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Lisa A. Parnell
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The Granny Files: May 5, 1947
edited: Saturday, May 11, 2002
By Lisa A. Parnell
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2002
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A letter from a grandmother's files.
May 5, 1947
You’ll never guess what I’ve got to do in about four hours - - Milk a goat! And she kicks like fury. But to begin back at the beginning. Yesterday morning there was an ad in the paper about an extra fine milk goat for sale. So while Happy and Kyle kept on working on the fence we’ve been building around a goat pasture I went down to the store about a mile from here where they have a Dallas telephone and called about it. The lady, a Mrs. Wilson, said that she (the goat, of course) was a cross between a Nubian and an Alpine, had been fresh a month, gave 7 to 8 quarts of milk a day, had been given tests for every possible disease and was free of everything, gave delicious milk and so on and on but – she wouldn’t sell her for less than $65. Well, of course, I thought that settled that but, since I had gone to all the trouble of calling I got the ladies address. But when I came back and told Happy about it he said that if it was really a fine goat he’d rather pay $65 for her than $7.50 for one that wasn’t so good. So, later in the day we went over and looked at her – and Happy said she was as fine as he’d ever seen. We tasted her milk and it was wonderful and wound up by buying her and bringing her home in the car. She was as easy to handle in the car as a big dog would have been. But – naturally she’s upset by the move and besides, Mrs. Wilson said that she was pretty cranky about being milked anyhow. Well, she gives so much milk that you have to milk her three times a day – which gives me a job each noon. Mrs. Wilson said that she was worse if a woman milked her. And if she’s any worse for me at noon than she was for Happy last night and this morning I’m in for a fine tussle. Her udder is so enormous that her tits hang down below her knees and she reaches up with her feet and kicks your hand away. She’s holding up her milk a little too. But, just the same, last night we got almost two quarts and the same this morning – but in the mornings she’s been giving a gallon. Of course, that’s more than enough milk for us at that – and when she settles down we’ll have to sell some. The goat dairy in Dallas gets 40 cents a quart. Mrs. Wilson had been selling it for 30 cents a quart if the customers came to her home for it and 35 cents if she delivered it. If we have trouble getting customers at those prices we’ll just sell it to Dave and Belva at the same price as cow’s milk.
But, back to how good her milk is. I’d never tasted goat milk and altho Happy and other people told me that you couldn’t tell it from cows milk I just couldn’t believe them. But when I tasted her milk I nearly cried, it was that good. Really, it’s better than any other milk I ever tasted - - better than the good Jersey milk I’ve been getting from my neighbors. There isn’t really any difference in the taste except that the goat milk seems smoother and richer. Now I’m just dying for you to have a goat that good. Mrs. Wilson has three other goats but ours, Dotty, gave by far the most milk. She has another one that’s a lot like Dotty except she has been raised as a pet and is much easier to handle – but gives much less milk. Mrs. Wilson has stomach trouble and that’s how she happened to start keeping goats but she’s been in much worse health lately and isn’t up to doing the work involved in handling so much milk. She said that she might have to sell another one later on if she didn’t improve. So we might get that other one too. For one thing, it’s better to have more than one goat because they can’t stand solitude very well and give more milk if they have company. So, until we get another goat Dotty may not give us as much milk even after she gets more accustomed to us.
As far as the milk is concerned we certainly won’t need another one. Happy says we’ll go ahead and get that $7.50 Nubian that’s dry and bring her over to keep Dotty company – and if she gives good milk, okay – and if she doesn’t, we won’t be out much – nothing when you consider she’ll have a kid each year that’ll bring a few dollars. Oh yes, another thing. Dotty gives milk all the time and you have to dry her up before she has her annual baby. Happy says you find one like that now and then.
If I find the noon milking too much for me I think I can make satisfactory arrangements with a new neighbor on the south who used to work at a dairy and who likes goat milk very much.
Well, enough about Dotty for one letter. I’ll give you a full report tomorrow on how I come out milking her.
The baby rabbits are dying pretty fast. We just have two left now and they may die before the day is over. One died this morning while I was trying to feed it – just seemed to get weaker and weaker and turned blue and got cold. Well, I hate to see them die but it surely does make things easier for me. The little chickens and turkeys are doing just fine – have lost just one so far but there’s another one I’m expecting to find dead soon.
Happy said to ask you to see if you couldn’t send us another rain. A long slow one would be best but we’ll take a gully washer – or I believe it’s called a stump mover – if that’s the best you can do. Our garden looks bad again and Happy says it’ll die if we don’t get a rain soon. It’s cloudy and thundering this morning but I’m paying no attention to it in hope that a rain will slip up and take me by surprise. I’ve got some shasta daisy plants that Fairy gave me yesterday that I’ve got to set out this morning rain or no rain.
Oh gosh. Every time I think of trying to milk Dotty I get scared. Not scared of her one bit – she’s gentle as can be except she doesn’t like to be milked – but scared of doing a poor job and then, they say if a goat once gets you buffaloed you’ll never be able to handle her. Happy said that when they were kids at home Calvin ran from a goat one time and from that day forward she chased him every time he went out of the house. They had an outdoor toilet and every time Cal had to go down there he had to carry the umbrella because the goat wouldn’t come near the umbrella. Yesterday that other goat that was raised as a pet caught Kyle in a corner of the lot and walked up and put her head in his stomach and pushed. You never saw such a look of dismay as was on his face. He’d push on her a little and when she wouldn’t back off he’d just stand there. He said he couldn’t push her off – but he was just too scared to push very hard. So Happy told Kyle to go on out of the lot. And last night Happy said that that was sure one time Kyle minded without any argument and the very first time he was told. Mrs. Wilson said that that goat was raised by a family who had two little boys who played with her all the time and taught her to butt. She pretended she was going to butt me several times but I’d give her a shove and then she’d stand by me and lean her head against me – tamest thing I ever saw.
Gotta get to getting’.
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