Milking the Goats


I recently got some photos that a friend took while I was taking care of the goats for another friend.

Isn’t it really cute how Cyprus is on my back and Daphne is holding my hand?

Isn’t that the best look on Daphne’s face.  I love this photo.

Daphne having a go at milking.

I think this is really cute.

Getting ready to head out.

Goat Keeper


My friend Scott went out of town for a weekend, and she asked me to head on up to his place to take care of his goats while he is gone.

I am always happy to get the chance to hang out with the goats.  Daphne got to come with me, and she got right back into the groove of it.

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Pay it Forward


My previous rant about slavery was supposted to be a post about paying it forward (as you can tell from the first sentence).  However, my fingers often get away with me and I make random and general musing about things that I never intended to visit in that blogging session.  Here I go again.

Paying it forward is a concept that is not new.  It is a concept that has the potential to do so much good from one act.

I was talking to Scott (goat farmer) a few weeks ago about our situation.  You see, because we live on a city plot in the middle of the city, we have no space for a goat (and the city has ordinances against it [damn them]).  My only other alternative was to find a local farm who would board my goat in exchange for help on the farm.  This is NOT an easy thing to do.  It took me almost 2 years to figure out how I was going to do it after asking many, many people if they were interested.  It turns out that this is not something that people do often.

Early this year, in my neverending quest, I sent an email to Scott asking him if he was interested in my proposition.  He said that he was, and we set up to meet.  The rest, really is history.  My goat, Milk Way has been up at his place ever since.

When we were talking a few weeks ago, he told me all about his experiences living in the city.  He likes to keep bees, and he attempted to do it in the middle of the city.  Not only is that something that is not allowed, it is something that is not easy to hide!  I applaud him for attempted it.

However, he had arranged something with a local farmer to keep bees at their farm.  The agreement was a little looser than the one that I have with Scott now because bees are pretty self sustaining (they don’t need hay and grain and milking every day).

He said that had it not been for that, that experience that I would not have my goat at his place.  He considers that he is paying back a debt to karma, and that the debt is now on my shoulders.

Truthfully, I LOVE having the debt.  I can’t help but dream of all the amazing things that I could do with some land of my own.  I can’t come up with enough pay it forward type activities.

I was reading a blog recently that asked everyone to go out and do something positive and report back how it felt.  One person noted in their reply that they have some land that they have donated out to people to rent so that they can grow their own food if they are in a situation that they can’t gardern on their own.  I thought that was a brilliant idea.

When we have some land of our own, why not have a program that allows a limited amount of people keep gardens or animals at our place in exchange for help around the farm.  It’s a win-win-win situation.  I will be passing my debt to karma on while doing some genuniely good things.

In truth, the friendship I have with Scott is very special to me because we understand eachother’s obsessive love of all things caprine which we share with eachother openly.  It was incredibly generous of him to consider opening up his land to us so that I could pusure my own little farming adventure.

Quality of Milk


I have heard here and there that raw milk is good for you, but I never really understood on a scientific level until today.

Every time I went to the chiropractor, he asked if I was drinking raw milk because it has the best absorb able calcium in it.  As soon as it is heated, it becomes hard for your body to recognize.  I also have a cookbook called “Nourishing Traditions” that I use, which really touts the benefits of raw milk (they are connected to the Weston Price Foundation).

Julie came over today to make some milk.  She doesn’t have a raw milk source, so she just brought the Lucerne brand of milk from Safeway.  We followed all the directions to make the cheese, but at vital stages of the cheese making process, it became clear that the milk was inferior, and that the pasteurization of the milk had actually damaged it.

She was making mozzarella.  Everything was fine until it was time to stretch the curds.  Despite the fact that they heated up to the temperature necessary for stretching, they remained in tight little sand gradual balls.  Nothing would make them stretch, not even with a lot of coaxing.

We then moved on to making Parmesan, and when the rennet was put in, it simply curdled.  It didn’t turn into curds and whey like it is supposed to, it too turned into sand curds and whey.  It was completely unable for cheese.

The good news is that she was able to get her money back from Safeway because the milk did not work, but it came abundantly clear to me that the milk I am working so hard for IS superior to what I can get at the store.

