Lots of weird things happen to me. I think I’m a “weird magnet.”
One of the latest weirdest things was when I asked Hank what he thought about getting goats. I had researched breeds that produced the best milk and ran across a certain one called Nubians. Then I researched on and on, discovering how to take care of them, how to clip their hooves, what they eat, that you shouldn’t have bucks around if you want good milk, that you can only freshen their milk by letting them have babies, that they cohabit well with chickens, what the difference is between a buck and a doeling and a wether… I was swimming in new information. And then, the very next day (after my research day), we happened to be in a Farm & Ranch store picking up a weed eater or something and we noticed that the woman in front of us had a small bag of goat feed in her basket. I mentioned it, and she and I started talking about goats. She raised the same breed that I had researched and 15 minutes later, she had given me her phone number and the boys and I made a date to go meet her goats the following day.
Long story short, she also fell into farm life after dreaming about it. Her son was given a goat named Humphrey as a gift when they moved to their farm (much bigger than our farm, btw), and then they got a second goat named Mary (coincidence?!) to keep the first goat company. One day they came home and had three goats; they had no idea that their new goat had been pregnant when they got her. The rest is history. They love goats, raise them, and now their teenagers show them in 4-H along with chickens and a llama and a couple of horses, some rabbits and ferrets and a barn cat (they don’t show the cat). All of that has happened for them within the last four years.
And because she fell into a mentor-relationship with a breeder over goats at a state fair, she’s mentoring us. She says it’s a little “Pay-it-forward” thing. I think I’ve hit the jackpot.
The first time the boys and I visited, we tasted goats’ milk. We had never had it before and it was delicious. Not at all what we expected and we honestly could not tell the difference between it and cows’ milk. She told us how to quickly pasteurize the milk and that they also use it for ice cream and soap. I hope to include cheese in our repertoire with the help of another friend who swears she can teach us.
We visited again this week so that Hank could meet the goats (and…so I could play with them. These are all iPhone photos; I felt ridiculous about asking if I could take pictures of her goats with my big camera. Goats are VERY HARD to take pictures of!).
We also wanted to learn more about building a pen, who to use as a vet, and then she asked us if we wanted to learn how to milk a goat. I had watched this tutorial online, but I know me, and I can use all of the help I can get (seriously, you must read the blog post that precedes the tutorial about milking; the woman gives up and uses her old breast pump. SO FUNNY.).
But before I could plop down on the milking stool – Holden did. Hank and I about fell right over.
Our friend showed him how to hold his hand and squeeze the teat to milk her. Oh my word. I was so proud. He did awesome, and then I had my turn. I did ok. Ewan’s hands were a little too small to get a good pinch on her teat, so he decided that his job will be to feed the goats their treats while they are being milked. Hank, however, was the champion milker. Jeez-o-pete, the man has strong hands. I fell head over heels AGAIN. :)
So there you have it. We are currently finalizing our goat pen/chicken coop plans to be approved by our HOA (yes, we still have one of those – but mostly it’s for the airport, thank goodness) and finding out how to build a milking stand. We hope to have our new chicks all cozy in the brooder this week and add two goats into the mix in October, or in the spring at the latest.
And wish us luck. I’m sure there will be MANY mishaps and adventures coming.