Friday, February 26, 2016

Labor sitting with Brownie yesterday afternoon. 
After a couple of hours, things weren't progressing at all. So I called my friend, Sara, for a consultation. Both of us have enough experience that we feel comfortable leaning on each other for advice. We agreed to let her labor longer. Because it really did seem like she would start progressing any minute. But we were wrong, That was the wrong choice. If you are sure your goat has been in active labor, pushing, don't let it go more than two hours. Brownie went 6 before we called a vet. I'm putting it in writing so I remember this next year.

Six hours of pushing put all of us: Brownie, her unborn babies, the vet, our family, and Sara's family in the barn in the dark late last night watching the vet perform a service I can hardly describe. The violence of it is truly like Revolutionary War surgery. The vet was digging around inside Brownie's uterus for about 10 minutes -- deeper than her forearm. Honestly, I can't describe it. It was awful.

Except that it was an absolute solution to Brownie's distress. And now we have 3 healthy babies. I am trained as a midwife and Sara is an EMT. Discussing the whole thing while holding adorable sleeping babies, this morning, we agreed on several main points:

You think you remember how it went last year. You don't. Write it down.
Coconut oil is not a good lubricant for a cold night in a barn
Neither of us could have ever, EVER, have done what the vet did.
Ruminants may push for exactly two hours and no more. 
Veterinarians earn their keep. And God bless them.

Today was a much nicer kind of day. A worn out, napping kind of day. But pure baby bliss.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Henry finished his first semester at the local community college last week. Because he has unschooled his whole life, I asked him to start slow. He enrolled in freshman English, Spanish, Spanish lab, and some class required of all freshmen. I haven't seen his grades. He says he made A s. He also chose this semester to find a job. So while beginning college, he started work at Noodles and Company. He's been a very busy kid and seems quite happy---progressively happier all semester, actually. On the last day of class I asked him if college was difficult and he replied, "No." So I asked if it was easy and he said, "Almost worryingly so." When he was selecting classes for next semester I asked him, again, to please consider another semester less than full time. He is only 17 and there is no reason to rush. He laughed. And enrolled for a full course load. He plans to finish his general requirements in community college and transfer to the local university where he plans to major in Philosophy.

Riley is 15 and working her way through 60 hours of driving time so she can get her license next spring. She has the same restless slightly bored demeanor Henry had when he was 15 and the same tendency to grump around the house. I think these feelings are normal. She isn't ready for college yet and says she's not sure she wants to go at all. But I think she will be ready soon. She is craving a larger social life and...more. She just isn't sure exactly what kind of more. I've asked her to please consider finishing an associates degree to fulfill the first two years of general college at community college. Two years will pass so quickly. If you knock these out while you are still living at home, I told her, you'll have the tiniest possible credential to keep. And should you decide you want a university degree, it will cost you half the price and take half the time to accomplish, later. She sees the logic. And as she sits in her fug of easy frustration wanting an undefined kind of more, community college looks increasingly worthy.

Like her brother, Riley will probably begin college at age 16. Having unschooled her whole life, she is intellectually ready and well set to succeed. How is this possible? At a checkup last week her doctor asked her, with astonishment, "You are on track to graduate high school and begin college?!" She said, "Yes." But says she felt funny saying so. After all, none of "the track" nor being on it means to unschoolers what the doctor thinks it means. And Riley understands this. She has never been on the same track, yet she is arriving at the same destination, and early. 

This is the educational paradox society needs to understand. Unschoolers are intellectually on par with their schooled peers, emotionally ahead of their peers, and generally ready for college by age 16. On average. I don't think this is unique to Henry and Riley. I think its typical of homeschooled kids. They accomplish intellectual and emotional readiness ahead of their peers without the rote coursework of institutional school. Reading this, we should feel scandalized and angry. I do, and not because unschoolers are cheating the system or getting away with---well, their selves, so far. We should feel scandalized and angry that industrialized education robs children of their lives and retards their development.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Its almost the end of March and this was taken two weeks ago. We went for a hike at the Eno and the kids decided to go swimming in the river. More of a dunk and run, actually. But an insanely festive and hardy and fun way to welcome spring!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Maddie had her quincienra. The Gori family came to dinner. And Blackie labored all day with undiagnosed dystocia. FINALLY, at 11:30 on a Saturday night during March Maddness, I got my head out of my own butt and called the vet. THE VET WAS STUPENDOUSLY TALENTED AND GOOD. She pulled 3 kids. First: breach. Second: dead breach---actually transverse in utero. Third: normal presentation, a doe.

Alls well that ends well. But poor Blackie. All day my intuition said something was not right. That was correct. Something was not right. She never could have delivered them. I never could have sorted them out, in utero, by myself. WE NEEDED the vet.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Henry brought me a poem:

When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; 5
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

~Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass

Saturday, March 7, 2015

 The three babies are thriving in their new home and have been named: Sparkle, Nighttime, Dux.