Summertime is a perfect time to chat with friends at the pool while your children work off some energy by sending waves into each other’s faces.
Mom topics are diverse, but when someone asked, “Can anything with nipples be milked?” some serious research was in order.
As a nurse, lactation is something I have studied and experienced first hand, but never had this question come up. So when choosing another adventure for my goofy Bucket List, I decided to prove my hypothesis: Only females can produce nourishment via milking.
Don’t worry, I didn’t poll scantily clad sun worshippers at the pool. That would be tacky. Instead I called our local goat farm, Landeria Farm, and asked if I could participate in their morning milking.
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Driving my minivan down the gravel back roads of the countryside, I realized I was out of my element. I approached the milking barn wearing floral rain boots and a matching apron. No pearls for me that humid morning. It would have been ostentatious. Plus, I feared anything shiny around my neck.
Kathy and her daughter Rachel welcomed me, then educated me on all things goatish. After hearing of the two 2-old kids (babies) in the next barn, I asked Rachel to give me a peek.
The darling twins were much bigger than I had imagined. The kids’ mother, Thelma — of the goat sister duo Thelma and Louise — allowed me to hold each kid. I assumed all mamas were protective of their babies, so this was a pleasant surprise since I predicted a butt to my…rear.
Next, it was milking time. The 85 goats wait patiently in the holding cell. And by patiently I mean they bleated, snorted and jumped like a popcorn machine with the lid off. Twelve horned goats were ushered onto a platform and gently secured to a feeding trough. This is how they trick them into holding still for the milking. I had visions of the same apparatus rigged to my dinner table to keep my forever dancing munchkins in their seats through a meal. However, the Division of Family Services would surely veto that.
First the workers offer appetizers of apples, leftover fortune cookies, or something resembling Werther’s Original Caramels.
“You can feed a piece of the cookie to each goat,” said Rachel.
“Goats have teeth, right?” I asked, hoping for a demonstration so I wouldn’t lose any appendages.
After supplying the animals with food in their troughs and a sweet treat, I edged to the non-eating end — the end with kicking legs.
If I lose a tooth for this story, I’m going to be miffed.
I inched my way to the biggest udder on the platform. Hand-milking into a cup was going to be difficult. As a woman, perhaps I was sensitive to the amount of pressure required to express milk. Plus, my face was primed for potential hoof marks.
After several attempts, I asked, embarrassed, “Why isn’t it working?”
“You really have to pinch it off and then squeeze,” said Kathy, the owner.
After recovering from my internal shuddering and readjusting of my brassiere, I grabbed on tight, winced and then successfully squirted into the can.
Next Kathy wiped my victory smile off my face with, “Do you want to try some?”
Noticing my confusion, she advised, “You squirt it in your mouth.”
I could barely squirt it into the can, so I was sure hitting my mouth would be an epic fail. But not wanting to be a ninny, I bucked up to face my fear and prayed I wouldn’t contract an intestinal infection.
I closed my eyes, aimed and squeezed like you are supposed to do with a fire extinguisher. The milk made direct impact with my upper lip and nose. Goat milk dripped down my mouth and chin, forming a goatee.
I felt like the new cover girl for the National Goat Cheese Lovers campaign. “Get a photo of my milk mustache!” I sputtered.
“Say, Cheese!” Click. Click! “Goat milk?”
Regretfully, I never discovered if my nipple hypothesis was correct. I will leave that research up to the professionals. I’m fairly sure the male goats would be utterly peeved.
Freelance columnist Stacey Hatton is a humorist and blogger at www.NurseMommyLaughs.com.