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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I have never been so happy to see 1/4 cup of milk

That's right. One quarter of a cup of milk. Less, actually but I'm rounding up to feel better.

Today I have had the goats for one week, and one day. I've milked Aurora twice a day for about 5 days and, as my previous post explained, it has not been pretty. As a first freshener (this is her first baby, and her first time giving milk) she has not learned any milking stand manners. Without manners, it is difficult to milk a goat, and almost impossible to actually get milk. 

Last night, I stared up at the stars, requested the universe help some family members that are struggling, and before closing added that, if possible, I could really use some help with the goats and the farm. Trivial things in the grand scheme, but you know, it doesn't hurt to ask. 

This morning I had almost decided not to milk her. Who wants to start their day off by failing?  But at the last minute, I grabbed the supplies, warmed up the wipe, and headed out the door. 

This is me staring at the shelter, dreading going in. I took a deep breath, unlatched the door, and managed to get past the two eager goats. 

A little coaxing, and Aurora was on the stand.  Push Millie off the stand, repeat, give up and let her stand next to momma. Wipe the teats (this keeps autocorrecting to tears. I almost left it) and begin. 

After a few squirts up my sleeve I realize I forgot to take my coat off. I'm wasting precious time here!  So I rip it off and go back to milking. Squirt the ground, squirt my leg, hey she isn't kicking me!  Squirt the bowl, her leg gingerly moves and I grab the bowl, but she doesn't kick. I keep going, switching from teat to teat after a few squirts, fully expecting the bowl to fly across the shelter and spill all my hard work. 

Aurora is gobbling up her feed at a quick pace, even with a mini basketball in the bowl and I mentally note that I *must* get alfalfa cubes soon. She finishes, and the leg jerks. I take one last squirt, grab my bowl and stand, running it to the opposite bench as fast as I can to save my precious milk. Back to the stand, apply teat dip, give her some good scratches and praises, and release her. 

We did it!  Maybe it's a fluke. Maybe she was just really hungry this morning. But I'm calling it a small success. I go inside with my liquid gold and decide to measure it and keep a record. 

We will continue to work on stand manners, and soon (I hope!) we will begin working on quantity by separating her and Millie for a few hours at a time. 

Baby steps. The human kind, not the goat kind, because those are leaps.