Foraging with Goats

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I have not written in far too long. I almost put it off another week, but as I lay napping in my bed a few minutes ago, a big spider ran across my brow. I woke up and felt its legs running over my skin and saw it jump off under the bed. Spider medicine is about sharing your story through the written word. Weave your words into the web of life to find meaning. So, here I am, Grandma Spider. Thanks for sending me the message loud and clear.

Summer feels like it’s rushing by and one of my daily chores is milking the two lady goats. At first, I saw milking as a chore, but now I understand it is as much for them as it is for me. We need each other, not only for me to feed them and for me to receive their milk, but for companionship and connection. It is not just a transaction, it is a relationship.

The goats are showing me how grounding routine can feel in this fast paced world. After morning milking, I take them for a walk. Today, we walked up the hill and discovered ripe blackberries growing wild along the path. As I gathered the delicious bounty, placing each berry into my, thankfully, blue t-shirt, I listened to the sounds of the goats chomping on leaves.

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The satisfaction of harvesting food from the earth for nourishment is like no other. To be in direct relationship with nature brings me home. I felt like one of the goats, part of the herd, foraging in the brambles for tasty treats. When we walk together, they move slower wanting to stop and munch. I always feel like I need to get somewhere, hike the mountain, rush back home to tackle the long list of “to do’s.” I was completely immersed in this precious moment on the hill, time was non-existent. How I yearn for these moments, so quiet, connected, and calm.

Also, blackberries have thorns. Therefore, I couldn’t reach in and pull off handfuls. I had to gently pick each one and carefully navigate the prickers. Yet, another message from nature to slow way down and be patient.

The goats are teaching me to pause and notice the abundance right under my nose. Everywhere they look they see food. If I can get out of my own head, then I notice it, too. We are surrounded by food and medicine in these forests and fields of Western Mass. Abundance surrounds us, and we are so very blessed.

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Thyme and Olive Oil Chèvre inspired by Susan at Rawson Brook Farm, Monterey, MA

Goats are also super sensitive, so when I feel stressed, they feel it, too. Lately, I’ve been feeling like there’s never enough time so I rush around doing a million things at once. “Rushing is violence,” I hear from the lyrics of Rising Appalachia. When I breathe deep and sing to the goats, they relax and let down their milk. When I am cranky and yelling at them for kicking the milk bucket over, they tense up. We’re all one, I guess. They are such great teachers.

Off to hang the feta cheese and make blackberry frozen yogurt!

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