Butter, Whole30 Bread, Bucks and Cute Babies

I made butter today!

For about 1/3 cup of cream from my goat's milk, and 5 minutes of effort, I got about 2 tablespoons of butter.  It was a fun experiment.



Goat milk is naturally homogenized, so the cream doesn't separate as easily from the milk as with cow milk.  I could use a cream separator, and maybe I will at some point in the future when I'm getting more than a pound or two of milk a day.  For now a spoon, small jar and some shaking will work.



I also made Caldo de Pollo and a Whole30 allowable flatbread to dip in the soup.

The soup is one of our favorites and you don't have to slave over a stove all day either.  Boil a whole chicken in a large stock pot.  Add your favorite veggies ( I used onions, carrots and chayote squash) and spices.  Simmer for a few hours till the meat is falling off the bone and serve topped with avocado, cilantro and a lime wedge.  Deliciso!

The flatbread was a throw together last minute idea when I was craving cornbread to dip in my soup.  It doesn't get top scores for moistness for sure.  But, for a dip in soup it turned out pretty good.  Can't share a recipe on this one cause I didn't measure anything.  I threw handful of coconut flour, a handful of almond meal, a couple dashes of salt, a couple dollops of coconut oil, and four eggs in a bowl, mixed until it formed a masa-like texture, flattened a ball of it in my hand and toasted in a skillet over medium heat.

Buck goats make great entertainment when it's not rutting season and they don't stinketh to high heaven.  This is our buck Duke.  He's a total crack up and I got a few funny shots of him I had to share.





When you gotta reach that awkward place to scratch that itch that just won't quit and you're a buck, uh, it's a little embarrassing.  



Ryland's a good goat herder.



Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro?






Three things are stately in their tread; four are stately in their stride:
the lion, which is mightiest among beasts and does not turn back before any;
the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king whose army is with him. -Proverbs 30:29-31




Babies at sunset.  Awwww.


Darla and her Daylight


 Quieted,
Sheila

Diary of a Milk Maid: Week 3
















* Warning:  This post will be full of goat speak.  For anyone who may be interested in learning the lingo I'm learning, I've linked the terminology to sites explaining their meanings*

Today completes three weeks of milking my first freshener Darla.  The three weeks was completed in Darla's cantankerous style.   In fact I would say this morning's milking was the most frustrating of all the milking days I've had thus far.

I purchased a goat hobble last week since Darla's kicking habit doesn't seem to be going away.  She's a kicky milker.  Holding one hind leg with one hand and milking with one hand works, but takes much longer.  On the plus side, my deltoids are getting a nice cut from the isometric workout their receiving holding one kicking goat leg in place with one hand and milking with the other.  But any who,  milking with one hand isn't ideal so I hoped the goat hobble would do the trick and keep my girl from  kicking.  It didn't.  This goat could be a ballerina.  She kicks both back legs up in the air, standing on her front legs in a near hand or hoof stand.  And the unsteadiness of falling off the milk stand when she does this doesn't detour her at all.  She's an acrobat and stubborn!  This makes for an eventful milking.

She may be determined to not let me milk her for more than 30 seconds (which is what she does with her kids) but I'm even more determined to not let her win.  It's gonna be a battle and it may take the entire 305 milking days a doe is said to have, but by golly, I'm not giving up!

Sigh.

This morning's shenanigans had me covered in about a half quart of milk before the not-so-pretty milking was over.  Whoever said milking is a peaceful experience wasn't milking my Darla.

I'm currently torn between my two favorite herd names.  I have to pick one to officially register my goats and since I've found some ADGA members who are willing to write a letter so I can register Darla as Native on Appearance (since apparently she is not registrable with her sire's papers... something I'm still working on investigating) I can at least use Darla to produce official purebred Nubians in the future (her great grandkids can be registered as purebred).  Depending on how her daughters udders look using Duke's (my buck) good milking line I may keep breeding her to him.  If they are not correct like their mom's then I'll just breed Darla for the milk production at home.  Anway, the two front-runners for my herd name are:

Yellow Door Ranch 

or

Lil' Toad Farm


I really like Yellow Door Ranch.  I recently painted my front door a bright yellow.  The pop of color is something of a style I've come to really be drawn to.  I've always been a yellow fan.  I remember as a kid telling my parents that when I grew up I wanted a yellow house with a wrap-around porch and a white picket fence.  Yellow Door Ranch just has a nice ring to it.  But Lil' Toad Farm is near to the heart.

