Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Bad Week and a Bit of Sunshine

My friend Toni has a wonderful outlook on life. She has had her share of health problems and personal heartbreak, yet always finds something to be thankful for. On a stormy March day she wrote: "One moment there is rain or hail pounding ferociously on the windows, carried along by gale-force winds and water is running an inch deep across the sidewalk. Just as suddenly as it began, there is a lull in the storm, the wind dies and rays of sunlight dazzle the eye--for about three seconds--then the whole thing starts again. I love it! That way, if someone asks about the weather, I can truthfully say, 'Well we had some sun today.'"

I've tried to emulate Toni but it's been difficult this past week. It all started when I left a baby buck in too long with his mom and the other milkers last fall. By the time I realized he was breeding the does, he already had. In the last week, five does bred by little Gin Rummy freshened (had kids)... and all but one had problems. Some kids were turned in impossible positions to get out, one had been poisoned by a fetus that had died months earlier, and others were just plain too big. Most years I never have to help a doe give birth and rarely lose a kid. With these four does, I had to help all but one doe and I lost 3 kids out of 12, a pretty terrible percentage. Trying to think of this in Toni's terms, the mothers all are fine.

But there were other dark skies. My senior buck, only seven years old, was sick one day and died the next. I have no idea what was wrong with him. On the plus side, we managed to get him buried before company arrived. And the company was definitely a plus. Kit took Johnny to the hospital for the MRI of his back while I did chores, Suue washed dishes, and then Suue and I moved hay and brought in firewood. It was great to have help and friendship.

Things were brightening up... until the earthquake happened in Japan. When I heard "8.9" I thought perhaps the whole country was destroyed. I was terrified that our Japanese family -- Yoko and her children, their spouses and her grandchildren -- had been washed away in the terrible tsunami that followed. But when I saw the map, I knew that Yoko and two of her children were on the opposite side of the island from the tsunami. Her other children live near Tokyo, also out of tsunami range, although certainly not out of earthquake damage range. I emailed and hoped Yoko could send email even though I'd heard that much of Japan was without electricity or phone service and the aftershocks, themselves strong enough to cause damage, were nearly continuous. This morning, Saturday, a message arrived. Yoko and all her family are safe! A dazzling ray of sunlight, indeed, in the midst of all that horror.

There's nothing like a disaster to make me realize how fortunate I am to have nothing more serious to complain about than goat problems. Johnny's back woes are not so serious he can't get out and do things... at least in the afternoon when the sciatica eases... and there is hope that the specialist he saw last week will be able to help. So here is a bit of the "sunshine" on our farm during this week of rain, goat woes, sciatica, earthquakes and tsunamis.

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