A few nights ago, in a dream, a man was hitting on me. Granted, I’m happily married, but that had no relevance when it was a particular body part that most attracted him. You know how 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 in the forescreen and him gingerly sliding his thumb along it from my elbow to my wrist, telling me, “What nice forearms you have.” Nice pick up line, huh?
Thus is the pride of a goat milker. Or at least me, a weird goat milker. Strong forearms, a killer hand shake 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 while on the stanchion and sidle up to their right sides and commence milking. Here are the facts as they currently stand:
1. The milk from the four goats fills up a two gallon pot.
2. Each squeeze from a teat produces about a tablespoon of milk.
3. There are 512 tablespoons in two gallons of milk.
4. I milk twice a day. That’s (at least) 1024 squeezes per day.
A lot of work? Yes. But, I’d rather do this as part of my profession than sit behind a desk and squeeze a worry ball 1024 times per day to get a good grip and quite possibly the ability to suspend myself from my fingertips from the barn rafters for an hour or so. (OK, I can’t really do that. And, actually, I don’t really aspire to do that, but it is a trait of someone with strong forearms.)
I remember back when we first got goats, I milked two goats twice a day, woke up daily with my hands asleep in the typical carpal tunnel syndrome pattern from so much repetitive motion, and was shocked the day I witnessed my own forearm resting out the open driver’s side window. It was (with all my tendency for exaggeration) HUGE. I actually didn’t know where it came from and did a double take. Only my friend Marvin’s, the fireman, forearms are bigger. I’m not even exaggerating.
Along with the fact that a goat milker squeezes 1000’s of times per week, bazillions of times per year, there are the intricacies of goat milking that tone a person’s forearms. Teat and orifice size being two of the main muscle builders.
Let’s take a quick look at a goat anatomy refresher course: A goat has one udder…it’s the bag that holds the milk. A goat has two teats…they are the tubes hanging down that channel the milk. Each teat has one orifice…it is the opening that allows the milk to come out. In my opinion, a long teat is the best. Your whole hand can fit on there and you can complete an index to pinky finger ripple down squeeze in one fluid motion, thus capturing all of the tiny forearm muscles in the action. A big orifice is ideal because more milk comes out with each squeeze, thus reducing your 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. The small teated goats 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, so you don’t get a tablespoon per squeeze, you get a teaspoon, so increase that to 512 teensy key strokes.
No, actually in my pre-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 strength you didn’t know you had.
– The Goat Cheese Lady
P.S. This original post ran in its edited version here on the IndyBlog on March 29, 2015.