HAY DELIGHT + THE FIRST KID

 

"The day will start and it will end." (A mantra for farming, dating back to Sam's days at Wayward Seed Farm.)

Our days start and end with hay. At the hours of dawn and dusk we delight in feeding out bales of nutritious hay to the herd. Their eyes glimmer, they honk and hoot and hurl their bodies against one another—all while maintaining their characteristic Mona Lisa smiles. And in between all of that, they kid.

The first kid, and sixty-two others, were born during our first week. The first, a little Oberhasli and Alpine cross, spent a few days happily receiving all of the attention. He was born a week early but remains healthy as anything. He hops and bleats and rams his head into our sides when we feed his cousins. In fact, he seems huge; quite a tyrant. But those first few days were magical for us, what with the bottle feeding and the running up and down the barn and pretending like 300 kids were not about to be born. They are indeed starting to come in droves. It's comical / frustrating / rewarding work to get the dopey ones to learn how to suck on a silicone nipple. We feel their bellies fill up with mama's milk and simultaneously breathe a sigh of relief. *This one will definitely live until morning* Farm work of this sort—animal husbandry—is pure. It is also covered in poop. 

Between pulling babies out of mama does during their final stretch of contractions (just like humans), cutting umbilical cords, milking the mama for colostrum to feed to her newborns, and ultimately teaching the kids how to eat on their own . . . a lot of action has been had by all. We walk out the barn doors exhausted. Shower beers are a sometimes necessary piece of farm life. But when you go home with a sense of satisfaction, and wake up feeling eager to get back to work, it would seem as though you've found it. As for us, we feel especially lucky to have landed on a truly special farm with phenomenal teachers (hi, Pete and Riker).

P.S. If you're curious about how we have found ourselves on a dairy goat farm in rural Vermont: Good Food Jobs.