If I close my eyes I can hear my mom softly saying, "You'll always be my Lil' Toad."  I can also hear her calling me through the house in a more urgent manner which meant the "Lil'" fell off and I heard, "TOAD!"  This was usually followed by some instructions such as, "Can you run over to the neighbors and see if they have a roll of toilet paper we can borrow?  We're out!"

When we moved into this place we had several wildlife visitors: Palo Verde Beatles, desert rabbits, coyotes and desert toads.   Desert toads were one of the first to show up at our back door and it was at that time that I first thought of Lil' Toad Farm.

The nostalgia for Lil' Toad Farm weighs heavy in my decision, but according to my 9 year old, it's not fair, cause then it will sound like it's my farm only and not the whole family's.  Hmm.  Good point.  But, since the head of the house weighed in and likes Lil' Toad Farm the best, ownership is mutual.

I just can't let Yellow Door Ranch go though!  Uh!  Decisions.  Decisions.

The average milk production for a dairy goat is 1500 pounds in 305 days.  I thought it strange that milk is measured in pounds when I first started learning this home dairy thing.  I've always been used to the gallon or half gallon as the appropriate measurement for milk.  But, in the dairy goat world, pounds is proper.  If you swear you're old nanny out back gives you gallons you probably have some missing front teeth, a dozen or more broken down cars on your lot, several goats standing atop those cars and you milk your "nanny" straight into an empty, not-so-clean coffee can and swear that that floaty stuff on top grows hair on your chest.  Yeah.  Don't measure goat milk in gallons or you'll be ostracized as a backwards hick for sure.

That said, I calculated my doe's production thus far and she's producing at a rate that puts her around 500 pounds per year.  Sounds bad, but actually it's pretty good considering I'm only milking her once a day.  Most people milk their goats every 12 hours.  So if I doubled her output, assuming she'd put out the same amount twice daily, she'd be producing about 1000 pounds a year.  That's pretty darn good for a 1 year old first time freshener with a novice milk maid like me milking her.



Darla's udder is not prize worthy.  And she'll be considered a "grade" goat because I can't prove her lineage.  And she's a kicky milker.  But even still, she's teaching me tons and despite frustrating mornings like these I'm having a great time being a milk maid!   Besides that, her milk is delicious.  I've been skimming the cream off the top.  When I get about a half cup of cream I'm going make some butter.  Can't wait!





Quieted,
Sheila

A meditation on saving my life



"See it as a chance to die."

It's what I heard walking in the back door after kicking my shoes off with the scattered shoes from every other person in my family. I saw all those shoes, not even in simple pile, and thought of all the times I've bent over to pick up shoes and put them in their right place, or called the shoes' rightful owner to come pick them up and put them in their right place, and I thought, "Why do I even try? I clean up after people all the time, trying to keep some semblance of order in this house but it's a loosing battle. I mind as well just get rid of the laundry baskets, cause everyone just throws their dirty clothes on the floor. And I mind as well get rid of the shoe box on the patio cause people in this house don't even seem to care if two shoes are in close proximity to one another!"

As I walked into the kitchen throwing my mental pity party, taking note of all the misplaced coats, hats, blankets, toys, gaming controls, mail, dishes, pens, pencils, papers, and clothing, I heard Elizabeth Elliot say, "See it as a chance to die!"

I really love E. Elliot.  She's one of my spiritual "older women".  She's a no-nonsense, Five Solae exalting woman.  You can't listen to her and not be clear about the gospel of Christ or His amazing love or our sinfulness.  One of Elliot's inspirations was Amy Charmichael.  It was Amy who originally said, "Missionary life is simply as a chance to die!" inspiring Elliot to apply that truth to her everyday life.

Christians are called to a most peculiar calling: to die daily.  We don't die in the 6 foot under sense daily, but we die to our own "rights" and plans and powers.

Usually when I hear those words from Christ in Luke, "And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.", I think of big sacrifices.

Missionaries like Amy Carmichael and Elizabeth Elliot surely did take up their crosses and follow Jesus in their work as missionaries, but loosing one's life for Christ sake is not lived out only by missionaries and pastors and those in "full-time ministry".

