Picture this: Valentine’s Day. Early morning. A pregnant goat in my parents’ bedroom. My sister’s hand inside said goat.
“It keeps pulling its legs back,” she said. And I could see it even as she spoke, gooey hooves kicking away from her. But Vicky has done this many, many times with sheep and one squirming, slippery ruminant is about the same as another. At least at that point.
The mother, Lady, grunted and pushed and slowly a pale pink nose appeared. The rest followed. A female.
My sister apologized to Lady and stuck her hand back inside to see if there was another kid as I wiped the fluids from the nose and mouth of the newly born. Sure enough, there was a sibling waiting in the wings.
“And it’s backwards,” my sister said. “Great.”
Not just backwards, either, but tucked into a ball that had no chance of making it out as it was. Carefully, Vicky tried to maneuver the baby around, but it was at such an angle that made that impossible.
“It’ll have to come out feet first.”
She found the legs, unwound them from their tucked position, and began to pull as Lady pushed. It felt like an age, for the mother as well, I imagine, but slowly the back hooves appeared, the torso, and the head. A male. A bit stunned from his rough passage, but breathing.
World, meet Birgitte and Aeneas.
Prepare yourself for an assault of cuteness.
In half an hour, Birgitte was on her feet, wobbly but determined. Aeneas, however, refused to so much as consider the vulgarity of walking. Vicky and I had to check his legs one by one to make sure that there wasn’t anything physically wrong with him. We propped him up over and over again until he finally kept a semblance of balance.
But once he figured it out…ooh boy.
Everything is a springboard for him. Birgitte has now caught up with him, but she is the more cautious of the two. And yes, they are still sleeping inside with their mom, who occasionally decides to hop on my parents’ bed herself. You know, when the mountain of hay in the room is just not comfortable ENOUGH.
Now almost two weeks after their birth, there’s no stopping them. They’ve been outside, in the orchard and they’ve even met their father, Edur. Who, I must say, was not what I’d call enthusiastic. He sniffed at Aeneas, stuck his tongue out in typical goat fashion, and deemed it all a waste of his time.
Of the two, we’ll be keeping Aeneas and our friend Mauro will be taking Birgitte. Yes, I know, two male goats living together could be a disaster, but we’re getting them both castrated to avoid bloodbaths. At least Edur will have someone of his size to play with in a few months.
You’ve twisted my arm. Here are some more pictures.
In house news, we have a gate and it’s up! Faust no longer rushes off to chase after every little noise…through the front. Because there’s no way of fencing off the entire mountain and he is nothing if not adept at being problematic.
Dad took a paint brush to it, to hide the rust, and it looks as beautiful as Mom and I imagined it when we first saw it online. Just Gothic enough.
There was a bit of a struggle with the wooden post where we decided to place the stunning monastery bell I wrote about a few months ago. That struggle came in the shape of a large, grumbling, black creature named Madame.
The moment she saw Dad set the post in place, she got up from the mound of hay where she slumbered, waddled calmly over, and knocked it down with a shove. For no apparent reason other than making life for the humans difficult. It seems to be her hobby.
So Dad tried again. He covered the hole she had widened with her evil deed and made another one. He left to go get the cement he needed, making the uphill trek with Paquito the rooster crowing and chasing after him for daring to step into his territory (a.k.a our front yard, orchard, terrace, kitchen…) and returned as quickly as the size and incline of the property allowed him.
To find that Madame had covered the hole he’d just made by pushing dirt onto it with her snout. She looked rather pleased with herself. Dad, less so.
But despite her machinations, the post and the bell are up.
Indoors, there have been some upgrades, too. The kitchen has received a bit of color, with a deep salmon that goes really well with the old tiles and with the mosaic design Mom is designing.
Vicky took charge of the work while I watched from where I was working on novel revisions, my eyes widening every time she stretched out on the ladder to reach the ceiling beams.
A bit of sprucing up with paintings and prints and it’s looking peachy, pun very much intended.
And the music room got a facelift. Dad covered the walls with drywall and set up the two antique lights we have always envisioned in that room, as well as doing a number of other electrical tweakings. Some, less applause-worthy than others. For example, the lamp we have on the piano now turns off when you turn on the bathroom light. And that’s not on purpose. I guess it’s energy efficient unless you’re playing the piano, and we can scare any guests who stay over and don’t know about that quirk.
After a few false starts, we also found the color we wanted for the room. A deep gray with just a hint of blue. Mom found a frame for the antique print she and I bought in Acqui Terme two years ago, also envisioning it for this room when we first saw it.
The next task on Dad’s agenda is building the bookcase for this room.
And I, despite what you may have read above, have not been idle. It’s just that my work involves a lot of typing and staring at the computer screen, frowning. The biggest news is that I decided to call it quits with my literary agent and signed with another. That’s a very casual way of saying I spent months doing a good imitation of this:
But that’s over and my new agent is a force of nature, so I’m in good hands.
I’m gearing up for a new novel, too, so I’m gorging on research and making an outline that will probably be as long as the book itself. So if three or four months go without hearing a peep from me here, know that I’m tearing my hair out because I can’t get that one line just right.