Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saturdaze


I think this may be the good life.

One of the families I work for knew that my week was a bit off, it was also a hard one for her kids, so she gave me Saturday off. I appreciated it. With my mind evening out again, I feel a lot more capable of getting things done.

I'm back to running around making noises in just my boots, a sun hat, and a little boy's t-shirt - bum bare and happy as can be.


I woke up with Hannah next to me. We ran about to gather apples, made French toast, enjoyed breakfast together, and then she was on her way to nanny.

Saturday was a day to get things done. I spent an extra hour with the goats, in the morning, cleaning the stall extra good after the pre-previous-day fiasco (those goats!).

Figs were eaten straight off of the tree...



Inside, I did all the dishes and tidied up the kitchen. At this point, Jed came home and we had a really satisfying, much needed talk.

I got the laundry going and hung it up to dry. That also always feels quite right.


I did a full Tobbit-cleanse, which felt good. It feels good to get rid of stuff and rolling things up and get everything in it's place. I like that I can get everything nice and shiny and totally set in just a short amount of time. It doesn't feel like a chore.

Then, Sawyer came over. He hung out while I finished up getting Tobbit all set to go. Then, it was time to take the goats for a walk. The goats aren't penned in - they could roam the entire island, if they wanted to - but that's the thing, they don't want to. They like staying close to home. They have fields and fields they can graze, but they don't... unless I take them on their walk.

We led them out to the fields and, while they filled themselves up with grass, Sawyer and I played badminton.


Sawyer used to live on a goat farm in California and was pretty chuffed to have some goats at his side again.

Back home, we picked some blueberries and corn for dinner and waited for the arrival of Carole. Carole is my best friend who I've always, always known and had in my life.

Sawyer was wearing my slip, so I decided I wanted to dress like him. I got a beard (burnt wine cork rubbed on the face) and he let me wear his hat. All I had to do was throw on overalls and I was set.

Its good to have Carole here. She brings out the best in me. She makes me laugh and feel secure and loved... and she's here, so I want to go and spend time with her...


I've been running around. Laughing out loud.
So blissed out and so grateful.
Life is life and I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.
(less than two weeks till Alaska!)

Morning Milking Routine

Since G&I left, and left their farm for me and two friends to take care of, my daily rhythms have changed a lot - and all for the better. As usual, I go to bed when it gets dark (this will not work in the winter in Alaska) and rise with the sun. I rarely make it past 10:30 PM, much to the dismay of those who think I'd be better suited to hang out past 8:30 PM.

In turn for my early nights, I get early mornings. I know I've blogged about it before, but I love an early morning. I like feeling like I'm the only one in the world, for a bit, and having solitude and time to meander and feel peaceful.

At 8:00 AM, or so, each morning, I start the goat routine.

G&I have three goats - Stella, Trillium, and Calypso Alpine.
Stella is the mum of Calypso.
Trillium is the goat I milk.

The routine starts by boiling water that will later be used to clean her udder and teats.

Then I head to the garden to pick out some treats for the goats. They get lots of fresh apples, kale, and squash. I feed the goats two main meals a day and then give them a ton (more like 5 gallons) of apples each afternoon. This morning I picked them some squash and grabbed some ground apples.

When they see me gathering the apples, the goats go crazy and MEHHH at me with their little bells ringing as they run to watch the apple action.


With the food ready, I run inside to grab the hot water and the milk bucket I scrubbed the night before and then head over to the milk-house-barn-place. I love G&I's milk house. It was built out of local scrap wood and drift wood. It's open and lets in a lot of light.


Then it's time to give them their breakfast. In addition to the squash, kale, and apples, they also get grain, sunflower seeds, alfalfa, and local hay. Lucky, lucky goats. I guess I'm pretty lucky too because I get to drink the milk.


Trillium gets split up from the group. Her food puts her  in an apparatus that lets me milk her. She must not mind it because she gets up there willingly each day without protest. It certainly makes my job easier.

Then it's time to milk.

I wipe down her udder and teats with hot water and then rub on some local calendula cream. A few test squirts on the the platform clear out any nasty-milk and then shes set to go. I have a seat next to her and find a milking rhythm.

It took me a few weeks to get down the hang of milking Trillium. I liked not being good at something from the get-go. I wasn't horrible, but I definitely needed to work up being able to milk her out.


After she's milked out, I give her a brush, let her go back to the other goats, and move all of her uneaten food to the stall. If there's time, I muck the stall or Kiré does or I do it later in the day. I sweep out the milking area and clean up the platform with a scrub brush and some hot water so it doesn't get smelly. This day, we got about 4 lbs of milk (ahh... a bit too much, actually). There was a lot more milk that we could've milked out (I'm used to around 6 lbs), but we're currently weaning her by milking her less and less each day.


I strain the milk through some cheesecloth, pour some in a mug, and then put the rest in the freezer for a few hours.

And that's that.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

RoughSmooth


Some weeks are rough.
Some have hit after hit and blow.

But I don't take this for granted - that I know that, in a few days or weeks, it'll be better. I don't take it for granted that I know that there's light at the end of the tunnel. I don't take it for granted that I know, from experience, that time heals. I don't take it for granted how fast I can bounce back.


I'm not even sure what it was this week. Well, I do, sort of. PMS. A friend just left. Another friend committed suicide. Wonky relationships. Getting sick. Feeling like I'm in a haze.

The friend who committed suicide - that was really hard. I've cried a couple of times since then and I can't even imagine what he was going through. He was an awesome man (one of the coolest!) who was dealt a rough hand of cars. I have respect for him for making it as far as he did. I don't even know what to say. What is there to say? He's gone. I thought I was going to see him 18 days when I went to Alaska and he's gone. Did he know how much he is loved? Did he know how much we would miss him?


I'm writing out of the haze, now. Things have cleared up and I'm feeling better.

It's not a feeling better where I can dismiss his death, but I function and I look at what happened and mourn and keep running.

I'm starting to feel like being around people again. That's a good sign.
I'm starting to feel motivated to get things done again. That's also a good sign.

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