I need to have my eyes checked.
I woke up this morning, glanced at the clock, and immediately panicked. “We’ve overslept!” “It’s 6:30!” “We’ve got to milk Cindy right away!”
To which Dave responded, “It’s 5:30. Go back to sleep.”
“Oh. Well, that’s much better.”
If you had told me even two years ago that I would consider 6:30 a.m. oversleeping, I would have thought the Insanity Fairy had tapped you with her magic wand. Having two kids, we don’t exactly sleep until noon anymore, but getting up anytime before 7:00 was never really part of the deal. But now, we’re milking. And the chickens want out. And the pigs are hungry. So 6:00 a.m. it is. Our children, of course, sleep through all of this.
First stop is letting the chickens out, and then it’s straight to the goats. We keep Cindy separated from her babies at night so that we can get a good amount of milk from her in the morning. We only milk her once a day, so the babies have access to her from the time we are done until they are separated again at night.
They spend their days in the enclosure we built for them down the hill. At first, we would try to coerce them out once or twice a day to give them a little change of scenery. They never really wanted to go and would race back to their enclosure as soon as they had the chance. It’s a pretty spot, about 100 feet long and 25-30 feet wide, with a shed for shelter and milking. Since goats are browsers (as opposed to grazers), this area was built around a good deal of rough growth that includes a large pine tree. They’ve been very happy in here.
Lately, however, they’ve been clamoring to come out.
We will invariably find all three of them standing at the door, occasionally butting it with their horns. If we have a free moment, we’ll take them out. On one of these walks recently, I noticed that Cindy was browsing with unusual gusto. She was eating the greens as though she hadn’t had anything to eat for days. We feed her twice daily, so I know this is not the case, but then I glanced over into the enclosure from where we were standing and I noticed something interesting.
The right side of the fence is where the goats live; the left side is just on the other side of their fence. Because the land all around is so lush and green, we hadn’t really noticed that they’ve pretty much eaten everything there was to eat in there. There is certainly greenage left, but all of a sudden, Cindy’s enthusiasm for going for a walk became understandable.
So, now we are going for multiple walks a day.
The kids are growing by leaps and bounds (and they tend to spend a fair amount of time leaping and bounding on these excursions). It is fascinating to observe them learning how to be goats by watching their mama. They’ve been trying to browse for a few weeks now, but it seems that their little teeth are only just now beginning to cooperate. Yesterday was one of the first days I saw them really able to get a purchase on some of the smaller branches and munch away.
All three of them hunt and browse with such fervor that it strikes us as having become a really necessary part of the day.
So, now we are taking the goats for walks. Again, if you told me even two years ago…