What Jack looks like next to Beulah Petunia:
I’m milking Beulah Petunia inside a sheep shelter in the meadow bottom right now. The first couple of days, we just had her tied to a post in the shelter. That didn’t work that well because she could move around quite a bit. Side to side. Back and forth. It’s pretty hard to work that way. She doesn’t kick, but oh she moves! Once she runs out of her feed, she gets a little restless. I can’t blame her. I’m not an experienced milk maid and it takes me forever to milk her.
I got about 3/4 gallon out of her the first day. The second day, another 3/4 gallon. I was worried that I wasn’t milking her enough so I went back in the evening and got another quart when we were trying out the new milking stanchion that 52 built for me. Now, instead of tying her to a post, her head goes into a head-lock and while she can still move a little bit side to side, she can’t move back and forth much. And her side to side movements are limited by the stanchion sides.
I drove down to the meadow bottom, sore and exhausted from the first two days of milking, but determined. I had a stanchion! I was in business!
We’re going to move her up to an area close to the house as soon as the fencing is in (and move the sheep to another–separate–area, too), so milking her in the meadow bottom is a temporary situation, but it comes with a number of obstacles. Meaning, sheep. Who want Beulah Petunia’s feed. All three pastures were open so everybody could get to the creek, so I set my milking bucket and a big leaf of hay on the side of the road before I went inside the fence. I carried another big bucket of feed to coax the sheep into the first field where I could shut them out from the milking. I’d almost made it to the gate into the first field when Mr. Cotswold rammed me from behind.
That’s always an enjoyable experience.
I ran into the field, threw some feed on the ground, and ran back through the gate, shutting it behind me before they could come back after me. Then I walked back across the field and to the gate to get my milking bucket and the hay I’d left in the road. Beulah Petunia stood there by the gate, waiting. She’s patient like that. She already knows the routine. She knows when I start heading for the creek crossing into the field where the sheep shelter is, it’s treat time. She lumbers along after me like a dinosaur-size dog. She doesn’t go at a desperate run like sheep or goats. She just plods along, bent on her destination, in a state of zen.
I tossed the feed down behind the head-lock. She put her head right in and I closed it up over her neck. We were all set! All the running back and forth across, by now, three fields, was worth it! Not to mention getting rammed by a sheep. So what if I was sore and tired. The stanchion was working great. I was doing great with the milking. I was going to get a gallon from her.
I had just over half a gallon when I looked up to see her looking back at me.
She can’t look back at me if her neck is in the head-lock.
The head-lock is held together by a pin (actually a bolt). Somehow, in the process of moving her head around in there, she had worked it out.
The offending pin:
I said, “Beulah Petunia, would you please put your head back in there?” SO I CAN LOCK YOU UP AGAIN.
She said, “Excuse me. Excuse me.” And stepped her gigantic self backward right out of the sheep shelter and plodded her leisurely way off across the meadow bottom to take a drink from the creek. And I had no more feed to entice her with to get her back since all the feed was, of course, back at the house where it’s stored near the goat yard.
And I just stood there whimpering that I didn’t have a gallon yet. Then I took the milk bucket back to the road before running back to the gate to the first field to let the sheep out. Then running back to the gate to the road before Mr. Cotswold could come after me again.
The offending Mr. Cotswold:
(I’m sorry. He’s even more offending without his wool.)
Then I walked
to the house
carrying the milk bucket.
The offending driveway:
Then I filtered it, measured it, pasteurized it and iced it down and put it in the fridge.
And went to bed.
But it was only 10:30 a.m. and I hadn’t fed the goats and carried water to everybody up here or collected eggs. Or worked on my website or made dinner or driven around to pick up the kids. Or even had breakfast.
So I had to get back up.