Thursdays during term-time are always hectic.
Although we have lots of kids – & more on the way – we don’t have any children: all our little ones are goats, of course! But it’s not only children who go to ‘skool’ – I have a weekly Welsh lesson to contend with & things are getting pretty challenging now, as we tackle tenses past & future. Despite having a natural aptitude for languages & a conversational smattering in a fair few, I must say that Welsh is probably the hardest language I’ve ever learned.
It all started well enough: & then you get introduced to the dreaded Mutations. On certain grammatical occasions & depending on a given word, the first letter might change to ‘make the sentence flow more easily’. Hmmm, I’m not convinced. Add to that there are two discrete forms of the language – they are different in the North & the South of the country – & you have a heady cocktail of potential pitfalls & social gaffes.
So having risen at five o’clock this morning to do some serious pencil-chewing & get my grey matter wrapped around some tricky verb tables, I was feeling a little jaded & sluggish by the time it came to tackle the chores. At the moment I’m bottle-feeding Thistle’s two boys, four times a day; along with Thummy’s pretty daughter Ceinwen, who was rejected by her Mum owing to Thummy’s irritation at the kid’s sharp little teeth constantly nipping her ample left teat.
Having been assaulted by the excited hunger of the little horrors after exhaustedly closing my books, I stumbled through the rest of the chores & paused for a restorative cuppa before gathering up my Welsh language workbook & dictionary, to head off up the hill & tackle today’s thorny tenses & tables. However just before departing, my ‘sixth sense’ suggested I should just cast a cursory glance into the Maternity Ward; & it was just as well I did so.
At first all appeared to be blissfully peaceful & quiet; however whilst giving the goats their breakfast I had noticed that Orrie had seemed a little withdrawn, muttering to herself….a sure sign that Something Is Happening & Kids are On The Way. Sure enough, upon seeing me she heaved her gargantuan bulk to her feet, looked at me with eyes popping, & said “Ooooh….!”. Waddling over, she started to anxiously lick my hand which was a sure sign that my gentle reassurance – & constant presence – was needed. After rubbing her back to relax her I gently checked her tailbone – it was very loose, indicating everything was relaxing in preparation to push out her kid. Also judging by her body the first baby had ‘dropped’ into postion in the birth canal; so it wouldn’t be long now. Wales would have to wait a little longer for a stream of ‘coherent’ conversation, from me…..
Orrie’s approach to giving birth is a simple one. Some of the girls settle down in a corner & quietly get on with it. Some really yell, leaping up & down; others just stand or squat slightly, & let gravity help ease the delivery. Orrie goes walkabout. She’s constantly on the move – stopping occasionally for a bit of a push – & then she’s off again; pacing, pacing, pacing. Today her first kid – a boy – was born at 11am, literally ‘on the hoof’; he shot out as she got into her stride. Meanwhile the second kid slid out after a further brief trundle around the Maternity Ward; & I had to carry the little boy back to where Mum had turned her attention to her lovely new daughter, Claerwen.
After lunch I snatched an hour to drop off a milk sample from Thistle, at the vets’ so that we can find out exactly how to treat her mastitis most effectively. She isn’t really showing any improvement & what little liquid there is in her udder is a nasty, pale muddy brown colour, which doesn’t bode well; so a swift diagnosis is much needed. As it takes two days to ‘grow’ a culture plate I’m hoping it will be made up on Friday, giving us a result first thing on Monday.
I left some gelato with a potential client who manages one of the local hotel/restaurants, who was very interested when he tasted the Madagascan Vanilla at the St David’s Day Feast. I briefly bumped into an old friend, who writes childrens’ stories & is a talented freelance journalist; checked on the snail’s-pace progress of Tony’s belated Anniversary gift; & then hurried ‘back to the ranch’ to wind myself up for the evening chores with a spot of paperwork.
Imagine my surprise to find that during my brief outing, Booty had decided to have her kids! A few goats are much more private than others; & whilst some will literally cross their legs until I’m around to support them a handful take the opposite approach, preferring to be completely left alone when giving birth. As seems to increasingly be the pattern this year Booty had one healthy male kid – already wobbling around & suckling – & a lovely little pale chocolate girl, Crisiant (the name means ‘crystal’ or ‘bright’, in Welsh).
I too, was born on a Thursday. Well; as in the words of the old nursery rhyme, I certainly do work hard for a living these days – the goats are certainly making sure of that….!