In fear or ecstasy ….. it was hard to tell

Gert the goats first morning at Forsham found our new girl a bit ‘stressy’ her unrelenting bleating bellowing visibly into the damp morning air, an indication she needed attention in the udder region. With some trepidation we lead Gert out of her newly constructed (Stig of the dump) goat shed, to be milked. A liberal bribe of goat mix got her up onto the milking stand. Cindy positioned herself and the bucket, took a hold of Gert’s teats in the fashion Goat Bloke (see last blog) had shown us. A combination of her new surroundings and new slightly hesitant handlers were obviously going to impact on the new girl, so she was going to be, and did, get a bit ‘worked up’. To give Cindy her due she kept talking and assuring Gert, but initially only the odd squirt of milk resounded into the stainless steel bucket. As Cindy got to grips (pun fully intended) with the task and Gert started to relax. The squirts became more frequent and more rhythmic and although it took an inordinate amount of time, patience, and perseverance on Cindy’s part (the latter two attributes, God forgot to issue me) she actually had our first milk. Unfortunately this initial contribution to the Forsham Dairy Emporium was short lived as Gert then ‘plonked ‘ her foot in the bucket………

Cindy’s mum, Topsy, had hand milked cows as a girl, to her milking was as simple and as automatic as riding a bike. It took her only moments to get back into her stride, milk gushed into the bucket. Gert stood mesmerised, whether in fear or ecstasy it was hard to tell. It would have taken a high speed camera to actually see Topsy’s hand action, and an interpreter in ‘Middle Kentish’ to decipher her instruction, but Cindy’s milking technique was enhanced under her mum’s guidance.

After only a few weeks both the goat and Cindy were getting comfortable with each other. Gert would run to the stand to get grub, and udder relief. Cindy was getting as proficient at milking as her mum. The whole milking bit was becoming so ‘matter of fact’ that Cindy did not even have to clip (by her collar) Gert to the stand. This trust was repaid one bright and sunny morning when with surprisingly nimble action Gert jumped off the milking bench, knocking over Cindy and bucket. With milk swollen udder swinging like a metronome, and Gert bleating in time to the beat, she was out of the garden, and went heading off down Forsham lane. Gert’s progress was followed Benny Hill fashion by Cindy welding a feed bucket, the Kidlet in her red wellies and pants, a pair of demented Collie dogs (Dill & Basil) who assuming this was a game, were running in circles around the entire procession, barking manically at each other, at the goat and the pursuers. Gert took a right at the next gate, up the ‘posh but nice’ neighbours drive, across their manicured lawn, pass the patio window and family (now agog) at breakfast. She blundered her way through their boundary hedge back into our plot, stumbled over the wood pile and jumped back onto the milking bench. …. ……… lesson learnt.

I should at this time mention that neither of us had actually drunk goats’ milk. Cindy was completely at ease with milk straight from a warm hairy mammal. To her teats and udder cream, were normal. I however was not enamoured with the idea, and had qualms about drinking anything that had just been squirted into a bucket from the lady parts of a critter sporting a beard and Beelzebub eyes, and then had to be filtered through several layers muslin to get the hairs and ‘bits’ out of it.

After that very first mouthful, I knew I was right,……….. it was awful.