Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Mother’s Day.

Posted on | May 23, 2012 | 4 Comments

Well, some of us put in the hours on Mother’s Day.  Not me.  But some of us.

Cookie Dough hatched out her ducklings.

Which is a good thing.  Because we were almost out of hay.  And we couldn’t bring in new hay until somebody got her nest out of the last remaining hay roll.  Which wasn’t as much of a roll as a small pile of picked over stems being guarded by an easily agitated and unnecessarily vicious broody duck.

Emmie had hatched her ducklings the week before.  But she finally brought them out of the barn and down to the pond.  And like mothers all over the world, she was happy to pose with them in front of a scenic background for a family portrait on the afternoon of Mother’s Day.

Brianna, in typical Queen-like fashion, took the cake, though.  She birthed 3 healthy kids—2 bucklings and a doeling—on Sunday night.

They had beautiful colors and we plan on keeping the doeling, Angel.  Gabriel and CJ will need new homes.  We have been inviting people over to hold them and pet them and ooh and aah over them until they have a sweet baby goat asleep in their lap.  As that is the best and fastest way to sell goats. 🙂

Julia’s days of motherhood came to an end as we managed to sell her buckling, Joseph, at the flea market.  Because if you can’t sell baby goats to farm visitors, your next best chance is to stroll casually around the flea market with a floppy eared, frolicking buckling bouncing along beside you as you peruse the produce.  Going, going, gone!  We have yet to return home with a goat kid that we took to the flea market.  Although, Julia’s work days aren’t over.  Now that she’s not providing milk for her family, she’s providing milk for mine.  Keep up the good work, girl!

With birds fledging all over the property, even fathers had to work on Mother’s Day.  The tufted titmouses (titmice??) that nested in the barn yard had 2 chicks fly off successfully and one plop hopelessly to the ground.  In full view of the barn cat.  I had no idea that the male and female tufted titmouse worked together to raise the young.  Until we (The Other Half) attempted to put the fledgling back in the nest and were swarmed by both parents.  A tufted titmouse is not an intimidating bird.  Until 2 of them are flitting from branch to branch, chirping hysterically and trying to peck out your (The Other Half’s) eyes.  I wanted to get a picture of the The Other Half putting the fledgling back in the nest.  But my zoom lens wasn’t strong enough to get a good picture from where I was standing in safety.  Hey, someone had to survive to take care of our kids.  Plus, it was Mother’s Day.  Enough said.

But in case you were hoping for a pic of a cute fledgling and thought my post was headed in that direction, you don’t need to be disappointed.  We spotted this mockingbird chick clinging to a bush at the local baseball field.  Looks like his first flight wasn’t so successful either.  And although no squawking birds were in sight, I’m sure his mother showed up to claim him eventually.  She was probably out for a quick latte.  With whipped cream.  And a caramel drizzle.  Which is sometimes what a mom needs to deal with her child’s latest crisis.

While all the other mothers were working on their holiday, I settled for a matinee with The Other Half and the kids to watch The Avengers.  With enough popcorn and soda refills that I didn’t have to make any dinner.  A win, win for everybody.

As a matter of fact, I even went so far as to delegate most of the mother responsibilities during the Middle’s birthday party, which comes hot on the heels of Mother’s Day.

Middle and Little made the party gift bags.

Big mowed the backyard.

Pretty made the burger patties.

Little cut the cheese.  Hah!  Cut the cheese!

Pretty drew the pirate ship targets on the patio.

Big and Little filled balloons.

Pretty and Big created the treasure hunt.  They even went so far as to bury the clues, which would have been way too much effort for me.

I delegated and supervised.   Plus, I made the cake.

Which was pretty much the extent of my mothering at that party.  Turns out Middle likes being mothered by his siblings just fine.  And a good time was had by all, particularly the 8 to 9 year old boys.  Who are now old enough to think constant mothering is a bit overrated anyway.

