Well, when I said in the last post i’d been doing nothing, it wasn’t entirely accurate. We figure setting up farm means settling in, and we’ve never done dairy before………done!
The husband has been dreaming of a long-lashed Jersey for years, but I dragged him along to a local woman’s house to look at her goats. Really, she was the perfect choice-she dragged us into the shed, sat us in front of a goat and ordered us to milk-even the kids! But I think she won our hearts when she yelled ‘Stop yanking on her tits!’ to the husband, who was stripping a little too enthusiastically. A few visits and a few weeks later we took our girls home. They came with names, but we decided we needed a theme for goat names, and weeds won-so here are Nettle and Guava.
They’re Anglo-Nubians, hence the distinctive Roman nose and comical floppy ears. I adore them, and even the husband likes them. What really won him over though, was seeing a calf feed straight from a goat. I never knew they were known as the universal foster mother, and he’s now sourcing Jersey heifers for when they kid.
Goats without coats
Guava (right) is one month into her second pregnancy and is in milk, giving us around 1.2L a day. She’s a dream, placid and easy-going, happy to let the kids and strangers milk her. Nettle is on her first pregnancy, so we’re training her to milk now, hauling her onto the milking stand and getting her used to touch. She’s very leery of touch anywhere except her head and neck, she is beginning to tolerate her back and sides being touched, but go for her teats and she freaks out! Fair enough really.
And milking twice a day? I love it. In this pic, it’s in the first few days (at 6.30am), when we weren’t expecting to bring a milker home. Now we’ve built milking stands and set the shed up quite cosily, which is much easier than squatting on the grass with a child as feed holder. Getting up early doesn’t bother me as it really doesn’t get cold here, and there’s always a payoff-such as sunrises like this. Or a child asking for milk to be squirted straight into his mouth-they’ll regret those pictures as adults.
Milk-wise, it took a little getting used to. It’s not a bad flavour, it’s just different. And so rich! Today I made the first carob i’ve had in about two weeks from boughten milk and it tasted terrible. Oversweet, with a background of cardboard-and it was organic, unhomogenised milk, not homebrand! We’ve made yoghurt, which is beautifully tangy and sharp, and labne which is the same but more so. No proper cheese yet as we don’t have a freezer to store the starter in, but i’m working on that.
All in all? Fantastic purchase. The husband agrees, while working on making the vegie garden look like a maximum security prison. Well, everything has its downsides, right?