Goat milk, fresh from the teat (at least Fancy’s milk), tastes amazing: sweet, mild, and creamy. There is no hint of ‘goatiness’ as there is in the stuff you get at the store. And if you drink it within minutes of milking it, it’s still warm.
Which is kind of weird. When milk, eggs, chicken cutlets, hamburger, etc. comes from the grocery store, wrapped in plastic and styrofoam and cellophane, it is divorced from its animal, fleshy, origins. It’s as if that milk always existed in the carton, was never connected, except in some distant, second-cousin-once-removed kind of way, to cows. Of course my brain knows that this is silly, but the sense of the physicality of the milk–a body fluid, after all–is absent. I mean, knowing your eggs come from a chicken butt is all theory until you see a chicken poop one out.
I have to keep telling myself, as I drink the wonderful milk that I love, that it is okay, normal, that I am part of the food chain, that people have drunk goat milk for thousands of years. But part of me is still that little girl that, when asked where milk comes from, says, the grocery store.
But then there is also the strangeness of having these animals we love, pets really, animals we are managing and harvesting in this way. If we had a rooster (we don’t because the last thing I need is another person waking me up) we would have viable eggs and I would have to face my chickens every day thinking sorry, but this morning I ate your children. Some people eat their excess goats, or sell them as meat goats, and thank god we aren’t doing that because I couldn’t face Fancy’s sweet eyes with that same thought. But still, the whole thing is weird. It’s like that bit in “Notting Hill” where Will says, “So, these carrotts were–” and his strange date answers, “Murdered. Yes.”
Is it an excess of compassion that makes thinning the vegetable bed difficult? Tossing out those brave little seedlings, reaching up for the sunlight… But now I’m taking body fluids and potential progeny, like a vampire. Mostly I’m fine with it, or I couldn’t do this farm thing at all, but sometimes I feel bizarre milking Fancy like I’m some hugely overgrown baby. And sometimes I think she sees me that way.
Food is weird.