Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Has Sprung Part 2

One of the first "kids" of the season at a friend's farm in Mazomanie, WI

There are moments and sometimes days in my life that I am so overwhelmed by beauty, a love for life and gratitude that I feel my heart may burst.  I have found that although this "bliss" finds me throughout the year, it seems to visit me more often come spring.  I'm not sure if it's the warmth that brings it on, since I tend to celebrate being able to shed layers, or perhaps it's being surrounded by "newness".  Either way, I am grateful to have had a weekend full of bliss.

The kids suckling on my fingers
I woke up Saturday surrounded by fog.  I could feel the moisture in the air and winced as I stepped out the door and was hit square on with the smell of freshly spread manure.  Ahhh springtime in a city surrounded by farmland!  Mid day, as the fog began to break, a good friend and I went for a "wake up ride".  Big, steep hills never feel good this early in the season, but the legs and lungs must be tested...better earlier than later.  In my eyes, all big hills bring their own rewards.  Our reward was making it to my favorite overlook and being welcomed by more than twenty baby goats at Dreamfarm Creamery.  There is nothing like having that many small creatures run towards you at full speed--all making different cries which I could only make out as "Meeeee!  Come feed or pet meeeee!"  I'm sure my friend thought I was just a tad crazy when I started talking to them and every sentence ended in "awwwww or ohhhhh".
An arm makes a perfect salt lick

I must give you some explanation for my love of goats.  I truly believe that although I was raised in the heart of Minneapolis, half of me belongs on a farm.  I love every farm animal but goats hold a special place in my heart.  Their curious nature makes me giggle (please note that I haven't had one eat my entire garden yet).  I am enchanted by their eyes (although sometimes I think they look like alien eyes).  Their bleating makes my knees buckle and it takes all my will power not to run up and scritch them.  As an extra bonus, they make some of the best dairy products around.  Goat cheese is a staple in my kitchen!  Many times I've thought about giving up my career of personal training to start my very own creamery.  The one big downfall is they have to be milked twice daily which means I could kiss my dreams of biking around the world goodbye.

A few days ago, I received a phone call from a friend saying that his goats had just given birth and that my husband and I could come out anytime to see them.  He and his wife live on a quintessential Wisconsin farm road tucked into the valleys of the driftless zone.  We knew there was no way we could drive out there since it's some of our favorite bike country, so Sunday morning, under a bluebird sky with low winds, we pedaled our way out to Mazomanie.  I knew this was going to be trouble.  Two goat visits in two days...I would be begging my husband for a farm all the way back to Madison.  As we approached the kid pen, the bleating began.  We climbed over the fence and five little perfect beings, all with tails wagging, came to greet us.  No fear, just pure love (and possibly hoping for food).  I couldn't help but pick each one up and give them separate attention.  They were so light and relaxed in my arms...trusting me completely.  Visions of tucking one into my jersey and making a run for it crossed my mind.  But no, the farm is where they belong, amongst green pastures and other animals.

As we stepped out of the pen, I won't lie, my heart strings were tugged.  Thankfully I was distracted by the female goats in the barn, along with horses, a donkey, chickens and roosters.  The back pasture held the sheep and billy goats but a back pasture isn't great for walking across with road cleats.

With every closed door, there is another that opens.  Riding back into Madison, questioning if I really belong in the city, I glanced to my right and to my amazement, had four sandhill cranes within 10 feet of me.  This is always a sign of spring in Southern Wisconsin.  When the cranes return, another winter is winding down.  Of course I had to stop, however in doing so, I scared them off.  I was hoping I could watch them silently for a time, but all too often, these precious gifts are fleeting.  I am just so utterly thankful that I was granted with so many beautiful gifts this weekend.

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