Morning Chores Pictorial #3

Last week I left you with a bucket of goat berries. Hee. Hee. And now, I’m off to dispose them.

Where does one dispose of goat berries? A manure pile, of course. I only know this because the previous resident had horses, thus a premade manure pile was left to our disposal. 🙂

Just around the bend on the side of our shop is where we’re headed this morning. The neighbors put up that cute greenhouse this fall. I’m only a little envious. Okay. Let’s be honest. I covet their greenhouse. I secretly scheme how I could sneak my own plants in there. I’m just sure they would never notice. Give me time. I’m sure I can figure out a way. Anyway, right there in front of the fence is the ‘pile’.

Oh, you couldn’t see? Here’s a close up.

You weren’t sure where you were looking? Well, here you go. Doesn’t look much like manure, huh? See that dark spot in the middle of the picture. The part that looks most like it could be poop. Yeah, that part. That, my friend, is God’s perfect genius working.

That there is where a chicken was scratching for dinner. See, after the manure ages a bit, yummy buggies start showing up (the larvae hatch). And chickens love buggies. What they don’t realize is that they are helping to make the world’s best compost pile. Every so often they scratch through the manure, breaking it down and spreading it out. Even if our chickens didn’t lay eggs, I would still probably keep some around just for this reason.

And this is about the time these girlies show up. Every morning they follow me to the ‘pile’. I’m not really sure why. But it’s nice to have the company.

“Whatchya doin’? Where you goin’?”

And then as soon as they see me starting back for the barn, they high-tail it outta there.

And now it’s time to milk.

Remember this mess? Oh, boy. This is what we call the ‘Milk Parlour’. It’s where we do the milking.

I can explain why it’s such a mess in here right now. Recently we bought a 1/2 ton of alfalfa that was terrible. It was thick stemmed and hardly any leaves. Suffice it to say, the goats do not like it. And that means they leave most of it in the trough uneaten. I had this crazy notion to not waste it and use it as hay for the barn floor.

So, I pile it up in a heap in the milking parlour for when we need it in the barn. Unfortunately, there is so much of it now that it’s taking over. Ugh. It’s usually not this messy. I promise.

First up, gotta check the supplies. Hand sanitizer? Check. Paper towels? Check. Baby Wipes? Check. Milking Pail? Check. (By the way, I don’t keep the milking pail in the barn. I bring it out with me each morning from the house and place it in the cupboard while on poop patrol. I don’t want unwanted dust and dirt to get inside.)

Plastic garbage can full of grain?

Check.

Now, it’s time to let these gals in…

and give ’em one of these.

But first, I need to wash up.

Xcel is getting pretty antsy at this point.

“Alright, already. Enough with the pictures. Let’s get on with it.”

Okay. Sorry, Xcel. Here she is on the milking stanchion.

Once she’s in, I make sure to close the head lock. I don’t know if that’s what you call it, but I do know it’s best to make sure it’s locked if you don’t want a goat deciding she’s done with you milking her before you’re ready to stop.

Here’s what it looks like on the other side of the head lock. Believe me, she’s a happy goat at this point. Grain is her form of Chocolate Cake.

And while she’s devouring her treat, I get to work. First, I pull out those baby wipes and give her utter and teats a good clean. I don’t want anything gross dropping into our precious milk. Then I dry her off with a paper towel. I know. I know. I haven’t gone green in this area of the barn yet. But at least everyone is clean and dry.

And now, I am finally ready to milk. Whew!

Okay, are you not totally impressed with this picture? I am milking and holding a camera at the same time. Well, I’m in awe. I mean, come on. How is this possible?

And there it is, folks. Warm, frothy, delicious milk. Mmm. Mmm.

Now, it’s time to weigh the milk. I know what you’re thinking, “Weigh the milk? What’s up with that?”

Well, my friend, in the milking world, we weigh our milk. If we measure it, like in a measuring cup, it won’t be accurate until all that foam and frothiness disappear. And well, the milk needs to get to refrigeration soon. We don’t have time to wait. So, we weigh our milk.

