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Rendezvous – Eve Day: The Preparation

First thing Wednesday morning, we packed up the goats and headed to the Rendy site at Snowden Meadow, some five miles south of Lake City up the Henson Creek road. Pike Snowden’s cabin looked a little lonely that morning with no campers on-site yet!

The road to Snowden Meadow leads through the old Ute-Ulay mine. At one point there was a sizable town perched on the edge of this narrow canyon, and there were two different attempts to dam Henson Creek. Both dams blew out shortly after being built and no one tried to tame the river again.

I had fun making these little Rendy packgoat signs!

That afternoon, Kate and I took a little trip to Lake San Cristobal–the lake from which “Lake City” derives its name. Believe it or not, this little pond is the second largest natural lake in all of Colorado! It’s also a fairly new lake, having been formed by a landslide some 700 years ago.

Gearing up for North American Packgoat Rendezvous 2017 – Lake City, CO!

Many thanks to our friend Kate from Australia for letting me use her photos to make my posts. I slacked off and didn’t take one photo all week!

Phil and I picked Kate up at the airport in Colorado Springs the weekend before the Rendy and on Monday we loaded up and headed over to Lake City. We rented a small cabin and spent a couple of days enjoying the picturesque little town and visiting old friends that I grew up with there.

Our goats cut quite a shine in my hometown as we walked them through the park, drove them with their wagon down the streets, and chauffeured them to the market in the bed of our pickup.

Whose are these handsome faces in our rearview mirrors?

We originally planned to bring only Finn and Sputnik to the Rendy, but Tigerlily was still recovering from the trauma of losing her first kid and the mastitis that followed afterward. She needed to be milked 2-3 times a day and my milking help at home could only come in the morning, so we brought Tigerlily with us. I felt that the change of scenery would do her good, and it did. She also got quite a lot of sympathy from two sweet girls we met in the park.

The Hartman family has owned the San Juan Soda Company since I was a little girl. I grew up with the Hartman kids, and eventually they started having their own kids. Everyone chips in to help run the soda shop in the summer. It is the epitome of the “family business.”

The Hartmans have preserved the original old bar with its bar stools and they serve ice cream in what looks like a proper old-fashioned drug store.

I had a fun time holding three goats and an ice cream cone and trying not to lose all four of them.

The Hartmans generously offered our goats as many broken waffle cones as Phil and Kate could carry away. While this photo makes it look like Finn is the hog, it was actually Sputnik who ate inhaled most of them, beating back all competition and daring them to come any closer.

And the whole gang’s a-comin’!

ALL the babies are old enough to go for walks with the big goats now! Altogether we’ve got sixteen wild and wooly goats charging around us like racehorses. That’s a lot of flapping ears!

Nubbin’s kids are starting to hold their own with their big, rowdy older cousins.

Nubbin’s crew had their first walk this past weekend.

I think they had fun. “Fly Tornado! Fly!”

Bouncing back

It’s been over a week since Tigerlily lost her baby, but it seems like an eternity. The poor girl had a rough time with a retained placenta, lots of penicillin shots, and finally a bout with mastitis, but hopefully she’s now on the mend. Thinking back, I’m glad I had a little time to hold her baby. We dried him off and cleaned him up well and I was able to cuddle him for a while. He looked asleep. He was so pretty! A beautiful red bay with roan spots with a little white tip on his tail. And he had one wattle. Just one. It was adorable. Phil said he was too cute to be allowed, so God had to take him back. I said he’s going up to be with Cuzco, who is probably giving everyone in heaven a really hard time by now and needs something to distract him. Cuzco always hated baby goat season and timed his exit perfectly (so he thought). Apparently he’s not getting off so easy! Now the one-horned Wonder Goat has a little one-wattled sidekick to keep him occupied.

After Tigerlily lost her baby, Jim spent much of the next day with her. He petted her, talked to her, comforted her, offered her treats, and just generally kept her company. She appreciated it. It was a hard day for everyone.

In the sadness over losing a kid and the work of trying to nurse Tigerlily back to health I didn’t get around to posting our recent photos. It’s good to look back over the last couple of weeks and see how much happiness we are blessed with. There is truly a lot more joy than sorrow around here!

While Jim and Lois were in town we had a baby goat party on the couch and watched the movie, Artois the Goat.

