I trimmed goat hooves for the first time this week. I’m not going to turn that into some kind of metaphor, so relax.
We’ve been in New Mexico for ten months now, a little longer than it took to grow Winnie or Georgie (barely). I met a friend (ten months means we’ve made one! or even a few!) for cocktails a few weeks ago, our first time hanging out without children or partners. We first bonded over our mutual vaccination schedules and lack of guns in our homes, then found out we had other things in common, like being and raising excellent humans, etc. This night, we wandered a whole block away from our cars to a bar– the Lowrider themed bar, thankyouverymuch– where the partner of a mutual friend was bartending. He made us strong cocktails, and I somehow woke up the next morning signed up for a shift at the goat co-op.
So I’ve been working every week at building those milking muscles, getting faster and more efficient and better able to note when Itsy is about to stick her hoof in the milk bucket or Souffle is sneaking up behind me to make a break from the paddock. Dee still manages to toss her bowl upside down every once in a while, but I’ve built up a wicked fast catching reflex, so the chickens only get an extra treat of spilled goat feed every once in a while.
The goats at a local school had some overgrown hooves and I had expressed interest in learning
everything how to trim hooves, so the woman who runs the co-op kindly picked me up and showed me how to brush and clean and scrape and trim and clip and scrape and brush and trim those hooves. It was immensely satisfying.
I’ve been acquainted with goats and their output for a decade or so now, but I’ve learned more about goats in the last month than I likely had the ten years prior. About bloat and mastitis, about their teeth and their toes.
Maybe one day we’ll have a couple of goats, a few chickens. The high desert has surprised me in the garden– after months and weeks of being sure that nothing would every get any bigger, the plants have exploded. While I see my friends in other climates rolling in ripe tomatoes and even winter squash (how do you do it, Okie Foodscapes?!), I’m delighting at the first pinto bean pod, the fact that my cassava melon plant is blooming and not, in fact, dead, and nearly ripe apples and grapes. The peppers are blooming, and so are the spaghetti squash. The basil has come from behind. Even the sage and the fennel are hanging in!
We’re sowing turnips, broccoli rabe, radishes, winter peas, and some grains soon. Mulching has paid off. Weeding is a full time job, but watering isn’t because of these beautiful monsoons. We saw a puppet show at the farmers’ market. We’ll show up to milk and water and feed and greet the goats on Monday morning, bright and early. Friends will join us for dinner, perhaps just to see where I’ve worked in the raw goat’s milk and the purslane and lambs quarters I can’t seem to stay on top of.