Monday, April 23, 2012

A Dream Come True

Ever since I was in my early to mid-teens, I had a dream of someday having a dairy animal. (Granted, the dream started out as a cow, but dairy goats are the next best thing! :) The idea of having one of these beautiful creatures, milking, drinking fresh from the farm milk, and using the milk to make homemade dairy products, was so wonderful to me. Yet I never thought that dream would ever become a reality. So I just enjoyed borrowing many books from the library and reading all about dairy animals, milking, and a home creamery.


But now, much to my delight, that dream has become a reality . . . as well as Leah's long-time dream of having dairy goats (we have very similar likes. :) Not only do we have the hope of milking Dixie soon, but about a week and a half ago, we were blessed to be able to add her half-sister to our farm. Her breeder (the same lady we bought Dixie from) sold her in milk after she had kidded. And thus, our milking adventure has begun!

Chase enjoying her grain while Leah milks. Notice the milking stand? My Dad built it and did a wonderful job! It works perfectly. (And please pardon the background - we're milking in our shop for now until Dixie and her kids are moved out of the barn.

Leah milking

Learning how to milk came fairly quickly, though aim and speed could still use some improvement. :) We're also working with Chase to teach her to stand still on the milking stand after she finishes her grain. Once she's done eating, she's ready to go! But we're not quite ready for her to go. She did knock the milk bucket over once, but overall, she is doing much better than she had been. We do still need to be aware of her back legs, though, and sometimes have to stop milking for a bit for a brief 'training session.'

  
Not the most flattering photo, but at least you can see what she looks like

And the actual milking process? We love it. The milk? It's more delicious than we thought it would be. (And much better than store bought milk!)

All ready to be strained

 And once it is done being strained, it goes into the 
freezer for an hour or two to chill

Chase is giving a little over a half gallon a day, and I am hoping that before long (probably after we begin milking Dixie), we'll accumulate enough extra so that I can try making yogurt and mozzarella cheese. Those sounded like some of the easiest things to attempt first, and I am really looking forward to doing so!


So one more dream is now fulfilled . . . the Lord has blessed us so much these past few years. It's amazing to look back (or even look around our place) and see how the hard work and prayers have been answered in so many ways. He has been so good to us! 


Linking up to the "Homestead Barn Hop"

32 comments:

Shannon said...

How excting! Fresh milk is so delightful and tasty, and a joy to bless one's family with!

In Christ,
~Shannon~

Anne said...

:-) I know you are excited, and I'm so happy for you.:-) Your dad did a really nice job on the stand. I remember when we milked by hand and teaching all the kids to milk too. At first, we used a lot of grain to keep the cow still until we were finished! LOL But you will build up the muscles in your hands and before long you will be finished before Chase is finished her grain. I agree too, fresh goat and cow milk taste so much better than store bought. We had a milk goat at one time too.:-)
They're a lot easier to keep clean than a cow.
That's just great, Sarah.
Blessings,
Anne♥

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

How exciting!! What a wonderful experience. We really had no thoughts of a milking creature, until one of our sons *NEEDED* raw goat milk due to medical issues. Now, four years later we have 5 does and 2 billies! Our goats should be kidding next week sometime. We can't wait for the milk!! Plus we plan on trying our hand at making cheese too. As a tip, your milk will cool faster in an ice bath. I usually rinse our milking pail out (with cool water as to not "cook" the milk protein and leave a coating on the bucket), then refill with cold water. I use left over yogurt containers that I fill with water and make ice from. I put one of those ice 'blocks' in the bucket along with our filtered jarred milk. It will cool it down faster than the freezer or fridge can. Best wishes for your new adventure.

Kerri

Rose Petal@LiveReadyNow.com said...

Congratulations on your new milk goat!

You remind me of my oldest daughter Victoria (known as Evenstar in our blog). She is only 17, but has many of the same interests as you (piano, violin, homesteading, sustainable living, bunnies, goats, photography, writing and more). We just recently got a milk cow after 15 years of milking goats. Now, in addition to having fresh goat milk, we have enough to make butter and cheese! It is exciting, and I can understand the excitement you are feeling. :)

I wanted to share a tip about goat milk in case you hadn't heard of it before...most people I talk to haven't. If you place a frozen ice pack in the pail and let the milk run down over it as you milk it starts cooling immediately and helps elliminate "goaty" flavor. You are putting it in the freezer, which is also good. We have a few ice packs we keep clean only for that purpose. After each milking we wash them off and return them to the freezer. By doing that we often don't even need to put the milk in the freezer anymore, and there is no bad flavor that lots of people don't like.

Blessings to you and your family!

Amanda said...

GOD is good! I am so happy for you. Not many people your age share such an enthusiasm for GOD's creatures.

Having your own source for dairy is such a blessing. I'm sure you are going to love it when you get to make that cheese and yogurt.

