Sunday, June 29, 2014

It really doesn't get better than this.

During my long conversation over dinner with my new friend, Lisa, I had mentioned that I was sorry that I hadn't learned how to milk a goat.  She offered to teach me.  I jumped on the chance and invited myself for this Sunday (today).  I have found that it's better to just barge right in, otherwise the chance could be lost.  So, plans were made for me to show up at her farm at 7A.  I was pretty much right on the money, and would have been prompt (if not early) except for the fact that I had forgotten that the milk truck was due at the dairy barn this morning - I had to zip over and drop off the baked goods, a dozen eggs, give Jasmine and Alice a quick hug, pick up my milk and drive to Lisa's.  I am glad (for so many reasons) that she is not far.

I found her hanging up laundry.  She is never idle, either.  We walked across the road to the barn and got everything ready.  Having done this for years, she has a very workable routine, so I just chattered away, trying to stay out of the way.  I did step outside the milking parlour because I don't know of any dairy animal that likes their routine flummoxed by a stranger.  Once she had them in head locks, I came in and washed the bag of the one goat she is milking.  Because she has eight (large) goats and only milks one, there is a fairly complicated - to me - routine of who goes in the parlour when and with whom.  I found out that she has been milking this doe for four years.  Four years, once a day, since her last freshening.  I was flabbergasted.  And once this doe is done, that's it.  She will keep them all until they die, but no more milking.  I've decided to try and set up something similar to the milking arrangement she has so that I can get my errant sheep in a headlock, allowing me to trim hooves, etc. since there is only me.  She milked nearly a half gallon, then I helped her with the rest of her chores.  It's very light work when you work with someone you enjoy.  After the goats and chickens were taken care of, we walked back to the house where she had made breakfast for us - a frittata with her own eggs, potatoes (last year's - I should EVER be so lucky), her spinach, her onions.  This was washed down with kombucha with raspberries.  And with a steady stream of conversation.

I got a tour of her house - a homey, cozy, wonderful, old labyrinth, full of the remnants of her seven children and a mostly happy life.  She told family stories, showed me the photo album of the aftermath of a wind sheer that blew their original huge barn to bits - but left the silo.  I wanted to move in.  We walked down the road, through a field, behind the trees to their pond - a beautiful spot with a vista that people would pay millions for.  We finished hanging her laundry.  We toured her garden.  But most of all, we talked.  For Four And One Half Hours.  It felt like an hour.  I got a recipe for a flat bread/cracker that I sampled that was delicious and  I got her co-op catalog so I can order with her.  I have been missing this since I lost Kay - there are things they carry that I can't find anywhere else.  We listened to birds and tried to identify them.  I have a new hairdresser to try!  It was the best morning I have spent in a very, very long time.

After literally tearing myself away, I came home to apologize to the dogs (especially crated Lovey), I washed the beets I harvested from the greenhouse yesterday, and discovered that my first batch of my very own kombucha was ready today!  I am so excited!  I am going to try and maintain the level of excitement right through my mandatory ironing tonight....I think I can, I think I can....

First beets from the greenhouse.

Original part of L's house - from the 1700s.

L by the cucumbers in her garden
(which is MUCH farther along than mine...)

Her ingenious way of 'trellising' tomatoes:
4x4 wire panels laid horizontally.


  1. It sounds like you visited a wee bit of heaven! What wonderful photos and it was quite interesting about her milking a goat for so long. We are ever so lucky sometimes to meet very special people who we click with! They are balm to our souls! Your beets are stunning by the way!

    PS: I have to apologize for my dreadful typing in all posts here, I think far faster than I type and I do not type well.

  2. Those beets look great. Sounds like a wonderful day.

  3. Now tell me why I never thought about using old feed sacks as walk ways in my garden? I have TONS of them and I'm always thinking about putting mulch down for walkways. Thanks for the idea!!!!

  4. I'm glad you had a perfect day. We all desrve them once in a while. I've met a very nice Dutch couple similar to L but it is not quite the same as having a woman to share confidences. One of the downsides of moving.