It has been an emotionally exhausting couple of weeks. And physically exhausting, actually.
Baby season is the most exciting time of year at our house. We wait with intense anticipation of the arrival of baby critters and the overwhelming beauty of each birth is just incredible. There isn't any better experience.
But along with the perfect, sweet, cuddly little babies comes much stress.
For the past two weeks, I've been going out every four hours to check on the barn animals, making sure no one is in labor. And yes, that includes through the night. Add to that the fact that when I wake up at night, and it takes me at least an hour to go back to sleep, and you've got one very tired mama.
After Clara Belle was born, learning to milk a cow was added to my daily list of chores. And while Mae is an amazing, gentle little cow, milking is still not coming easily. It's physically exhausting, being constantly ready to jump out of the way of a kick while simultaneously holding a bucket with one hand, milking with the other, and standing in a tense squatting position the whole time. And I do it every morning and every night.
While the vet was out today checking test results for Mae (so far, she's healthy) he noticed that Clara Belle has some blood in her stool. She's acting healthy and rambunctious, so he didn't feel it was necessary to treat her for anything yet, and just told me to watch her. Let me tell ya, watching a baby cow for signs of illness is a worrisome thing to do. Especially when you know it could potentially be very dangerous.
Then, yesterday, our little goat Aurora had her first kid... and we weren't here for it. We got home about an hour after he was born, I'm guessing, and she had already decided she had no use for him. He tries to nurse, she butts him away. She didn't clean him at all, and pretty much refuses to acknowledge that he even exists. This means I'm going out every two hours during the day to hold her still while he nurses, and every three hours at night. Yes, we could just bottle feed him, but I'd really like to get her to accept him and I'm not quite ready to give up yet.
While the farrier was out today, trimming the horse's hooves, he mentioned that Angel, Chloe's horse, is really starting to show her age. Her feet are growing uneven, which means she's not putting her weight flat on them. That, apparently, is a sign of arthritis. He said to watch her while Chloe is riding, and if she trips and stumbles very often, it's a sign that she needs to retire from running and only walk. He also reminded me that with a horse her age, we should always be on the lookout for another horse to replace her, as she could die any time. I know that's fact - she's an old girl, but hearing it, today, wasn't exactly what I needed. I love that horse dearly, and hate the thought of losing her.
And in between all of this, I'm still trying to homeschool two kids, start a garden's worth of plants indoors and out, and keep up with general housewife duties like laundry and dishes and cooking decent meals. (At this point, I'm failing. We've been eating boxed macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and oranges. The laundry is piling up, I finally washed two days' worth of dishes today, and my house looks like no one has cleaned it in two weeks... because, well, they haven't.)
So we have one more goat to birth, and then this craziness will be done. I've some faith that she'll do well, as she was a fantastic mother last year and birthed with no problems, but at this point, I'm a little nervous, wondering what else can go wrong. I do love this time of year, love getting to experience all these amazing things with my girls, but sometimes the stress gets to be a little much. And the lack of sleep certainly isn't helping.
So here's looking to next week - hopefully a week with no troubles, healthy animals, happy babies, and some full nights of sleep!