Every shoe picked up with a heart of forgiveness, every gentle call to a child to come clean up after themselves, every patient ignoring of a pile of laundry to look into the eyes of world-weary man who's inviting you to just come sit with him for awhile... all this is a daily dying.  And every irritation I run into in a day is another chance for me to die.  Again.

But there's more.  Notice the goal of what Christ said , "... but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."  

I don't really want to die.  Neither in the six foot under sense, nor in the daily stuff sense.  I want to live!  And if you look at the goal of what Christ is saying here, dying isn't the ultimate goal either!  Living is!

The difference between what I believe and what the health and wealth, get-your-best-life-now folks believe is time.  I believe what Christ said: if we loose our lives now for his sake, we will actually be saving it.  In this life we don't strive to get our best life and the best stuff and the fountain of youth.  In this life we lay all that down to love others in Christ's name... with his character.  But in the resurrection we will have no death, no disease, no lack, no pain... pleasures forevermore in the presence of our Savior!

So yes, I choose to see those shoes and the daily messes as a chance to die, but beyond that dying I see my best life coming.

Oh Lord, give me eyes to look past the messes and irritations and daily dyings to the beyond-words life I've tasted of in the Spirit now, but will one day fully experience!

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 
- Colossians 3:2-4


 Quieted,
Sheila

Unashamedly bragging



I've been thinking a lot about today. Today, 2000 years ago. The entire center and source of all things, all the purposes of time and history and existence culminating in one Man's abused and slaughtered body hanging on a Roman cross. There is no god like mine!

All the religions of the world acknowledge that there's something wrong with us humans.  And they all give their prescription for making us better, which like Propaganda said is like spraying perfume on a corpse and pretending it doesn't still stink.  But for all the religions and the good ideas man has come up with for how we can be pleasing to God or just be better people, none of them propose what my God has done in Christ.

So maybe you scrap religion altogether.  It's a crutch that weak man needs, but you're too intelligent for that.  God, if he (or she) exists is just a nice concept to help us be better people.  Ignoring problems never solves them.  If we're all just godless products of chance and time why do we even care?  But I digress, that's another blog post.

There's no answer like the answer found in Christ.

The perfect One, swallowing up the sure judgement coming against me because I'm not right.  I'm made to image God, but I don't, and He has a right to scrap His creation turned against Him.  But He doesn't.  Instead, He stands in my place.  Stands between me and the place of my sure judgement.

Only my God redeems.  Only my God does not count my wrongs against me and promises me a new heart.  Only my God is working to conform me to the image of His Son.  Only my God came, not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.  Only my God became a man and knows what its like to bear the weight of my fallenness.  Only my God bends down to lift me up.  Only my God gives not just a way for me to live right, but the power to live that way by His very life living in me.

There is no god like mine!


What love is this.  
To send His own.  
To die for sin.  
And take us home.  
Got me feelin' good.  
Forget my feelin's.  
When you heard a story bout the hero dying for the villain?

- Trip Lee 

So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. - 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

 Quieted,
Sheila

Do you know Jochabed?


Moses in his mothers arms' by Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)

What do you do as a mom when you know your child grows up under the influence of authorities in their life who dishonor God and His Word? Who mock the Christ and the whole concept of sin and the need for a Savior? Who think of the Bible as old, out-of-date stories? Who offer the short-lived pleasures of this world as the ultimate pursuit of your child's life over and against the foolish call of Christ to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him to a kingdom that they cannot see where true riches and never-ending pleasures abide in uninhibited relationship with the Living God?

I look to a woman named Jochabed.

The nearly 4000 year old story of Moses is not only a pivotal story in the history of the people of Israel, it's also the heroic story of a mom who put her hope for her son in the Living God and whose influence, no doubt, was God's means of grace to plant faith in Moses.