Xcelly’s milk weighs 2.5 lbs. Actually, we need to minus the weight of the pail. So that makes 1.5 lbs. What does this mean? Xcel gave 3 cups of milk. Each pound of milk is about the equivalent to 2 cups.

Yep, not a great day for Xcel. But give her a break, she’s nearing the end of her pregnancy (2 months to go) and her body is starting to shut down the milk producing machine. After those babies are born, that scale will read 8 pounds (1/2 gallon), no problem.

And then one last thing before Xcel is freed from her Chocolate Cake prison. See that black and White can called Fight Bac? Yep.

I gotta give Miss Xcelly a little spray on each teat. No. She is not a fan of this final step (it’s cold), but it’s gotta be done. Her teat health depends on it. This is a bacteria fighting spray. After milking, her milk ducts will stay open for another 30 minutes, allowing any bacteria she comes into contact with to crawl in and reek havoc. This miracle stuff prevents that from happening. Yay, for science.

All done.

Then, I let Xcel pig out for a bit on some alfalfa while I…

get to work with this girl.

Whew, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Next week, I’ll finally finish up my morning chores outside and then maybe I’ll take you inside to watch what I then do with the milk.

Love, The Goat Lady

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About kathleen

I'm a stay at home chicken momma with 2 boys and a very understanding husband. In December of '09, we moved to our dream farm. I'm excited to try to become more self-sufficient. So far I have 1 rooster, 9 chickens, 2 goats (some babies on their way this spring), 1 llama, a dog, and a cat. Come along and join us, as we city-slickers figure out how to make our own homestead. You're sure to be entertained.
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11 Responses to Morning Chores Pictorial #3

  1. Clint Baker says:

    The life of a farmer, how sweet it is. You all keep up the good work!

  2. Viv says:

    I hadn’t realised how much I wanted to keep goats til I discovered your blog and this post! Your girls are beautiful, and love your photos. I am very, very, very impressed at your ability to milk whilst holding a camera 😉

  3. Becky Paulson says:

    You bring back so many memories of my childhood. Only I didn’t milk goats, just cows. 🙂 Love your blog. Keep up the good work!

  4. kathleen says:

    Ah, Thanks Clint. It really is sweet. Funny, I do enjoy the work.

  5. kathleen says:

    Viv,
    Where have you been all my life! You are so sweet. You can come visit the farm anytime you’d like. Yep, goats are really great. In my previous life, in the suburbs, I would have never thought that I would love goats, but they are amazing wonderful creatures. I hope you get to care for some someday. And thank you for being impressed by my photographic talent (holding a camera and milking at the same time). I truly am gifted…don’t you think. 😉

  6. kathleen says:

    Aw, shucks, Becky. You’re wonderful! Thanks for being my faithful reader and always being there to offer wisdom about farming.

  7. Pingback: Morning Chores Pictorial II » Providence Farms

  8. Debbie says:

    Hi there! Wow you are busy on our farm! Love it… It’s so fun visiting farmsteads and watching the daily doin’s going on. It’s like a little field trip! I just found your note on my Cottage Hens post.. I’ll see if I can get some rough measurements for ya… At present 9 hens call the Little Red Hen House HOME! It could probably house 15 at the maximum but some would have to sleep in the four nesting boxes. The roosting Bars hold a very cozy eight ! I should sneak in sometime at night and take a picture after they all go to bed!

  9. kathleen says:

    Debbie,
    Oh, it’s so good to see you here! Thanks for coming by to see what’s happening on the ‘farm’. And thank you for looking into the dimensions of your coop. It is the cutest coop I think I’ve ever seen. Our goat barn is already barn red, so your coop would be the perfect compliment. 🙂 My favorite part, of course, is the fabulous old window and all the adorable decorations you and your girls put up. Love it!! When we get ours built, I’ll send you some photos.

  10. Joan Porter says:

    Wow, and I thought driving to Freddies to get my milk was a lot of work.

  11. Pingback: Morning Chores Pictorial #4 » Providence Farms

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