Where is Molly?
I brought the cows up during the thunderstorm at 3:00 in the morning. We put them in the combine shed…since we don’t have a combine. That’s where we should be milking anyway…not next to the old swing set in the back yard. Well, we SHOULD have a more formal milking location but…anyway…
I gave them access to about 2 days worth of grazing with another 3 days within easy reach. Just have to move the fence.
I had to look around a bit to find Molly.
She was hiding next to aunt Flora.
Aunt Flora wants to keep an eye on me.
Molly, as you might expect, spends much of her day eating, sleeping and growing. When she bothers to get up she frolics around, Houdinis her way out of the fence and annoys her mother. We think aunt Flora wants to be a mother. Just a few more months, Flora.
I caught Molly blinking after a nap and finally caught May with the camera. We are milking her once a day and it seems to be keeping the fat on her back. Here’s to hoping we can rebreed her soon and get her shifted to summer calving. Wonder if I can get another straw from Top Brass or if I should go with an A2A2 sire out of NZ…
Oh boy. So we had a calf on Sunday. Tuesday we milked for the first time. So we have to fit something else into the routine. We’re trying to milk Mable at 6, wrap up a few other chores, milk Olive (goat) at 7, then finish chores outside, feed the children and start school at 9. Keep in mind I drive away at 6:15 each morning and return at 6:15 each evening so it’s just my wife out there.
Couple of things about Mable. Maybe you didn’t know but cows make a lot more milk than goats. Also, our goat has nice, large handles. Even I can comfortably fit my hand around each to milk. Mable has four thimbles. To milk the cow I can only use my thumb and two fingers. Like trying to empty a river with a teaspoon.
You can see all actors on stage in the picture above. May being milked while tied to a post, Molly laying close by and Flora penned up and out of the way.
In spite of the thimbles, my lovely bride keeps at it. We’re just going to have to get a milker.
For now we have only gotten colostrum from her which we give to the pigs. Starting Friday we’ll try to filter it for our own use. I can’t wait.
Still wet after just standing up.
We’ll be milking soon.
I was asked, “What makes some goat milk taste bad?” Milk should taste like milk…but milk may not always taste like that white liquid you buy at the store. Some milk has character. Some milk tastes different. Some milk tastes bad. I’ll offer my thoughts on the subject, though I’m far from an authority. In fact, I’m anxious to read your responses. I also want to note this is not limited to goat milk.
Goat milk, cow milk and, I suspect, camel milk all benefit from being refrigerated quickly. Milk is biologically active and yearns to express its potential. We place our milk in the freezer immediately after milking to chill it quickly and slow biological processes as soon as possible. This quick chill doesn’t kill anything but it does slow everything down. Our friend Steve does the same thing with cow’s milk. He sterilizes a deep freezer every night, fills it about 1/3 full of water and lets it chill overnight. In the morning he puts 5-10 gallons of milk in the freezer in cans to chill. We do something similar but since we’re only chilling 4-6 pounds of milk (as opposed to 80 pounds) and since we consume all of our milk ourselves we just pop the jar in the freezer with the pork chops. This could affect flavor.
Your dairy can impart flavors on milk. Is the goat clean and brushed and did you wash the udder? Are your buckets and jars sterile? Did you use an appropriate filter to strain the milk? Not only can your milk become unsafe to drink, the critters you introduce when handling the milk can change the flavor.
Diet makes a huge difference in milk flavor. Our goats get a varied diet in addition to free-choice alfalfa hay. We also buy raw cow’s milk from a dairy North of us. There is a noticeable difference in flavor as the seasons change. In the winter the cows eat alfalfa hay and the milk is sweeter. As spring comes on their diet is rye and clover. The milk takes on a smokey character. I find myself lacking appropriate adjectives for the milk but it does change seasonally as does the cow’s diet. Further, goat milk changes depending on what kinds of weeds are out there and the availability of browse. Finally, milk changes as we get further into the lactation.