We only get a few short verses about Jochabed's influence on Moses. But we get a thousand upon thousand year old legacy of faith in Christ because of her faith.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. - Hebrews 11:24-26
Mary Elizabeth Baxter (a Christian woman long gone to glory) wrote a commentary on Jochabed that I find tremendously encouraging. Here is an excerpt:
Christian mother, does your home influence counteract the sin, the untruth, the impurity, the hollowness of the world, so that your son finds the home life a haven of rest from temptation and shame? 
Is there so much of God in your life that it more than outweighs other influences which surround him? Blessed mother, if it is so! 
Pharaoh's daughter said to Jochebed: "Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." (Exd 2:9.) This is the last we hear of Jochebed, Moses' mother. THE RESULT OF HER LIFE's WORK was the man Moses. 
The true mother lives again in her son. There is the answer to her prayers; there is the result of her watchfulness; there is the true correction of her own faults reproduced in her son. Moses might never have been the man he was had it not been for Jochebed. 
Who knows how many a leader of God's people may be at the present time in course of training by some pious mother? Who knows but that the little James or John or William, who is playing with the kitten on the hearth, may some day become a man to whom hundreds or thousands may look for help and direction? 
Oh let every mother who reads these pages understand her vocation when a higher than Pharaoh's daughter says to her: "Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages." But the wages of Jochebed were not to be given by the princes of this world. To be the mother of a Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, like whom there arose not since in Israel (Deu 34:10): this was an honour which none but God could give.
I often get discouraged. Almost to the point of giving up... whatever that would look like. I guess every paralyzation of indifference or hopelessness that I choose is a giving up of sorts. I let the lie that my influence means nothing, even more, that God's word and grace is not powerful enough and God's Sovereign goodness is not really sovereign or good, numb me into just sitting there rather than saying something.

There was a time when they nursed at my spiritual breast. There was a time when I had a captive and eager audience of two boys under 5 who fed on the truth with gladness. But that season of nursing is passed. Now they are in Pharoah's house. Now they have the opulence of the world at their fingertips and the temporary pleasures of sin to worship the false gods of this age with. 

But I remember Jochabed.  I remember the God of Jochabed. My God- the God who purposed Moses' life even when it was full of the fleeting pleasures of sin and the treasures of Egypt.

I often wonder how Jochabed endured those years in Egypt, knowing her son was gaining rank in the house of the ruler who enslaved her and her people. Surely it was painfully difficult to go about the laborious tasks of slavery knowing that her son was enjoying riches, entertainment and power in a house which attributed all it's power and riches to false gods.  I wonder if she thought there was no way her son Moses would remember all that she taught him at her breast.  I wonder if she seriously doubted that he would ever turn his back on Pharaoh's gods to worship the God of his enslaved kin.  There must have been years of tight-throated, eyes-burning-with-tears prayers and pleas to the God of Joseph to not forget her son and let him rot in the riches of Egypt.

Even in this season, hard as it is to endure, I know my God is able to take what was (and is) planted in my sons, my ongoing prayers (feeble as they may be) and the faith (microscopic as it is) that He has given me, and make all that tempt to ensnare my boys serve the purpose of bringing them to the place where, they too, can choose the reproach of Christ as greater wealth over all that gleams and glitters (and becomes enslaving chains) in this world.  And if, when, they do that, it will be a miracle!  No one chooses the reproach of Christ over the fleeting pleasures of sin and the wealth of this world without a miracle!

Oh God of Jochabed! God of Moses!  God over Pharaoh!  My God!  You who rule the universe.  You who do not let a single sparrow fall from the sky without your okay.  You who designed motherhood and know the heartache of sons and daughters who leave your goodness to go after the cotton-candy rot of the world.  You who gave me sons and a heart to know you.  You who used my sin to bring me to the knowledge of my need for a Savior.  You who called me out of darkness into your wonderful light, who brought me from death to life despite my angst towards you and my wandering from you, who gave me taste buds to taste your goodness when I was intoxicated with the poison of the pleasures of sin.  Oh merciful God who loves and is just and poured out all judgement against sin on your only Son to save us from what we could never endure.  Hear my prayers for my sons.  Let no one keep them from coming to their Savior.  Give them the faith to choose the joy of You over all this world has to offer.  Give me the faith to stand when I want to lay down; to believe when I'm mocked.  May Christ be magnified in me!  Let my life bring you glory!  

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! - Psalm 90:17


Quieted,
Sheila

Meanwhile, back at the farm: Journal of a Milk Maid Day 3 {and thoughts on Nahum}


(Daylight and Daisy) 



(Daisy, the more timid of the two doelings, warming up to me and my hat)


(Daisy and Darla (the momma goat) 


(Daisy) 

I thought it was neat that both my doelings have these pretty markings on their backs.   They both have a black strip down their spine and star of white on the black stripe.  


