Brooding On

Mourning Our Beloved Copper

For those who were eagerly awaiting the Almond Milk recipe, I apologize.  You'll have to wait until Monday.  This news is just too big to put off.
This lovable fella is no longer with us.  Yep, it's Copper, our little buckling that you readers helped name so many months ago.  Yesterday morning, John found him lying dead in the goat pen. 
He was a scrawny little guy, and we'd actually had the vet out to take a look at him just a couple weeks ago.  He'd been spending most of the day in the goat shed and rarely eating.  Still, we don't know exactly what caused his death.  We're left with lots of questions . . . and lots of sadness.

Here he is in one of his favorite spots, playing king of the rock.

After breakfast, we broke the news to the kids and asked them if they'd like to go out and say goodbye.  They all wanted to, so we huddled together in the cold around our little goat's lifeless body and cried and prayed a prayer together.

As John explained to them, we are so blessed on our little farm to be surrounded by so much life.  But, with that comes death.

After they'd said their goodbyes, I rushed back inside with them to throw Girl 1's hair into a ponytail before carting the girls to school.  "My ponytail is all wrong!" she cried.  "It's bouncy, but I'm not."

I tried to encourage the girls before I dropped them at school by reminding them that we will still have some piece of Copper with us because he's the daddy to the goat kids we are expecting in a matter of weeks.  Who knows -- we may even have a kid that looks a bit like him.  Also, his death means that we'll be needing another buck for the farm, so we'll have the addition of yet another animal to look forward to. 

Once the girls were dropped at school, John, Little Boy, and I hauled Copper's body over to MeeMee's farm to deposit on the "bone pile" burial area where deer carcasses and such are placed. 

Here, Little Boy holds Copper's collar in his lap as we drive away.  He just kept wanting to know why.  "Why Copper is dead, Momma? Why?"  Copper was, after all, his goat.  Girl 2 promised to share her goat with him from now on.

We've been keeping the boys separate from the gals lately.  So, Copper's only companion has been this guy, Dallas.  Goats can't stand to be alone, though, so we had to turn Dallas out into the field with the girls this morning.

John and I both managed to hold it together pretty well in front of the kids.  But, when I saw Dallas wandering the field this morning by himself, as if he were looking for his buddy, I just lost it. 

He did eventually come back up to see me and eat some hay.  But, the loss of his friend will be an adjustment for him.

So, even as I go out daily and press on the Momma goat's swollen bellies in hopes of feeling a kick from inside and eagerly await the joy of birth, here we are -- mourning death. 
Such is farm life, I suppose -- an up-close and personal view of the cycle.   

So, yesterday was a hard day.  But, I don't wish away the sorrow.  I'll gladly bear it, as infrequently as it comes, in exchange for the extreme happiness this farm life brings us everyday.

Thank you, God, for the lessons that you teach us all through your beautiful creation.  We are humbled that you have entrusted it to our care.  With your help, may we ever be faithful to that calling.