In my quest to learn more domestic skills I will do almost anything. Including getting up early on my first day of vacation to milk goats. Luckily it wasn’t any earlier than I usually get up for work so my body wasn’t too angry with me. I’m sure my sacrifice is nothing compared to what my grandparents, father, and aunts endured for several decades to milk their herd of cattle twice a day. As much as I might romanticize farm life, I do not envy the life of a dairy family. Even my parents wedding had to be scheduled around milkings!
Now, Don’t be fooled by these goats. Don’t worry they haven’t lost their ears or anything. They’re just shy and prefer to keep their ears tucked in! Actaully, the shrunken gopher ear is a characteristic of the LaMancha goat which is prized for its gentle milking temperament, and high butterfat milk.
His ladies, as my friend David calls them, were ready and waiting as we walked into the milking room and the first lady leaped gracefully (well, as gracefully as a goat can) onto the milking stand munching away at the bucket of feed just behind the head gate. David started her off and then I came in as the second string. Boy, did my hands get tired fast! It got harder to hit the bowl the longer I tried to milk. Although I had good technique (yay!) apparently, my stamina for it wasn’t up to par I’m afraid. No wonder most farmer’s have such firm handshakes!
And true to her breed, miss lady goat did not seem to mind my lack of experience. We filled up a quart mason jar with her milk after filtering it. The brown goat has the sweetest milk so they use her’s for drinking, whereas the white goat’s milk is saved for making cheese.
I didn’t quite know what to expect from the goat’s milk. I’d heard all sorts of stories about how it can taste just like a billy goat smells. And they are not known for their pleasant smell! But I do have an extra stomach on reserve for goat cheese and dessert. I’m not one for warm milk, unless it has chocolate in it, so I waited until it cooled off in the fridge and sat down with my glass. I like it, I like it! It does have a different flavor from cow’s milk, but it tastes just as good with a bowl of cereal. And the cheese that I ate later was some of the best I’ve had, good and salty.
I’m already weaving together dreams of a house, with some land, and two goats that can fill my fridge with milk and cheese…and mow the lawn.