Just about the only mothering I have been doing over the Mother’s Day week was obsessing about Tina’s splints.  When we took off her last long splints, we were discouraged to find that her left leg was still weak at the pastern and she wanted to “knuckle down” on it.  We discussed several solutions and The Other Half suggested only splinting the left leg since the right leg was now straight, just weak.  I nixed that idea as I thought she’d be too unstable on one splint.  Instead we splinted both legs, but made the splints much shorter so that they would keep her pasterns straight while continuing to give her more leg movement and, hypothetically, building more leg strength.  Note how that left leg still has a powerful bend.

Well, turns out that The Other Half was right and I should have just splinted the bent leg.  When we changed the splints 5 days later, the left leg was not any better.  Plus, the right leg, which had been straight, now also had a bend at the pastern.  I had no idea how that was possible  (the bent right leg, not The Other Half being right.  Although, I wonder about that, too…).  Total epic FAIL.

So we tried another adjustment.  We splinted both legs but this time we only put the splint on one side of the leg (usually it’s on both back and front of the leg) and taped the leg tightly to it.  I’d like to tell you there was a reason for this.  Something based upon orthopedic science or occupational therapy.  But it was just something we hadn’t tried yet.  Too bad it didn’t work.  Tina pretty much broke out of those splints in a few days on her own and both legs were still bent at the pasterns.

“Well, that’s that,”  said Middle, “Time to put her down.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Remember?  You said you weren’t going to spend a lot of time trying to fix her.  You were willing to give it a shot but you weren’t going to keep on trying and trying.  It would just be a waste of time”

“Oh, please,”  I said as I gathered my bucket of splinting supplies.  “Mothers always say that.  It makes us feel like we can bail out when things gets tough.   But we never do.  Half the kids in America wouldn’t be potty trained or sleeping in their own bed or wiping their mouths on their napkins instead of their sleeves if mothers didn’t keep trying.”

I splinted Tina’s left, weaker leg in a full splint—at least long splints had been proven effective at straightening her legs.  Then following The Other Half’s advice, I left the right leg free and watched to see what happened.  Oh, she bent the right leg a bit as she walked.

But she spent just as much time walking on it straight….

….and even using it to hold all her weight in a straight position while lifting her splint off the ground!

“There!”  I said to Middle.  “You never know when a waste of time is going to turn around into something good.  Wait until you’re a parent and you’ll see.”

“Nah,”  he said as he wandered off.  “I won’t be a mom.  I’ll be a dad.  I won’t have to waste my time on that stuff.”

I thought of all the mothering I’d had to do over the years.  Then I thought of The Other Half putting fledglings in nests, and helping to splint baby goats, and waiting for a duckling to hatch her eggs before he had to spend the afternoon pushing heavy hay rolls up the ramp into the barn.  I laughed.

“Good luck with that, Middle.  Good luck.”


4 Responses to “Mother’s Day.”

  1. Carolynn
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    Yay! Wild happy dancing over the success of Tina’s recovery! That’s awesome.

    I love that so many of your animals chose Mother’s Day to…well, become one. Very cool. I notice that your horse is giving that bird a very wide berth.

    You are a very shrewd saleswoman by the sound of things. Excellent sales technique!

  2. lin
    May 24th, 2012 @ 6:16 am

    Love this motherhood post. I think you covered it all so nicely–especially about not giving up on those you love. I too, have taped chameleon tails, clipped hamster teeth, and nursed more cats, dogs, birds, frogs and fish than I care to remember. It’s what we do as mothers–we fix things. Or at least we try really, really hard to fix things. Sometimes we can’t…and then we cry…really hard. Or at least, I do, anyway.

    I really appreciate you keeping me updated on Tina. You know, I think about that darn goat a lot. And I really, really hope you can fix her legs.

    Happy Mother’s Day….every day, my friend. 🙂

  3. Sandybee
    May 24th, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

    I’m cheering for the goat. I can hardly wait for the next installment to read about her progress. Come on, Tina! You can do it!!

  4. Lynda
    June 5th, 2012 @ 5:51 am

    Beautiful! Glad you’re not giving up!

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