Thursday, November 11, 2004


Years ago from Hoegger Goat Supply I bought a really nice stainless steel milking bucket. It holds a little over a gallon, is totally cleanable, and has this cool eclipse shaped cover to it. The cover is to keep out debris falling off the belly of the goat, and the cut out is to allow enough room to shoot the milk stream through into the bucket. The top also serves to catch some of the splashes when that stream is strong.

When we first started milking the cow we couldn't find the cover for the bucket. No problem. It took awhile for me and cow to work out our relationship anyway and sometimes I could barely hit the bucket much less a smaller hole trying to milk her. But it has been months now and we found the top. I thought what the heck, I'd give the top a try.

I haven't noticed the milk being significantly cleaner. What I have noticed is that I don't notice my hands or back getting tired squirting all that milk in there.

Milking is rather intense. Once I am in the field, she wants her grain and is not a patient cow. Once she has her grain, I have only that amount of time to milk (although she is more forgiving about that). You can't waste a lot of time and you certainly can't rest. I estimate it takes more than a thousand squeezes of each hand for a gallon of milk. Of course, when I first started milking my hands would get tired, but soon they got strong. Still there is the sheer repetitiveness of it that leads me to shift positions a bit on the stool, hold my shoulders a bit differently every few minutes, squeeze in a different rhythm. Still, it is a very meditative task.

With the lid on the bucket my attention is focussed only on aiming each squeeze, each stream, two thousand individual arrows of milk shot (mostly) into the bucket. I not only have no mind, I have no body. It is incredibly Zen.

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