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  • Writer's pictureReyna Bradford

The Big Wide World (Written 2/29/20)

The day began with total cuteness. Since the babies have been kept in the nursery pen in the utility room so far, I gave them a toy a couple days ago to keep them entertained. It's a big packing box that my order from arrived in a week or so ago. Not only does pushing it and jumping on it give the baby goats something to do, it also builds up their strength, makes them more sure-footed, and teaches them some early confidence.

This morning after I fed everyone, I stepped back into the pen to grab something off a shelf in there. The box was on its side, flaps open. Seven of the nine kids were sacked out in the straw under the heat lamp nearby. Everyone except Shandy and Brandy. Those two cuties were curled up, one cuddled against the other, fast asleep inside the box.

That was one time I definitely wished I could have used a camera.

The dogs and I finally got to go for a real, full-distance walk today. The arrival of three sets of triplets has majorly curtailed any kind of canine activities over the last couple of weeks. We were all anxious to get up and get out. It was warm and they were all panting. I hauled up the sleeves of my sweatshirt, which I probably shouldn't have worn at all, and Butterscotch found every single ditch with water in it along the way. Meg skipped the dinky ditches and went straight for the big guns—the marshy pond out in the brush beside the driveway. She was half-soaked by the time we turned onto the road.

Back here at home, I tackled the next project. It was time to wrestle the cattle panel back into place and close off the corral for the kids. All winter I leave one side of the corral open to the front yard, the better to access the barn while eliminating one more gate that needs to be opened and shut. With that panel wired in position, I started scooping up babies and carrying them out to explore a new world.

It was so warm that even the five-day-olds (Chablis, Shandy, and their little brother) came out with the six older kids. It's always interesting to see how kids react to their first adventure in the great outdoors. Some are wild and wary, forgetting at least for a few minutes that they ever knew "Mama Reyna." Some get lost, wandering away from the others and crying desperately until I come swooping in to rescue them and return them to the group. Some just edge along the fence, looking and listening and trying to process everything while still clinging to the perceived safety of that wire and cattle panel barrier. Today the wild ones were Bourbon and Lava, two of Mistrie's little girls. They ran crazy circles, jumping and dodging and rejoicing in learning to truly run. The shy one was Paisley's little boy, Chablis, Shandy's brother.

He's the smallest baby out there, and he's just a little unsure about getting into the mix with the bigger rowdies. In fact, one reason I decided to bring those youngest kids out today was in hopes that it would boost his confidence and get him up and running a little more. But when I sat down in the corral to just hang out with them and watch everyone for a while, Mogen, Chablis, and Brandy piled right into my lap, along with Velvet's two boys. Shandy was at my elbow, not wanting to be left out. These are the reactions I like from kids. Not only does it indicate that they trust me, but it proves that they are also confident enough to stay calm and take everything in. They still ran and played (and Brandy led the charge to turn my back and shoulders into a springboard), but they always came back to me and happily asked for attention.

After about ten minutes, Bourbon settled down and came in for a chat. Lava, the black and white sister to her and Brandy, was the last one to come back. Interestingly enough, those two were already ones I knew I didn't want to keep. They're nice kids, growing well and with neat coloring, but I knew from the first day or two that they weren't meant to stay with me. They don't have the personality and temperament that I look for in my keepers.

But after that ten to fifteen minute-window, everybody was okay. I sat there and loved on them, picked up the little shy guy and sweetened him up and brought him into the middle of everyone, and they all quieted down and started taking things in. My dad brought them some cinder blocks, and they began experimenting with those, too.

They're indoors again for tonight, as they will be for at least another week or two. But the fun has begun. They'll be outdoors from here on out every day, unless the weather turns nasty on us. And if that happens, I better have some awesome boxes and other toys for them, now that they've tasted the excitement of the big, wide world.

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