Kid Separation.July 25, 2011
The air here has been thick, heavy and hot for the last week. Even at night when we are used to having cool breezes to put us to sleep the air has been sticky and stagnant. This morning for the first time the air was cool again, I put on a sweater on my way out to milk Esther and didn’t come back with it sticking to me like I have for the last few days.
We sold Hey-Zeus on Saturday. The actual moment when I separated him was pretty painless. I’ve spent so much time holding him and carrying him that he and Esther didn’t really think much of it. Neither of them said a word when I walked away, he munched on my hair while she placidly nibbled the grass her tail wagging to keep off the flies. He bleated once when I placed him in the back of the truck with the young ram, but Esther was too far away to hear him at that point. She was silent all evening, I was afraid to check on her because I thought my presence might spark a memory. It did. The next morning when I came to feed and milk she was silent until halfway through milking when she usually would bleat for him and he would respond. No response. She tried again more forcefully but still no response. Soon she had stopped eating all together and would bleat and wait bleat and wait and dance on the stand wanting to be free to go search for her kid. I let her go when I was done and she just stood on the stand looking at me, as if to say “well, where did you put him? You had him last!” I’m not as brazen as maybe I should be or will be, I am sad that he is gone, and I have a hard time watching Esther looking for him and calling for him. I know they are animals, and that they are not supposed to have the same emotional spectrum that we humans possess. I know this is part of owning a milking animal, that at some point whether it is at birth or later on the babies will have to go, be separated from the mother. I just wish there was a better use for boys than the soup pot. It seems so terribly sexist that at his birth I felt a tinge of disappointment, a boy. If I was a different person maybe I would have imagined what he would taste like and licked my lips in anticipation. Somehow I don’t think this will ever be me but maybe next time I won’t let myself get so attached.
We milked her together last night, Josh milking while I distracted her with sunflower seeds, vetch, salt and minerals. She was good for the most part, she made several attempts to put her foot in the milk pail but the way we are milking our arms block her legs so she didn’t manage to get anything in the milk. Isla seems totally unaffected by the missing herd mate. Somehow she seems calmer though, less in need of affection, more content to munch her hay and grass. Less competition maybe? She’s not worried that someone else is winning over my affections.
After milking we made dinner, a soup with new purple potatoes, fresh garlic, a green onion and left over greens from the market on Saturday. I first spent far too long peeling the garlic, it was mesmerizing the feel of the petal like encasing around each tiny bulb. I finished eventually and squished them with the flat of a knife and let them sit while I prepared everything else. I sautéed the onion and garlic then tossed in the potatoes and mixed them together. I added enough water to cover the potatoes some fresh ginger and a little of braggs liquid amino. When the water was hot I added four big handfuls of greens so the pot seemed almost full of them, I stirred them into the hot water so they broke down. I added more water to cover the greens a few leaves of fresh mint and basil pinches of salt and pepper, then covered it and let it cook until the potatoes were soft and tender. We had two bowls each of the soup an ear of fresh sweet corn and a glass of cold goats milk with maple syrup for dessert.
Sorry no pictures, I’ll add some tomorrow!