R-E-S-P-E-C-T (is in short supply around here)

I used to really enjoy milking. I’d look forward to it – leaning my head against Cocoa’s soft back, feeling her breathe and the listening to the milk splashing into the jug. She has a very pleasing scent, considering she’s a goat. Kind of like a mix of hay and cinnamon. Plus, now that the milking station is inside and out of the wind, it’s downright toasty in the barn. So milking used to be my favorite chore.

No doubt you’ve picked up on the past tense. Cocoa’s daughter Mocha has decided to declare war. On me. It partly has to do with the configuration of the milking station – Cocoa is up on the platform, so she has access to both the top of the hay feeder (where she can shove her entire head into the flake), and she has her own bucket of grain.

The platform is up against the stall wall, so unfortunately milking Cocoa also means I’m standing between Mocha and the most delicious food any goat has ever had. Despite the fact that she’s got the same exact grain in her own food dish, the whole situation is no bueno as far as Mocha is concerned.

Her horns are pointy, and she likes to aim for my knees – probably because they’re conveniently at her head level. Or worse, she’ll rear up and go for a much bigger target. She’s a fat little thing, and she has some heft. I daresay she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s even taken to hiding under the milking platform, and suddenly erupting from her cave like one of those creepy moray eels in every underwater nature documentary ever. She thinks it’s grand sport to try and ram me when I’m carrying both milking containers and can’t fight her off without spilling them.

Gene says I should just shut her in the other stall while I milk Cocoa, but that seems like the equivalent of caving in and buying your kid the Snickers bar in the checkout line. It solves the immediate problem, but doesn’t address the underlying issue. My first strategy was reasoning with her, which generally took the form of me braying, “You want some of this? Bring it!” which she, unfortunately, took as an invitation to consider it brung.

Then I decided I had to establish myself as the alpha goat by simply grabbing her by the horns, throwing her to the ground, and pinning her there until she respected my “authoritay”. Great idea in theory. In practice… let’s just say I have to work my way up several Greek letters before reaching Alpha status. Baby steps.

At least the deer like me. I’ve almost got one of the yearlings eating out of scoop, and if I take too long feeding the chickens they’ll practically follow me into the pole barn to remind me they’re starving. Now there’s 11 deer that show up like clockwork, and walking out of the coop to find all of them standing in the driveway staring at me is still a little disconcerting.

I’m really excited for spring, because I happened to look out my office window the other day and see the buck and one of the does getting up to the kind of shenanigans that perpetuate the species, so I’m hoping she’ll feel comfortable enough to bring her fawn to the feeding station. It will no doubt be the most photographed fawn in history.

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