Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finish vacation and then back to milking the .... GOATS?!?

So the rest of my weekend was filled with … rain :P . Saturday it rained ALL day, but we still all enjoyed ourselves. It turned out that Rozenn’s brother came with his wife, son, and wife’s cousin. Our day involved cooking, eating, playing cards and Rummikub, and talking/telling stories about the past. It was a great day even though we didn’t get outside. Sunday was equally as rainy and windy. So, I went with Rozenn, David, and the girls to the pool! There was a heated pool for the little toddlers, one a bit cooler for laps, and then the main pool: it was heated with fan-like waterfalls spouting out, an area with a fast current – “the river”-, and a seating area with warm hard jets for massaging your back and small cold jets on the seat, in the pool. There was even a slide, and I’m not talking kiddie slide; you could find this at an amusement park it was so long. This place also had a sauna, cold pool for blood circulation, and who knows what else, but that cost extra. The rest of our Sunday included eating lunch with the family and leaving immediately after to avoid traffic. That evening, I helped Rozenn make crepes and then was picked up by Nicolas wherein he dropped me off to my next destination the following Monday.
So now I’m on a farm until Friday evening with goats, rabbits, and a horse. There are 400 goats to be milked, 10 billy goats, and then several young males or females. The milking is definitely not like that of cows. For instance, each goat has only two teats and a smaller udder. In milking, we use one machine per three or four goats. Since they’re not sent out to pasture like the cows, we don’t need to clean their teats so milking is simply hooking them up to the system, manually detaching it, and reattaching to another goat.  The whole milking takes about 1.5-2 hours to do. I must say, goats are a funny animal: they’re very curious and always try to eat anything they can get their mouths on. And that includes your clothing.  So since this is a goat dairy farm, the family of course drinks goat milk. I had it for the first time this morning and it was good!(Not sure if I prefer goat’s or cow’s milk yet … might be cow’s milk, but I’ll decide at the end of the week). The ~30 rabbits here are grown for meat; I feel that the French eat more rabbit than we do, and I still have yet to try it. Their one horse, Royal, used to race, but now spends her time in the pasture. She was a birthday gift for Ervey(the father here) a few years ago and it’s told that she rides fast, so I won’t get the chance to learn how to ride her.
Yesterday I started work immediately after Nicolas dropped me off. I helped Frederick (oldest son of 25) feed the goats and clean up the barn a bit. I also helped dehorn a few goats. For this, imagine a wired cheese slicer, except make it stronger and that’s what you use to dehorn goats. Frederick cut them while either Ervey or I held the goats. Around lunch time, I went to his house to eat with him and his girlfriend, Jessica. Afterward, we had a little break and then went to go work on their cement wall, for the hay barn; this included me, Frederick, Ervey, and Antoine(youngest son of 15). After a café break, around 5:45, we left to milk the goats. In the meantime, Frederick was working on the cement wall some more. Once we finished work for the day, we came back to the house for dinner. That’s when I met Kristin(mom) and Laura(daughter of 23). They both work with chickens, at another location. The mother is quite unique: she loves to chew your ear off and absolutely loves to cook. I think she made 4 meals and a dessert or two last night- not that it was all for dinner... I guess I’ll find out what was tonight?
This morning I started work around 7:25 wherein I helped milk, bed, and feed the goats. I also helped with some more cleaning and cement-wall building. I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of work to do here. It’s great, but I need a good break every once and a while. Ervey also showed me the garden with lots of zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, lettuce, cauliflower, leeks, green onions, and more! (I can’t wait to have a garden of my own- I’ll have lots of fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers<3) Soon we’ll probably continue with the wall and then milk the goats later on. Today and tomorrow morning there’s someone coming to check and see how much milk each goat gives. You know what that means: a LONG milking process. Might try to steal a nap before I miss my chance. Before I forget, I can’t promise pictures because it seems that the internet here is slow so you’ll all just have to wait! A bientot! Until next time!

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