(Daylight)

OK, I know this isn't my usual form on this blog.  Actual this blog has been anything but usual, regular, for a long time so I guess anything goes.  If you're over me and my goats already you might wanna avoid this blog for awhile.

I'm in caprine school.   And I'm loving it!

This is my third day milking Darla.  I'm finding that from the moment I wake up at 5:45 to milk her, my mind is on the care of these beautiful, fun creatures God has blessed me with, which are now producing a high quality whole food product for me and my household.  Bonus!

Last night I separated the kids from Darla, putting them in a large dog kennel.   You're supposed to keep them separate for 12 hours and then milk the doe.  But my girl doesn't last for 12 hours.  I pen them up at 8 pm and by 5:45 am she's screaming for relief.  Yesterday I milked her first while the kids screamed for breakfast.  This morning, I let them nurse for a few minutes (Actually only about a minute... that's about as long as Darla will let them go for before she seems annoyed and jumps over them.  But that's another subject I'm investigating.) and then took Darla to the milk stand.

I've put my milk stand (which my very nice neighbors are lending to me since they no longer have goats in milk) in our garage.  It's the most dust free area we have on our little "farm" aka dustbowl. (We are in the middle of getting the property laser leveled so that we can put up fencing and irrigate, so for now we have an acre plus of fine dirt blowing around.)  Walking Darla to the milk stand is not too much work although she is still a bit reluctant and not used to me handling her on a lead.  Getting her up on the milk stand is still slap stick comedy.  Picture a six-foot-tall, just-out-of-bed, blonde woman trying to hoist her black, dusty, protesting, approximately-100-pound Nubian onto a milk stand.

Once I get her up there though everything is just fine.  The kids are playing around at my feet, exploring the garage, my morning playlist is singing to me in the background and Darla and I start the milking process.

I did quite a bit of research about how to milk, when to milk, how often to milk, what equipment to use, etc.  As I said before, I was getting too perfectionistic about it and finally just went to Walmart.  This woman's blog was/is very helpful and is the model I'm using for my first time dairy goat raising experience.  Folowing her lead, and the info I got from Fias Co Farms on cleaning the udder and teats, my morning milking is starting to take form.   If you happened across this blog and you're looking to find info on raising a dairy goat or milking a goat I highly recommend The Prairie Homestead and Fias Co Farms.

This morning I got a little under a quart of milk.  I think for one 5-10 minute milking a day we're doing pretty good.

I am finding that there's definitely a widespread thought that goat milk is gross.  And I get it.  I really thought it would be off tasting myself.  I guess I figured I'd make cheese with it so I wasn't too worried if I didn't like the taste of the milk.  I so wish I could give out a sample to all the skeptics in my life.  My son Ryland, who is one of the biggest food/flavor/texture critics I know, loves it!  It's sweet and creamy, but not too creamy.  It has the consistency of whole cow's milk and leaves no funny aftertaste (which cow's milk does for me).  If you like milk at all I guarantee you would love fresh goat milk.   I'm sure the goat's milk you can buy in the health food store has a funny flavor because of the process and time on the shelf.  But the stuff in my fridge is delicious!  And it's good for you!  Seriously.  Have you ever read all the health benefits of goat's milk?

We aren't big milk drinkers in our family, but having a source of milk in our own backyard where I know what went into the milk and exactly how it was processed makes me feel really good about the milk we will be drinking in the future.

So today was a productive day and it's only 1:40 in the afternoon.  A quart of milk.  Hooves trimmed. Coat brushed.  Tail cleaned.  Underside and udders got a haircut (I'd rather not have falling hair in the pail of milk).  Pens cleaned.  Un-used pen measured for feedlot panels to go up to make room for mom and her growing doelings.   An hour's worth of research on breeding, registration, record keeping, grooming, milking, milk handling, cheese making,  ear-tatooing and feeding done.

I read Nahum today.  Have you ever read Nahum in the Bible?  Take away:  No one can stand before God and withstand his rightful indignation against evil (which every single one of us are infected with).  But God has provided Himself in the form of His Son to be our refuge.  We can't stand before his wrath but we can run to him and hide in him from it.

If this rubs you the wrong way, if you have a hard time with the thought that God has "indignation" towards you because of your sin, think about how you would feel towards say, your spouse, if he/she took your money, betrayed your trust, was unfaithful, was irritated by your presence and then was offended at you for being angry with them.

