Saturday, May 14, 2011

Our First Batch

My clothes were filthy and my fingers were bloody. I pulled small tumbleweeds of white fur from my beard and let them go in the wind. The left side of my pants were wet from a misguided squirt of milk that had then been licked to death by several different animal species while I had been cleaning up after them. None of it mattered. We were finally making cheese.

Jen and I walked into the hills behind our house (it's almost in the exact middle of the photo) and I told her that I would do the next blog post.

Having never raised livestock or even milked an animal before, I was concerned that our milk quality could suffer. I've since learned that when an animal receives devoted care and a proper diet, nature will do the rest. Wendy is producing over a gallon of fresh, delicious milk a day.

It is essential to remove young goat's horns early in their life, as horns pose a serious health risk for every living being on the farm. While some farmers opt to forgo the brutal task of disbudding, the vast majority agree that far more traumatic experiences often result from keeping horned goats. Daffodil was just disbudded- probably more difficult for us than her. She is quite resilient and jumped out of her stall for the first time right after the vet visit.

Daffodil consumes most of the milk that Wendy produces, so we collect about 70 ounces a day for making cheese. Our first batch of cheese from Wendy's milk was a success.

Why are all of our animals black or white? Maybe we should make oreos instead of cheese...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Running Daff

She's Growing up Fast!

Today Daffodil is two and a half weeks old.  At birth, she weighed eight pounds and could hardly stand, climb or jump.  Now she is fifteen pounds and climbs on everything (including her mom) and sprints back and forth the length of the backyard.  She is healthy and happy and both our vet and a friend with lots of goat experience were impressed by her hearty size and demeanor.

The nights were cold the first week of Daffodil's life.  We
we happy that she prefectly fit in one of Arthur's coats!

So far, she gets along very well with the other animals.  She has only met Bea, Gretel and the little goats through the fence and all seem very intrested in having more of a face to face introduction.  We have decided to wait a few more weeks until they are all housed together so that Daffodil will be big enough to be safe.  Arthur and Betty both enjoy playing with Daffy and they all chase eachother around the yard.  Won't they be surprised in a few months when Daffodil towers over them!

We have also had a real life crash course in goat milking in the last few weeks.  Luckily, Brian is a natural and is able to complete the whole process in only a few minutes.  It takes me far longer because my milking hand gets tired.  I have been assured that after a few months of milking I will have stronger hands than I could ever have imagined!

Brian built a stanchion prefectly measured for Wendy.
She hops on it twice a day with great anticipation of eating her grain.

We are thrilled to have fresh goat milk every day and we can now begin to experiment with the cheese making process!  We made our first batch of chevre the other day.  It was certainly edible but we will have to practice a few more times before we start to share with friends and family.  Brian's next big project is turning the basement into a dairy.  The cheesemaking dream is starting to turn into reality!