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  • Writer's pictureHayley Parker

Milkmaid






Yes, I am the milkmaid of our farm. It is a title I have earned. I have milked with passion, with resentment, in rain, snow, sweat, tears,  in pregnancy, postpartum, with children on my back, littles by my side, littles apart of the process. All is invited as long as I show up. There are so many things you can do here on the farm but it isn’t until we had an animal in milk that we noticed just how much of a commitment we made. Or maybe I should just speak for myself, the milkmaid.


 Lucky for me, I didn’t think much about it… I dove in. I have always followed my intuition. When we chose to take on goats, I agreed to the role of milkmaid I would be taking on daily. Yet,  it was simple, we were all in. Then there is the next phase… doing it. Waking up, milking day in and day out, caring for the health of the herd and repeat.  At certain times of year that means milking two times a day. During kidding season, that means milking at the wake of dawn for the next few months straight. As your herd grows that means milking multiple goats, watching your herd grow or finding good homes for more goats. 


If I am honest, milking goats is a sacrifice. I hate wording it that way because of everything it brings to our family. I guess that is how we know it is right for us. It doesn’t have to be forever but I don’t know how I could ever go back after feeling the reward that comes with having our own milk in the backyard. Zack and I dream of road tripping in the future when the kids move out. I envision a big van situation and getting lost out west for a while. I like to tell him we could take one of our Saanen doe goats with us so we could still have milk. We could make it work, right?


Owning a milking goat makes travel difficult. Three milking goats, close to impossible. But that small percentage of possibility we make happen. I have found a woman I am so endlessly grateful for to milk my goats when I am away. We also have my brother-in-law and his fiance, other owners of the farm who live next door so when we leave, the farm is left in the best hands.  It is so reassuring and I know that may not be the case for so many other farms.


I want to reiterate that the work is also what allows us to reap the deep delicious feelings of nourishment, gratitude, and contentment that come from having our own raw milk on hand. All my fellow milkmaids know that your work will be rewarded with the obvious liquid gold but also the deeper connection that ties us and nature together, that brings us back to the earth. It is the way we can become so fully intertwined with what we do, what we eat, drink, how we feel and what we believe. All encompassing. So next time you just so happen to meet a milkmaid know there is much more behind that ruffled dress.

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