"No good deed goes unpunished." Isn't that how the saying goes? Camille's rehearsal didn't go quite as planned, but most of the job got done. I went along for moral support as she talked herself through the morning routine, ticking off items on her mental checklist. Dealing with the chickens went well, although I will admit I was surprised that the little girls actually realized it was a stranger in the pen and huddled in the far corner instead of tumbling out for their morning cereal. We may not be giving chickens enough credit.
And then there were the goats. Stalls were emptied in the correct order. Poppy also recognized a stranger in the midst (obviously forgetting that Camille had been there the previous day) and began bellowing. Sheep are not known for dulcet tones, and Poppy only has one volume. Loud! Sheila, first up on the stand, quivered like an aspen in a high wind the entire time. Milking uses sets of muscles in the hands and forearms not ordinarily used and it takes awhile to get a rhythm going. So as not to stand over Camille and add to her stress, I went around and cleaned stalls while she worked. Ruthie, Esther, and Cindy, the nonmilkers, came in willingly for their breakfast and Camille was able to take a break. Tessie took some encouragement but finally came in. It took a long time, but Camille got her milked out. And then it was Inga's turn; the dreaded Inga. Camille wheedled and coaxed, sweet-talking and calm. Boy, did I ever know this script. The voice went up a notch and was a bit more demanding. "Inga! Come in here now!" Inga stayed just out of reach and gave that dumb-goat stare. Pretty soon Camille was yelling just like I do in that situation. Standing well back in the barn out of line of sight, I was laughing; couldn't help myself, evil woman that I am. Since Camille will be on her own tomorrow, I did not go out to help. Besides, there wasn't much I could do either. In the end, we did what I have to do in the same situation. We finished up in the barn and left Inga to swell up like a balloon (and me to deal with her today). It took two hours to do what I normally do in one (minus one milker), but Camille is a game trooper and didn't take back her offer to tend the girls. I sure hope it goes easier for her tomorrow; she's suffered enough for one good deed.
Whether it was a good day or not depends on which side of the milking stand you're on.