” Each day we wander the Vermont woods for an hour or two. I love the leave taking, the sound of the goats bells, the brief nomadism. Herding is way of doing something while doing nothing. It asks only for one’s presence, awake, watching animals and earth. Wind rakes the trees. Clouds float shadows through the green grass. We enter the woods and the goats eat ash, birch and maple. This evening I will milk the does back in the barn and when the sun goes down, I’ll make an aged cheese called Tomme. Months from now when the snow covers the mountains, I’ll open the Tomme and find this day again inside the rind; the aromatic grass, the leaves, the wind.” (Brad Kessler- Goat Song)
The above passage is a favorite for me because it helped me understand something about my time in River Falls, in the woods.I was not alone in my reverence for that “brief nomadism” and watching the animals I came to cherish, walk freely by my side. That sensation as we walked was that I was filled with sunshine, wind, earth, rain, flora, fauna, and a current of love that wove through us all.
As I would walk up the hill towards our goatie friend’s pasture, I would listen for the beginnings of their bleating. They would hear my footsteps crunching on the rocks, anticipating my arrival; treats, love, leftovers from the garden, and a long walk.
My favorite walk to take was the one through the paths in the woods, in the early morning, with no other human companions. It was just me, the trees and the 5 goats surrounding me. Sometimes they were ahead of me, sometimes behind. They loved to stretch upward, with their hooves planted as high as they could reach on the trees, nibbling the leaves from the low hanging branches; eating the brown, crunchy leaves on the forest floor; spinning around and butting one another in play or for Moe’s need to bring order to the line up on the path. No matter how good the greenery was that they were indulging in, they always kept up with me. It felt so good to bring them in there amongst the trees, scattered leaves, and twigs. The way they trotted, and kicked up their heels, made me think that they were quite happy, just like I was. It makes me smile to remember.
Farmer Sara sent a text today, with an attached picture of Goatie Luna. Wow, is she cute. I can’t stop looking at her!Interesting fact:Farmer Sara said that Luna has something called wattles. (Nope, not a rare disease or a description of the way she walks). They are like goat jewelry of the skin and hair type. I can see one hanging from her neck in the picture. I read up on these cute little adornments, and found that there is a mixed review on them. Some goat people love them, and some tie binders on them to be rid of them.We think they are cute, and she isn’t a boy, so I am not tying binders around nothing…
I guess the Alpine’s have not been born yet. They are due to arrive any day…any moment. More information to come soon.
What a beautiful day today. It was 40 degrees when I woke up this morning and it is 51 right now. I turned off all of the heating devices in the barn. No need for those during this warm spell. I gave the chickens a treat of organic mixed greens this afternoon. I was craving them the last few days, so I thought they might be too.I picked up countless piles of dog poop that were uncovered by the melting snow, which happens to be quite therapeutic. (I know I probably shouldn’t admit that, but the truth is the truth.) Caroline and Sabrina are running around with the chickens as I write and enjoying the Spring like feeling outside. No jackets, just a sweater and some mud on their boots.