Milking Quantities


After the goat harvest last Monday, my milking quantities shot through the roof.  The boys had been weaned a few weeks before the harvest, but they still must have been sneaking milk because I was only getting about one quart every 24 hours.  The quantities were really inconsistent too, which was frustrating.

Things have really started to turn around now.  Milky Way is giving me about a half gallon every 24 hours.  I actually get a little bit more than that some days.  I have also been milking Scott’s other goat, Raven, as well, and she gives about a half gallon as well.  It feels good to bring home a gallon of milk every day.  I’ve been making cheese and yogurt up a storm.  I’ve also just got plans to freeze the milk so that I have some milk during the 3 months that my goat is dry (while she is pregnant).  With my new freezer, project milk freezing should go off without a hitch (as long as I can find containers to freeze in)!  I plan to freeze about 2 gallons per week, which is only about 24 gallons.  That should be enough to make a soft cheese every week as well as have a gallon to drink and cook with.  A high goal, for sure.  If I saved all the milk every other day for a month, I would be there!

Today, I proudly came home with more than a gallon of milk, which is sitting on my counter turning into Chevre.  I didn’t even need to reheat it.  It was still warm from the goat when I put the culture in.  It’s the easiest cheese ever.

Goat Harvest


When I bought my milk goat, her kids were only a week old.  She had three kids her first time–two boys and a girl.  The lady I bought her from kept the girl, and I got the two boys.

At first, my intention in keeping the goats was so that I could raise them and sell them to a 4-H kid or a farmer that needed a brush goat.  When the time to de-horn them came and went, I realized that I was not going to get a worthwhile price for them alive.  I resolved to raise them as meat goats and butcher them for our family.

I was going to follow the French tradition of raising them for 10 months to 1 year and then butchering them when they were full-sized but still tender.  That would have yielded a lot of meat.

As time went on, it was becoming clear that they did not fit on the farm.  There was no real place to separate them from their mother at weaning time, and when I managed to do it, they were figuring out how to sneak milk.  It was a lot of stress.

On top of it all, the owners of the farm are going to have a baby in a week or two, so they wanted the cores to be reduced.  They have been downsizing a bit.  I figured I would chip in since the goats were getting a little out of control.

I took the goats out to the butcher on Monday.  Rather than be full Chevron, they are capretto sized.  Perfect for roasting whole or piecing into roasts.

I was a little sad to see them go, and it is a little lonely when I go up to milk the goat, but I got 3/4 of a gallon of milk from her yesterday, and Jared brought me home a freezer full of meat today from the butcher.

Because I am butchering them so young, I have asked for all he pieces of the goat back so that I can use them.  We will eat the liver.  I will tan the hides with the brains and I will piece other scraps out to use as dog or cat food, or stew bones or something.  I have plans, you will hear from them all.

the meat had not quite frozen up yet by the time I got it, and the bag with the skins and liver and other things in it needed to be handled by Jared.  I just need to get a little more perspective on it before I go tanning the hides and eating goat for dinner.

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It’s Provolone not Mozzarella


I have been stocking up on milk so that I could make some fresh Mozzarella.  I have an entire meal plan surrounding the idea of having some fresh Mozzarella around.  I was going to make Capri Salad and I was going to make fresh from-scratch pizza.

The recipe that I have calls for 4 gallons of milk, so I have been stocking up on milk to be able to make it.  The recipe also is the same recipe for Provolone, only you are supposed to omit a step or two.

I was going along making my cheese while doing 100 other things as usual.  I got to the step where you stretch the curds, and it turns out that I did not omit the step I needed to.  I have Provolone, not Mozzarella.

Oh well, I can age Provolone over a long period of time and make it really last.  Guess I need to stock up on some more milk over the next couple of days and try it again.

Champion Goat Showman


Scott (the owner of the farm where I keep my goat) and I decided that we were going to take his two bucks to a goat show. Though I have been in the ring with cattle a time or two, I have not really shown goats at all. Scott had no experience himself in the area, so it was quite the adventure.

The good news is that after a little bit of work and some help with showmanship, his bucks ended up as the Champion and Reserve Champion Junior Nubian Bucks. That’s not too bad for my first time out eh?

Up next, I am going to take my goat to the county fair next month. Boy, I am excited about that, let me tell you.

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