The goats bring a light to my eye with their antics, their cheek and chancing. The hiss of spectacle-misting warmth into the chill pail, and the have a go, get an extra scoop shenanigans of every morning.
Taffy is first on the trailer. Taffy is always first. If we walked in and yelled ‘vaccinations, big needle, painful stab in the butt, who’s first?’ Taffy would head the queue. She’s so afraid of missing something, she’ll always take the risk.
The others slope off under the walnuts, and wait ‘til bossy pants emerges, dribbling molassed grain and looking smug. Then Lacey.
Lacey’s bum does in fact look big in this… trailer. We turn her round in the narrow gap and she settles to be milked. She is not in a hurry, she loves human company. She tells tales and sings songs. And she is Poppy’s oldest daughter. And I love her.
Linen Matilda next. They all have middle names (Taffeta Tallulah, Lacey Mae, Linnie Matilda, Aida Jane) and of them all, Linnie Matilda most often earns hers. Gentle to the point of heartbreak, all heart and soul, with tender feet and eyes like tomorrow, Linnie bumbles through her food and waits. If it’s windy outside, she’ll wait ever. She likes the warm and dry and quiet.
Alpine memories stir. I almost yodel for Aida, Ai …. Da….Aida-oh-ha-da.
And she runs like a faun through the grasses, happy to be last, happy to get the last lick of the bucket, happy to be just a little tricky to milk, due to having been designed for either earth shatteringly huge twins or a milking machine. Aida Jane, my Aida. Poppy’s other girl.
How will I ever say good bye? Who to? How will I ever part from them? How will they not be family, under the green canopy, where their (great) grandmother died in her sleep, one sunny day beneath the walnuts?
Forgive me, if I sometimes talk in shadows. Their amber eyes haunt my seldom sleep. I cannot bear their loss.