May has been a whirlwind of farming adventures! Here are some “journal notes about goats”:
One of our goats, Hazelnut, arrived this week [early May] with her sister, who is just visiting, and I already have a dozen farm stories to share. OK, Hazelnut is a companion goat. A “companion” goat, you may ask, with a smirk? Yes, indeed. The milk goat arrives later in the week, and Hazelnut will be her little friend. And who’s the twin over there? That’s Hazelnut’s sister, Apricot. Another nice little goat, she is. She is just visiting until the milkgoat arrives. Oh dear, the companion to the companion goat.
Animals make the best story fodder. Noah and I took to reading a chapter book to the goats in the morning. I set up a blanket seat for us and we read James Herriot Dog Stories to the goats all this week.
They are a little playful at the beginning and want Noah to put out his hand for a hand-headbutt. They eat and enjoy our company. Then they settle in and lay down near us, listening to the stories. One morning, when I paused from reading, Hazelnut looked up at me with an expression like “Keep reading”. Eventually, they nap.
Noah and I laugh that we are like Fern in Charlotte’s Web, reading to the animals in the barn. We watch the cows come in to listen across the fence (wondering if we’re passing out some grain). The chickens stroll in to see if there are any chickens in the story, some of them crossing into the goat paddock to check out the grain bucket. Now a good laugh, because today, I was surprised when Tigger the cat peeked out from an opening under the shed wall next to me and joined the crew. There are cats in some of the stories, so no wonder.
Sitka is there too, laying patiently on the other side of the gate, wondering if he’ll ever be invited into the goat house. For now, he waits patiently, and listens for his favorite dog in the stories, Gyp the sheepdog. Sometimes he gets excited and barks at the goats, and I have to stop reading and tell him to lay down again.
Today [later in the week] was exciting. Our milk goat Avanell arrived and it was time for my first try at milking. She seemed to get along with the other two just fine, gently letting Hazelnut play headbutt with her. She followed to the goat milkstand and jumped right up to eat. She finished eating well before we finished milking and she patiently waited. Such a good goat! So patient with our beginner hands doing the pinch and squeeze over and over. Yes,”we”. Jonah needed to try, and Phil needed to help. And when we were finally done, she jumped down and just walked over to her gate. At first, my left hand wanted nothing to do with this party, and I was slow. But it only took about four days to coordinate and not long before it was easy. Welcome, Hazelnut and Avanell!