I plodded down the stairs this morning in the early coolness of the day, mentally
lining up 'things to do.'
As late spring tips into the heat of summer, morning is the best time to go into the garden, to peg out laundry, to make plans for the day.
There are the usual chores that must be done: meals, clean-up, the 'reward' of time at my desk.
I contemplated my on-going genealogy project, thought of selecting fabric for the quilting class I have registered for on Thursday.
Dirty laundry chugging in the washer downstairs, bed made, bathrooms tided.
A knock on the door.
It was Lizzie, wondering if there was more kibble on hand for the Pyrenees dogs.
I picked up my key and walked with her down the lane.
In the washroom of the lower house we wrestled with a 50# bag of dog food scooping it into the covered bins that are kept in the barn.
Mary had finished milking and was shepherding the goats toward their enclosure. I carried milk in to the kitchen fridge and returned to the stable to find Mary on her knees by the old supply cupboard, portable phone in one hand.
"The kittens are chewing up the phone cord," she announced.
She tugged the cupboard away from the wall, while kittens darted in all directions.
I offered to take the phone to the house, realized I had locked the door and set the key down--somewhere. Lizzie located the key, I trudged from barn to house and back again.
Mary was still fretting over the kittens, Lizzie had finished feeding goats.
They are competent young women, working quietly each morning to care for the animals while their owners are away.
Heading down the drive I noticed evidence of scouring in one of the small goats, knew that I would need to check on her in a few hours.
Washing pegged on the lines, time to make the mid-morning breakfast that Jim prefers.
Glancing out the kitchen window I noted the billy goats were on the wrong side of the gate--again.
Dandelion, the white goat, is a wizard at finding ways to escape the pasture.
Once he is 'out,' Caraway, the spotted goat, sets up a piteous bleating while he decides whether to follow his companion.
Jim has gone around stopping up any gaps he can find in the fence.
Wily Dandelion is able to find more gaps!
Breakfast consumed, potato salad in the fridge to cool.
Jim has returned the goats to the pasture.
Astonishingly, it is nearly noon!
From that point, the day unraveled.
I read at my desk for a bit, made a cool drink for Jim when he came in from the workshop.
Jim off on an errand and the now familiar 'halloo' of Dandelion the Billy Goat as he crossed
the back yard.
Irritated, I stomped out, grumbling at the goats. Caraway rested placidly in the shade of the stable, the gate seemingly in place, while Dandelion strode past me into the bay where Jim parks a tractor.
I rested my hand against the gate, considering what to do.
A hot stab of pain in my forearm, the whir of a wasp.
I yelped, located another wasp peering from a hole in the lower bar of the gate.
I felt a compelling need to sit on the ground and wail; instead I ran to the house for calamine lotion and an aerosol bug bomb.
I located a lead rope, hooked it into Dandelion's collar.
He lumbered along pleasantly enough.
At the bend in the lane a large black snake whipped across the gravel.
I found I didn't have energy to waste in screaming.
Caraway, not wanting to be left behind, plodded down the lane inside the fence.
I turned Dandelion into the pasture at the lower gate, hoping he would stay there long enough for me to think how best to deal with him.
A check on the young goats to discover that four of them were now presenting scours.
Back home to anxiously contact the owner family for advice.
I fed the cats their 'tea', rinsed the tin and carried it to the rubbish bin in the washroom--in time to watch Dandelion come round the back of the barn and down over the retaining wall.
Aha! So that's where he's been getting out!
I stomped toward him.
'You blardy, useless goat!' I bellowed.
He stared at me--and belched loudly.
I realized that I was completely out of patience with his goatly shenanigans.
I also realized the lead ropes were all in the goat barn--down the lane.
I huffed down the lane, collected the leads, started back up to find that Dandelion was strolling into my garden.
Furious, I stormed up to him, clipped on the lead and began towing him as fast as I could go without breaking into a run.
He protested, snorting and blowing.
Halfway down the lane he dropped to his knees.
I hauled him up, tugged on the lead. A few more yards and he balked again.
Dandelion out-weighs me by a good bit, but I daresay I can match him in stubborness.
I got him into the barn, into the stall, went back for Caraway.
True to form, Caraway had trotted down to the lower gate--I had only to clip on the lead and coax him up the drive.
The baby goats were to have a gatorade/water mix instead of their evening milk.
They didn't relish it, but most of it went down.
I put hay in the rack, leaned against the gate, patting the bony small heads thrust up for attention.
It should be a simple job--a few days of helping to tend these animals.
Jim has pitched in, assisting with the evening feeding, corralling the billys.
I had time one evening to brush and clip Munchkin-dog, removing matted clumps of winter hair.
I've enjoyed the greetings of the does each time I walk down the lane.
Today concerns for the baby goats, frustrations with the escaping billies, a sense of my own incompetence, of hours wasted.
Sitting here at a few minutes til midnight, I attempt to gather calm and courage for tomorrow.
I have confined the billy goats to their quarters in the barn.
I have implemented the changes in feeding which will hopefully put the little goats right.
I can't replace the scattered hours of this day.
Tomorrow? There are a few hours until I must tackle tomorrow!