Ahh, I remember it so well. The goat stood, staring at me from among the tall weeds. Her name was Hope and she had an udder full of milk I was determined to get my hands on.
My husband stood nearby, watching with an amused expression. He is well used to my often random decisions to take on a new hobby or skill. Little did he know this one would stick, and stick hard!
Hope’s horns were huge and a little intimidating. The smaller wether hung behind her, peering warily around his friend. I held out my hand and tried to convince them to move closer. No luck. They were baffled by their new surroundings and very suspicious of these new people.
I walked towards them and they ran away. This repeated for some time before my husband and I cornered them and he grabbed the doe by one horn. She swung her head in an effort to free herself. “Bring her over here.” I motioned, picking up the clean pickle jar I had brought outside with us.
Hope dug her heels in and protested, but my husband got her to where I wanted. I squatted in the dirt and looked at the hairy udder between her hind legs. Hmm. Reaching out, I grabbed one of the teats. Hope kicked wildly and jumped in the air, and I fell backward, getting dirt all over the seat of my pants.
“Let’s tie her to the fence.”
Rinse and repeat.
Ten minutes later, Hope is tied to the fence with three different ropes; one around her middle, one around her neck, and one around her hind legs. My husband grabbed her horns and held her still as I fumbled with her teats, trying to figure out just how to produce the milk that I was certain existed inside.
At long last, a thin stream of warm milk arrived, missed the pickle jar I grasped in one hand, and hit the dirt. Success! Well – almost.
Thirty minutes later, a couple of inches of milk splashed around in the jar, specks of dirt and leaf floating within. I gleefully screwed the lid on and looked at it while my husband untied the annoyed looking goat from the fence. She swung her horns at him grumpily before stalking off, dignity affronted.
I showed him the hard won milk and he gave me an exasperated look I’ve come to know so well.