Ho bisogno di praticare il mio italiano e mi piace molto i capri

Ho bisogno di praticare il mio italiano e mi piace molto i capri (or, I need to practice my Italian and I love the goats!)

The last week has been an interesting one. Last Sunday was the 22nd of April, exactly a month until I leave for Italy. Now it’s one week less! Tuesday was my Italian lesson through Boise State, though I have started taking private lessons to practice having conversations. I have had two lessons so far and we spoke Italian pretty much the whole time and I could understand the majority of it. Progress! Though, I still have a ways to go.

In the meantime, I’ve been working as much as possible at the farm in Idaho to learn their ways. It’s been pretty crazy and full of a lot of new experiences. Last I wrote, I had been helping feed the kids. Since then, my job has expanded to helping with the various other tasks of caring for the kids. I’ve helped band (or castrate with tiny rubber bands) the bucks in preparation for selling at auction or to others on craigslist. I’ve also learned how to give a vaccination for E coli, how to determine whether or not a doe is about to kid, and how to de-horn and tattoo the kids she is keeping. What I’ve learned is that baby goats sound like crying children when they are in pain and it is quite heart-wrenching. Unfortunately, de-horning, tattooing and castration are necessary evils. Jane (again, her name is changed for privacy) doesn’t like doing it either, but she knows she has to.

The last couple weeks I’ve learned a lot about the animal side of things. Jane has a hard time distinguishing between whether her goats are livestock, pets or something in between. She has a lot of respect and love for her goats and she hates seeing any die or sold for meat, but she also knows that they are her livelihood and it’s either “them or her.”

I’ve also been able to start work in the cheese-room again. Last October when I first started to work, Jane had another set of employees and they taught me. Now that Jane is back in the cheese-room and those others were laid off, the atmosphere is much different and I have learned a lot more. It’s much different to be working with someone who puts all her ideas into action and who has been doing it for 25 years.

On April 21st I gave a presentation at the Student Research Conference at my school and presented some of my initial findings from the Idaho farm. I will be posting the video soon, so you all can hear in more detail some of the research aspects.

Today also officially marks two weeks until I leave for Italy. I received an email from my host family this morning giving me their number to call them from Rome. I can’t believe this is really happening! The next time I post it may be from Italy!

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