I promised more later but hesitated because Day 6 was not pleasant. The ailing doe became worse, much worse. Under advisement from several friends and a vet, I had to put her down. It’s part of being a farmer I guess. I certainly didn’t want her to suffer and she was definitely suffering. Alas, yet another tribute to my wife. She totally trusted me to make the right decision and supported me every step of the way. Additionally, I saw what was probably my wife’s best trait, her raising of our children. As young as they are, they knew I had a tough job to do and needed some help. ‘M” and “JR” snapped right to it and helped with the younger kids. They also fed everyone snack and then took them over to the neighbor’s house to play on the trampoline. After hearing the gunshot, they came back home and continued to help me around the house. That night at worship we thanked God for all our gifts and I thanked God for my five precious blessings. It’s really sad to walk around in public and be treated like a movie star because I’m a dad alone with 5 kids. People say, “You’ve got your hands full”. I know they don’t mean it in a bad way but I just respond, “Not at all, they’re wonderful kids and I’m lucky to have them.” I read a statistic that the average father spends 38 seconds a day with their children. I don’t know how they measure that and it may be completely inacurate. However, if a father spends less than an hour a day with their children that’s unacceptable.
Day 7: Back to real life. I get the kids up, feed them breakfast, feed the animals and get ready for departure to a friend’s house so I can get another few hours at work. We’re now bottle feeding the baby goats because of Momma’s demise and “JR” comes in to tell me that one of the little boys won’t eat. Great! I’ve killed my wife’s favorite goat and now her kid has stopped eating. I walk out to the pen complaining the whole way about how I’m a lousy farmer, don’t know what I’m doing, and can’t do anything to keep these goats alive. As I walk back to the house I’m still lamenting my failures when “JR” stops. Looking intently at the bottle he says, “Uh, Dad?”. I whip around with a sharp, unpleasant “What!?” and the conversation ensues. “JR”: “Is this a new nipple?” Me: “Yah”. “JR”: “Did you know that new nipples must be cut?” I rip the bottle from his hands, disgusted by the fact that a 7-year-old would so blatantly question the intelligence of his father, thrust the nipple into my mouth, tilt upward, and suck. Nothing! I pull it out and contemplate what was more idiotic: (a) offering a baby goat a nipple with no hole or (b) sticking a nipple in my mouth that is laden with goat spit and regurgitated rumen chunks. Either way, I replace the nipple and the somewhat frustrated baby sucks it down in minutes. “Everybody in the car!” Never did I think work would be a place of solace…
After work I pick up the kids and have to run by Walmart to replenish my sugar supply. The weak bee-hive is out of honey and I must supplement with sugar syrup but they’re going through it faster than “R” is going through diapers. Low and behold I find a 25 lb bag, perfect! On the way back I decide my children need something special for being so great this week, maybe roasted marshmallows and a fire in the Chimea tonight. As I roll up to the register I don’t consider the spectacle I’ve just created: 5 kids in a buggy with a 25 lb bag of pure sugar and a pack of Marshmallows. The cashier gives me that look. After the week I’ve had I consider the following retort: “Look lady. My wife’s been gone for a week, her goat died, my septic backed up and I’m a lousy cook. I plan on feeding the kids 1 cup of sugar every 4 hours until my wife returns. If you’ve got a problem with that call the USDA, I hear they’ll order me to go through the school lunch line and feed my kids chicken nuggets and processed milk.” But I refrained. I offered a pleasant smile and left her guessing.
Day 8: One day before my savior returns. I’m out of milk for the goat kids so I’m on the phone for two hours finding sources. I get a half gallon from my neighbor which will last until “D” returns. I go easy on myself; oatmeal for breakfast, spaghetti for lunch, boiled eggs for snack, and plan breakfast for dinner (we do that once a week). The day is frighteningly smooth, I tread lightly for fear that it couldn’t possibly go without a hitch but I can’t figure out what the hitch might be. Maybe after a week I’m getting the hang of this, maybe I’m not such a bad Mom after all. Dinner comes, still quiet on the homefront. “JR” grabs the eggs, I begin mixing the ingredients for pancakes; flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda (what the heck is the difference?), salt, AHHHHHHH! I found the hitch! MILK! I can’t use the precious few drops I have left or I’ll starve our poor goats. I can’t empty the contents of the mixing bowl with 5 anxious kids looking up at me with drooling mouths. I frantically search the refrigerator for something to substitute. Something liquid, something white, something to do with dairy. Eureka! There’s half a carton of cream in the bottom of the door. So here’s my logic. Cream is like thick milk. I don’t have 3 cups of cream, but if I mix cream with water, it’s kind of like milk, right? I’m a genius. Into the bowl goes my soupy brew and the mixer fires up. I turn around and realize “JR” was so intent on watching Dad panic, that he lost track of how many eggs he had cracked into the bowl. I see a pile of shells and a glass bowl with what looks like a gallon of raw eggs. I ask him how many eggs are in there, he stops, looks in the bowl and smiles, “I don’t really know”. I’ve never seen that big skillet filled with a three inch deep puddle of egg. I turn around and… Holy Whipped Pancackes Batman! I’ve never seen pancake batter foam up like Cool Whip before. Well, maybe it will still cook. Although it’s stuck to the bowl, the wisk, and won’t pour out of the measuring cup. I have to forcefully throw it down to dislodge it from the cup and it splatters, causing somewhat of a pancake solar system on the skillet. I’ve just invented griddle cake nuggets. They went well with the 8 lbs of scrambled eggs. I need some sleep.
Sunday is here. After a breakfast of leftover scrambled eggs and griddle nuggets, I’m now ready to pick up the love of my life. Husbands, you need to read Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5:25. Wives…thank you.