The Trouble With Long Weekends

Nothing ever goes the way you plan it on a holiday weekend. Because I planned to go take care of my billie goat on Sunday, I ended up driving to Youngstown on Saturday afternoon with a truck full of Winter feed and straw to take care of an emergency with another goat that went rogue. Came home late that night without the goat and nothing accomplished. And I half-considered turning around and parking before I left North Jackson, because there was a fantastic lightning storm on the Northern horizon over Cleveland, and I felt gyped not getting to watch it.

Sunday after Mass, I drove three quarters of the way to Youngstown – without my cell phone, which I had thoughtlessly abandoned on the front porch – and ended up on the side of the road with a spike in my tire. By the time I got home last night, it was well after dark again, but I had hours to read “A Wrinkle in Time,” sitting in a lush, unfenced roadside field under the warm sun whilst I waited for someone to stop and let me use their phone, so it’s all good.

This morning, I used the very last of my gas to drive to Youngstown one more time, forgot absolutely everything that I was supposed to take with me, leaving the basket on the kitchen counter, but at least the truck was empty and 300 lbs of feed and a stack of straw bales was tucked safely away in the barn after twelve trips up and down the stairs.

The good news is that something I needed to do months ago finally got done today: I built a milk stanchion out of warped and split scrap lumber in trade for the elf-eared La Mancha sire I adopted this past Spring.

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It looks like crap because I cut it out on the fly with a borrowed jigsaw and a dull blade, no straight edge and no miter box, so it’s loppsided, cockeyed, and one leg is a half inch shorter than the others because the ends are cut at an unintentionally slight angle. It may look like shit, but that sucker is pinned together quite nicely with a whole box of 3″ ceramic-coated decking screws; You’d have to throw it off a cliff from a truck going 70mph to break it.

By the time I was finished, I looked like my mother covered from head to toe with sawdust, and I had wood scraps laid out all over this family’s garage apron. It’s done, though, and that’s what counts. Finally!

These people have been calling my goat “Rusty,” but I’ve only ever called male goats “Butch,” if they’re sires, or “Bobbie” if they’re cut – a lifelong habit I picked up in junior high from my Ag advisor, Mr. Wilder, who raised sheep, and whose father was my favourite veterinarian. Within a week, he’ll be another Butch for good. I can’t help it.

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On the way home, Butch wouldn’t shut the hell up. He started getting on Baby’s nerves which caused a not-so-minor growling, snapping scuffle on the dark highway, so I cranked up the radio and started flipping through stations; this is how I learned that Butch likes classic rock best. Play him Boston, AC/DC, or the old British dude who used to bite the heads off of bats, and he’s as quiet as a church mouse. He does not seem to appreciate Rob Zombie, however, which I think is a tragedy. We’ll have to fix this…after I sleep for about twelve hours, and my leg stops pounding from sitting in a car for three days straight with little movement. For now, Butch is tied up on a grazing line under the security lamp, mowing the front yard because the chickens scare the shit out him. I hope he pipes down, soon.

…Now all I have to do is find some gas money to get to Tennessee and back so I can collect the rest of my menagerie before it turns cold and the roads start getting bad. Then all will be well for Winter…just so long as I can remember not to do it on a holiday weekend when my head isn’t screwed on straight.

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