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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day four: Milking the Goat

Life is always an adventure when you live on a farmstead.  Today I got ready as I have for the last few days to milk the goat.  I feel confident that today will be a victory for me.  Sadie is getting more comfortable and I feel more confident.  So what can possibly go wrong?

I step out to a cool 24 degrees this morning.  The sun is not yet up.  I have all my equipment in hand and my flashlight on my head (what a great invention, hands free light).  I am ready to enter the barn.  As I unlatch the gate I here Sadie calling for food which leads to the kids bawling for milk.   I open the barn door to a big surprise!  Bilbo, our little boy kid, has gotten out of the stall and is following mom.  My first thought is, "Great, now I'll never get milk".  I decide I will not leave the barn without trying.
Sadie quickly jumps up on the milk stand, puts her head in the slot and waits for me to plug in the overhead light and give her some grain.  I know she is wondering why it takes me so long.  This morning, however, I have a great surprise for Sadie also.  A lady at church gave me some apples so I cut one up and added it to the grain (hoping to slow down her eating).  I pour in the grain with apples and prepare for the race at hand.
Bowl in place.  Udder washed.  Milking started. (By day four I am quicker at getting started because I have a routine, somewhat.)
Sadie is being excellent.  She is not leaned up against the wall and is very calm.  I proceed to milk on the left side and can't get anything.  I squeeze and squeeze and still come up dry.  Deciding that maybe Bilbo has eaten on that side recently, I decide to try the right side (her least favorite).  Much to my surprise she lets me to her with no problem.  After about four squeezes I get wonderful, white, MILK.  This is a great accomplishment in my opinion.  I am so excited to be doing this with such ease.  But as you probably guessed already,  my success is short lived.
As I look to my left I see the other two kids shimey out from under the stall door.  They immediately attempt to jump up on the milk stand.  I fend them off with my spare hand.  Sadie is still fairly calm.  Milk is still flowing.  Maggie tries to jump up again and Bilbo sneaks in behind the stand and immediately tries to latch on.  I pull him away and Pippi is close behind him.  Maggie jumps up on my left side and Bilbo attacks from behind.  I am still trying to milk and defend my position.  Pippi latches on the other teat.  Sadie starts to kick.  Quickly I grab the milk bowl.  By now Bilbo has found a little place between the wall and the milk stand and he has figured out how to get around his sisters and my hands and get to the teat.  I am out numbered and Sadie is very restless.  (I can understand.  It would be hard to have three kids and one human trying to get your milk.)
I decide that I am no competition against the new contestants in the race.  I let Sadie out and the kids take care of the resting of the milking.  I came in with 1/4 cup of milk.  Not much milk but I do feel Sadie is getting more comfortable and I am getting more confident.  Not a time to quit.  It's not necessarily the quantity, at this time, as it is about learning.  It did take Sadie a little longer to eat and now I know I have more work to do on the stall.

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