Thursday, February 4, 2010
The Barn That Grew Like Topsy
Down in the southwest pasture, under a huge oak, there was a decrepit shed that had been used as a pig pen, with a sign that said, "Hog Hilton." When Lucy and Ruth arrived one May (a story for another day), we cleaned up and repaired the shed, thinking it would do as shelter for the goats. Steve built a milking stand, and it was pleasant to sit outside on a spring morning, milking and enjoying my surroundings. Then the rains came, and it wasn't pleasant anymore. "Steve! I need a milking room!" So my obliging husband built a room onto the shed and we moved the stand inside. In due time, Lucy and Ruth were bred and pregnant. "Steve! I need a delivery room and nursery!" So he built on to the shed and the milking room and added a big sleeping room and a smaller nursery with connecting doors. Since the original shed was no longer needed for the goats, we moved Louie, the pot-bellied pig who moved up with us from West Sacramento, down into the goat pen. The next year, Lucy, Ruth, and their offspring, Victoria, Cindy, Dora, and Esther, were all pregnant and due at the same time. "Steve! I need more delivery rooms!!" That's when he started calling this the Winchester Goat House after the mansion in San Jose where there had been unending construction. This time he was going to expand the space so he wouldn't be called on again. He built three big stalls, a smaller space for the kids, and a hallway. This worked...for awhile. Poppy came to live with us and needed a room of her own, so she claimed one of the stalls. Ruth can't get along with the herd, and has her own room. The wether can't eat the regular diet of alfalfa, so must be kept separate at breakfast time and has stayed in the third "delivery room," with Tessie, his littermate, for company. Sheila's baby is due in March, and there's no room in the inn. This is one of the problems I consider down in the goat barn.