Seeing stars...& bruises

One of the aspects of farm life, is that you always, always, ALWAYS have to be on your toes. You must remember that no matter how domesticated an animal may seem, they still have a wild beast inside them. Unlike my inner child, who can be found giggling on a swingset or frolicking in the mud. Farm animals can, & will, turn on you. Scott has told me & Kaycee over a hundred, if not a thousand times, never turn our backs on the bucks, the boars, the bulls, or the studs... they can hurt you... blah blah blah... okay. We do our best to heed his warnings. There have been a few times when I have felt a certain angst when somebody's behavior is not typical.

In one of my earlier posts, I was very upfront & said that I would share the bad & the ugly of our homestead. While I love the homestead & being caretaker of these beautiful creatures, this is one of those times where the love wasn't there. To my mom, you might not want to read anymore of this post.

Our does & their kids, ranging from 6-10 weeks old, have been separated in the nursery ward from the rest of the goat herd. Scooby, our buck whom you met in a previous post, had already made his baby making rounds with the available ladies in the big pasture. Scooby had decided it was time to bust through the fence to "hang" with the ladies in the nursery who may be coming in heat. So we let him stay. He's a great buck & has produced our best goats. He was doing no harm other than a lot of boisterous wooing for affections & a bit of head banging on the barn walls to establish his worthiness.

You see, Scooby & I have had a good relationship. He is the best buck I have ever been around. He took away my fear of being alone with a buck. I trust him. He will come between me & a pig to protect me. I have no problem handling him when Scott trims his feet. I've never had an animal like him respond so willingly to my massages. He taught me confidence, security, & how to read body language when massaging our other critters. Scooby is my baby. Because of my bond with Scooby, I feed the goats during evening chores while Scott tends to the pigs as he just has a better bond with the pigs than I. Scott & Kaycee don't have the same idyllic relationship as me & Scooby. Though they've never had reason to distrust him either. Until...

...this past weekend. Scott went to feed the mommas, babies, & Scooby for me while I kept a hungry, pregnant Freida (our cow) away from stealing feed from the goats in the other part of the barn. I heard a bit of commotion but nothing out of the ordinary. As I come out of the barn, I see what can only be described as Scott having Scooby pinned to the ground in a wrestling hold. He told me to hurry up putting feed in the pans & hay in their feeder. Okay, not yet realizing the urgency, my "hurry up" wasn't quite quick enough. All the while, Scott is still holding Scooby on the ground huffing, puffing, sweating, swearing, & threatening to get his gun. After I have them fed, Scott has Scooby in a neck hold walking him into the barn telling me to "get out!" Okay, now the urgency is finally coming to me. Yes, my reaction/thought process time has slowed down the older I've become. Scott following right behind me, slams the gate shut just as Scooby rams the gate. What the heck just happened?

Scott proceeded to tell me that Scooby had been a bad boy (my words, not his). The last he saw Scooby was outside the barn about 30' away. As he was bringing feed through the gate, he turned his back to close the gate when Scooby rammed him from behind. He knocked Scott through the gate, both falling to the ground with Scooby on top of him. Scooby, realizing his error, quickly got up & backed up. "Backing up" typically means they are gearing up for more. Scott seeing stars & reeling from the impact, gets up & takes after him ensuring Scooby knew his place in the hierarchy. Then it just became a power of brains & braun. Scott proved he still has both. He said the only thing keeping him from killing Scooby was knowing that he was my baby & how much he meant to me. Ummm... no, sell him before he hurts me or Kaycee. Fortunately for Scott, his massage therapist & energy worker is available to him 24/7 so I was able to tend to his aches & pains quickly.

Even after that incident, Scooby acted like his usual angelic self with me for the next 5 feedings. Though it pained me that I had to start treating him differently. I had to put up my guard, be more cautious & aware of his every move, & his massages were not his usual confident pamperings. I sweet talked him, told him we understood why he did what he did, but to just keep his raging buck hormones in check, & that we would have to work on trust again. We rubbed on each other & ackowledged we still loved each other. Until...