Have a great week in THE LORD!

Amanda
Matthew 6:33

Mountain Home Quilts said...

What a wonderful blessing! I am waiting for the Lord to give us the right time to have our own dairy animal. Your post lifted my spirit and made me smile!

becky3086 said...

Wonderful! This is my dream too. Not quite there yet though.

Amanda said...

my goodness. You are a girl after my own heart:)

me too!

I'll take goats milk anyday too over cows milk.
soap,cheese,raw,healthier,healthier yes it is!!!

The K. Family said...

We had dairy goats at one time and I loved their personalities! I would agree, milk right into a pail with an ice pack, the faster it's cooled the better it tastes. Course we dairy farm now and we love the fresh milk. We're happy for you all.

rachelhunt said...

Hi Sarah! How exciting to be able to milk now. I remember when my brother and I milked our friends goats for them...we discovered that goats definitely have personalities. One was docile and for the most part easy to work with but the other could be rather feisty, even to the point of using a hobble, I think it's called. I hear goat milk may even be healthier than cow's milk. I wish you great success in your yogurt and cheese making! Though I have made yogurt before, cheese (other than what was supposed to be a sort of cream cheese) would be a new endeavor for me. I look forward to reading about yours!

Leah said...

It's interested to read about your dreams. All your dreams usually involve farming, crafting, or homemaking. I know you're hoping to get marry and have family someday. But do you have any other dreams outside of farming, etc. or not? You are a definitely a country girl. God has definitely put you in the right family and right kind of home lifestyle. :)

I enjoyed reading about your milking adventure. I hope you will tell us about your adventure making cheese & yogurt in the future posts. How I wish that I know how because it is so expensive to buy cheese & yogurt and I eat them almost everyday. You would be saving a lot of money this way. As for me, keep looking out for sales on yogurt & cheese. :)

Rose said...

HI Sarah-goat's milk is just delicious. When my children we little the cow's milk gave them stomach aches and we switched to goat's milk. That solved the problem and we all loved it. We also always have our fridge filled with goat's cheese. Enjoy your new goat and we loved the photos of your baby bunnies! Blessings in Jesus, Rose

Elizabethd said...

In France goats cheese is very popular, and often eaten as a starter. Just made in a little roll, slices are cut and grilled with a little vinaigrette dressing, and served on toast.

Renee said...

The city girl in me is very intriqued, Sarah! I always have fresh eggs in the fridge that are locally sourced, but have not given any thought to fresh milk. I look forward to hearing how your yogurt and mozzarella making go, as I know you'll be quick to figure it out! Once you've got the yogurt, there is a Middle Eastern cream cheese spread called Labneh that is very simple to prepare. Essentially, it is a low calorie substitute for cream cheese. I'll have to jot down the recipe in the next week or so when I make it again.

Sarah said...

It is exciting, Shannon! And I would agree about the milk. :) It is so good!

Sarah said...

Thank you, Mrs. Anne, for sharing in my excitement with me! Milking by hand has been so enjoyable so far . . . and now we’re able to get Chase just about all milked out by the time she finishes her grain. She is doing a lot better, too, with standing still now!

That must have been nice to have had a milk goat before. They are such personable creatures! And yes, they are a lot easier to keep clean than a cow. Though, I still think cows are prettier. :)

Thank you again!

Sarah said...

Welcome to my blog, Kerri, and thank you for your comment! It has been a wonderful experience so far. We are really enjoying it! What a blessing that you were able to get dairy goats when your son needed raw goat milk. It must have also been exciting to see your herd increase over time to 5 does and 2 bucks! I hope that kidding goes well for all of your does and that you are blessed with lots of doelings. :) And enjoy your milk!

Thank you for the tip about cooling the milk faster! We will keep that in mind if we need to get the milk cooled off faster. So far putting it in the freezer has worked well, and the milk always has such a sweet and good flavor. But the more milk we get, that may change!

Enjoy your kidding season and have fun with all the little goat kids!

Sarah said...

Thank you, RosePetal! And welcome to my blog. :) It does sound like your daughter, Victoria, and I have many similar interests . . . the things you mentioned are all so enjoyable to do! And it is wonderful that at only 17, she is developing those interests, and being able to cultivate them as well.

How exciting that you were able to get a milk cow! It would be so nice to have enough milk for butter and cheese. I am hoping that we’ll have enough for those things sometime, too.

Thank you for that tip about how to help the milk cool off while you are milking! We will keep that in mind for if the milk isn’t getting cooled of quickly enough. So far, the milk has always had a fresh and sweet flavor and hasn’t had a goaty flavor. (Save for a very slight trace maybe once or twice towards the beginning when it was taking us awhile to milk. :) Thank you again for sharing . . . I appreciated it!

Sarah said...

