Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What I Did This Summer Part I: Goats

Posey and Tonetta are now familiar with our car. When they hear our wheels pulling up the dusty road, they come trotting out, swollen udders swaying between their legs.

Our friend purchased these two dairy goats when she learned that her young son is allergic to cow milk. The make-up of goat milk makes it much easier to digest.

Goats who are lactating must be milked twice daily, every day, or they will stop producing. Brad and I asked if we could perhaps ease our friend's burden by milking twice weekly, which we have done for the last half of the summer.

It was awkward and time-consuming at first, as we struggled to master the technique of getting the most output from each squeeze. The goats, for their part, tested us more than once, stomping a hoof into half-full pails, rendering it useless except as pig food.

"If you want to make love to a goat, brush it," our friend advised. So I groom Posey as Brad milks Tonetta and she narrows her eyes, tilts her head, and leans her warm body into my leg. I now know what a blissed out goat looks like--something I never imagined I would have the ability to recognize.

These leg-leans and morning milking have been the joy of my summer. I feel like a kid that has taken the step from the petting zoo onto the farm. I have taken such pride in the simple practice of milking twice weekly. It is a small step towards our future.

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