Friday, June 3, 2011

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle and  her happy airplane ears
Two years ago a flighty, airplaned eared doe complete with huge horns and 2 wayward neck waddles joined our lovely dairy goat herd. I did not know her breed, genetics or personality. Her entry to the farm is a story all in itself, but that one I will save for another day. 

With her wild, untamed spirit and her hair the color of honey, it was obvious to me that her name should be Honeysuckle. From the very moment she stepped off the truck, I was determined to not only milk her but to tame her as well. I had so much to teach her! And so the teaching began....when I called her to the barn, she would run the other way...sneaking up on her also proved to be the wrong approach. And so I turned to bribing her with sweet grain and alfalfa, but wooing her grew tiresome. She still would not budge. After months of this routine and feeling unappreciated, I gave into her determination and let her be.

When her first set of kids arrived, I dreaded introducing her to the whole milking routine and wondered if it would even be possible. After all, I have to be able to catch her in order to milk her! My determination kicked in again and this time I had no plans of giving up. 

One particular evening, I prepped the parlor for milking as usual, stocked the feed buckets and headed for the girls pasture. I noticed Honeysuckle near the gate, like she was waiting for me. Odd I thought. As I neared the gate, she started to bolt in the opposite direction and then in one brief moment - while stopping dead in her tracks. She turned around to look at me - ears straight out to the side and with a piercing gaze she began walking towards the open gate. Still as a statue, I stepped aside as she then walked through the gate and into the milk parlor. Shocked and confused as to what just transpired, I immediately went to praise and dote on her. She quickly gave me that Honeysuckle stare that undoubtedly said, don't press your luck lady. And so I did not...from that day on Honeysuckle and I have a casual milking relationship only. She tolerates giving me milk if I do it the right way...which is her way...no catching, no touching, no wooing sweet talk. She's all business and to think, it took her a whole year to teach me that!

2 days passed due with her 2nd set of kids and finally in labor

On one of the hottest days so far this year, Honeysuckle goes into labor. The labor long and intense, the stifling heat and humidity...and then to everyone's relief, the babies arrive!


Baby Pippa

Baby Patriot
Honeysuckle showing off her pride & joy

When you're 2 days old, this is all that really matters