Farmcation, Milking!

So a major part of farmcation 2010 was milking. Actually, that was pretty much the main thing–I mean, feeding chickens and goats isn’t too hard or time consuming, but milking, yup, milking takes awhile, especially if you haven’t done it much before. Or ever. Which would be the boat I fall in.

Now, I’ve always wanted to milk an animal. My mom’s dream has been milking a cow, but a cow always seemed a little…huge? for me. A goat, however, is manageable.

Every morning, I’d go out to the barn at 7 am and grab the chicken eggs, change the water, give the goats breakfast, and then set up for milking. I took two pails out with me (a necessity since you never know when I goat might stick her food in the pail or kick it over–something that only happened once, thank heavens), filled up a feed bucket (which is waaay too much feed, but those goats are eating machines and only stay still while munching grain), and let one goat in at a time.

Nellie & I got along well–she eats faster than Geraldine but would stay still after she finished eating. Plus, size matters, and Nellie’s larger teats made the job much easier for me. Even though I have tiny child-size hands, Geraldine’s smaller teats were a bit too small and harder to squeeze. So I’d let Nellie in and get to work.

The gist of milking is that you pinch the top of the teat to keep the milk from going back into the milk veins and then squeeze the teat out with your other fingers. Let the teat fill up again, repeat. You don’t pull down on the teat like you do with a cow, that hurts the goat, and over time you get faster. By the last day I finally had it down where I was able to squeeze both teats at once and I even finished milking *before* Nellie finished eating.

Let me put it in perspective though–each goat gave a little over 1/2 a gallon of milk. That doesn’t seem like much, but, trust me, it is. I’m swimming in the stuff and ended up freezing a gallon and a half. My hands were so sore all week from the overuse of my palm muscles. Yes, my palm muscles. Who knew one has muscles in your hands? And I still have calluses, a week later.

The milking was great though. Hard work, and something you have to do every day at the same time without fail, and something that takes a lot of muscle power, but something that I’m looking forward to. The family told me to take a week and I might rethink how I felt about the farm. Nah, I’m still in love with it.

So that wraps up farmcation. I have a post with a recipe waiting, but right now I’m literally en route to Nova Scotia, so we’ll be switching to road updates from here on out. Went from Roanoke to Scranton yesterday, spent the night, and now we’re on our way to Portland, Maine. New York state sure is pretty! Hope you’re doing well & having a great weekend!

2 Responses to “Farmcation, Milking!”
  1. Awesome! What are the leather things around the hind legs of the goat, though? They’re not tied down, but look as if they could be.

  2. varunner7 says:

    I had no idea they produced that much milk – that actually seems like a decent amount!

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