It recently occurred to me that with such a long to-do list, I was not going to get many things done unless I had deadlines, so I set the December 31 deadline to complete my memoir manuscript (and it's going well!), and I decided that last night at 7:30, we were going to start using our milking machine. I wrote it in my Franklin-Covey Planner, and I informed my husband that we needed to spend yesterday preparing.
We bought a milking machine in December, but it was a bit intimidating, so we didn't even try it until March. The first goat tried to kick off the inflations. The second goat kept trying to lay down. The third goat stood there and gobbled up the grain, so we thought we'd finally been successful. You hear a "but" coming, don't you? When we took off the inflations, her teats were purple. I was mortified, guilt-ridden, and terrified of using the machine again. But we have to use it.
Katherine is the only person here who can milk all 13 goats currently in milk. (It was 15, but we recently sold two of them.) When Katherine is not here, I'm milking the five whose kids have been sold. The other eight goats have kids with them, so I don't have to worry about keeping up their milk supply. However, on July 29, Katherine is leaving for a biology trip to Wyoming, and several more kids will be sold by then, which means I'll have to milk eight or nine every day.
I called the milking machine manufacturer in April and explained my challenges. He gave me a few good ideas, and then we procrastinated. So, I set the date. But around 5:30 last night, we had a downpour of nearly-Biblical proportions. Within 20 minutes, water was almost up to the carriage of my car in the driveway, and our moat had a foot of water in it. Three little waterfalls poured into it from the yard. Ducks were swimming -- no, not wading or splashing -- they were swimming in front of the house. Mike went outside to mitigate flooding in the barns. I assumed our date with the milking machine would be postponed, but at 8:45, he came inside and said, "Let's milk!"
I really did not think it was a good idea to start milking at almost 9 p.m., especially since we had not eaten dinner yet. So, we agreed to wait until this morning. And we did it!
We certainly don't have all the bugs worked out yet, but we did a good enough job that we feel confident that if Mike or I are ever in a position to have to milk every goat, we could do it. We'll continue working on it and perfecting our techniques, and at some point in the future, I'll explain how to use a milking machine when I feel like I actually have some advice to share. But for now, we're limping along, learning something completely new.