Farewell Ginger

April 16, 2001 – April 5, 2016
Of natural causes, heart failure.

Ginger was a sweet, beautiful goat with one of the best fleeces I’ve ever had in my goats, the best of those with color  genetics.  Her father Sprout was a gorgeous goat and she got her great fleece from him, and the color gene from her mother Red.  She passed the color genes on with great fleeces to her offspring too.  She lived a great long life, serving as the herd matriarch until two days before her passing.  She went downhill suddenly, enjoying life up til the last day or so.   I opted to put her down as she was showing significant signs of distress – great difficulty breathing, she would not lie down and she stopped eating.  The vet said she had never seen a case of heart failure in a goat, but she had a significant heart murmur and it was likely fluid around her heart that was causing her to have such difficulty breathing out.  Also, laying down would have been painful because of the fluid in her chest.   I believe that my goats are veterinary “experiments” because they live such long lives – most goats (or any livestock species) don’t get to live much past 2-5 years.  Ginger died of natural causes – how often does that happen to livestock?  She died with me holding her and she relaxed quickly and easily into an eternal peace.

It was so sad later in the afternoon when the other does went out to pasture because Ingrid came to the corner of the barn where Ginger had been for the last day and started calling for her.  Ingrid had been standing on the partition and checking on Ginger while she was in a separate pen. She called and called until I went out and let her smell my hands since I had Ginger’s scent on my hands.  I rolled Ginger (who was temporarily on a cart) to the pasture fence for Ingrid and the other does to smell.  Then after a bit Ingrid and the others walked off, seeming to understand that Ginger would not be back.  Ingrid did not cry for Ginger again.

Here as a memorial are some of my favorite photos of Ginger.


Ginger Wearing Bucket (Nov 2001)

Ginger Wearing Bucket (Nov 2001)

Ginger 7 Months Old (Nov 2001)

Ginger 7 Months Old (Nov 2001)


Ginger and Scamp (2002)

Ginger (left) and Scamp (2002)

Ginger with Newborns Sienna and Jasmine (2003)

Ginger with Newborns Sienna and Jasmine (2003)

Ginger with Kids Leo and Rembaldi (2004)

Ginger with Kids Leo and Rembaldi (2004)

Ginger in Snow (2014)

Ginger in the Snow (2014)

Beauty and the Beast

It’s been a rough weather week so far and more snow is coming on the weekend.  Just a gentle reminder from Mother Nature so we don’t forget who is really in charge.  Although tired from 3 straight 8+ hour days of snow/ ice shoveling the beauty of the landscape is awesome.

Snow Cover IMG_6775

On Monday there was so much snow stuck to the trees that the world looked almost entirely white,  eerie and deathly quiet. I am so grateful to have not lost power!

Snow on Tress IMG_6790

After the ice yesterday, this morning’s sun striking all the ice on the trees is spectacular – all the trees and the snow are sparkling like diamonds.

Sun on Ice IMG_6894

The ice is so bad that the goats can’t walk on it – very unusual.   Instead they are holed up in their compounds where the ice is roughed up from where they were walking in the snow yesterday before it froze over night.

Boo in Snow IMG_6873

Haven’t seen any large animal tracks since the snow on Monday so they must be holed up somewhere too.  Very rough conditions for the wild things.  Rabbits had spent the night under a large evergreen out front and the birds are enjoying the bird feeder.  I can walk on top of the ice crust in most places but my bucks (~30 pounds heavier than me) were breaking through making walking slow, tiring and painful on the ankles.  Rembaldi opted to stay in the run-in-shed rather than face the ice when I let them out this morning.  There is still hay inside the sheds from their overnight rations which should hold him until he is ready to brave the snow/ ice.

Although this has been a snowy winter it isn’t even close in snowfall to some of the winter’s in the early 2000’s.  I can remember feet of snow per storm and I was shoveling it all by hand!  After one storm I used the truck to keep pushing the snow in the driveway back 10 feet at a time and  it still took me two full days to clear the driveway so I could make it to work.  14 years later and over 55, I can still shovel all day but not with the energy I had, and I use a snow blower as much as possible! I’m definitely slowing down and wonder how much longer I’ll be able to handle all the work here at this small slice of heaven.  The cycle of life and death is so much more obvious during extremes of weather and yet the beauty of it is also inescapable.