Saturday, May 30, 2009

Goat Milking: 101

Here's Stella. Due to a rough start, she's painfully thin, but we're fattening her up on good prairie grass, leafy alfalfa, and sweet feed (a prepared corn/grain mix, coated in molasses ~ so good, the kids like to munch on it!).
And here's our sweet girl all set up on the stanchion, starting to munch on her sweet feed. She's a picky eater and manages somehow to pick out all the corn, and leave most of the rest of the grain in the bucket. How she does that with only her tongue and teeth, and her eyes way atop her head where she can't see, I have no idea! Here's good ole (bald) Dominic, showing Cathy how to wash the teets and udders, and brush off any hay or dirt that might fall into the milk pail while milking. To "bring down" Stella's milk, he shows how to knead the udders.

Then he explains good milking technique: use the crook between your thumb and index finger to "stop" the milk, or else, when you squeeze, it'll go right back up into the udder instead of out the teet hole.
Stella's young and her teets are short, so big people have to "squeeze out" with only their index and middle fingers, but the little girls can use all but their pinkies. Stella is a perfect little girl goat. Here's the first squeeze.

Here's Cathy having a go at it. She figured it out after only a couple of squeezes.

Dominic showing the art of hitting the teets with the teet spray after all the milk has been milked out. This cold little blast serves to close the teet hole and disinfect the teets to prevent infection.

And back Stella goes to the barn to brag to the other goats about that bucket of sweet feed.

While Cathy and Gabe run the milk back to the house.

(Don't run with the milk, CATHERINE!)

And Mom processes the morning milk, straining it into a pitcher, then setting it into ice water to cool quickly.

Then it's wash up time.

And time for a cool, creamy drink of fresh, fresh milk.



GrandmaK said...

My mom told me that when she lived in OK as a child it was her job to milk their goat. This brought back memories of my great-grandparents farm in Rocky Ford...Especially late night walks to the our house! [HEHEHE] Thanks for the post! Cathy

Laura said...

Very very interesting.
Does goat milk taste different from cow's milk?

Lisa said...

Hey, Cathy, I know Rocky Ford! This kind of life does leave lots of room for memories, huh?

Laura ~ It does taste a little different, but not much. If it's properly processed, it tastes like 100% whole milk, just a little sweeter, perhaps (depending on the goat). But, if it's improperly processed - if dirt gets in, or if the milker or processor takes too long to clean and cool it, it can pick up a "goaty" taste that's pretty yucky. Like sour milk with a gamey taste. Ya wanna avoid that.

Blessings each day said...

Only milked a cow once when I was on our yearly vacation to my mom's hometown of Bloomfield, NE (pop 1000 at its high point), then found a dead cow and they didn't BELIEVE me! Said I was just a city girl and what did I know, but they humored me and checked and it was dead as a door nail (they didn't know that "farmer" marcy was hiding inside me at that time).

You sure have learned a lot...I'm learning now, about the whole milking process. How did your son already know or have you had milking goats before?

Loved having a peek into your kitchen and even seeing "my" yellow sponge/scrubber up there!



MightyMom said...

story time.

Grandma had goats. I believe they were the shearing kind if I remember right.

One day "someone" forgot to latch the screen door.........Grandma came home to find Mrs Goat sitting in the middle of her bed....eating her BRAND NEW Easter Hat!! As I recall this was just a day or two BEFORE Easter.

Grandma (the very mild tempered) was not amused.

Mama to much! said...

very cool to see it in action!

Linda Higgins said...

OH I loved that little story! We lived on a 39 acre farm in Missouri when our 2 oldest were small, and we loved it! Fresh mile every day....churned our own butter, cream, ummm fattened those little ones up properly! Had the best and most bountiful garden in the county! Didn't go to the store for much. But it only last 3 years and then we moved back to the were not be found in the early 70's so back to Utah. It was an experience I will never forget or ever want to have done differently! MEMORIES!