Monday, July 14, 2008

Milking Goats!

(Goat image ripped from the internets.) There is a co-housing community in Santa Fe that has 2 milking goats, which need to be milked twice a day. They've opened up milking opportunities to the community at large, but competition is fierce for a regular milking slot. A friend of a friend managed to get a weekly milking time, and she invited us to come help her last night.

The barnyard is beautiful--they have 2 milk goats, 2 pygmy goats, and a bunch of chickens sharing a space. When Jill opened the door that separates the barn from the milking area, one of the goats rushed out, jumped right up on the milking platform, and allowed Jill to secure her to the platform while she happily munched on oats.

Jill got the goat started, and then let the rest of us have a go. She milks very quickly--pretty much like you've seen in cartoons or whatever. Then she handed it over to Jake, and progress was much slower. The two of them finished off the first goat, and got about 2 quarts of milk from her. Then it was time for the second goat; and for me to have a go. I've never milked anything before, and I was excited to give it a try. It took a few attempts to get any milk out at all, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I think it will take quite a bit of practice before I can milk as steadily and quickly as Jill, though. It takes me a long time to get everything positioned properly, and then I get a good, satisfying squirt, reposition, etc.

We drank fresh goat milk as we walked home (yes, it's in walking distance) and Jill was kind enough to send us home with a quart of the milk. For the record, I've always been a little afraid of raw milk, mostly because I fear it will taste bad. This goat milk actually tasted much better than the milk you can buy from the store. The milk from the store is old enough that it tastes kind of, well, goaty. The fresh milk only has a very subtle gamy aftertaste. Even though we only got a quart, I think we will try to make cheese from our fresh, raw goat milk!

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