It’s dusk and I hear one of my little doeling girls yelling from down the ridge. I’m fortunately all suited up, so I run to the Jeep, speed down the lane, and sprint down the ridge with my spikes through ice and slushy snow and woods.
I manage not to break anything, and when I burst out of the woods I see little Lulu tangled in the fence, downed in the snow.
Thank god she yelled. She hasn’t been stuck long but she’s panicked and soaked through by the snow and very, very cold. I got her free and am relieved to see no injuries on her, but with below freezing temps and 40-50mph winds expected any minute for the next 48 hours, she won’t make it through the night if she stays in the barn.
At this point the freezing rain has started but no wind yet.
I put my jacket on her, check the rest of the small herd, and start crunching my way towards the woods. Over my own breathing, I hear something behind me and when I check I have 6 little goats blithely following after me in the dark. Of course. The snow is high and the fence is low, it’s covered in ice and snow and not energized, and apparently it’s not even a suggestion, anymore.
I turn around and carry her back to the barn and settle her in the separate hay area with my jacket on her. I keep an eye on her as I deal with the shenanigans of closing the doelings in their barn when every gate is frozen into the mud and not moving. Lulu is rallying, standing up, and eating hay. I sprint up the hill to grab the bolt cutters from the lambing barn and quickly but carefully make my way back down the ridge in the dark, sending up a silent thanks that I had my headlamp with me when this all went down. I’ve grabbed a Carhardt vest from the Jeep in passing, so I’m somewhat protected from the freezing rain now that a goat is borrowing my jacket.
The bolt cutters come into play as I dismantle an old hay feeder and use the cattle panel as the new gate with so much baling twine, I might as well have crocheted a gate instead.
Ok barn is safe and secure and Lulu is steadily improving but still soaked. I carefully tuck one long handle of the bolt cutters down the side of my coveralls, put my damp jacket back on, and I hoist little Lulu on to my shoulders, being careful to settle her sternum on my neck and not put pressure on her rumen.
And I climb. Again. With the rain, it’s all slush and ice and I’ve lost the spikes on one boot, so only one is digging in to grip the path and Jesus it is literally all uphill. It is grueling. About halfway up, the rain starts letting up. Lulu is calm. No wind yet.
So we finally get to the top and into the Jeep and OOPS gotta shut the chickens in because it’s been dark for a while by this point and ok back to business. Lulu’s short joyride ends and I bring her into the Sparkle Shack to spend the night with Sparkles (who has made a remarkable comeback, is putting on lots of weight, and is about 93% recovered) in her pen under the heat lamp.
Sparkles, however, is NOT ON BOARD. I have never seen her like this. She is like a teeny avenging goat angel, all beautiful and terrible and ready to LAY INTO Lulu, who summons the strength to literally leap out of the pen and into my arms.
And that’s how I ended up with a goat in my kitchen last night.