Thursday, January 12, 2012

The musings of a milk maid

The children handle the farm chores during the week.  That is a great blessing to me.  It allows me to help the littles with their inside chores, prepare breakfast and order our homeschooling day.
On the weekend, Eric and I handle the chores.  That is a great blessing to me also ~ and to them. ;-)
Some times I must will myself out of my soft, warm bed, but once I get started, I really enjoy that time I have with the animals.  Have you ever daydreamed of what farm life is like?  Live vicariously through me for a moment.  I'll take you along on this very chilly, winter morning.
The first thing I do is slip on my lined, Carhartt overalls over my pajama pants.  My jammie pants are warm and the nylon in the overalls is NOT - so this makes it not so shocking!  I put on my wool sweater, and a hat too.  Gloves would be nice, but not very practical.

I grab the milking crate of supplies from the garage: the bucket for hot water with grapefruit seed extract (GSE) added. This becomes my udder wash, a large canning jar with a lid, the milk pail and strainer and a strip cup.

Through the garage we go, putting on our rubber boots.I head to the milk room; Eric heads to the barn.  Our milk room is an 8x8 cedar shed.  We found it on Craig's List - still in the cartons, ready to be built. What a deal that was!  NOT milking in the barn is one of the keys to fabulous tasting goat milk.

As we walk down our dirt path, I am struck with the beautiful dawn.  If it's a clear morning, I can still see a sky full of stars.  If there are clouds in the sky, they are often a soft pink.  Sometimes I think God does that just for me! It's quiet.  Really quiet! 

Once we plug in the barn lights, the goats often give a low greeting, but they are not noisy.  They know they are safe. 

The mama in milk is anxious to see me.  She knows she gets to eat grain while she supplies us with sweet, creamy milk.

I have a darling storage bench that doubles as a work surface for me.  So I set up my things.  I label the jar with a Sharpie with today's date and unscrew the lid and place the strainer on top.  I fill her grain pail and attach it to the milk stand. 

Eric sends the goat out of the barn to me.  Here she comes, this time it is Zuma.  She is one of our three original goats that began our herd.  She is grey with the signature Kinder floppy dog-like ears.  She's a sweet girl.  She jumps up onto the milk stand and squeezes her head throught the stanchion posts.  I secure her and she happily eats. 

The hot water feels good on my frozen hands. Cleaning the udder thoroughly is essential ~for health, safety and really good tasting milk.  Once she is clean, the milking begins.  Her teats are warm.  I feel bad to shock her with my very cold hands, but she doesn't even seem to flinch!

You can hear the streams of milk hit the pail at first. As the milk fills the pail, it begins to foam too.  In less than five minutes, the pail is full.  I strain the milk into the jar and cap it up right away.

A quick clean up job of Zuma and the milkroom and I head back up to the house. 

It's light now. The view of the snowy mountains is really spectacular. It is still so very quiet up here on the mountain.

Even though it's a "chore", I enjoy this time of being in God's creation with God's creation.  I can't help but marvel at it!

So - that's it. Eric's part is much more involved - cleaning stalls, moving them to other pastures, filling water buckets, but come inside the warm house with me and I'll make a hot goat milk latte for you with the freshest, creamiest, sweetest milk ever!

For you...Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I agree the rewards are too many to list, though a warm kinder goat milk latte is at the top!


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