Hard Earth Farm

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Goats in the Mist: Concerning Love, Loss, and Fauna 5

Posted by [email protected] on July 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Sassy, Holly, Jill, Beezle--someday, the only things that we will have left of them are our memories of them. It's easy to picture Sassy and Holly, mother and daughter, lying side-by-side in the shade with their heads resting on each others' backs. Jill's and Beezle's bleatings for food and attention are very distinct in my mind. Even though I haven't known them and the other animals for as long as the Avretts, I've grown very attached to them--I can't imagine not loving them.

No matter how hard the day  (working from 6 a.m. to very near midday catching and squashing kudzu bugs in a large plastic bag, for example), the animals can still make us smile. From comically and adorably chewing cud to coming up to us and waiting to be scratched, it's as though they go out of their way to be their wonderful selves.  

It's really no surprise, then, that a death in a herd (or flock) can be so painful. When Sassy gave birth earlier this year, she had twins, but Holly's brother was born with a condition that would have brought him to a slow, inevitable death. To prevent his suffering, Nate had to put him down. It was a heart-wrenching experience for us. The passing of Cinnamon was equally difficult, but for different reasons.

Cinnamon was expecting, but she did not pass the lamb despite exhibiting all the signs of having gone into labor. No one knew what was wrong, and we suspected that she had already had the baby (and that it was no longer alive) or that one had not formed. We left her that night because we didn't know what was happening. The next morning, Mrs. Avrett found her. She told us that Cinnamon had been in labor the whole time, but she had needed a Caesarean section which none of us could have professionally performed. We lost Cinnamon and her little Nutmeg. Nate and Mrs. Avrett buried them beside Holly's brother.

I suppose that all that we can do is to love the animals that we can and to remember fondly those that we cannot. 

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