Birdie’s kids were born. Brendon and I were outside smoking and heard something that sounded like small children yelling “MOOOOOOM!!”, so we ran out to the shed, to find two freshly born kids. Being inexperienced, we didn’t realize how week they were. One died the next morning, and the other wasn’t standing and eating. That night I milked birdie and brought the other inside. The inside of her mouth was ice cold, and she was almost unresponsive. We warmed up some colostrum, put it in a bottle, fed her, and kept her warm by the woodstove. We noticed alot of improvement until the next day when we were bottle feeding her, and she choked. We did our best to clear the airway, and even tried CPR, but she didn’t make it. After this, Brendon and I decided we need to slow down. Maybe we jumped into animals too quickly. Chickens are easy, Rocky (the steer) is easy, and goats aren’t too bad. But we had too many, the rabbits weren’t working out, and we didn’t have the money to properly care for 4,5,6, 7 goats. So we sold Paisley, gave Billy away, and now we are down to Birdie and Onyx. I also just sold all the rabbits and their hutches. We decided that in the spring, after we get our taxes caught up, we will start over again with goats, and do things the right way. Get purebred, proven breeders and milkers. Disease tested or vet checked milkers. At first we thought about doing meat goats, but hey, all goats are edible, and you can milk your does and eat kids that don’t sell right? I am going to do a high producing breed, but a sweeter milk content, so I am choosing alpines. Between now and then I am shopping around for reputable breeders, so if you know of anybody–let me know! I really like the coloring of alpines, the thick fur, the docile disposition that they have.
So now I am milking Birdie.
Even more amazing, is that Birdie is like a professional milker, even though the people we got her from only milked her once. (They couldn’t stand the sound of the kids crying when they took them away.) Very quickly, Birdie has learned that when I open the shed door, she must go to the back porch to be milked. And she doesn’t just go there, she flies! She gets quicker every day and leaps up the 3 stairs. But she doesn’t kick, doesn’t fidget, doesn’t squirm. She just eats her grain and gets milked. Occasionally she looks back to check on me, and if she finishes the grain, she will give me the look that says “Are you done yet?” But she is amazing. Milking has changed my life.
I have struggled with undiagnosed ADD my entire life. So much so that I used to wonder if I was retarded and nobody bothered to tell me. I know this sounds quite down on myself, but its how I felt. I would forget everything halfway through. I would go out to start my mothers car, start it, and couldn’t remember if I had actually started it or just turned it on. I barely graduated high school, because I couldn’t focus enough to get homework done, or I would forget about it. If somebody explains something to me, I just doesn’t stick. I have to hear something about a million times before I finally learn. You should have seen me learning how to drive this past spring.
I have to call my cell phone from DH’s about once a day because I have lost it. I run back into the house about 5 times a morning because I have forgot something. I’ll start doing dishes, get distracted, and oops, not the dishes will just have to wait another day. This has been piling up on me terribly as of late. I have so many things going on in my brain that I can’t figure out where to start and I just freeze up.
On occasion, if I try as hard as I possibly can and try to focus on doing one thing and one thing only, I have peace. This is where goats come in.
I have only been milking for a week now, but I think it just might be my saving grace. There is something wonderful about Birdie knowing exactly what to do. She runs to the back porch, spreads her legs, and for the next 10 minutes there is only the milking. Maybe I sound fruity, but it is so peaceful. Because it is something that MUST be done every morning and every evening, and when you are milking, you can’t be distracted by anything else. Its just you, a bucket, a goat, and your thoughts. When I am milking that goat, I have a quiet in my brain I never knew I could have.
I am quite proud of myself for milking. I get up earlier because it has to get done. Sometimes I have to stay up a little later to get it done, but I do it. I am sticking with it. Its not like the african violets that I thought I was going to crossbreed, that I can just give up on any time I feel like it. This is a goat, a companion. She relies on me to milk her, not just because that is grain time, but because she will be in pain if I don’t milk her.
She is a decent producer, giving 1 1/2 qts daily. I was a chicken. I milked for like 2 days before I even tried the milk. And when I did, I made Brendon’s family try it first. When I didn’t see any of them gag, I tried it. And it tasted like….
MILK! A really sweet, creamy milk. Not quite my favorite, as I am a vitamin d/2% milk kind of gal, but tonight I will be making butter, so maybe I will like it with the cream skimmed off? So I made some chocolate milk using some chocolate syrup. YUMMY! It was so rich it was like drinking a chocolate shake. Maybe that will be the next recipe.
So I haven’t been drinking a whole bunch of the goat milk, because I still get WIC and I get milk for free, so the goat milk was piling up on me quite quickly. I started looking around the internet for recipes that call for a lot of milk and I found cheese. Hmmm.. Cheese. I like cheese.
Brendon and I had tried some store bought goat cheese and were disgusted. It had this awful, tangy, nastiness to it that made me gag. So I decided when I made it,I would spice the heck out of it and hope it didn’t have that nasty aftertaste. Last night I made a simple mozzarella cheese.
I am pretty ecstatic about it. I got the 1/2 gallon of milk almost to boiling ( I didn’t have a thermometer,) added 1/4 cup white vinegar, and stirred. I knew it was supposed to happen, but I was amazed to see it turned into curds in way in about 5 seconds! So I turned off the heat, lined my colander with a non-fuzzy, very clean dish towel (I didn’t have cheese clothe) and let it strain. When it was strained, I added some garlic powder, onion powder, and some pepper, pulled the corners together, and squeezed it into a ball. I squeezed and squeezed and squeezed until all the whey was out, and removed the ball. Here is where I was daring. I pulled off a little chunk, that had very little spice in it, and I tasted it… It was tasty! A little rubbery, but I can slice it! I crumbled some up and put it on my leftover tortellini for lunch today and it was delicious! I am so proud. My coworkers think I am losing it. Oh well!