Missing Gel

I think I may just be overtired or something but on Sunday Wally and I ran into someone who brought memories of Gel flooding back. I’ve passed by his grave on several occasions over the past couple of days and his loss stabs me in the stomach. I actually feel physically sick this morning. It’s been almost a year since we lost him to a tragic accident.


Like I said, I might just be overtired. This was a very taxing weekend. Got the walls up on three sides of the milk parlor on Sunday – Wally did most of the work – I just stressed about getting stories wrote, running back and forth between the barn and the house to help him and missing Gel.

Know what it’s like to have a tool and then try to do a job without it? That’s how it is whenever I try to do anything that involves moving livestock – be it sheep, goats, ducks or rabbits. Jack is essentially worthless. I wish now I hadn’t let Rex go to the mountains because he had a great deal of potential.

Last night after we got the walls up and the milk stands back in place, I brought in two of the four goats to feed them on the stand, which is what I’ve been trying to do each evening. That went okay but both have been milked before. It wasn’t until I tried to bring in the youngest one – the one raised on her mother last year – that it got crazy.

Bottle-feeding baby goats – the term “bottle baby” disturbs me greatly. Goats, sheep, horses, cows (well maybe not in the case of crazy Jersey cow mothers [that’s a topic for another discussion]) should be raised on their mothers if it is physically possible [i.e. if the mother is not dead]). Feeding them by bottle, in my opinion, is a great disservice to both the mother and the baby. The only detriment to leaving them on their mothers is the babies get wild.

Goats raised on a bottle are tame but obnoxious. They think of you as their mother and you can’t get them off you. That’s a good thing when you are milking but that’s about it. The reason why it is done so commonly is that people who have dairies want most of the milk to themselves to sell or make cheese with. The babies, especially if they are male, are secondary and unless they are exceptionally well bred, not worth much. I want the milk too but I also want the babies to grow well and naturally. The male goats are good to eat, the females are kept back as future milkers.

So, breaking a goat that has been raised on their mother is a bit of a rodeo for the first couple of months. Having a trained dog to bring in the goats and keep them where they need to be so you don’t have to chase them around and around is extremely useful. Gel was not only my best friend but a very useful dog.

Spoke to a woman about a dog that probably would be a perfect fit, but she wants $2,000 for her – I can’t afford that. I could afford it if I paid over time which was offered to me but just the thought of spending $2,000 on a dog scares me. It sucks being financially poor.

Until later …