God is the perfect spouse.  He's the perfect person.  He's good.  Always.  He is not in the tiniest way perverse or unjust or corrupt or selfish.  He is love and he is just.  He created us and we are made in His image to display His character and magnify who He is. But instead we pervert His image in us.  We malign His character.  We putrefy who He is.  We perverse His goodness.  And then we deny that He even is.  We elevate ourselves as god and have not the least bit of desire for the One who made us and loves us so much as to not just wipe us out and start over, but rather send His own Son to bear all the weight of His indignation in our place.

God, of all people, has the right to be angry about the state of the human race and human heart.  Just one glimpse at the news, one sampling of history at any point in time is enough to make any one of us shake our heads in despair at the terrors of the world we live in.  Is there good?  Yes!  Oh yes!  Neighbors helping neighbors, friendships, the love of a husband, the joy of children, the taste of a good meal, even goats.  But these are the evidence that the good grace of God is preserving and keeping us from total rottenness, like salt keeps meat from decay.   These are graces to be thankful for and enjoyed, but they are not the diagnosis of our condition.  A person with terminal cancer may have flawless skin, a beautiful body and disposition, but inside they are dying.  Their condition is deadly even though they enjoy good things.

Our condition is deadly.  Running from God will not get you an escape from his rightful wrath.  Run to Him.  There you will find refuge.  A sure, safe place and healing from all your decay.



Quieted,
Sheila

Journal of a Milk Maid: Day 1

Warning:  This post was written last night under the influence of head cold medicine.

I think I can add Milk Maid to my list of titles.

Today was my first day milking Darla.  This is her first freshening.  First time on the milk stand.  First time for everything.

I've been a little reluctant to start milking her.  Honestly, I'm having fun but I'm also taking this very seriously.  I feel like I'm discovering my place in the world is homesteading.  Some people love the city and the hustle and bustle of lights and action.  Me, I am finding myself giddy with happiness at the smell of alfalfa, the shoveling of goat droppings, the baaaing of momma and kids, and the tinny squirt of fresh milk hitting the stainless steel bucket.

So along with all the euphoria I'm feeling right now with my first experience raising dairy goats I'm also feeling the need to get it right.  I've been doing quite a bit of reading about dairy goats and milking and the benefits of raw goat milk vs. pasteurized goat milk.  I wanted to have all my ducks in a row before milking Darla, but yesterday I read a post by some person in the goat forum world that basically said:  If you have a goat in milk all you really need is a clean bucket... the rest is for show.  Now, I don't completely agree with that statement, but it did make me realize I didn't need every piece of designated dairy equipment before I began milking my doe.  So I gave up my online shopping list and just went out there with what I had and milked my goat.  This afternoon I set out to Walmart to look for the needed supplies and came up with all that I need for less than $80 which is about $80 less than I would have spent if I had ordered online the said dairy equipment.

I didn't get much milk for our first milking, but that's probably partly because I didn't separate the kids from the momma last night and partly because I didn't milk her for very long.  Like I said it was sort of a spur of the moment decision to stop researching and waiting for the perfect equipment and set up and just go out there and milk.  I feel good about how the first milking experience went.  Today began the practice that will soon become habit.

The 13 ounces I got from my brief milking of Darla this morning I decided to pasteurize.  After all the reading I've done, I think we will probably stick with raw milk.  It just makes sense.  But because this morning's milking was so spur of the moment, and because I wasn't sure that I did everything right as far as shaving and cleaning her udder, I decided to err on the side of caution and pasteurize the milk.

Tonight I did a blind taste test with the kids to see if they would be able to tell the difference between the whole milk we had in the fridge from Walmart and the freshly pasteurized goat's milk.  Surprisingly they both picked the goat's milk as tasting the best and they both identified it as the goat's milk.  They said they were surprised because they thought it would taste "funny" but it actually tasted creamier and sweeter.

Honestly, I remember the bitter, bucky taste of goat's milk I had a as a kid and in the back of my mind I feared that I was going to go through all this trouble and have a product I didn't like.  But it didn't turn out that way.  The goat's milk is really delicious.  It doesn't taste "funny" at all.  It's creamier and sweeter and leaves no bitter aftertaste.   Tomorrow, if all goes well, I'll keep the milk raw and use it.  I'll be interested to see if the taste is different from the pasteurized milk.

