Earlier in the week, conversation with a Homestead dinner guest turned to parenting. This allowed us to dust off a bit of a Homestead standard, often voiced, deeply held belief that the best parenting moments are born not out of carefully considered, researched and coolly implemented procedures, but rather from hair-tearing bouts of sheer desperation.
The same goes for goat tending.
Recently Miss Geraldine just hasn’t been herself. Opinionated at the best of times, since the departure of Leia’s kids, Jack and Jill, she’s been stroppy beyond belief. As this behaviour was most often apparent at milking time, and her offerings were getting less and less while her udder got more and more, we feared mastitis and launched into a protracted bout of To call the vet or not to call the vet, that is the question. The day she jumped clean over The Milk Maid and high-tailed it back to the paddock made the decision for us.
We won’t bore you with the chasing down, doubling back, nifty footwork, rope-burnt hands and colourful bruising involved in securing the patient for her consultation. Suffice to say the only difference between us and the closing credits of Benny Hill was Yakkity Sax…and a few more layers of clothing. The upshot, when the three of us (Steve the vet, The Milk Maid and Goat Herd) once again had breath to converse, was that Geraldine was running a temperature for which he had administered a broad spectrum antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, but it was likely we were staring at a behavioural issue as well. It was time to get tough.
With hearts thumping we gruffly commanded our paddock matriarch to behave. We growled and snapped, we man-handled and grappled…all to no avail. We bribed with extra rations, cups of wheat and dollops of molasses and still she stamped and jumped, showed us her horns and with-held her milk.
Then this morning, in utter desperation and as a final resort, The Milk Maid started singing as she tentatively started the pre-milking ritual.
Well, I heard some people talking just the other day
and they said you were gonna put me on the shelf
Miss G looked up from her breakfast as The Milk Maid settled into milking position. A half-hearted stamp greeted the cleaning procedure before she turned back to the food bowl.
But I’ve got some news for you,
and you’ll soon find out it’s true
A jet of white gold, the first in several days, fizzed into the bucket without incident and The Milk Maid and Goat Herd exchanged disbelieving stares. Spurt-spurt-spu….STAMP!
“Keep singing,” The Goat Herd hissed.
and then you’ll have to eat your lunch all by yourself.
and breakfast continues.
Cos I’m aaaaaaaaallllll ready gone
and I’m feeee-eeeeling strong
The Goat Herd started on the harmony as the bucket level rose
I will siiiiinnnng this victory song
we carolled jubilantly, woo hoo hoo-ing with a great deal of joy and crazy, face-splitting smiles.
We’ve never really been huge Eagles fans so Geraldine was subjected to a continuous loop of the first verse, but we did get some pretty tight harmonies going before the bucket was filled.
As we led her back into the paddock we became aware we had an audience.
“What are you doing?” asked Mr Ezekiel from next door; Miss Tigerlily just continued with her unblinking stare.
“Just singing to the goat.”
“Oh,” he said, then turned and wandered back to his side of the fence.
Later on we had another visit from the Ezekiel-Tigerlilys.
“Why were you being silly and singing to Geraldine?” Mr E wanted to know.
Once again The Goat Herd and Milk Maid exchanged glances before answering in perfect union:
“Cos we’re Allllll-ready gone.”
Maybe you had to be there 🙂
33 thoughts on “Already Gone”
Eagles are not a group that I know but what luck their music so entranced your goat. Do you have to sing every time you milk?
I guess we find out tomorrow. Anything to stop getting stomped on every morning 🙂
We had a horse that loved Neil Diamond and Joe Bonamassa 🙂
Leia, our other goat, is a much more old fashioned lass and, when feeling down, likes nothing more than a chorus of Molly Malone 🙂
We have a friend who has a radio playing in her barn almost all the time in the winter months, chills the animals out
Who wouldn’t chill out to that?! Kelly is gorgeous 🙂
She’s stunning lol with good taste in music 🙂
Hehe you two were already gone years ago …
What’s next in your repertoire? As I was reading this tale, I was wondering what song I would come out with on the spur of the moment. Perhaps Geraldine enjoyed the strong rhythms in the song.
No idea where the song came from. It was a case of groping desperately for a solution and not showing fear 😊
I rather love the Eagles! I wonder if the milk tastes better too??? xo Johanna
Sadly the milk is getting ditched at the moment due to the antibiotics. When I read The Bean Counter your comment he snorted and said, “might have guessed it.” I think it best you two agree to disagree on music genres 🙂 Have a great weekend xxx
I’m still chuckling at the image of the Ezekiels and their non-plussedness re: your singing. It’s almost mandatory now to see just how random Geraldine will allow the musical selection to be. Hope this continues to work a charm for all of you. Dairy barns here sometimes play classical music in the milking parlour to calm the cows….since there aren’t any words, maybe you could try humming? Or FG with the kazoo? A little bit of Beethovens Fifth on kazoo should bring the Ezekiels out, no matter what it does for Geraldine 🙂
The Ezekiels are the most tolerant of neighbours who have seen it all before 🙂 This morning I discovered that, in times of stress, I have quite an indepth knowledge of Eagles lyrics. Hotel California was definitely not a starter (bruise perculating after that one), Desperado (as suggested by Mrs Ezekiel-Tigerlily (well, I think it was a suggestion but maybe she it was us she was talking about 🙂 )) was too much of a dirge. In the end I defaulted to Take it to the Limit and another round of Already Gone. Why not kazoos, it seems to work with trombones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs_-emj1qR4
Does Take it to the Limit maximize the milk output? :).
Not so’s you’d notice but it did stop me getting trodden on after Hotel California met with such fervent disapproval 😊
Oh my goodness, what a fun way to get a chore done – without hassles! I would sing for my dinner any day! Thanks for sharing this cute story. 😉
At the time it was more desperation than fun, but we are very happy it worked. Glad you enjoyed the story 🙂
They do say that music soothes the savage beast and all that, right? Nice discovery and have fun figuring out the repertoire of Geraldine-esque music.
Maybe a CD … Music to Milk Goats By 🙂
An excellent idea – a compilation to make goat herders and milkers happy the world over.
Maybe some Ozark Mountain Daredevils would keep a goat happy too. I like, It’ll shine when it shines.
I reckon our ladies would enjoy a bit of that … currently it all depends on me learning the songs though which is a very large fly in the ointment
Learning songs is hard in my experience.
I have no experience with singing to goats, and any dogs we had when I was growing up used to howl when we sang but my younger daughter would only stop crying if we sang to her. If we paused for breath she’d start up again so we often sang in relay for hours. It will be interesting discovering Geraldine’s musical taste.
Farm Girl was very similar and went through a stage of adoring “The Grand Old Duke of York” which we, in times of great stress (usually mid-car journey) would sing with countless variations including reggae, baroque and dixie. She didn’t seem to mind the change is style, but the moment the actual words sung…boy, she would be off!! 🙂
Oh so funny! We weren’t allowed to drive less than 30 mph – as soon as traffic got heavy the screams began – goodness knows what other drivers thought of our singing!
Oh, that was The Farmer. He loathed slow driving and the sun shining on him. Even now I cringe when we round a corner and the sun floods the passenger side (where he always sat) of the car. Old habits die hard 🙂
Happy memories !? 😀
How funny. Hey, whatever works. Parenting is definitely that way too, especially if you are trying to get a new baby to sleep!