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