And here's a cute little guy I ran into on the way to get hay this morning:








 Quieted,
Sheila

A mouthful of a day


Today started off, off, and has continued that way.

The husband stayed home sick.  The kids were informed last night right before bed that the announcement by dad that there would be no school today was really just an April Fool's trick.  This produced tears in one childand I decided we probably overdid the April Fool's stuff this year even though we all do like a good practical joke.  This morning I decided to take the boys out for a breakfast sandwich as a peace offering for yesterday's shenanigans.   A bacon-Gouda sandwich can make lots of things better.

When I got home, the husband was still passed out sick and so I set about daily tasks.  Stepping for a cup from the cupboard I plummeted through the floor in the place where there was (yesterday) a vent cover.  After a brief assessment- nothings broken, laceration butterfly-fixable- I realized I may have just pushed my leg through not only the vent but also the ceiling to the bedroom below my kitchen floor. What had begun last night, before the husband's sickness hit him, as a simple install of floor vents with one minor glitch in needing to adjust the size of the vent in the kitchen, was now going to be an enormous home-repair project.

I'm very thankful for my man's handyman-ness.  He can do many home repair and construction projects very well.  He can also be the least happy person to be around during such repairs.  I knew I had the dreaded task of informing my stuffy-head, sore-throat, headache, just-crawling-out-of-bed husband that there was a hole through the floor... through the HVAC system, because I had stepped into the vent space.  Not my favorite thing to do.

He was gracious, "Not your fault..." followed by sighs and pacing outside, followed by hours of banging, pulling, a couple fist poundings on the floor, some choice words and lots of time online doing wife-damaged-the-HVAC research.  I offered to help, but, yeah, "No thanks..."

So, trying to salvage what was left of my hope for making it a good day, I did a workout outside, some laundry, made lunch and checked in one more time to make sure there was nothing I could do.  Still nothing.

As I was sitting down to eat lunch I noticed my momma goat, Darla, outside flopping all over the ground with her tongue sticking out.  (I'm not making this up).  I just about choked on my fish taco and ran outside yelling at my husband to call the vet.  He, being the calm detective that he is, sauntered to the patio and said, "She's probably got something stuck in her mouth she'll be fine."  I, on the other hand, was in CODE BLUE mode as I approached my 2 week postpartum doe with her grey (should be pink) tongue hanging out of her mouth.  I picked her up with strength I didn't think I had and the force of my grab must have acted like a Heimlich Maneuver because she coughed a couple times, shook her head, licked her chops and nibbled at her grain like nothing ever happened.

I'm worn out by now as I sit in the Starbucks parking lot processing the day's events waiting to pick up my kiddos from school.  We'll make a trip to Barnes and Noble so the kids can browse at books while I try to return to what I began doing this morning:  chewing my cud.  I should clarify: meditating on God's word.

My world is being parable-ized by my goats.  This morning, before all the stuff hit the fan, or the floor vent as it were, I was outside in the cool air feeding my goats, talking to the little kids and watching as my buck was processing the morning's feed.  You can tell they are chewing their cud (regurgitating what's in their rumen) because their cheeks suddenly puff out a bit and their jaw starts grinding away at their mouthful.

The word for meditating in the Bible has a similar meaning.  It means to chew on God's word, to mull it over.  Think about it. Toss it around.  Think about it some more.  Pray about it. Recite it. Gather application from it. Glean more of the vista God is from it. Learn more of Christ.

It hit me this morning that I haven't been doing that much lately. I'm sort of in a rehab place spiritually. I'm doing exercises necessary to regain some strength so I can do some real heavy lifting but I've been going light on the repetition.  I need to take a verse or two and chew on it awhile.

Here's one I heard today that caught my attention:

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! -Psalm 126:5
I've read it before, but as I brought it for more digestion today I tasted something new.

Sowing in tears is inevitable.  We Christians are on a road of sanctification.  We are being formed into the image of Christ.  Did I think the process of being formed into the image of Christ was going to be chocolate and roses?  Did I think I was greater than the Master who suffered to purchase the grace that is making me more like Him?

Grumpy husbands, broken HVAC systems, a goat-choking scare... just a minor sanding in the daily grind of shaping me to be Christlike.

I'm gonna keep chewing on this one.

 Quieted,
Sheila

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