Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bringing home the goats...

Our goat ladies needed to come home. We had three by the time we moved, and they were occupying space that Judy needed in her barnyard. The first frost would come in a month, and we had work to do.

We had a good-sized garage, divided into two halves. I thought they could do well in there. But first we had to build a milk stand. We set to work and had it in good shape in about a day. We painted it white, and put it in the garage.

I thought that we could let all the girls out of the barn, then bring them in one by one to be milked.

The thing about buying goats in milk is very similar to the thing about bringing home a new baby. Once you have them, you have them, and you have to learn very quickly. We knew how to wash, milk, and bottle, but we'd never had to do it ourselves in the right sequence in a way the goats understood.

So. The first morning I let them all out of the garage through the side door, then selected Monique and let her back in. I had to get her up on the milk stand. She slid her head between the neckholders and started eating, and I locked her in. And then sat down and milked her all the way out myself. My hands ached, but she looked done. I poured the milk into another bucket - more on this later - and let her out. Then it was Erica's turn.

It went ok, but by the time I was done, Elegant had wandered off.

And if they wandered off during milking, surely they would wander off during the day. We realized that the goats couldn't stay in the garage all day, so it was time to get busy on the fence.

And a barn.

Before we got the fence up and the ladies well-contained, they had discovered they could wander at will while I was milking their sister in the garage. And wander they did. One morning they followed the kids to the school bus, and as I came out of the garage I saw Erica climbing on board with Fritz.

It's hard to know what to do in a situation like that. I called her name, but she wasn't paying attention. I had other goats who would follow me down the driveway if I went after her. Finally the driver closed the door in her face and she came running back.

Oh how green we were. Not environmentally green, just green. How long, I thought, would it be before I had it all straight.


Toni aka ShakleeMom said...

Oh my gosh... that is so funny! I can just see it Peg!

Eloise said...

I'm sitting here with a surprise goat in my backyard (long story) tonight and this post is hitting home. "Flower" needs a friend, because she is on our porch... goats are funny...