Sunday, September 8, 2013

Aug 30, 2013


In the grand late summer weather we have been having lately I was happy to start morning chores early. Ezzie, our young Nubian buck, surprised me this morning by how ragged he looks. His gums are dead white, and he stares off into outer space forever. He has not been looking well, but this morning he is clearly worse. His listlessness has me worried, so I got occupied in studying. I think he has worms. The worms ball up so much space in the goat's complex digestive system that they starve the goat to death. There are medicines that kill the worms, but some worms are so stubborn you almost have to kill the goat to kill the worms. It can be a struggle, and the goat needs a powerful will to live. In the worst cases the goat will lie down and soon be dead. Pilot, a much older boy than Ezzie, does not look too well either. In his case I think he has begun the rut fever. But when Pilot was Ezzie's age he got so sick with worms that he almost died. He flopped down on me one day, but when I shouted he jumped up and staggered around woozy. A friend of my wife, who is an expert about goats, was visiting us when Pilot was so sick, and she knew how to apply the right medicine, and soon Pilot had an awful case of the shits, and he was eating again. That's what happens when the worms die; the poor goat gets the shits. But when he was finally scoured out, Pilot started making gain, and he matured into a proud herd sire. It is nerve racking that Ezzie's condition is so lackluster because the rut is beginning, and it will be frustrating if he is too sick to serve any of the girls. There are big plans for him this year. Although his face is not handsome, his build is athletic, his ribbing is open, he runs like a deer, his back long and flat, his legs are strong and feet clean, and his butt is wide and powerful. I love athletic goats; even if they have a bad year, they hang on to life, get better and last a long time. After tending Ezzie I dug potatoes and worked in my tomato patch. Never have I ever had such a sorry bunch of tomato plants this late in August. The great tropical downpours we have had here in the foothills of Maine this summer have ruined my garden. The plants have made no progress. My theory is that the roots are rotted out. I wonder what would happen if Ezzie and my tomato plants did not keep me so busy. There is a lot of science to taking care of them. If I did not have to pay so much attention to science, would I have more time to think about God? Then I might get my faith back. I firmly believe that is what has happened: I got too busy with the science of things to think straight. And that's how I lost my faith. Believe it or not I have always dreamed of going to the Holy Land to live awhile, despite all the belligerence going on. But what possible holy land can there be: no faith no holy land. Consequently I have had to put it off and put it off while I'm waiting to hear from my faith again. In the meantime, I'll take care of my garden. To me science is a big drawback in keeping faith. But Ezzie would die without science and experience. You can't throw science out the window just to get a piece of your faith back. I have heard scientists claim that through science they have gained in their faith. So science has taught them that somewhere beyond the quantum is an intelligence who knows every hair on your head and has a plan even for poor Ezzie and my tomato plants and humble me too. I think I'll apply more wormer to Ezzie tomorrow morning, and I took him out of the pen with the old boys, who have been harassing him in his sickness, and put him in with the babies. Ezzie is very shy. And I'll mulch my tomato plants thoroughly. I have a plan for them, or, I wonder, is it they who have a plan for me?

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