Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Needed: A Dose of Sensibility

When we first moved here to Minnesota from Illinois in the 70s, I wrote my folks a letter at least once a week. Some twenty years later, my mom gave me several boxes containing all of my old letters. Mom's been gone twelve years this coming Tuesday, and I'm just now starting to read through those letters.

The one I picked up tonight was written in June of 1979, and I was answering a question regarding our dairy goat herd. Just reading what I wrote brought back such memories. Waaaah , I wanna get goats again. (Please, somebody stop me. I don't want to be tied down with twice a day milking right now. I don't want to lie awake nights in mid-winter wondering if the goats are staying warm enough.)

The nucleus of our herd was just being built at that time. We had three Nubian milkers: Maggie, who was 5 years old, and the best goat ever personality-wise and a good, steady milker; Misty, 4 years old, a sweet, small doe who was a lovely frosted silver color; and Debra, 3 years old, a beautiful, red, huge, heavy milker who was the biggest klutz in goat-dom. She couldn't hop up on the milking stand without tripping and getting down wasn't much better. (Ever try to catch a large goat so she didn't fall on the floor?) Gosh darn, she was clumsy.

We had been taking our does down into Wisconsin to be bred but soon tired of that and decided it was time to keep our own bucks. Barley was only 3 months old at the time of the letter and had just been joined by Brisbane who was 3 weeks old. (Well, he would have Brisbane as a room mate as soon as Brisbane was old enough.)

The two yearling does not yet producing were Gretchen and Jenny. We had just had two doe kids, Zoey (guess I've always been fond of that name) who was Brisbane's sister, and Emily, one week old, who had just arrived from another homestead and was being bottle fed.

That's another thing I don't want on my list every day right now . . . bottle feeding kid goats three times a day. Or do I? No. NO. NOOOO! But, gosh, thinking of those goats does bring back good memories. Sigh.


MaineCelt said...

Maggie the goat wasn't named after your Scots Grannie, by any chance, was she?

When I was a child, we used to trade our duck eggs (which we all hated) for another farmer's goat's milk (which we all loved.) I've farm-sat goats before, and I understand how canny and challenging they are, but every once in a while, my reasonable mind slips a bit, and all I can recall is the sweet richness of that lovely, lovely milk...

Mama Pea said...

Hi, MaineCelt - When I named Maggie the goat I think I was thinking of both my grandma and the wife of my husband's best high school buddy. That little blue-eyed, blond dynamo farmed right alongside her husband, raised a family, became a pilot and now has her own flying school.

Claire said...

Don't do it!!! I remember our goat days all too clearly! While the baby goats are hilarious when they are springing off of everything in sight, those early, early, early morning milking rounds were NOT fun!
Care to transcribe any select parts from those old letters? I'd love to hear about what W was up to back in those days (well, from what I don't know first hand!).

Mama Pea said...

Claire - Who knows what goodies I may turn up in those old letters? Stay tuned to see what will get published!