Thursday, September 30, 2010

Learning to Milk With Two Stands

When we took Annie to our pasture to spend a month with our buck, Tony built a second milking stand to leave there.  I used it a couple of times before the neighbor asked if they could "foster" the goats for a while and decide if they want to get dairy goats.  Sure!  The 3 of them got a new pasture of grass and I didn't have to go over there daily to milk!  I taught him what I do, bought the feed we want her to have at milking time, and set them up.  In exchange for milking her, they got to keep the milk.

Well, her month is up and the neighbors are leaving town, so the gals came back and so did the extra stand.  It occurred to me this might speed up the milking process.  It was taking me close to an hour total to get the job done, milking 3.  With Annie back it would take even longer, and she gives the most milk.  I've tried it for two days now, and I'm not sure it's really speeding anything up!  It's funny to watch me (I'm guessing) and it's funny to watch the goats' reaction when they see an extra stand.  I don't have any photos to share, but they all want to go to the familiar stand, even when there's already a goat there!

So how does a dairy maiden use two stands?  I start with the first goat and milk her out.  It takes her longer to eat her goodies than it takes me to get the milk, so that's generally the time consumer-waiting for her to finish.  Before bringing the next girl up, I empty and measure the milk from the bucket.  Back out again, I can bring #2 up to the second stand, but #1 is done eating before I've finished with #2, so she starts getting antsy.  At this point, I don't get much from #2, so I finish her fairly quickly and measure her milk before exchanging #1 for #3.  #3 used to be Belle and she HATES being milked.  I've trained her to the point of being able to milk one handed while holding the bucket with the other-makes it easier to get it out of the way before she steps in it-but she still stomps a lot.  However, since Annie has returned, she thinks she should be #1 (used to be) but I wanted her to be last because she smells like a BUCK IN RUT!  I was successful at making her #4 yesterday, but not today.  Are ya with me here, because I've lost track of what I'm doing, hahaha!  Oh yes, so #1 goes back and #3 comes out, rinse, lather, repeat.  I think you get the picture.  It still took me about an hour today, though I have to admit to not noting the time when I started.  Tomorrow I'll make a point of timing it all, starting with soaking the feed.  Maybe it'll be my daily goal to get as much milk in as few minutes as possible and see if I can beat the previous day.

OK, seriously, I think I need a better hobby!  Although, if ice cream and cheese made from Nubian milk is as good as the yogurt, then this is a fabulous hobby!  We need to take the two doelings out of the pen and see if that increases output from the Nubian mamas.  We're going to try putting them in the backyard and see how hard they try to get out.

Oh, and the whole reason I decided to write about this is that today when I brought Belle out, Peaches was on the familiar stand still eating.  Belle ran to it and tried to push Peaches out of the way.  I had to grab her and get her to the second stand before she broke poor Peaches' neck.  In the process I stepped on a small branch on the ground and cut my foot (silly me-I wear flip flops for this job because I don't like lacing up the boots when it's hot out).  It's not that bad, but it's in a spot that makes it hurt with each step.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Best Yogurt Yet!

I've been making goat milk yogurt for close to a year now, and have just kinda gotten used to it being thin with lots of whey, and quite tangy.  I generally only use it in smoothies, since it's so thin and tangy.  It makes a good orange juice and banana smoothie.

Back in the Spring, when we came to the realization that our cow wasn't going to let us milk her, we decided to expand the goat herd by adding Nubians.  We found sister Nubian/Boer cross goats, one had recently given birth and one was pregnant.  I started training both of them a few months ago-boy are they skittish!  The older mama, Peaches has calmed down and her baby, Cream is old enough to take to the buck, so I've been getting all of her milk for a month or so now.  It's not been much-average of 12 ounces a day-but Molly's production really shot up when I tried to dry her off for the last two months of her pregnancy, so Peaches' milk has been going in its own jar.

Yesterday I decided to use her milk to make the yogurt.  I was a few ounces shy of the 2 quarts needed, but figured it was close enough.  We had to use store bought yogurt for the starter culture and all I could do was hope for the best.  Well, I got it!  After incubating for 8 hours and cooling in the fridge over night, I opened the container expecting the usual 1/2 pint or so of whey, but found a layer of thick, creamy yogurt.  I grabbed a spoon and dug in to see if there was whey below.  Nope!  Just 2 quarts of thick, creamy (and yummy) yogurt!  It's as thick as the store bought, and it's NOT tangy.  I could actually eat this!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Time for Action

Regardless of your position on milk (raw vs pasteurized) I think all agree with the freedom to choose what's best for each individual.  There are those that want to take that freedom away under the guise of food safety, namely S510.  I've already contacted my senators to express opposition to this bill, but there's more to do. (If you haven't done so, please consider contacting your senators-the language in S510 is so broad that your backyard garden could be illegal.)  A fellow blogger posted about an "inspection" going on at a dairy in Missouri.  Their blog has the details.  One reader has suggested an "un-cheese" party to help support them.  She says:
************CYBER-SPACE UN-CHEESE PARTY!*************
Here's how to SPONSOR A CHEESE:

The average price per pound is $5. You can send your sponsorship checks or money orders directly to the dairy. Just let them know what the money is for, and a note of encouragement would certainly be appreciated.