Lois bonded with Sox on the “rox”.

There are plenty of babies to go around!

My parents visited while Jim and Lois were here and my dad got goated! “Get him, Tornado!”

My dad doesn’t hold baby goats, so I made sure he at least got a few kisses.

My mom was in love with little Coral and kept singing “White coral bells upon a slender stalk…”

Phil and Jim and I took turns holding two of Nubbin’s babies on the back porch that afternoon. Jim bonded with Tornado while Phil and I took turns holding Storm

Storm is the friendliest and most curious of all our kids this year.

HollyDot Derby Prep Race

My in-laws were in town and we had a great time taking the boys out for a drive around the golf course! Finn and Sputnik were on their best behavior. Jim drove Finn without any help at all! Lois, on the other hand, preferred to let me do the driving while she enjoyed the view.

There was a palpable Ben-Hur spirit in the air. There were several times along the route where our drivers got competitive and encouraged their charges to pass.

Contestant #1 – “Jumpin’ Jim” and “Fiery Finn”:

Contestant #2 – “Lopin’ Lois” and “Speedaway Sputnik”


“Speedaway Sputnik blasts out of the gate to take a three-length lead over Fiery Finn!”

“They’re around the clubhouse turn and Fiery Finn has closed Speedaway Sputnik’s lead! It looks like Sputnik’s leader is starting to flag! That early burst of speed has taken its toll!”

“Into the homestretch and Finn flies around Sputnik on the outside to take the rail!

“And Fiery Finn crosses the finish line to win by a length and a half! What a race, ladies and gentlemen!”

Farm life is hard some days

It was a sad day at Goat-O-Rama. Tigerlily finally went into labor this afternoon, and she couldn’t have picked a nicer day for it. It was sunny and warm with a cool breeze, and her water broke around 2:30, so I was anticipating a wonderful kidding in the outdoors on the clean grass. Unfortunately things did not go so well. This has been a terrible year of kidding for us. Everyone has needed help, and I’m going to have to review our nutrition and minerals and see if I’m doing something wrong.

Anyway, Tigerlily wasn’t making much progress. Even when she pushed, not much was moving and she would give up quickly. But she wasn’t weak or tired. She was more like Nubbin–her body knew something was wrong and labor was stalling. Her bubble burst and she kept pushing out fluid but no kid. When I reached in, she wasn’t very dilated and I couldn’t get my hand in at all. We waited about twenty minutes to see if she would dilate any more. She did, and I was finally able to get my hand in but it was a very tight squeeze. It took me only a short time to find the front legs, but the head was nowhere to be found. I had to reach in up to my elbow before I located it far away in the depths. The kid was on his side with his head on top but turned completely backwards. I was able to reach along his jaw and find his nose and I was able to bring it toward me with my fingers in his mouth, but that’s as far as I could get him. His head simply refused to come my direction.

I’d only been trying for about ten minutes when my vet friend, Kathy, drove up to check on her horses, which I’ve been boarding at my place. I flagged her down and she came over to see what she could make of it. Long story short, we both worked for a good hour and maybe more, taking turns as our arms got numb. Tigerlily had plenty of strength and “push” in her, but she was way too tight for such a large kid and neither of us could get our arms in quite far enough, and that little head simply refused to turn. Kathy finally gave up and said we needed to take Tigerlily into the emergency vet clinic for a C-section. At this point it was a matter of saving her and not the kid. I decided to try just once more.

I pushed the feet completely back in (they’d been out up to now), and I went in as far as I could for the head. It took me a while, but I finally managed to cup my hand around that big, nobby head and bring it round. The only reason was that by now Tigerlily was so exhausted that she didn’t have the strength to push my hand away, and she had finally dilated just enough to allow my elbow to fit past the opening. I got the head to the surface and then found a foot. From there I was able to pull baby out, but sadly there was no life in him by then. We sucked out his nostrils with a big syringe, slapped his ribs, rubbed vigorously, swung him back and forth, but to no avail. A lot of fluid came out of his lungs but he never gasped for air and we never felt a heartbeat.

We buried him near Nubbin’s 2014 kids at the back corner of the property. There are some pretty stones marking his grave, poor baby. He was the prettiest kid yet–red with lots of roaning, white spots on his sides, white lacing around the edges of his ears, a beautifully marked face, and black legs and dorsal stripe. He was quite big, as one might expect from a week-late delivery, but a doe as large as Tigerlily should have had enough room for him. I’m a bit mystified why she was so tight in there. She doesn’t look narrow.

