In a dream I had few nights ago, a man was hitting on me. I'm happily married, but that had no relevance when it was a particular body part that most attracted the man. You know when you have a dream and you remember it the next day, you sometimes only remember a snap shot or two? Well, the shot I vividly recalled was the inside of my bare forearm
and the man gingerly sliding his thumb along it from my elbow to my wrist, crooning, "What nice forearms you have." Nice pick up line, huh?
Thus is the pride of a goat milker
. Or, at least, it is for me, a weird goat milker. Strong forearms, a killer handshake and the ability to out squeeze any stressed-out office worker in a worry ball competition.
Some might think milking four goats
twice a day is a lot of work. It is, but it's a different kind of work, a good kind of work. When I go to the “office,” I sit outside by the milk stand under the sun or the stars in my farm clothes, talk to the goats, grab some sweet bribery for them to eat on the stanchion
, and sidle up to their right sides to commence milking.
I milk twice a day. The milk from the four goats fills up a two-gallon pot. Each squeeze produces about a tablespoon of milk. There are 512 tablespoons in two gallons of milk. Milking twice a day, that's at least 1,024 squeezes per day.
A lot of work? Yes. But, I'd rather do this as part of my profession than sit behind a desk, squeezing a worry ball 1,024 times per day to get a good grip and the ability to suspend myself from my fingertips from the barn rafters. (OK, I can't really do that. And, actually, I don't really aspire to do that.)
I remember back when we first got our goats. I milked two goats twice a day, waking up daily with my hands asleep in the typical carpal tunnel pattern from so much repetitive motion. I was shocked the day I saw my own forearm resting out the open driver's side window. It was, with my tendency to exaggerate, HUGE. I actually didn't know where it came from and did a double take. Only my friend Marvin
's, a fireman, forearms are bigger.
Along with the fact that a goat milker squeezes thousands of times per week, bazillions of times per year, there are intricate motions in milking that tone a person's forearms.
Let's take a quick look at a goat anatomy refresher course: A goat has one udder
, the bag that holds the milk. A goat has two teats
, the tubes hanging down that channel the milk. Each teat has one orifice
, the opening that allows the milk to come out.
In my opinion, a long teat is the best. Your whole hand fits on there and you can complete an index-to-pinky finger down squeeze in one fluid motion, capturing all of the tiny forearm muscles in the action. And a big orifice is ideal because more milk comes out with each squeeze, reducing the amount of squeezes per milking, and therefore your propensity for carpal tunnel syndrome and sneaking desires to get that desk job you really don't want.
On the flip side, and common to every female mammal, we all have different teat and orifice sizes. There are the goats that need a big bra and the goats that need a small bra. Goats with small teats are the biggest challenge to milk because you can only use one or two fingers to coax the milk out. To mimic this, pretend you're playing a miniature trumpet with only two keys and push those keys up and down 256 times, fast. Wait, these are small teats and you only get a teaspoon per squeeze, so increase that to 512 teensy key strokes and repeat eight times, daily.
Before my goat-milking years, I had never thought twice about forearm size. But when you shake the hand of the carpet installer and he winces, or you shake the hand of a new female acquaintance and accidentally reposition her hand bones, you gain a new appreciation for a strength you didn't know you had.
Lindsey is a city girl turned urban farm girl. She and her family are the proud stewards of a few milking goats, a lot of working chickens, an organic garden and a budding orchard. Just around the corner is the city. But she, and her farm, are hidden by the rocks. Follow her on Twitter (@goatcheeselady) and FaceBook (The Goat Cheese Lady) or visit her website (thegoatcheeselady.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Lindsey at: email@example.com.