Tuesday, July 5, 2011

what we brought back from the auction

We've been dreaming of goats for a while; this year we decided to start with one or two and begin the learning process with the hopes of eventually have a small herd sometime down the road. We visited farms and made a few trips to the livestock auction. Let me tell you, the livestock auction is something else. Although I feel at home moving through the animals and spotting what I want from up on the rickety catwalks suspended above the pens, I am at a complete loss deciphering the Auctioneer's chant once we're in the ring (Listen here for a sample) At first I didn't understand that there are filler words that keep the rhythm rolling along, now I know to concentrate on the numbers and let the rest roll away. You can use those filler seconds to do math because you are often bidding on price per pound. 

On the last visit we tucked ourselves into the crowded, dusty goat and sheep room just in time. I popped up on my toes to see over the shoulder of an overall clad giant and wiggled back and forth as children weaved their way around our legs looking for a post to climb up for a better view. I held on to the chant for a few minutes, but soon felt like I was listening to bubbles being blown in a glass of milk. Like a game of Whack-a-mole I repeatedly brought our daughter's hands back down as she waved them around whispering full force, "Oooo... that one!" We watched a few nice goats walk by with no idea what the bid was at. Oh well. Big A and I looked at each other and shrugged, then laughed at our complete incompetence.

I took the kids to the car and big A said he was going over to talk to someone and would catch-up. As we piled in and let the heat escape the van I noticed a figure walking across the parking lot with a baby goat in their arms - my husband. "Can you do something with her?" he said. All our talk of conformation and dairy lines obviously went out the window when he saw her squeezed into a pick-up truck on her way to slaughter, the smallest of a group of unlucky goats. We named her Vera after a the town of Veracruz, Nicaragua where big A enjoyed having a baby goat tag along with him and his friends one summer as a boy.

She was scared, underweight, and dehydrated. After antibiotics, worming, and eye care she's beginning to act like a goat - climbing on the rocks, head butting the dogs, and eating poison ivy.

Look at that crooked little ear - I'm in love.

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