One small mercy is that Tigerlily is not mourning. She was in a lot of pain and was in shock for a while after the delivery. I don’t think she knew or cared about the kid at all and probably won’t mourn like Nubbin did. I’m the one mourning the kid. He was a lovely boy. Here’s hoping things are better next year.

Phil Hassey: Goat Pediatrician Extraordinaire!

Phil cut up a paper towel tube, rolled a piece around each of Storm’s bent legs, and vet wrapped it securely in place.

“What are these things?”

He had to inspect both sides.

Then it was time to go back outside with mama.

One of the first things Storm did after receiving his new splints was to start leaping! This poor little kid had been crawling on his knees or walking pathetically in a kind of downward dog position with his feet out in front of him, completely unable to stand up straight, let alone hop around. The splints offered him a whole new range of activities!

Today Storm is walking just fine. His knees are still slightly weak and buckle more easily than normal, but within a day or two we’ll never be able to tell there was anything wrong! Props to Phil for fixing our poor broken baby!

And the hurricane blew over!

Photos finally! I was up very late Saturday night and into the wee hours of Sunday morning with Nubbin’s crew, but they’re cute enough I can forgive them.

Look! It’s a fuzzy bucket o’ love!

Tornado was the cork that stopped the whole delivery and kept us up so late. He was a strong kid and was up and walking in the usual amount of time, and he had no shortage of determination to nurse, but for some reason he just couldn’t find those teats. He adamantly refused help, and if I forced the teat into his mouth and squirted it full of milk, he would turn his head away without swallowing or latching on. He wanted nothing to do with nursing as long as I was interfering. But as soon as I’d set him down he would toddle around bumping the udder and suckling on everything at head level. He couldn’t figure out that he had to reach DOWN to find the milk spigot. Eventually I gave up trying to help him nurse and filled a bottle for him instead. That settled the matter and at least he went to bed with a full tummy. Next morning he still hadn’t caught on (even after watching his brothers), so I bottle fed him again. He was very hungry! It was Phil who finally got him nursing later that afternoon. Now he’s eating like a champ!

Little Storm was a bit of a sorry character that first day. He’s very bow-legged and his knees won’t straighten so he had trouble standing and did better on his knees. It didn’t hinder him from nursing, and maybe it helped because it meant that unlike the other two, he didn’t have to reach down to find the milk bar. He was a little straighter yesterday, and if he’s not a lot better today I plan to splint his legs for a while each day and see if that helps. His legs are straight and proper when I flex them, but it feels like his tendons are very tight and causing the legs to curl back. He cried a bit the first time I straightened them, but the next morning he only whimpered, and last night when I straightened them he stayed quiet and relaxed so I think he’ll be fine.

Lightning is perfectly fine with nice, straight legs. This guy really lives up to his name. He shot into the world without help, immediately started crawling toward the udder on his belly, got himself a drink without guidance, and next thing we knew he was on his feet and walking around.

Streeeeetch, Tornado!

“Just look at that there bow-legged cowboy! Should I give him a push?”


Yesterday the sky was beautiful, and Delilah once more brought her kids along for our daily constitutional (Jezebel and her kids stayed home again).

Phil no longer refers to Nubbin as having a “baby bump”. He’s calling it a “baby blimp”.

Large and in charge!

Heading home.

They’re running with the herd!

Delilah decided to bring her kids on our walk the other day! They were very excited and kept right up with the herd! They were a little scared of the big goats, but not because the big goats were mean. I think the little guys were just afraid of accidentally being trampled in all this mayhem. But everyone was careful and no one got stepped on.

Tigerlily practices her levitation exercises.

Finn surveys his domain from on high. Who are those little pipsqueaks down there?

Actually, I think he was just waiting for Phil to come give him peanuts.

“Dance, Finn!”

“Gobble down this grass before it disappears!”

So far Jezebel prefers to keep her kids close to home. No walks for these babies yet! Have I mentioned she’s a bit overprotective?
This shot is blurry, but I love the action.

Sox is king of the stump!

Delilah has a somewhat hands-off mothering style, so Jezebel often ends up watching all four kids.

“How did I get roped into this?”