… no goat kids yet. Flora has been separated from the others so that she can have some privacy and rest these last few days. Still, she continues to keep us guessing. Who do you think will deliver first: Flora, or April the giraffe? I’m not holding my breath over the giraffe calf, but I am eager for Flora to get down to business. You guessed it: a freshened goat means more dairy! Milk has been our running theme as of late, and for good reason: it’s delicious. More so, we’re realizing that it is valuable.
So valuable that we cry over spilt milk here.
Gabe and Luke have been helping with barn chores. They don’t actually milk, but they do assist in feeding, cleaning, etc. After Pepper jumped down off the milking stand the other night, I turned my back to get her into the pen when I heard Gabe exclaim “Oh no!”
He had accidentally spilt the entire evening’s milk… over a quart.
I almost blew a gasket. In the last several months I have developed a far greater respect for food than I ever have known before. Part of it is in the ‘give us this day our daily bread’ regard. We haven’t bought milk from the grocery store in three weeks – it’s a beautiful thing. Pepper has been milking out at a quart and a half every day. It’s been enough to keep our family of five (three of which being small) satisfied. I am so thankful for the provision of raw, all natural milk at a cost far less than what it would be if we were to get it from a co-op or a farm share. Beyond that, I have come to realize the value and the amount of work that it takes to produce food, specifically good food.
I calmly explained this to Gabe (at least I think it was calmly; you’d have to clarify that detail with him.) It takes a lot of work to get a quart of milk. The time and effort it takes to do the daily milking isn’t much, but that’s not the only work it takes. There’s the feeding, the watering, the frequent trips to the feed store and the 3 am bedtimes. There’s the 8 hour round trips to actually get the goats, digging for fence posts and building pens. Vaccinating, kid monitoring, hoof trimming, trying to lock in a buck for the fall to breed for next year’s milking, disbudding and more than I can think of to list here. Not to mention the effort that it takes on Pepper and Flora’s part to carry kids, birth kids and produce enough milk not just for twins, but for a whole family as well. We can’t forget that the goats work around here too, it’s not just us!
We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t enjoy it. It’s fun work (mostly, not the manure shoveling or the vaccine administering) and a past time that we’re enjoying. That said, it’s still work. I’d been raised to know that wasting food is a shame, and now it’s truly registered why in the spirit of good stewardship. I do not know that I will ever take my family’s nourishment for granted again.
So, Gabe has continued to help out with no more mishaps. Hopefully he understands why there was no milk for breakfast that morning and that while accidents do happen, it’s important to pay attention and focus to minimize them. We must regard our food and the One whom provides us with it greater respect and mindfulness than that.