Morningland Dairy
6248 County Road 2980
Mountain View, MO
Or PayPal:  You can paypal your cheese sponsorship to
Now, folks, this is a PARTY, so INVITE YOUR FRIENDS, your neighbors, your mere acquaintances to join us!
Plaster the message on other boards you frequent, put it on your Facebook Status, make a YouTube video and hey! maybe it'll go viral!
We have to stand together as raw milk consumers and producers, or we WILL see the day where we can't even grow food for our own consumption!

Let's get Morningland back on its feet -


A related story about this is found here:


I've read several stories of raw dairy farms being "inspected" simply because their milk is raw, yet far fewer people get sick from consuming raw milk than pasteurized.  If you're not familiar with the benefits of raw milk and would like to know more, I suggest starting at the Weston A Price Foundation's website.  Still, regardless of your thoughts about raw milk, contact your senator to oppose S510 and consider sending $5 to the people at Morningland Dairy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another Tattler Lid Giveaway

Don't ya just love a good giveaway?  I won two things from blogs, back to back, think I'll win again?

Here's the link to Keeper of the Home and the giveaway.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Want some free bakeware?

Then visit The Food Renegade.  She has a giveaway that ends this Saturday.  Paula's Bread is giving away the stainless steel muffin pan and jelly roll pan.  Why are you still here?  Follow the links and enter the contest!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The things we do for our goats...

The power company has been in the area lately trimming (and shredding) trees that are touching power lines.  When they got to the side road north of our property, I asked if they could just pile the trees on our property so we could use it for goat food.  The foreman was happy to fulfill my request and instructed the guys to save all the branches from trees that the goats like.  They've been here a few days now, and we've got at least as much as they'll eat in the time the leaves will remain green. 

Then I though, "hmm, what do they do with the chipped stuff?"  I asked, and they're leaving a load of that tomorrow and we'll use it as nesting material in the hen house!  Gotta love free food and bedding material!  Maybe I should suggest that APS start a "bed and breakfast" for farm animals, hmm, another business venture.

This is one truckload, there were two like this, then they cut this total again:

Time for a Change

I'm just not satisfied with the tools available to change the look and layout of my blog since they added the new template designer.  It's probably because I don't understand HTML and really need drag and drop capabilities to do it easily.  I think I managed to give my page a new look though.  I don't have time to teach myself all these cool things, and really shouldn't be sitting here right now! 

I have company coming for dinner and the house needs to be cleaned.  So what do I do?  Clean out the cabinet where my plastic containers are kept.  Yeah, that's a priority when visitors are coming!  It's done though and I'm glad to mark it off my mental "to do someday" list.  Maybe now I'll sleep at night, lol!

We've been busy driving around neighborhoods within about a 90 minute radius of us, and it's crazy how much time it can take to peruse a neighborhood.  We stumbled across a great deal online recently and have put in an offer.  I'll come back with details when we get word of acceptance (or not).  Trying not to get my hopes up just in case the offer isn't accepted.

OK, I need to walk away from the computer.  Hope you're all having a great day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Edge of the Divine...

...Where Possibility Meets God's Faithfulness by Sandi Patty.  Feeling as though I needed to get closer to the Divine God I serve, I picked this book from the titles available for review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.  As I started reading I wasn't sure it was the right choice.  It's a bit autobiographical, and Sandi has struggled with her weight since childhood.  The story focuses on this portion of her life and her journey through Lap Band surgery that's supposed to help her return from being severely, morbidly obese.  I've got some weight to lose, but for most of my life have been thin and athletic, so I started thinking I may not learn much from reading her story.

However, I realized that her struggle with overeating isn't really any different than the struggles each of us face, so I kept reading.  She shared the commitment it would take-that the surgery wasn't a quick, easy fix, but rather a tool in her arsenal that would help her get control over this addiction.  She learned that she used food to stuff her negative emotions, and once she stopped that habit, she found she needed to learn how to gently express those negative emotions. 

She spends time taking us to the edge of extreme situations in life and showing us how God is there to take the bad and use it for good.  She shares stories from her own life, as well as from the members of her band.  She helps us see that trusting God is always better than trusting our circumstances and experience.

It's the last chapter that really affected me.  It's simply called Enough.  In a story of an alcoholic acquaintance's journey to sobriety that survived the loss of his, he tells of his own discovery that the abused substance is never enough.  Never enough to kill the pain, forget the bad memories or satisfy the longing deep within.  But GOD is enough.  He promises to meet our needs, and offers to share His abundance when we draw close to Him.  I remember for a few days, thinking that I had enough.  I had enough stuff, I had enough time, I had enough blessing.  Could I truly be satisfied, content, while living in circumstances that I didn't choose?  While struggling with a situation that I couldn't control?  In the midst of less than ideal health?  Is God enough for me?  Is He enough for you?

I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.