Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Smack Down

About an hour before Shabbat, Mavis brought twins into this world.  Mavis is my Toggenburg goat and she arrived in Goshen right about 5 months ago.  All day, I could tell by her behavior, she was getting close, but since she was such a recent newcomer, I wasn't sure how close . . . As I walked out of the milking parlor with Lily, I thought I saw something small and moving in the south east pasture.  I took the milk into the house, then for the first time in nearly two weeks, put on shoes to walk down to see what was going on.  By the time I got there, a second baby was on the scene.   Mavis wasn't "tending" to them as I thought she should be, so I stepped in with a couple of the "goat towels" and dried the babies' faces and rubbed them up a bit . . .

The next thing that happened truly upset Mavis, as the babies were nudging at my legs, rather than hers.  I tried to unite mama and babies, but that only made everyone more stressed.  In the midst of my intrusion, Mr. B decided to join the mess and got behind Mavis to pick up hay wrapping or something, and having someone behind her only irritated her further.  I suggested we back up and stop intruding in this bonding period.  Let me share just a bit.  Once I realized she was getting close, and it's nice weather, I didn't pen her up, but there were nice clean goat huts for her to give birth.  Rather than use the nice, clean, private huts, she opted for the RV carport where all the goats have been lounging through this rainy August!  So, the babies were born in that mess . . .

As I headed for the gate, I asked Father to raise up the maternal instinct He'd placed in Mavis.  I looked back toward her.   She was absolutely refusing to let the kids get close to her and she wasn't licking them at all!  At this point, I began to formulate a plan to obtain the colostrum and feed it to the kids.  A short quote from the prayer book at shul came to mind.  "Pray as though everything depends upon G-d, then work as though everything depends upon you."  I'm sure the dissection of the soundness of this theology could take many tangents, but I do believe in putting feet to my faith.  James tells us "faith without works is dead."

So, there was one important factor, I was really doing wrong, and sadly Father had to tell me about it.  The plan I hatched seemed brilliant.  I would lure Mavis with grain, to the milk parlor, break in a goat that had never been milked, then bottle feed the kids, but since it's August, I could leave them outdoors.  All these years the kids arrive in late winter and early spring.  This is my first year of having both spring and fall kids.  So, I'm not fully sure what I'm doing, but I never let that stop me.  Back to my plan.  I took the milk bucket to the milk parlor, got grain in the feed box on the stanchion, put some grain in a bucket, grabbed the lead and was heading out the door, when I heard the Voice of our Creator.

It was a simple question that stopped me in my tracks.  "Why are you preparing for the opposite of what you asked of Me?"  I had asked Him to raise up her maternal instinct, even acknowledged that He was the One who created that in her, and then  . . . I had already realized my "help" initially had been an intrusion to her, so, here I am preparing to commit further intrusion . . .  All I could do, was hang my head in shame, ask forgiveness, and STOP.  I had actually been working against what I'd prayed.  That's not feet to faith!  

Thankfully, in spite of my demonstration of lack of faith, He honored my request.  Within moments, I could hear Mavis "cooing" to them.  Then just as Father ordained at creation, those babies were latched on and tails were flagging.

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