Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Goat Yoga

The goats are here! The goats are here! And guess what??

Goats are hard.

Okay, goat milking is hard. Especially when your milk stand doesn't arrive before the goats do. But once again, I am getting ahead of myself.

We picked up Lucy (black) and Tess (bebe) on our way back from a wedding in Taos (congrats, Mark and Jill!!) this past Sunday, thereby ensuring that the goats trumped the papas on Father's Day this year. Whoopsie. (Sorry Dad and Gabe!!)

This is me, making kissy faces with Tess:

And me again, full gum smile, as we both bleat our hellos.


After a quick milking/hoof trimming lesson from the incomparable Elizabeth Ahola of Lil' Bleats Farm, we loaded up the car with Lucy in a crate in the back, and Tess in my lap wearing a baby diaper. The front seat looked a lot like this, with Lucy chiming in from the back:

You can tell it's early in the trip, as I am smiling and the diaper is fairly intact. The inside of our car sounded much like this:

You can't see Gabe, but he looked a lot like this:

Somehow, we made it home alive, with at least 87% of our hearing. Win.

And then it began. What was so easy with Elizabeth coaching, in the barn Lucy knew, with hands that were skilled, on a milk stand created to make this task easier, was suddenly a barnyard version of WWF. But no one was faking. These wounds were real. After MUCH trial and error, Gabe and I came up with a system whereby I was the human milk stand and Gabe found himself playing the role of champion milkmaid.

I give you, Goat Yoga.

Gabe demonstrates Crouching Teat Squeeze while Danielle masters Goat Stanchion One. Namaste.
We hold this position for 5-8 minutes on each side, while Lucy bucks, yells, kicks and bites. Who can blame her? We are farmers in training...with no training...which basically makes us idiots. Lucy sports a constant WTF/FML expression from the moment we enter the pen.

But we are making progress! What took over an hour the first time now, on day 5, only takes 20-30 minutes.

Tell me the truth - does this goat make my butt look big?

And what do we get, for all of this work? For all the angst we are causing poor little Lucy? For the thigh cramps (me) and achy crabbed milk hands (Gabe)? Milk! Fresh, raw, healthy goat milk.

This is a 2 Qt milking can. For those who failed Math 101, that is 8 cups. 

Yep. Tablespoons and tablespoons of milk. That we can't even drink yet as it's so full of dirt and goat feet that it isn't worth it.

But the milk stand arrives today (come on UPS guy!) and we'll start sanitizing the equipment so that we can drink the milk. And increase Lucy's production since we'll be in a better position to actually milk her out before we all just give up and poop in a corner (Lucy, not us). And when we're not milk wrestling, the girls are really adjusting well. Lucy is a little more reticent (wouldn't you be?) but warming up, and Tess loves us all. The boys are enchanted and the neighbors are supportive, so what more could we ask for?

Hell yeah, we are farmers! (But don't tell any real farmers I said that.)


Kendahl said...

How are there no comments on this? It seriously made me laugh until I cried. I've owned goats my whole life, but more as pets, not for milk. Glad that you guys (and Lucy) stuck with it long enough to see results.

Michael Sarren said...

the wwf comment!! lol

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