Morning Milking

by Wendy

 

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Photo Credit:  Caleb Snobl

The sweet smell of warm milk mingles with the sharpness of manure and straw.  The damp earth releases moisture as my feet press into it.  The quiet around me is dotted with notes of songbirds calling out to one another.  The air is usually cool, but today it is more humid, thick, enveloping both the goats and I, creating our own atmosphere.

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Photo Credit:  Caleb Snobl

I wash Coco’s udder with gentle, cleansing soap and oils, inspecting and massaging to be sure of her health before we begin our routine.  She has an abundantly full bag, and it makes me smile to think about the beautiful raw milk that we will soon be indulging in.  The beauty of whole, living food, brings me deep joy and satisfaction to provide this close to the earth, holistic lifestyle for myself and my family.

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Photo Credit: Caleb Snobl

Our rhythm slowly becomes steady, me gently, yet eagerly nudging her udder to encourage the release of milky goodness through my hands, while the easy sway in Coco’s hips matches the sound of her chewing the feed she covets.  The sweet smell of fresh warm milk again on the homestead reminds me of things that warm my soul, the milky breath of my own babes as they sleepily unlatched from nipple, the sweet litter of puppies our dog birthed on the living room floor, when our youngest was still in diapers.  The moments mix together along with the scents in my mind as fresh milk begins to puddle in the bottom of my mason jar.

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Photo Credit:  Caleb Snobl

We begin to understand each other, Coco and I, two mama’s working together in unison, her with the offering, the providing of milk, and me  bringing her favorite feed, a little sweat equity this morning in the humidity, and a whole lotta love and respect for both of our roles in the process.

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Photo Credit:  Caleb Snobl

As the milk begins to come more easily, awakening muscles begin to be heard, to sing their own song along with the rhythm of the movement. I breathe in deep and allow my body to expand into the experience.

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Photo Credit:  Caleb Snobl

The kids begin to call out, impatient that my milking skills are a bit rusty.  I talk sweet to both mama and babes, asking for patience for my slowness.  Gratitude fills my heart for all the souls participating together, the hands and skills of my man and my boys who worked together with me to create a milking pen and an improved shelter for a mama goat with twins, rather than a single birth, the goat kids who wait somewhat patiently for their mama to go out to grazing pasture for the day, and my eldest son, Caleb, who graciously and fabulously took these amazing photographs of our first morning milking, capturing the moments with a talented eye.

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Photo Credit:  Caleb Snobl

The sunshine warms both fur and skin as I finish morning milking, eager to bring my fresh milk into the kitchen to taste and finish the process.

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Photo Credit:  Caleb Snobl

Coco and I bond over our morning communion, our depth of understanding awakens through each connection, each interaction, she is a sweet, sweet mama with an amazingly rich, creamy sweet milk that creates euphoria on the tongue.

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My mind wanders in the kitchen as I strain the ultra-fresh, still warm milk, to all the beautiful and holistic opportunities raw milk on the homestead brings….keifer, yogurt, artisan cheeses of every variety, smooth, velvety caramels with a sprinkle of coarse salt, simple jelly jars brimming with rich, creamy, cold, raw milk, full swallows coating mouth and chilling throat and belly….. And of coarse the thick lather of pure soap lightly scented with herb and oil…

I breathe it all in deeply, and exhale a smile, expanding from my heart acknowledging the blessing of morning milking.