Drying Off

This morning we made our last batch of cheese.

We weren’t planning for this to be our last batch, but when we went to make cheese we only had 11 gallons. Matthew and I said it at exactly the same time. “The girls are done.”

They have 2.5 months left in their gestation and they’re ready to lay back, chew their cud, and lounge.

I support you girls.

And so, we’re done.

Just like that.

It’s a little ahead of schedule (we had planned to make Christmas morning our last milking), and we had planned to make a really fun cheese for our last batch of the season…but, the universe had other plans.

And, in a simple, hilarious twist of fate, Banzai got sick last week. Nothing serious, just a cold, but, because we sleep intertwined, breathing all over each other, and he still nurses all night, I caught whatever nasty bug was incubating in his cute little body.


Like any nursing mother who gets a cold, I already knew, there is no medicine you can take that won’t mess with your milk supply. 2.5 years into nursing Banzai I knew my supply was already starting to dwindle. This cold would be the final straw. I also knew, if I took medicine, I could transition gracefully out of milk production, relying on the pseudophedrine to dry me up as painlessly as possible.

Honestly, it’s just the push I needed. Left to my own devices I would probably never wean Banzai. I have loved every single second of nursing him. Gizmo never latched so I was relegated to pumping for 15 months. From the first second Banzai latched I knew what a gift I was being given.

Plus, Matthew has always been nothing but supportive of breastfeeding so he was no help. And Banzai loves breastfeeding more than he loves anything. He’s a boob guy, for sure. But, I knew, in my heart, it was time.

The girls are drying off and so am I.

I am reminded, once again, how my life is so inextricably woven into the fabric of this farm.

Cue emotional let-down.

On the business end, I’m petrified of not having milk to make cheese with. Cheese that we stock all throughout Olympia and Seattle. Cheese that we have worked our assess off trying to hustle up and down the I-5 corridor. We have stored away some cheese in hopes of getting us through the dry season, but, with an early ending, I’m positive it won’t be enough. Which means there will be a point, likely mid January, when there are no peacocks in the cheese case.

Will they replace us? Will they still love us? Will the people remember us? These are all fears that float through my brain.

On the child-rearing end, I’m super duper sad I won’t be nursing my baby anymore. But in all honestly, I’m just sad he’s growing up. He’s 2.5. Banzai’s baby ship has sailed. And, thanks to Dr. Snip, the baby ship has sailed permanently in this household.

It’s the end of an era and also, in a way, a homecoming. To myself. For the first time in over three years, my body is my own. I’m not pregnant and I’m not nursing. It’s tripping me out. (It could also be the cold medicine, because last night I saw a scary clown reflecting back at me from the Christmas tree).

Either way, the truth is this.

My goats are dry. My boobs are dry. And my babies aren’t babies anymore.

I accept this fact with open arms and I look to the future for what’s to come.

My cup runneth over.


Rachael Taylor-Tuller