Believe it or not, I’m still alive. Has it really been 2 weeks since my last post? I’m really slacking off here…
Anyway, we’ve been really busy around here doing many things, but my most notable experience has been milking Maebelle for the very first time. I would love to have more pictures of the actual milking to show you, however my hands were a bit preoccupied, so the story alone will have to suffice.
separating the kids for the first time was a little traumatic, although they had lovely fluffy straw, the best second cut hay and fresh water- they were still (understandably) sad. They made it through though, and the next morning I got all my milking equipment ready and headed out, knowing full well that my first time milking a goat who was being milked for the first time after her first time being separated from her kids for the night, wasn’t going to go super well. That’s too many “firsts” for anything to go smoothly.
I gave Maebelle her grain and put her hobbles on, just in case, and set to work. It was a mess. I had milk running up my arms, my fingers were cramping, and it was taking FOREVER to get just a little bit of milk. Then Maebelle ran out of grain, and even with the hobbles she was able to kick enough to knock over my bucket. Luckily there wasn’t much in it. At that point I decided it was in my best interest to milk with one hand and hold the bucket with the other. This got the job done well enough and, when my hands started cramping too badly I decided that was enough for our first time. I was so anxious and excited to have my very first jar of milk! What was it going to taste like? How much had I gotten? I was so busy with these thoughts running through my head that I released Maebelle’s head catch…and forgot to take her hobbles off! Ooops. I was scooting along behind her trying to grab them off her legs while she bee lined it to the babies.
The happy ending of this story is that I got far more milk than I thought I would!
Even today, my second milking, was much better than the first, and I know I’ll get better at it every day. I doubled my amount today, which I thought was excellent progress.
In other news, I got an early birthday present from my mother in law yesterday, can you guess what it- or they- are?
Peafowl! 4 of them actually, 2 peacocks and 2 peahens. The older male’s tail was too big to fit in any transportation cage or box we had, so we drove home with him on my lap, and his tail laid out over Farmer B’s lap.
I used to have a pair of peafowl, Mr. and Mrs. Pea, but unfortunately they flew away last fall. This is a risk you take with peafowl when you free range them. They’re not like chickens, in that they are incredible flyers and seem to have quite a mind of their own. My M.I.L. has had many over the years and some have stayed for years then just flew away. And no, they weren’t eaten because they have been spotted from time to time in the area. In fact I actually got Mrs. Pea because she flew in to someone’s yard a few towns over, and the orignal owner was never found. But if you can keep them around they really are a beautiful addition to your property. I definitely do not recommend them for people with close neighbors though as they are very loud during mating season. Last year, Mr. Pea slept in a tree outside our bedroom window and would scream all night . If you haven’t heard a peacock call, YouTube it. Not to mention they are very vain creatures, and enjoy staring at themselves in car windows and mirrors, and I assure you, your neighbor won’t find it endearing to have huge scratches put on the hood and/or roof of their car because your peacocks used their windows as mirrors.
These 4 I have now are living in our old feed room with access to an outdoor pen for the time being, until they get used to their new surroundings and new owners. After a couple of weeks I’ll start letting them out in to a fenced in yard, and from there they’ll be allowed to roam free. I have my fingers crossed that all goes well and they’re happy in their new home. Once they’ve settled in I’ll take some more pictures, but as they’re a little stressed from the move, I’ll give them some privacy.
Today we’re building a new fenced area for the goats, I can’t wait to see it done 🙂