Over Thanksgiving weekend, my daughter nanny-sat her friend’s goat. The goat is named Bee (short for Belle, I think), and she surprised me by having a silky beard.
We all took a liking to Bee. It was fun to watch her stand on her hind legs and strain to reach the tree branches (though they were bare, so I don’t know why she bothered). She head-butted Jessica, Annabelle (the new sheep finally has a name), and Rameo over her hay. She even wiggled her way through the little door into the chicken coop—I looked out the window just in time to see her behind disappear through the hole, à la a face-first version of the limbo.
Nanny-sitting Bee involved twice-a-day milkings. At six-thirty, morning and evening, my daughter tug-dragged (tug-drug?) Bee up to the barn where they had set up the milking stanchion. She tied Bee’s legs to prevent kickage, and then, while Bee happily munched grain and the cats hovered, she did the milking. She milked straight into a bowl that was sitting in a bucket of snow. Instant chilling, her owners say, produces better milk.
And the milk was delicious, shockingly so. I have vague memories of yellow, putrid-tasting goat milk from some sad moment in my childhood, but Bee’s milk was nothing like that. It tasted almost exactly like cow milk, but even richer.
This same time, years previous: Thanksgiving of 2013, Mom’s new and improved cabbage salad, Friday variety, beef bourguignon, and potatoes in cream with Gruyere.
We had goats for 15+ years. What they eat flavors the milk they produce. If fed alfalfa their milk is delicious, sweet and rich. If the goats are allowed to "free range" the yard/field their milk will taste off. Again, it all depends on what they eat…and drink.
For large qualities of milk I liked the Sannens. As our need for milk decreased we went to the Nigerian dwarf breed. Milk from our Nigerians had an even sweeter taste IMO.
Our goats were all so sweet and loving.
Your title, nanny sitting, reminded me (weird mind, I know) of when I was a student in Barcelona and was occasionally asked to "hacer kanga" literally (well you know Spanish better than I do) so "make like a kangaroo." I loved that image, and also your turn around of "nanny" (usually a babysitter) into nanny sitting. Sorry for the English/Spanish diversion here. My sister so loved our goat and played with it alot and kissed it on its lips. Ew.
Interesting, lovely post!
I loved the pic of your daughter tug/drugging Bee. That is such a typical goat picture! Looks like you got about as much snow as we did.
Your photos are beautiful! I know some goat farmers and they are absolutely evangelical about goat's milk handled correctly. I have tasted theirs and I agree. Once I bought some goat's milk from an Amish farmer that was so goaty we couldn't drink it – it was supposed to be cool because we had just read Heidi. We were all disgusted.
Yay, thanks for spreading the true word about goat's milk. If milking is done under sanitary conditions, the milk handled and cooled properly, and it comes from a healthy goat, it's wonderful stuff with NO goaty or off-taste.
Babies who can't handle formula or cow's milk have thrived on goat's milk. Supposedly it's much easier to digest than cow's milk.
We, up here in northern Minnesota, have a mere dusting of snow (although c-o-l-d weather). I'm jealous of your beautiful snowfall!
You got so much snow!
It was glorious! (Minus the power, NPR, and internet outages.)