Spencer was at the back of the room, legs folded underneath him as he sat on the cold concrete tinkering with the motor. Since we had just bought an entire herd of 10 Lamancha goats and one Saanen, we couldn’t continue to milk by hand. We were already suffering from tendonitis and it was only worsening. Despite all the benefits of milking by hand, our herd had just grown to be too much.
Unfortunately the night before, Spencer had switched out the bad motor for a brand new one but when he plugged it in, it wouldn’t start. So here we were the next morning, our arms tingling with pain down to the elbows and we kept right on through pulling out milk one squirt at a time. Spencer finished his latest idea on the machine, he plugged it in, and lo and behold it started! And it was loud. I’d forgotten how loud that darn thing blared. But it would do the job just in time for the new girls waiting outside the door.
Turned out, it was just a bad cord. Our old motor runs perfectly. So we lost an extension cord but saved a couple hundred dollars when we returned the new motor. Problem solved.
Well, one problem solved. These new girls aren’t used to us yet, so it has taken some time to get them acclimated to our ways, our original goats and to living grass. At their old home they only had hay while living in a dirt lot. It has taken a few days to introduce them to nature and for them to figure out the green stuff they are standing on is edible. But they’re getting the hang of it. Some of them are even get into the stanchions without have to be tugged and pushed up into it.
We were able to buy milking goats to replace the others we lost. Not all those that died were in milk yet—they would have started next year. So with new milking goats now we have jumped our production up by one full year. Once we get back the lab results on the original milkers (to confirm they are toxin-free) we will have more milk than we can handle. So…(drum roll please) I’ve given my one-month notice at work. I will soon be an official, full-time dairymaid.
This is a scary step for us. In one month we will have no constant income. We will have to rely on sales alone from the farm. While this was the idea from the beginning, it is a sobering thought to finally achieve it. There is no one else to rely on. No sick days on a farm, no bowing out when the weather isn’t pretty. It only gets done when we go out from our own motivation. No longer is there a boss man who signs our paychecks, it is all on us.
I’ve heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” more times than I can count the past few weeks. I think we’ve managed to make it. Now we just need to go out and sell it.