Tag Archives: milking

That Time of Year

19 Aug

It is once again that time of year that I dread.  It’s the end of summer.  Every year, it gets harder to go back to work and leave the farm.  We are still in full production mode with the garden.  I can’t keep up with everything, and the tomatoes have barely started.

I’m still milking.  I’ve almost got a year’s supple of Mozzarella in the freezer.

It would be nice to have lots of milk to play with and try some cheddar cheese, but the four girls I’m milking seem to be drying up.  By the way, that adds a whole level of fun to getting up and ready for work in the morning.  I’m going to miss my lounging with a cup of coffee after I get done milking.

Ava

I really want to wean Joy, so I can milk Zinnia since the other girls are slowing down.  Zinnia wants to come in, and I’d let her just come in if she brought her girl with her because Joy is still a little sassy pants.  But she won’t come in the door.

Joy (by her mom)

Then I get retired goats, like her grandmaa Haley, trying to bust in for some sweet feed.

Haley

It’s also hard going back to work with the older goats. Stormy is looking pretty rough trying to stand up, so I decided it was time to start her on the anti-inflammatory meds also.

Stormy

Luckily she like peanut butter crackers, too.

This was literally a test cracker to see if she’d eat it.  Definitely a yes!

It’s also that time when I have to decided if the random days of diarrhea are from worms or copper deficiency.  It’s a symptom of both.

Hilda

I have several whom I think could just drop dead of a heart attack at any time because of anemia from the copper deficiency. I really wish I could have known what was going on when I first tried to find out.

Vinnie

Even after the copper, Cupid doesn’t seem to be getting her dark orange spots back.  Although, I do think there’s a couple that look like they have a little more color. I’m just afraid of killing them by giving them too much.

Cupid

I still have a few of my March kids on the farm, and I won’t have a chance to sell them until next month sometime.  Some of the are looking good.

Poki

Some you can see have a fishtail from the lack of copper.

Wendy

Then there’s a couple that just look horrible.  I hate to even try to sell them looking like this.

Tootles

Then there’s Tink.  I can’t keep her head out of the fences, so she had to have a horn apparatus put on before I go back to work.

Tink

I also need to look at my fragile June babies.  They seem to get hit harder by the lack of copper than the March kids. Sadly, Bambi lost her baby due to the combination of copper deficiency and worms.  I have wormed all of the June babies, and still they are not growing well.

Button (Aphrodite’s baby)

I am also afraid they are too small to give copper yet.  I need to balance their needs with the needs of their moms.

Cookie and Marge

I’m leaning towards weaning them.  It will be eaiser on the moms, and hopefully, they will eat the sweet feed if I shut them up north.  That’s not a given though.

Marge

Pluto ended up with the blood transfusion last year because he refused to eat the minerals or sweet feed.

Pluto

It’s just the time of year that has me crazy with worry.

A Milking Challenge

3 Aug

When we finished with baling the Back Forty, we left the gates open so the goats could go everywhere out there.

Maybeline, Odie and Aurora

I wasn’t sure how long it would take for them to figure it out, but it was just the next day.

Of course, they waited and figured it out just about time to milk in the evening, so I had to go out there.

It was time for Ava to quit scratching on a bale and get milked. Look at that full udder!

Ava

I didn’t want half the herd to go with us and half the herd getting left on the wrong side of the fence, so we took our time walking back.

Ava, Cutie and the rest of the herd

I do think the girls thought I was walking too slowly.

Caroline, Cutie, Ava, and Astra

Most of the rest of the herd gave up following us.

Eventually, we made it back to the barnyard, and everyone got milked.

Cutie

I am working hard to keep up with their milk by making lots of Mozzarella cheese for this winter.

A New Method for Making Yogurt

21 Jul

I’ve been frustrated with how my yogurt has been coming out for the last couple of years.  I could never figure out what I was doing wrong because it used to be perfect.  I did some looking and decided the problem wasn’t me (why is that always my first thought).  It seems that it’s fairly common for the heat regulation to go wonky in the yogurt makers.  I used my thermometer and figured out it was heating the yogurt about thirty degrees hotter than it should be.  It was killing my culture.  I tossed the unit.  I did look at getting a new one, but with the likelihood that a new one wouldn’t last and the fact that it had quadrupled in cost made me decide to just find a different way to make yogurt.

I went with the oven method.  I will say, I tried this before I bought my yogurt maker and it didn’t work with my gas oven.  If you want to do it in the oven, you need an oven with a light.  I also like the electric oven because I can set the temperature I want.  I’m making a gallon at a time because the oven has the space to do that and I’m getting just under two gallons of milk per day.  I was not going to stand at the stove and stir a gallon of milk and hope I kept it from scortching.  I used my little double boiler and heated it in four parts.  It’s just as fast (or faster) as doing it all at once, and I didn’t have to stand there stirring.  I got to do dishes instead.  Fun, huh?

Turn on the oven to its lowest temperature (mine was 170º) for about ten minutes.  Then turn it off and keep the door shut. This will help heat all of the walls and get it at a nice warm temperature to begin with.  I spent my ten minutes feeding bottle kids.  At the same time I turned on the oven, I also turned on my crockpot with its dish in it to get hot.  I put my thermometer in it, and left it running until it hit 190º.  One thing that is good about doing this is that it sterilizes the pot that we’re making yogurt in.  It will get rid of any random bacteria that might be in the dish.

Using the double boiler, I heated my first quart of milk to 180º.  Most directions I read say to hold that temperature for fifteen to thirty minutes.  That’s where the pre-heating of the crock pot is useful.  I poured my first quart into the hot crock pot and put the lid on.  Then I kept heating my other three quarts of milk.

I did measure the temperature right before adding my last quart, and it was still at 175º.  I’m calling that close enough.

After going to all that work of preparing your milk and keeping it hot, you need to cool it down to 115º.  You can just let it sit, but milk holds its temperature fairly well, and that would take forever.  The best way to do it is by putting it in a sink with cold water.

I even add ice to the water.  Then stir it around.  Remember, wood holds bacteria, so you want to use stainless steel to stir.

Add your yogurt culture.  I used to packets of culture that I bought from New England Cheesemaking.  This is the first time I’ve used this culture, so I wasn’t sure how long it would need to incubate.  You can also use cultured plain yogurt.   Just make sure it’s at room temperature.  Some people say to use a cup for a gallon, but I’d say that’s pretty skimpy.  I’d probably go with a whole pint.

Anyhow, I sprinkled my culture on top of the milk and let it sit for a minute.  Then I stirred it into the milk.

At this point, you’re just putting the lid on it and setting it in the oven and turning on the light.  This will hold its temperature at the proper level.

I put mine on at about 8pm and left it all night.  When I checked it after milking, at 7am, it smelled delicious.  It was still fairly thin looking, but I put it in the refrigerator to cool.  It still seemed a bit thin, but I could strain it to make it thicker; however, I decided that it would be fine once I added fruit to it because that requires gelatin. Next time, I think I’ll leave it in the oven a couple more hours.

After it’s cool, you can put it in quart jars to keep.  Before I did that, I divided it into quarts and added fruit to it. It will stay good for quite a while in the refrigerator.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have yogurt every day now!  You don’t have to have goat milk to make homemade yogurt.  This recipe will work with any milk, but I would recommend at least a 2% milk.  Less fat means it will take longer to incubate and get thick.  The goat milk just makes it taste better. 😉