It was about 25 degrees when I went out to milk this morning. Good thing udders are warm, as are the goats. I had my thermostat turned down to 55 degrees last night and the heat was still coming on! I have the kerosene heater going now, but it’s freezing in the office. This morning I had to arrange for two books (Raising Cats Naturally) to be shipped out and order latex gloves off e-bay. I almost froze to death. It’s still quite cold in here now. The temperature in this room doesn’t regulate correctly. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. If I were smart I’d start my lap top and work in the living room.
Managing dairy goats is a bit of a trick; sort of like managing Border Collies. They are too smart for their own good. They are extremely people-friendly and very, very demanding when it comes to what they want, which is usually food. I believe Rain, my first dairy goat, thinks I’m her baby and whenever I get out of her sight, she screams bloody murder. I have been milking Dawn first because she is prone to kicking and if I’m going to get a hoof in the bucket, I’d rather it be done when I only have a small amount of milk in it. I’ve pretty much got that under control with hobbles, but it isn’t fool proof. I can’t just zone out and milk her. I have to watch her feet to make sure she isn’t going to start kicking. I’ve managed to double her milk production since I first started milking her. Same with Rain.
I’ve come a long way in milking experience from when I first started. Early on, I’d frequently not milk Rain completely out on one side so she’d end up with a lop-sided udder. Luckily I didn’t break her. That doesn’t happen any more. Milking is therapeutic. I enjoy the milking, but I don’t enjoy keeping the four goats in line so I can milk them. I am not milking Esmeralda or Sunshine (Wally’s goat) because they are dry and bred. I believe Dawn is bred as well. I’ll stop milking her in February and let her dry up. Then once they have their babies, I’ll start milking them again. I’m not sure if Sunshine is staying here or not. I haven’t talked to Wally about it. For now, I’m letting that situation rest. We haven’t talked since I brought Cian back and that was one of things that has been upsetting me over the past few weeks.
Twilight opens tomorrow! I plan to go to see it at noon tomorrow. I just bought my ticket on-line. So far, it isn’t getting great reviews …
I have eight quarts of milk defrosting to make another batch of cheese. The first batch came out excellent. I froze half of it and mixed some herbs and garlic into what I kept out. I have to go to the grocery store today and get some gluten to make whole wheat baguettes as well as buttermilk for the cheese starter. I need to make my own buttermilk starter. The butter milk you can buy in the store is made from skim milk and I’d rather it was from whole (raw) milk. I do not pasturize my milk. I bought Goats Produce Too and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn to make cheese from goat milk. In addition to cheese recipes, you’ll find yogurt, fudge, deserts, soap and goat meat recipes. It’s a very good book.
I am going to work my dogs today. It’s been about a week since I last worked them. I broke down and bought a new brass Montana Lite whistle. I lost my first one a while back and was hoping to find it, but have not been successful. I was using a Commander Series whistle, but it is incredibly shrill and high pitched. I like the sweet sound of a brass whistle much better. I just took the dogs out for a potty break and saw that I left the front gate open so the sheep have escaped and are in one of the back pastures. Perfect opportunity to go down and work. It is quickly warming up and it’s quite tolerable being out if you are in the sun.