the highway onto our exit. Turning left we headed home. Just 3 more legs left and I would be back home under the watchful eye of my dogs and reclining in my favorite chair. I dreamt of the delicious homemade bread I had made that was calling my name. I turned down onto our country road, full of bliss and joy. Taking each curve with caution so as to not upset LaLa.
When my bubble of happiness was shattered, as the truck cough, sputtered and died. AGAIN. I was furious. Luckily, it is a straight drive so I was able to force it to move some, but you can't get very far without gas. It had died in the middle of the road. so I hopped out and pushed it about 20 yards. I jammed on the breaks as the wheels left the pavement. We were sitting at a 10 degree angle. As soon as we stopped, LaLa peed - filling the truck's floor! Well, I can't blame her. She had waited a really long time.
It was pitch black. I was about a mile and a half from home. Not wanting to call anyone else or not thinking anyone would come with me so close. I decided at 10 at night to walk home with LaLa. I wasn't about to leave her behind.
I put on the emergency flashers and left the parking lights on. Knowing Wolf would be home in an hour and a half and be able to help me get this thing HOME. I jumped out and went to get LaLa. Her door was locked. I tried that again, but with her door unlocked.
I pulled her out and she easily jumped down. I lead her around the truck onto the pave ment and we began walking. She just wanted to stop and eat! I wouldn't let her as I had no idea what she was eating. She has breaking my hand with her reluctant place. I formed a loop in the lead and tied it around my waist.
The stars were beautiful and we trekked along, both of us glad to stretch our legs. Hearing a car coming I got us a little off the road. It began to pull off and I sucked in my breath. Now, I do not like strangers and I like even less someone pulling over in the middle of the night. I vowed then to carry some sort of weapon on me when I am alone from now on.
The interior lights came on and it was a young couple. The asked if that was my truck and if I was okay. I said I was fine, I just had to get my goat home. That brought some laughter. They told me they had room for me, but not the goat. I was not about to leave her on the side of the road - hello bear snack.
They gave me a flash light, but were really concerned for my safety. As was I. Had I had Surge or Jazz with me, I would have continued alone in the dark without a worry. But I had no light, no protection, and a big bear snack attached to me. The girl was very worried about me. She said, "No, it is way too far for you to walk - let us go get my Dad's truck and come get you and the goat." Asking me to wait there, they said they would be right back with the truck.
Now, I really hate to wait when I KNOW I could be making progress toward my goal. I just knelt down with LaLa beside the light they had given us and waited. I gave them until 10.30 and we would resume our walk.
The couple reappeared well before then with a HUGE dodge truck. Rearranging the bed, the asked if she could JUMP in the bed. Laughing I told them no, she would never make it! They had no idea what to do with LaLa. Just pick her up like you would a dog, I told them. They did not seem to understand what I meant. So, I demonstrated and the girl copied me and together we plopped LaLa in the truck.
I refused to leave her yet again, as I knew she could jump out and hang herself. I clamored in behind LaLa and crouched down behind her as they shut us in. It was wild! As the truck took off, I curled up behind LaLa, using her as a windshield, but my hands became almost instantly numb from the cold. Every bump sent me to worrying about the possible "bean" in the "cooker." I gritted my teeth and prayed for the best.
We were at the foot of my driveway before I knew it. They wanted to drive me all the way to the top, but with the things they had in the back it would have been too dangerous for LaLa and I to remain in the back of the truck. I insisted we would be fine and hopped out as soon as the tailgate was down. The girl and I unloaded LaLa. She thanked them with a sniff. I thanked them profusely, waved, and started up the driveway. The couple stayed behind until I got most of the way to the top, making my shadowed body look like a giant marching up the hill.
The Anatolians went NUTS as I came close! Smelling it was me, they finally stopped. Jazz and Surge were happy to see me and LaLa return. I immediately put her back in the pasture, where she and CJ exchanged familiars. I gave Jazz a pat on the head and went inside to collapse.
Wolf came home shortly afterward and we were able to get the truck home!