Monday, June 6, 2011

The teetor-totter of life

Sometimes it can very easy to get bogged down in to the sadness and sorrow of a life with animals. Unless you are able to farm tortoises, elephants, or parrots, chances are you are going to have to say goodbye to most of your critters long before you are ready to. It sucks. Period, paragraph, end of sentence. It’s never easy, and it’s never not sad.

But, if you are lucky, you get to experience the other end of the spectrum. Counterbalance some of that death, with a healthy dose of birth.

This year, we’re expecting a plethora of baby goats starting in July. It’s impossible to have a bad day with baby goats in your life, so we always look forward to kidding season. But we also had an unexpected birth this year, when our elderly mini donkey jenny Sage delivered an unexpected jennet. Stevie Nicks as we’ve named her, is possibly the cutest thing ever. Sassy, and friendly, and full of herself, and pretty much all ears, legs, and eyes. She’s been a real ray of sunshine.

Even in the years we haven’t had our own critters producing, good old Mother Nature usually provides us a nice bookend in the spring. The does like to bring their new fawns to play on the grassy slope behind my house, a female coyote likes to den and pup down in the canyon in the big pasture, and we’ve even had a bobcat and her kittens peering at us from the trees. The wild turkeys drop their poults a bit later in the year, but there are usually several run-ins with the fuzzy little things (they’re a bit prone to panic, so the encounter usually involves lots of squawking and running).

I’d like to be as moved by the wild pigs and their piglets, but honestly I’m terrified of them, and seeing a sow with piglets is more scary than usual. (Think T-Rex versus Velociraptors—both terrifying, both would like to eat you, but the Velociraptors have just a little more devious motivation).  I once came upon a sow shuttling some piglets across the road, and she charged my car multiple times and jumped up on the hood. I was screaming like Jaime Lee Curtis in the original Halloween.

Those things are HORRIFYING.

So we go through the year here on the farm, and sometimes it feel like the goal is just to keep the old life/death teeter-totter balanced. In a good year, life is heavy, in a bad one, well, you get the idea.

So far this year, life is tilting downward. Fingers crossed.

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