Brooding On

If Your Kids Go to School with my Kids. . .

. . . allow me to apologize up front.

Izzy this morning, wishing she could get back into the boys' pen.

Izzy this morning, wishing she could get back into the boys' pen.

You may remember from my post last week, that we were planning to keep our buck out of the girls' pen for another few weeks, hoping that kidding season won't fall in the middle of a snow/ice storm this coming February.    Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

Yesterday, the female herd (with the exception of Izzy, pictured above) came up to the house to tell me something was wrong.  They didn't have to make too much ruckus for me to figure it out -- one of them was missing.  The usual herd of 5 was only 4.  Where was Izzy?  Always afraid of coyote attack, Girl 1 and I loaded up the Ranger, prepared to search the fields for her. I decided to quickly check at the barn first, though, and there we found her . . . in the boys' pen.  Clearly the deed had already been done, but with Girl 1's help I moved her back into the girls' field.  

I couldn't pinpoint how she'd gotten over there.  But, last night, during milking time, we figured it out as we watched her do it again.  She'd found a spot in the fence that had come unattached and that if she put all her weight against it, she could wriggle through.  In awe, we watched her do it.  And, then before we could get out there, the girls and I watched as she and Oreo did their thing.

Girl 1 is pretty well-versed in the birds and the bees by now, so she mostly spent her viewing time rolling her eyes and admonishing Izzy, "Oh, Izzy. Hasn't anyone ever told you not to let boys take advantage of you like that?"

Girl 2 just cackled and cackled as she watched the goats' antics, then turned to me and said, "This is a GREAT show!  I wish we had some popcorn!"  

Once the "show" was over, I did have some questions to answer, like . . .

"What was that coming out of his belly?"

"Why was she giving him a piggy-back ride?"

Taking advantage of the teaching opportunity, I answered each of their questions using the correct names for things with matter-of-factness and no hint of embarrassment (I was really proud of myself for this).  When our kids ask us tough questions, I think that the tone of our voices and the ease with which we deliver information can sometimes communicate more to them than the words we use.  I hope that, more than a lesson in how goats reproduce, they also learned that it's okay to ask me questions about ANYTHING and that I can be trusted to give them real answers.  

I realize, however, that not all parents may take this tact.  So, if your child comes home from school today with questions because of something that my child has told them about the goings on of our farm yesterday, my apologies.  

But, my kids are just excited about the wonder of life and the hope of new goat babies to play with.  For me to follow up last night's conversation with, "But please don't go to school and tell your friends about what you saw the goats do" would completely undermine the message I was trying to send them that what they witnessed was natural -- nature's way of bringing about new life and more milk for use on our farm.

Once things died down, I was able to mend the fence and bring Izzy back over to the girls' side once again.  In light of this unexpected breeding, we will probably go ahead and release Oreo into the ladies' field this coming weekend.  I'm sure he'll be pleased.  Hopefully the Farmer's Almanac and persimmons will be wrong, and we won't be kidding in the midst of winter's fury.