Monday, March 2, 2009

The barn: Part 3, using it...

As soon as the barn was installed with goats, we developed our little milking routine.

Milking for most goats must be done twice a day, ideally 12 hours apart. As the days shortened, that meant milking in the dark at least once a day.

A reasonable time for both people and goats was 7 am, but that left the evening milking on the late side.

Soon we got into a routine of 7 am and 5 pm. We found the hour didn't matter critically, as long as we were consistent.

So here's what the routine entailed for the evening milking:

1. Fill the small pail with warm water, a squirt of Basic H, and a rag.
2. Get out the old pot that had lost its two handles and rinse it in hot water.
3. Grab the milk pail.
4. Stack the pot in the pail and the small pail in the pot, and hold them tight.
5. Grab a flashlight, and head to the barn.
(We have direct evidence that this can be done by a 6-yr old. Wish we had photos.)
6. Upon reaching the barn, open the people door, slip through while closing it, open the milkroom gate, and put the pile of pails on the ledge above the milkstand. Turn on the light.
7. Pour some grain from the grain bucket (a nice clean new trash can) into the feed dish on the milk stand, and admit one goat.
8. When she puts her head through the bars of the stand to eat, use the hook to lock her in.
9. Grab the warm, wet rag and wash her udder and teats. Grab a piece of paper towel from the roll on the ledge and dry same.
10. Take off mittens!
11. Take the old pot and put it under the goat. Aim the teats at it, and ready set squeeze (after squirting once on each side into the wash water).
12. Continue squeezing rhythmically while leaning your head against the goat's warm flank and humming.
13. When finished, pour the milk into the big milk pail, strip the teats, quick-wash them with the damp paper towel, and unlock the goat. She will leap off the stand. You will open the door and let her out and the next one will come in automatically.
14. Repeat with number two. Keep adding the milk to the big milk pail when you finish each goat.
15. Continue till all the goats have been milked.
16. Make sure all the goats are back in their part of the barn. Feed them their hay (if another child hasn't done it already) and a little grain. This can be done by leaning over the milkroom wall and putting it straight into the row of feeders there.
17. Toss the water from the wash pail out in the yard. Then put it in the pot. Turn off the light. Put the pail and pot in one hand, and carry the milk pail full of milk in the other hand, all while letting yourself out of the milkroom, closing and locking the gate, letting yourself out of the barn, locking the door, and carrying the milk without spilling a drop all the 100 feet to the house. Maybe in the snow.
18. Pour the milk into the filter that is awaiting its arrival in the sink. A parent will have ice waiting in the sink and will fill the basin with cold water, to chill the milk rapidly. He/She will also wash the pot and pails, and the big funnel filter, and bottle the milk.
19. Someone will do the water. More on the water, along with a discussion of feed, shortly.


Tessie258 said...

Oakley was just telling me a story last week about how he had a cow that was very impatient and if you didn't do everything in exactly the right order and in a timely fashion she would STEP into the milk and ruin it! If you did it right and hurried then you could get it but if you didn't follow her pattern then she plopped her foot right in...he said he just knew she did it on purpose.

Toni, Mom, Wife, Shaklee Rep "I just love these products!" said...

Tessie... that's SOOOO funny!