So here are two udders that are about to explode. I finally started putting the kids in pens at night so I can milk the does in the morning. I had been leaving the kids in full time with their moms and that way didn't have to get up to milk them as early. I'd been milking them around noon and getting a gallon or so but the last couple days hardly got any. So I felt triumphant as I walked down to the house with almost two gallons of milk. I still didn't even milk them out completely, partly because I couldn't get all the milk out by the time they'd finished their grain, didn't feel like struggling with them, and some of the kids are just a few weeks old and nursing a lot still. Even if I'd milked them out all the way the does still hold some back for their kids. Plus their kids are with their dams all day and have plenty of opportunities to get their share. Once we dry the kids off we will have to milk the does out completely or risk infections like mastitis. You can see in the above photo that Rose's two kids prefer her left side and she is often lopsided as a result.
So I'm no expert but I have seen some goat udders and I believe that Maggie (black and tan) and Rose (white doe) have lovely udders. They are high and round with nice teat placement. Maggie's teats are on the small side and her orifices are also smaller than the other does, but not extremely so. I brought up a scale recently and hung it near my milking area and just need to keep a notebook and pen handy as I'd like to start weighing their milk daily. I milked both of these does until February (OUTSIDE!) and they both did really well. I can't even say who is the better milker as far as quantity, they both seem to have their days. We wethered Zen, Xoe's son and our first buck kid of the year. Maggie's son (below) and Rose's son are both for sale as bucks at the moment. However, if I have no serious interest in them within the next few weeks I will probably wether them both. As nice as they are we have no need for any more bucks, especially ones related to half our herd.
I just started the first batch of chevre of the season. I cultured a gallon of fresh warm raw milk after today's milking and it is sitting in a gallon jar. In the morning I will pour it into two cheesecloths and hang it for the day before taking it down and adding a little salt. Over the last couple years I've made a few batches of cheddar and gouda (without much success), mozzarella, ricotta, ricotta salatta, cottage cheese, cultured buttermilk, yogurt, kefir and panir but mostly fromage blanc and some molded moldy chevre. Last summer I turned one to two gallons of milk into a couple pounds of chevre or rather fromage blanc daily. Fromage blanc is what we know as chevre. It is fresh soft goat cheese that is poured into cheese cloth and then scooped into containers whereas chevre is poured into molds and drained in individual containers. Most people only know of chevre and think that it is the name for all or the only type of goat cheese but I think that most of the little logs of goat cheese labeled as chevre are really fromage blanc. It is versatile and mild. I don't pasteurize any of our milk or dairy products so mine doesn't keep as long as the supermarket product.
This summer I plan on making chevre a few times a week but not as often or as much as last year...I still have a bunch in the freezer! That is why I am so glad to have a cream separator. Once or twice a week I am going to separate cream from ideally six to eight gallons of milk and then turn it into cultured sour cream, cultured cream cheese and ice cream. I have been drinking my tea and coffee with the most luscious scoopable cream for the last couple weeks. I gave my dad all my cream to make ice-cream with this weekend and then didn't get any milk for a few days so I have sorely missed my cream the last few mornings. The ice-cream was good, but it will be much improved the next time we make it. I couldn't quite provide my dad with the four cups of cream he needed as I haven't been milking enough nor have I fine tuned the separator yet. My cream is extra thick so I was hoping that less cream with higher fat content would work, but it was lacking in creaminess.
I must disclose that fortunately I grew up in a home where real dairy products and butter were appreciated and imitations were disdained. There was only ever real butter in our fridge and never, god forbid any dairy products that were fat free unless by accident. I thank my father for this and perhaps his mother (rebels in their time) as well for my love- (without a drop of guilt or remorse) for pure dairy products, no fat removed.
Weathering the drought
2 weeks ago