A milkin’ we will go!

Went to look at some LaMancha does yesterday afternoon.  I thought there were only two to choose from, but as it turns out, there were three.  Put the first one, a three-year-old solid white girl on the stand.  She kicked like a mule, with both feet.  I couldn’t keep the bucket on the stand.  I tried to make some hobbles out of baling twine, but she just kicked harder.  The woman who owns the does had been putting this one on the stand and allowing a calf to suckle her, which apparently she didn’t like.  Given that I already have a kicky doe, I didn’t want a second.

Put the second on the stand.  Her name is Sara and she’s a very pretty four-year-old buckskin-colored doe.  She milked nicely.  I very much considered her, but the woman was extremely attached to this doe.  I wanted to try the white doe again to see if I could settle her, but we ran out of grain so as we walked back to get more, I asked about the one doe who was penned up.  She said that she hadn’t offered her to me because she was a young doe and her teats were a bit small.  I looked at her and said, no, I have one at home whom I was milking with smaller teats (Dawn).  She asked if I wanted to try her and I said yes.

This doe is just two and is also buckskin colored.  Her name is Penny.  She was sired by a Grand Champion buck.  She stood perfectly on the stand and I was able to milk her without too much trouble.

All three does were bred to the sire of the multi-colored buck I bred Dawn to and are due the end of February.

I asked if she’d consider selling Penny and she readily agreed to.  She hadn’t offered her to me previously because she thought her teats were too narrow.  With hand milking and age, a doe’s teats will get easier to handle.  Rain’s already have.  I’m hoping Dawn’s will (but given her age, that may not happen).  Penny is a first time freshener (as is Rain) so she’s only going to get better with age.  Even with slightly small teats, Penny is easy to milk and she’s got a lovely, smooth udder.

The great thing was she was only $75!  So, for less money than I paid for my previous two LaMancha does, I likely got the nicest one in Penny.  She’s fitting in fine with the resident does.  I milked her last night and unfortunately, she kicked a bit, but hobbles stopped that.  I don’t expect she’s going to continue to kick, I think it was just the newness of the situation that got her going.  We’ll see how she does this morning.

Now, with three does, I should be able to make cheese every two or three days.  I have my fourth batch in progress now.  I’ll drain it when I get home from work today.  I brought a sample of cheese to the woman I bought Penny from which she sampled and said it was excellent.  No goaty flavor at all.  Yea!

I’m trying a new approach this morning.  Gel is in the “fight the goats” mindset.  I really don’t need him out there when I milk the goats.  At one time, I might have needed him to round up Dawn who could sometimes be difficult to catch, but now that she knows she gets fed on the milk stand, she goes in there on her own.  I will need him after I’m through milking to separate the sheep from the goats and then moving the sheep up to the Christmas Tree farm.  I’m going to tie out both Gel and Fern when I go out to milk.  Then use Gel to take out the sheep, tie him back out, put the goats up and then we’ll bring the sheep up. Gel’s presence only eggs the goats on as I think they like the fight as much as he does.  This is only going to escalate when they kid.

Fighting goats is self-reinforcing for Gel and right now, he doesn’t want to do normal work.  It’s just like driving vs. outruns.  Outrunning is fun for him, driving is not.  I made a lot of mistakes in training Gel early on; some of them included allowing Gel to run my life (early on I became a ball throwing machine).  Now that I finally feel a bit better mentally (reconnecting with Wally made a huge difference) I feel like I can get a better handle on my dogs without loosing my temper.

Unemployment is emotionally draining; being single and unemployed is even harder.  Until you’ve been here, you cannot understand.  This is the second time I’ve been unemployed due to the economy.  You can bet this time around I’ll make a better choice in a job so hopefully I won’t be here again.  That I’ve spent so much time becoming self-sufficient as far as my food goes will help me in the future.  In my profiles for on-line dating (which I’m not doing any more) I wrote that I was working towards become self-sufficient.  While I was employed, that was just a pipe dream.  Funny how unemployment has put me more in line to doing just that.  Since I lost my job, I haven’t bought milk (except buttermilk, which I don’t buy any more now because I can make it).  I haven’t bought much bread either.  You can bet my garden will be planted with lettuce and early spring crops next year (I was too lazy to do it this year).  I do think my allergies are less troublesome now that I’m drinking raw milk.  Conventional milk (even so-called organic milk) is not terribly healthy.  I point you back to Lee’s excellent essay on whether soda pop or milk is healthier.  When he wrote this, I identified with it, but I was still drinking store-bought milk.

I used to identify myself with my job.  I was a highly-trained; highly-paid paralegal working for one of the most prestigious law firms in Charlotte.  Now I’m a part-time cashier at Walmart/farmer.  Before I wouldn’t have been caught dead saying I was working at Walmart.  I didn’t even like Walmart (although I shopped there some because you can get good bargains).  I read this post yesterday wherein the writer said “And if you work at one of these hell holes, remember this: there is even less in Wal*Mart worth dying for.”  I agree, there isn’t anything in a job worth dying for, but Walmart isn’t a hell hole.  They treat their employees quite well and they’ve employed a lot of people that regular industry cannot due to lack of good management.  The above writer mentioned the cheap plastic crap for sale at Walmart and to some extent, there is a lot of cheap plastic crap; but there are many people in the US who cannot afford anthing else.  I see people coming through my line who are counting their pennies to pay for what they buy.  The can’t afford to shop at regular stores.  It isn’t Walmart that has destroyed how people shop.  Walmart is only offering a less expensive alternative and doing a damned good job of it.  Walmart is no Whole Foods, but who can afford to shop at Whole Foods these days?  At least I am blessed to live in a place where I can grow and raise some of my own food.  Luckily I am a wholesale member of Frontier Herb so I can buy lots of herbs, etc. at wholesale prices.  So many people cannot do these things so they have to do what they have to do.

One thing that the above poster wrote that I can identify with is that he doesn’t hate America, he hates people.  I hate most people too.  Most people are shallow-thinking creatures with their heads buried in the sand.  I can tell you that I enjoy the people I work with at Walmart much more than the ones I formerly worked with.  Why?  Because for the most part, they are real people.  They work their tails off for very little money.  I am working harder at Walmart for $8.20 an hour than I did at my former job where I was paid almost $30 an hour.

Funny how things turn out.