Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Morning Goat Dance

Another day has passed. Woke up, got dressed, did my chores. I love walking out to the goat/sheep barn on a cool morning. It turned out to be hot today, but this morning was still deliciously cool. I walk out swinging the goat milk bucket in one hand and the empty calf bottle in the other. I always have two dogs beside me and many times a cat or two. Today the cats were elsewhere, which is what I really prefer. The sheep are on the far side of the barn and the goats on the closer side. As soon as either goats or sheep see me, they all start telling me good morning in their loud voices. The sheep are much louder and lower toned than the goats. I go in the shed, turn on the light and tell everyone good morning. I sprinkle about ½ pound of grain in the sheep’s feed tray. I only give them this little bit of grain right before they lamb and for a short time afterwards. They really don’t need it, but I figure it helps their bodies adjust to making milk. My one sheep had triplets and I make sure she gets her share. In the mornings, I also sprinkle some raspberry leaves to the mommas. I get out the three goat feed dishes. Honeysuckle gets 1 1/3 lbs. of grain, Magnolia gets 1/3 lb. grain (she is not in milk or pregnant and she is not skinny), and our new goat, Sun Rae gets 1 ¼ lb. of grain. I sprinkle a bit of raspberry leaves on each of their dishes as well. I also give them each about 3-5 raisins. I started giving raisins when Honeysuckle was giving so much milk, but not eating too much. Now, it is just a little treat in the morning. Honeysuckle consistently gives us 1 ½ gallons of milk a day. Her momma was the same way. Magnolia, her daughter, has never kidded, but I hope she is just as milky. Now, Sun Rae or Sunny for short is the new kid on the block, but she is a BULLY. My other 2 goats are scared to death of her. I only have one stanchion, and Magnolia doesn’t have to get on the stanchion since she is not milked. The trick is to allow her to eat her grain without the third goat who is in the pen with her eating it. I put Honeysuckle’s dish on the stanchion and put Sunny’s aside. I then open the gate and take Maggie’s dish with me. Suckle runs in and jumps on the stanchion. I close the gate, and lay Maggie’s dish down right outside the gate. Then I have to grab Sunny and pull her back outside another gate we put up and lock it. Then I go in and milk Suckles. When I am done, I fill the calf’s bottle and hang the bucket with the rest of the milk on a nail on the wall. I open the gate and get Maggie’s dish and let Suckle into that area. I open the other gate and it is a race for either Sunny to squeeze through first or the other 2 doing their panic run to go by her. I quickly go in and put Sunny’s dish on the stanchion and then close the gate behind her. I go ahead and put out everyone’s hay. This gives the 2 goats a chance to eat their hay before the bully comes back out and shoos them away from it. =) It is like a timed dance that I do every morning. After she is milked, I put her away, grab the milk bucket and the calf bottle. I head for the calf barn. On the way, I put milk into a bowl for the cats. I feed Sir Loin of Beef his bottle and then head for the house. The dogs are close on my heels, as they know their turn for a bit of milk in their bowl is next. Then I am free to do what needs to be done… taking care of the rest of the milk, etc.

Today, I also made 2 mixed berry pies. The berries are from our property last year. They are a mixture of blackberries, red raspberries and blueberries. I make a sort of cheater pie, and it is not as healthy as I would like, but my men love it. You take 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar (I used organic cane crystals) and bring it to a boil. Then you add one small box of jello (I am going to get some Eames Kosher Gels) and 4 Tbls. of instant clear gel. Then add the berries and pour into your already baked pie shell. Put it in the fridge to set up. I whip up some cream and add a touch of vanilla and put that on top of the finished pie. Now, we will have to invite some company over to eat them up.


Tina Leigh said...

Yes I would say that is a dance/race! But where are the pictures!!! Let me see all them critters, maybe a milking too!! Your Daddy & Sis-n-law are mighty handsome...I dont know if you should post your Daddy's picture, women might want his number. I bet him & your Mama made a pretty couple! Would love to see some pictures of your Daddy's trip it possible?

Patty said...

sounds like a perfect day.