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6.25.2012

On loosing and finding

 I woke up this morning to a truly gray day.  As I did chores this proved true twice over- one of my Gold Star hens has been declining slowly over the past few weeks. 
Up until this morning it was obviously she felt poorly- she had a droopy comb, slept a lot, had diarrhea, and walked slowly when she did move, but she was eating and drinking and moving around when she needed to.  I've treated her at home as best I could, but her symptoms were vague (although I presume egg bound or internal lay) and nothing seemed to help.  I promised myself that the second she declined further, to the point where she wasn't eating or drinking, I would put her out of her misery.  It was obvious when I went into the coop today that this would be today.

I was tempted to put it off at least another day, but I knew it was my duty as a responsible animal owner.  After making my preparations and convincing my husband to help me, we did it as quickly and painlessly as we could manage.

Especially considering I grew up on a farm and SHOULD have become more accustomed to the inevitability of raising animals, I believe my parents sheltered me a bit too much from this reality.  The closest to death I ever came was the 4-H livestock I sold after the fair and my cousin's dog who died right in front of me one summer morning.  Death bothers me (as it likely does most people), and I have a very primal, uncontrolable reaction when circumstances require me to kill an animal.  I first learned this last spring when I processed my first chicken (and this is exactly why I no longer process myself).  I begin to shake and become dizzy, and I can feel sickening levels of adrenalin coursing through my system.

I know it is a bit selfish to think of my own discomfort during the killing of an animal, so I try to get over it, but it leaves me in a funk afterwards.

So I bummed around for a while (easy to do with the rainy weather outside) and felt sorry for myself.  Then I got a response to an email I had sent the day before.  Without disclosing any potentially incriminating information, I found an awesome source for raw goat's milk... liquid gold!  But neither me nor anyone in my family had ever tried goat's milk before despite it's healthier profile, especially for children with allergies.  I was anxious to taste it, curious if it would taste better or worse or just different than cow's milk.

I was very pleasantly surprised.

I would say the two taste very similar... but goat milk tastes more like one percent despite the fact they have nearly identical butterfat contents.  This is probably because the butterfat globules are smaller in goat milk than in cow milk.  But in this particular goat milk there was a pleasant watery freshness, for lack of a better term.  I actually liked it, and far better than any cow's milk I have ever consumed (including raw).  It was probably a combination of factors- the goats (french alpine goats- I got to see them and watch them be milked and everything!  Apparently french alpine goats milk tastes closest to cow's milk), the super freshness, and the rawness.  But whatever it was, it was easily the best milk I have ever tasted.

And more importantly, Oliver drank some and had no reaction.

He has generally been asymptomatic towards both dairy and wheat for over a year.  BUT he still gets super phlegmy when he drinks fluid milk. 

Not that I feel milk is an absolutely vital food for children (or anyone).  I think its importance is overplayed.  But it is nice, and when it's raw and whole it can supply lots of important nutrients and enzymes.
So while I began the day on a sour note, I ended it on a hopeful one.  If only all bad days could end this way.

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