Lee is really enjoying his gig as a goat-cheese salesman, and I am too. Every morning that he works the farmers’ market, he slips off at 5:30 a.m., leaving behind coffee in the old-fashioned silver percolator for me. Although I miss our weekend mornings sipping coffee together, Lee’s return from the market is like receiving a surprise gift basket every day.
These surprise gift baskets have included so many different delectable things. He’s brought home samples of goat cheese in all varieties and flavors, beets, green beans, collard greens, mint, basil, fennel, strawberries, lettuce, onions, carrots, and turnips. Once, he barreled into the house and announced that he’d brought home the weirdest vegetable and pulled out kohlrabi. (He was disappointed I knew what it was but mollified when I said that I’d never eaten it). We’ve enjoyed learning how to prepare the vegetables we haven’t used before and the free (yes, free!) farm fresh veggies he’s given at the end of the day at the market. Free vegetables—especially ones I’ve never cooked with or eaten before—are a great perk to Lee’s work at the goat farm.
The greatest perk of all, though, was my visit today to see the goats on the farm. I lack sufficient words to express the joy a baby goat can bring as it bleats and wags its little tail in greeting much as a dog would. They are curious and docile and ever so eager to stick their heads through the fence to say hello. Actually, the owners suspect that’s how one particular baby goat hurt her knee: by getting caught up in the fencing. She was the sweetest little thing, brushing up against me for scratches, licking my legs with her rough tongue, wagging her tail, and resting against me to give her leg a break.
When the owner asked me if I wanted to bottle-feed her, I basically danced with delight and shouted “YES!” Let me tell you, feeding a baby goat was much harder than I thought. I had no reason to believe that she wouldn’t eagerly latch onto the bottle and suck it down, but she didn’t. Instead, she’d latch, let the rubber nipple slide out, splatter me with milk, and leave adorable little droplets of milk on her nose. In the beginning, I had asked if the owner had any tips, and she said, “you just give her the bottle.” I was clearly not quite successful at following such simple instructions, so she took the bottle from me, and with finesse, propped the goat on her knee and inserted the bottle into the goat’s mouth at a reverse, slanted angle. Clearly, I have some room for growth in my bottle-feeding skills. Despite my ineptitude and her swollen knee, this little goat followed me halfway across the barnyard, bleating as I left.
It was such a treat to spend my evening listening to the happy little bleats of the baby goats and wandering by the chickens, geese (and goslings!), and guard llama even as it also gave rise to the deep longing I have to live in the country and do so much more than suburban homesteading.