It is, Mountain Home Quilts! We are so thankful for it.

I am glad that this post could lift your spirit! We never thought this dream would come true for us either . . . yet patient waiting and years later it has. And I hope that you will also be able to have your own dairy animal someday, too!

Sarah said...

Thank you, Becky! I hope that your dream will be able to come true for you someday, too. :) And it will be so exciting for you if/when it does!

Sarah said...

Thank you for your comment, Amanda! It made me smile. Goat’s milk tastes better than what I thought it would . . . and from what I have heard, it is healthier than cow’s milk. (Though I still like cow’s milk, too. :) It will be a lot of fun to use the milk not only for fresh drinking, but to make soap and cheese as well!

Sarah said...

Dairy goats do have wonderful personalities, K. Family! Never having really been around goats before getting ours, I was surprised by how personable they were. And they are so fun to watch! Especially the little kids with all of their racing around, leaping, and jumping up on things.

That must be so fun to have a dairy farm! I have enjoyed visiting your all’s blog and reading about your farming ventures and seeing the photos and all. Farming is a wonderful life, isn’t it?!

Sarah said...

It is very exciting, Rachel! Yes, indeed, goats do have personalities. :) And they can have such different ones, too! Each of our goats are unique and so different from each other. It certainly adds fun to the goat herd!

That must have been enjoyable to be able to milk your friend's goats for them. Though, maybe not with the feisty goat who needed to have a hobble. :)

Thank you! I am really looking forward to trying yogurt and cheese making. And when I have enough milk to do so, I look forward to sharing about that venture here!

Sarah said...

Thank you for your comment, Leah! Yes, my dreams do tend to revolve around farming and homemaking. :) Though I have some that are not quite related to those things, too. I tend to dream big, and while it is highly unlikely that all of the dreams will come to fruition, it is exciting to see when some do! I am so thankful to the Lord for blessing me with the family and life that I have . . . hardly a day goes by that I do not thank Him for it!

I am glad that you enjoyed the post! And yes, I will be sharing about making cheese and yogurt, too . . . whether or not they turn out is yet to be seen, though. :) I have never made these things before, so it will be interesting to see how it goes! Cheese and yogurt are expensive, and if you can’t make them yourself, it’s a great idea, as you shared, to keep an eye out for sales!

Sarah said...

It is, Rose! I have read about children who were not able to tolerate cow’s milk, but could tolerate goat’s milk. I am glad that you were able to figure out that goat milk worked for your children! We have only tried goat cheese once before, and we are looking forward to making it and seeing what our own homemade cheese tastes like.

Thank you! And I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos!

Sarah said...

That is interesting, Elizabeth! It isn’t very common here . . . in fact, I’ve only had it once in my life before and that was at a dairy farm that had both goats and cows. What you described sounds good!

Sarah said...

I am sure you would love fresh milk, Renee! We hadn’t given much thought to it either until recent years and are excited to now be able to enjoy it - and from our own animals, too!

Thank you for your encouraging words! I am looking forward to trying yogurt and mozzarella cheese making, and I hope it will be at least semi-successful the first time. :) Thank you for offering to share the recipe for Labneh with me! It sounds good!

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

I'm so excited for you!! We're fairly new goat owners as well and we LOVE having our own milk source right on the homestead. Enjoy your dream come reality!

7 Eagles said...

It is indeed wonderful how many of your dreams are being brought to fruition, Sarah. And it's good that you recognize how important prayer and hard work are in seeing that happen. I imagine there have also been many sacrifices along the way, in order to achieve some of these dreams. What would you say have been the most difficult sacrifices you have made in order to reach some of your goals?

~ Betsy

Sarah said...

Thank you for your kind comment, Amy, and for stopping by my blog! I have enjoyed reading about your goat venture on your blog as well. It is exciting to see others realizing their dreams, and it is inspiring as well. I would agree wholeheartedly with you . . . we love having our own milk source right on our own farm, too! It has been wonderful. Thank you again!

Sarah said...

It is, Betsy. I am so thankful to the Lord for all that He has blessed us with! Yes, there are sacrifices along the way . . . establishing a farm is a lot of hard work, and it is labor and time intensive. Leisure time and activities (quilting, reading, crochet, etc.) are not as common as they used to be. Travel is something that we don’t do a lot of anymore as there are animals and gardens at home that need to be cared for. Yet, none of the sacrifices have been terribly difficult for us as each one has simply brought us closer to our goal. Though, sometimes those things that have had to be set aside or relegated to a less frequent occurrence can be missed. But when we remember that we are living our dream, it makes it all worth it!

Joy said...

I'm so excited for you, too, Sarah! It has been fun the past few years to see all the new homesteading skills you and your family have learned.

We're still waiting for the right time for goats. I think as our children get a bit older it will be easier. It's something to look forward to! :)