Community Philosphy Blog and Library

HOMEGROWN Life: The Joy of Kids—Goat Kids, That Is

 

HOMEGROWN LifeCould it finally be spring—real spring, I mean, not some temporary version of it? Even well into May, in Maine you never really know whether you’ll wake up to a landscape covered by Mother Nature’s last attempt at winter.

My neighbor noticed that her crocuses, tulips, and violas are starting to provide some bits of color in the garden. The deer noticed, too. It’s been a long, barren winter for them. Fair game.

Bittersweet was blessed with seven lambs this spring. All but one are gone now to new homes, new lives, new folks to care for them. The last remaining one, Sweet Pea’s boy, whom I call Ditto for the two little white spots on his nose, is soaking up the sunny days with the flock while he waits his turn. I’m sticking with my small flock for now, as the mamas adjust to no more babes demanding milk from their soft full udders. It’s drying off time for them.

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Frannie safely delivered our first goat kid. Seven pounds. I’m like a new grandma showing her off. Since the kid is a single, she spends a lot of time with me. Days, we greet visitors in the farm stand, explore the garden, and practically do back flips between the big girls in the pasture—well, she does. Not me. Nights, while it’s still chilly, she’s safely tucked in the playpen inside.

She’s no ordinary goat kid. Taught herself to drink from a bowl at two days. What’s weaning? Never had this before. She’s her mother’s daughter. Remember, Frannie is my locksmith and overall Ms. Smartypants. I finish milking Mom, then pour some of the steamy white stuff into a bowl for Daughter. It’s gone in about the time it takes to read this sentence, followed by a bowl of warm water that magically disappears in the same amount of time.

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Like mother …

The kid discovered the hose while I was filling buckets the other day. That ended with her shivering after drinking so much water that she chilled her stomach. She’s only 14 days old, after all. I took her in, gave her a bit more warm milk, sat with her in my lap. The shivering stopped. She curled up in the baby stall and took a two-hour nap. I just sat there on the milking stand, watching her, remembering her birth. She will continue a line of solid milking girls in the herd, but she’s more than that. She’s Frannie’s first girl in four years. We lost the first one in a difficult birth, and it has been boys ever since.

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… like daughter.

She—I keep calling her she, since I haven’t decided on a name yet—loves car rides. We’ve gone to the transfer station to drop off recyclables, visited the local market where she wandered around the aisles while Ms. Donna made all over her. Once back in the car at the market, waiting for me to grab my cup of coffee, she became quite the topic of conversation in the parking lot.

The bank drive-through is next. The tellers can’t resist leaving their stations to come take a peek when I pull up with a goat in the back of the Volvo. They always ask if goats eat dog bones. I always tell them thanks, but she’d really prefer a tin can! We get treated to a biscuit anyway.

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Spring is a time for renewal. Trees reach tall after being laden heavy with winter snows. Buds emerge on ends of brown branches. Bits of chartreuse smile into the sun. I have a nice bunch of chives in the herb garden. I think I’ll blend some with a batch of Frannie’s milk and make a fresh chèvre, just for me. The sweetness of spring. Lambs and goat kids and fresh milk in the pail. It doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

HOMEGROWN-life-lambing-dyanDyan Redick describes herself as “an accidental farmer with a purpose.” Her farm, located on the St. George peninsula of Maine, is a certified Maine State Dairy offering cheeses made with milk from a registered Saanen goat herd, a seasonal farm stand full of wool from a Romney cross flock, goat milk soap, lavender, woolens, and whatever else strikes Dyan’s fancy. Bittersweet Heritage Farm is an extension of her belief that we should all gain a better understanding of our food source, our connection to where we live, and to the animals with whom we share the earth.

ALL PHOTOS: DYAN REDICK

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