Some goats just have a different…flavor. Like apples, genetics seem to have an impact. I know. Do with that what you will. I suspect it’s the least important after diet, sanitation and quick chill.
If you keep a buck with your doe you’ll smell him. The smell won’t leave you. You can’t get it out of your clothes. Your co-workers will remark on the odor. It soaks into your pores and no amount of pumice will remove it. Makes sense then that it will be on your doe…and it will taint the milk.
What do you do with your goat milk? Just add a glass and drink? Goat milk ice cream? Cheese? Let us know in the comments below.
May (black halter) is expecting in September thanks to a straw. We held off on breeding Flora (red halter) because she was a bit younger. It struck us as a good idea to send Flora to the bull rather than bring the bull home, especially since the dairyman we bought Flora and May from didn’t mind. Further, there was a chance that the dairyman was going to get some pretty high-priced straws in time to use on Flora. She met the bull instead. Anyway, off they went just in time for us to get through kidding our goats. The cows came home again yesterday. It’s time to stop dancing.
It was nice having a month off from moving the cows. They came back fat and slick, maybe a bit spoiled. My pastures (yard) don’t compare to Steve’s pastures. Not at all. But we’re improving year after year.
My grandmother never kept goats. She cooked. She reluctantly kept a small garden. She was never exactly a farmer. My uncle explained to me that she and grandpa had an agreement: she kept the house and he didn’t wash dishes and in return, he ran the farm and she didn’t milk cows.
Well. Things change. Here is my grandma the Sunday before Memorial Day holding a goat.
I’m sure grandma fed a goat last spring but I could only find a picture of my great-aunt Marion feeding Pixie.
I think that’s nice.
See that hat on my son? It was in my car when my car was stolen last summer. I loved that hat. Sigh…
My wife and sister made cheese today. Sis took the whey home after canning it. I thought I would show it to you. Looks like lemonade, doesn’t it?
I wasn’t involved in the process but it looked pretty straightforward. This is similar to what they did, though they added 1/4 cup of vinegar to 2 gallons of milk to help it curd more. They made both mozzarella and ricotta.
Anybody out there making cheese? Soft cheese or hard?
Sweet Pea had her kids today. The darker one is male, the lighter is female…the opposite coloration Olive gave us. No names until later. Don’t want to become attached and get bad news. You know, we have fought and fought to keep sick animals alive and it almost always ends in tears. Last year it was a goat we named Shivers. Poor Shivers. I made her a sweater then buried her in it. Nope. No names yet.
I came home from work and my breathless son ran up to the house to tell me what was going on. ”Sweet Pea is having kids! There’s a big problem! The back feet are coming out first!” Then he was off.
It was a problem. She labored a long time with the darker one coming out breech. Wife assisted with both as Sweet Pea was tuckered out when the second came around.
“Dad! The second one came out! There was a weird bag then the bag popped and we saw a head!”
What did your kids learn in school today?
We’ll be dairying again soon. Thank goodness she waited for good weather this year.
Here’s the little female, still damp. She appears to be polled (hornless) and has lovely goat jewelry. And look at those ears!
Here’s the little male, still a bit messy.
We believe they got a good bite to eat but haven’t seen them nurse on their own. We’ll hold off on naming them until we’re more certain they are nursing and healthy.
Here’s a quick video:
One of our rabbits kindled yesterday. We finally found the kittens in the barn…and my oldest son found out how protective mama cats can be.
The goats still haven’t kidded. You have to be kidding! We thought Sweet Pea was in labor on the 6th. Nothing. Nothing. Just uncomfortable girls chewing cud.
Broilers are coming along nicely. They are scheduled for freezer camp on the 26th but we plan to send some early. Early birds shouldn’t be above 5 pounds and that would be good. They’re pretty hard on the alfalfa that we just cut for hay. If we could just get some rain…
The pigs are settling in well. They still don’t like us but they know we bring food. It’s a step.
That’s about it. What’s going on at your place?