Monday, March 2, 2009

Life in the barn: winter

The barn is cozy. The goats keep warm from their inner fires created by the digestion of hay and grain in their four stomachs. They don't have fur, just some hair that has grown shaggy, and their breath shows in the winter air, but they are toasty warm.

So is the barn, even with the big door open. Maybe there is a moon. The cats like it here.

Before milking, the goats are on their feet looking impatient. They want their dinner and are used to being milked at this time of day. After milking and filling their bellies with sticky molasses-sweetened corn and other grains, it is time to reflect upon the meal while chewing and rechewing. The best way to do this is while sitting on the belly, back legs out to the side, front legs extended, head up. The barn takes on a quietness when the milking is done.

When the rearrangement of food in the various stomachs is complete, and saliva is mixed with all, the goat need only let her head flop to the side and she is in the position for a long night's sleep.

It is entirely reasonable and pleasant to sit out in the barn with the goats on such an evening. They enjoy our being part of the herd. Even the sweetfeed tastes pretty good.

1 comment:

Eloise said...

I remember picking the oats out of the sweet feed when I was three or four, while Dad was milking Mary Anne. I would put the corn pieces in the trough of the milking stand, because they were too hard to eat.

I still think the best sound/smell in the world is pouring fresh goat's milk through the straining cloth into the big white stainless steel pan. :)