Saturday, 4 April 2009

Positive Attitude

I was talking about needing a positive attitude last night to a close friend who phoned to tell me he had just been diagnosed with cancer. I'm not sure how I would deal with the situation he suddenly finds himself in but remaining positive will only help.

It was hard to find a positive this morning when I opened the stable door to feed the goats. They were allowed out yesterday to enjoy the spring sunshine and stretch their legs. There is a short clip of them below, June is the grey one in the lead.

This morning June was dead. I have said before I feel sometimes Fate is creature that watches over smallholders, listening to our conversations, watching our every move. It seems Fate has gone hi tech because only yesterday I e mailed another smallholder who I believe is down Devon way, who contacted us through the e mail link on this site telling us about their poorly pigs. I shared some thoughts, one was how annoying it is that animals come with a self destruct mechanism built in and told them about a goat we had that died.

The same fate befell June last night. Entrotoximia is sudden, fatal, and despite vaccinating against it there is no guarantee your animals wont get it. The goats have been housed for two months on milled feed and hay, June must have gorged herself on greenery in the short time she was out. This upset the PH level in her stomachs and a bacteria they have within them multiplied out of control which set of a chain reaction causing her internal organs to shut down, her respiratory system failed and she died. In eight hours. From healthy happy house goat to so many portions of dog food overnight. Thankfully, unlike Fuchsia our first goat, she didn't seem to have suffered and simply curled up in the corner and passed away.

The day has been spent taking her to the hunt kennels, trying to calm and feed Ambrose and Archie and wracking my brain to see if we could have avoided this tragedy. June was in herd of nine, five adults and four kids who all ate the same yesterday and they are all fine. June probably just ate a little bit more of one thing, or sampled something a little different to the others which just tipped the balance of the chemistry in her rumin. How often this happens is a worry, twice to us in two years. Goats are not like sheep who gobble up their food, goats pick and choose, nibbling at all sorts of plants. They also know whats bad for them and avoid poisonous plants. We have over ninety animals here so death stalks the Rock with horrible frequency, something we don't suffer in isolation given the number of animals I saw donated at the Hunt kennels today.

Positives from today. Tracey's Mum and Dad visited for the first time in a while, her Dad has prostate cancer and isn't up to travelling at the moment. They came to see the puppies, kids, and lambs and seeing the smiles these animals raised was a good thing. Or perhaps Daffodil finishing off the remains of the bottled milk prepared for Ambrose and Archie. Then there was the weather, instead of rain forecast we had almost unbroken sunshine. Or perhaps the sloppy kiss I got off William as he sneaked up on me, and yes horses can sneak up, as I was taking a photograph, I think I still have his slobber in my left ear. So many to choose from, but for me the biggest positive is knowing we have another attribute essential to be a smallholder.

We have resilience.

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