(Daylight and Daisy)
(Daisy, the more timid of the two doelings, warming up to me and my hat)
(Daisy and Darla (the momma goat)
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.
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.