My friend Julie came in Saturday night. She and her kids are heading to New Jersey for the week and left today with Maggie. Maggie is going to visit a friend.
What am I going to do without Maggie? Maggie is my goat girl.
Well, tonight I milked the goats. I milked Coco first, earlier than usual. She didn't know what to do when I called her up at 6:30. I usually milk around 8pm. After milking Coco, I strained her milk then headed to the barn to meet up with the goats. Yesterday we sold 7 of the doelings. They went to live on a farm two and a half hours from here. We were so happy to see them go as a family unit. The mothers are a bit sad today. They spent a great deal of time maaaing for their babies. They didn't seem terribly sad. I think a couple of the girls were relieved. "About time those kids went out on their own. What is wrong with this generation of kids? They think they can hang around with us all day long, drink our milk whenever they want. Climb on top of us when we are trying to take a nap. Frankly, I was ready to kick them out anyway. But I will kind of miss them. Weren't they cute?"
So I am already missing Maggie. I haven't milked goats in a long time. But it was kind of fun getting reacquainted with the girls. Portia was a well-behaved milker, as usual. Nita didn't even threaten to kick the bucket. Thistle, on the other hand, was a bit of a pill (hard to take). Never mind. Milk is in the fridge now and I am so happy that Maggie gets a little vacation. She deserves it. What a hard-working girl.
We just finished up supper and dishes, 9:30pm. It was a garden meal. Sauteed green beans with onions, sauteed okra with onions and garlic, spaghetti squash topped with ratatouille made with garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, lots of olive oil and sea salt and balsamic vinegar. We also ate the very last of the deer meat. I had been saving it for a special dinner party, planned on pan-searing it and topping it with a port reduction as the first course of a very fancy evening. Well, tonight was the special dinner party. Dirty and tired from barn clean out we were hungry for meat and that was the first thing that thawed out of the freezer. Pan-seared, salt and peppered, thrown on the plate with mounds of other vegetables, it was good. We discussed hunting and target practice and who was going to harvest more venison for the family. We decided we better start praying now for a successful deer season.
I have to go and strain the chevre (goat cheese) and then head to bed. But thought I should mention something fun. When I head to bed at night I like to spend a moment or two listening. Sometimes I go outside on the deck, sometimes I open the window and peer out and tune my ears to the evening.
Saturday night Julie and I sat at the table for a good long bit, caught up on chat then I went out to the deck. It was pitch black. Dreadfully late (at least 10:30!) The moon was small and had not risen yet. The clouds covered most of the stars. For some reason the ducks were babbling about something and for a few minutes all I could hear was a muffled quack, quack, quack. Then a strange sound reached my ears. It sounded like a machine. I couldn't figure out what kind of machine would be running at that late hour. Hmmm. The washer was not going. The dryer is broken.
Then my eyes adjusted to the dark. I saw many dark lumps situated around the fence line. Rip, tear, crunch, munch. Munch, munch, munch. Rip, tear, crunch, munch, munch, munch, munch.
It was a machine! A 92 legged, wool-covered machine. A grass-eating machine. The sheep were busy converting grass to meat and wool and milk. And fertilizer. What a funny sound. I wish everyone could stand outside in the dark sometime and hear the sound of contented sheep or cows munching on green grass.
Better get the rest of my chores done then head to bed. Maggie's chores await me in the morning. As I milk the goats I am going to be praying that her trip to New Jersey is restful and fun and restorative. She has worked very hard this summer. I am thankful for her hard work. And glad for her to get a break. Miss you already, Maggie, and not just because of having to do your chores. I miss your smile and your face and your nice hug at the end of the day.