So why do I have goats? A little backstory first. I have fourLaMancha Dairy goats, which are earless goats that developed in the United States from Spanish stock. I started with two (which my husband, Mark bought me for Valentine’s Day and my birthday): Dulcinea and Valentine. Dulcinea was bred last October and gave birth to two bucks in April, on Mark’s birthday. Now, the idea of this venture was to have dairy goats to provide milk for our house. Only girls would be allowed into our little dairy club because they give milk, but once I set eyes on D’s sons there was no way I was going to sell them. No way, no how. Don’t tell anyone but I love them. I love them so much, and it made me wonder where all this was coming from so, like writers are wont to do, I sat and thought about it for a bit and realized that my love for goats stretched back to when I was ten or so and my mother bought me the book Heidi by Johanna Spyri. One Saturday night while my mom hosted the monthly Bunco group and my brothers and sister were in our rooms (hoping that in the morning some of those fancy buttermints might be left) keeping busy, I began to read Heidi. Amid the gleeful shouts of Bunco! I was swept away to the Swiss Alps where Heidi went to live with grandfather, called the Alm Uncle by the villagers. That first night Grandfather fed Heidi toasted cheese and milk. I had no idea that goats made milk and I had no idea of what goat cheese was, but I was there next to Heidi eating the toasted cheese and drinking the goat milk from the bowl. Spyri’s description was so real that I could almost taste the sweetness of the milk, and I knew one day I would have a goat of my own.
Heidi’s grandfather’s goats were named Barli (little bear) and Schwanli (little Swan). In honor of Heidi’s Barli I named the first goat born on our farm Barley.
This is the passage from Heidi I read so long ago:
The Grandfather brought her a large slice of bread and a piece of the golden cheese, and told her to eat. Heidi lifted the bowl with both hands and drank without pause till it was empty. The she drew a deep breath and put down the bowl.
“Was the milk nice?” asked her grandfather.
“I never drank any so good before,” answered Heidi.
“Then you must have some more,” and the old man filled her bowl again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the cheese, which was as soft as butter; the two together tasted deliciously, and the child looked the picture of content as she sat eating, and at intervals taking further draughts of milk.
I haven’t started milking Dulcinea yet, although I have had a try a few times (another story!), because I don’t have a milking stand yet, but hopefully I will have one in the next week or so and I will be able to recreate Heidi’s first meal with grandfather on the Alm…finally!
Little Barley, five minutes old.