2. Praise A Fair Day At Night

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Ziua Bbunã Se Laudã Seara.
Don’t Praise the Day Until Night.

 

It was just before dawn. Mattie was pacing back and forth in the doe pen and calling out alerting the masters of the house that there was an imminent birth. When Edward arrived to the doe pen he found that it was Sinead who had gone into labor. If it weren’t for Mattie’s call this March morning, Corrie might have missed the event altogether. For Sinead, like all of her maternal lineage, would make little more than some hushed straining sounds as the contractions began to overtake her. Perhaps this restraint was born of a distinct distaste for histrionic and excessive expression that seemed a valued trait now for generations among her Germanic line. In contrast, regal Champagne, the queen of the herd with bloodlines tracing back to old Spain, was never one to leave any doubt as to the commencement of her grand and noble maternal mission, for she bellowed like a foghorn piercing the misty March air, or like lofty trumpets communicating to one and all that she herself, was at the precipice of some seminal event in caprine history.

Edward led Sinead by her collar into the stall that served as the makeshift maternity ward and sat nearby on the thick carpet of hay. He occasionally offered some gentle words of encouragement to Sinead as the contractions pulled her deeper into a foggy chasm. There was only one way out, and that was to go through. “Please let this all go ok,” he thought to himself. Death was never far away at this crossing and Edward knew that it often stood alongside watching with him. It didn’t matter how many times he had been with goats as they kidded. Watching a goat give birth for Edward was like helplessly witnessing her trying to cross a deep, murky and tumultuous river. There was always a good chance that something would go wrong and that strength would fail and mother and kids would not all cross over safely.

The straining continued and became more intense. “C’mon girl, you can do it,” said Edward. Finally a small portion of a goat began to appear and retreat with the coming and going of each contraction. More contractions, and it was one hoof appearing and then a snout behind this, all encased within a translucent blue bubble. More straining and now the black snout was followed by an emerging head. And damn if it wasn’t a buck kid trying to be the first out. “Figures,” said Edward to himself as he shifted his weight on the hay. It always struck Edward as a poor choice of nature to make it a buck that invariably is the first to force his way out. A buck kid is always bigger than a doe and has a steeper, more pronounced forehead and the act of birthing a buck first makes for a longer, more strained labor. Like all male children of any species, it’s just the first of many demands that bucks place on their mothers.

Sinead strained hard now as the ridge of the buckling’s head made seemingly little progress past the stretched ring-like opening. “That’s a good girl. You can do it,” offered Edward to the goat who now had taken to the floor with the unyielding pain.

Finally enough of the forehead was through, and taking hold of the two front legs, Edward gently pulled to complete the newborn’s exit and the rest of the kid’s wet body slid out with ease along a steamy splash of fluid which puddled onto the ground. Edward wrapped the buckling in a towel and brought him quickly through the cold of his first morning into the house.

There, by the hearth Duncan, the Jack Russell Terrier, began what was now his long held tradition of midwifery, gently cleaning and warmly welcoming the new kid to the farm. Tail wagging, he would stay with the newborn and tend to his paternal tasks while Edward went back out to the barn. Upon Edward’s return he would rush to the door to see if there was another baby wrapped in Edward’s arms. Most often there were at least two and sometimes even three babies. Today though, there was just one more after the buck. A little doeling had made it out with ease following the path that her brother had just forged. Thankfully all seemed healthy. Mother and kids had successfully made the crossover. It was a good start to an early spring day.