Sunday, February 21, 2010


Just back from this weekend's adventures. Nic and I went to the University of Tennessee's Annual Goat Producers Conference in Knoxville. What a great day for just $25! They had a great lineup of speakers and topics. Most importantly they had tasty food for us all day long.

We left on Friday afternoon and arrived at our hotel at about 11 p.m.. Slept hard and were to the vet school by 8 a.m. The keynote speaker was Dr. Lionel Dawson from Oklahoma State University. He is a small ruminant specialist from the largest goat research facility in the country. His name doesn't indicate it but he is from India. His accent is an interesting combination of Indian and long term exposure to the Oklahoma twang. The other speakers throughout the day were all from the veterinary college at UT.

I'm happy to have some very specific answers to some goat foot problems that we have been experiencing. Even better, I think I have some solutions. I gained a better understanding of some common goat illnesses which probably means that we will experience all of them in the heard this year. That's usually how it goes.

Nic had a wonderful afternoon in the lab with UT professor of parasitology Dr. Faulkner. Dr. Faulkner was very informative and took time to talk with Nic about his educational plans. Large animal medicine and parasitology are Nic's specific interests. Dr. Faulkner was very encouraging and helpful. Interestingly Dr. Faulkner holds a creationist's view which is refreshingly different in a department of science. It's nice to begin with the correct premise on any topic. Nic and I had great conversation on the way home. Few people, even in our family, could tolerate the relentless medical, science, goat topics for very long. It is very gratifying to me that Nic feels so at home with a lab full of nature's most annoying inhabitants. Science has always been my favorite.

We had a small and vocal carpool guest on the way home. His name is Jolt - he has one horn. We met up with my friend Betsy from Crosby to pick him up for a late season attempt to breed my friend Sara's Guernsey-grade doe. There are currently no Guernsey bucks in the state of Georgia. They are very rare world-wide. Jolt is visiting here until Wednesday and then moving on to Sara's place in Ft. Valley. As I type he can be heard calling for his herd mates and his home. Jolt and others from his original herd were shipped to the southeast this past summer from Washington state. He has seen far more of the U.S. than I probably ever will. I don't think he is pleased.

On the way home Nic and I made the executive decision to traverse the Smokeys. It is the shortest mileage from Knoxville but certainly not the shortest in time. We were very glad we did. Neither of us have ever seen them in a blanket of snow. It's been a week since the snow and still it is piled waist deep on the roadside and in the overlook parking lots. The sun was setting so we got to enjoy the mountains at a time of day that we usually miss. The great rock faces along the road looked like fantasy castle walls with their frozen ice crystals. The Smokeys are another shared passion between Nic and myself. We both need to go there at least once a year. When I am there I feel that my body's center will explode. Why do things like that catch you in the chest? The phrase "My heart swells" is so very accurate, what is that? I haven't traveled much and I haven't ever left the continent ( I don't think the Bahamas in 1978 really counts) but I cannot imagine ever seeing anything more beautiful than Newfound Gap. Double click the picture and focus on the background. Amazing. Once before we saw it in a late afternoon light. Everyone gave a short gasp when we first laid eyes on it. It was an etherial gold with several shades of mixed purples, oranges, greens, pinks, and the colors scripture uses to describe our bejeweled Heaven. *sigh* I'm planning a trip back there in warmer weather (spring or early fall) this year. I want to pack our day's food and a lawn chair and sit at that overlook all day. I just want to stare and watch the colors change.

The weather is spring-like today. We are going to church, having home made hamburgers for lunch and getting things ready for the puppies and goat kids who will be arriving very soon. This afternoon - inspections of goat feet, oh, and endless chapters of pathophysiology for school.

What a way to bring a girl down.

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