...yesterday. I was doing morning chores as usual whilst talking to Scooby, the dogs, kitties, & saying our good mornings. I went into the nursery ward keeping a close eye on Scooby to put feed in the pans. No problem. Scooby was happily munching his grain. I went to get hay, came back through the barn again, keeping an eye on him. No problem. Scooby still happily munching grain. As I backed out of the barn never taking my eye off him to put hay in the outside feeder, I turned ever so slightly to watch my step out of the barn when BAM! down I went face first into the dirt & the hay I had been carrying. I immediately knew what happened & got to me feet. I wasn't sure if Scooby was still near & would come back for more. I have fallen off a horse, but I have never been rammed in the butt by an aggressive buck. It was the worst feeling I had ever felt before. As I got my bearings, there he stood at his feed pan like nothing happened. I began sobbing & angry crying. Not because I was hurt, but because he did that to me & now I was afraid.

How on earth was I going to get past him to get back through the barn? I could go over the fence, but at the speed I climb fences, I feared Scooby would have time to give me a shove right over the top of it. I stood there bawling my eyes out, picking hay out of my teeth, & cussing Scooby. A panic I have never faced before swept over me. Ok girl, pull yourself together, you've got this, don't show weakness. I walk back into the barn, past Scooby happily munching feed, when BAM! he turned & threw me up against the wall. Dang, he is so lightening quick! Now I'm really mad & scared. Seriously, dude, you came at me again?! Oh no, not once, but for fun let's just do it to me one more time. My inner Wonder Woman was finally able to wrangle Scooby's horns & strong arm him toward the gate so I could get out. After I had secured the gate closed behind me, he had to get in one more ram. Dammit, dude, you won, I have no more in me.

Grabbing his smelly, buck beard in my fist, I proceeded to have a discussion with him about how he had broken my trust & my heart, he could no longer be my baby, & how I felt betrayed. It was like breaking up a relationship. Scooby then licked my hand at the gate as if it was his apology for being such a jerk.

At some point during our encounter, I realized that I had already sent Kaycee in for her shower. If Scooby really wanted to hurt me, it would take Kaycee hours to check on me because she has no concept of time. It has been the rule, but not always enforced, that Kaycee can't go into the house until everyone is in the house after chores. I slipped up. We were in a hurry that morning. She hugged me when she saw me come into the house crying & shaking. It was the best hug ever! Kaycee was so mad that my Scooby would do that to me.

In the midst of the chaos, I hear the dogs barking unable to get through gates to come to my rescue. When I was able to get to them, their worried looks were too much for me to handle. Still sobbing, they approached me carefully surveying any wounds to lick. Only my emotional wounds needed a lick & hugs from my boys.

Many aches & pains are expected but nothing a few doses of Aleve won't handle. Bathing suit & short season is almost over so the bruises can be hidden. Nothing though can heal my broken heart by a Scooby I once loved. I feel partly to blame because I allowed Scooby to be my baby & I didn't take Scott's warnings seriously enough. I knew that this day would probably come but I just didn't want to believe my baby would do anything to hurt me.

I went to the farm store that same afternoon following my tussle with Scooby. I didn't want to, but felt I needed to. I bought a cattle prod. Unfortunately for Scooby, he'll be the one seeing stars next time we go to battle!

While I should be losing weight, I feel oddly blessed to have that extra meat on my bones. It was like a cushion softening Scooby's blows. Maybe that is why we see old photographs of plump farm wives. I'm thinking that most of those wives, were wives of livestock farmers. It wasn't just their good homecooked meals providing nourishment for their family, but more like an insurance for our delicate bodies to keep from getting broken bones. Photos of my grandmother Maxine, who was a hundred pounds soaking wet, prove that any skinny farm wife photos were clearly crop farmer wives.

'Til next time folks!



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