Thursday, March 28, 2013

Making Yogurt

4:09 AM
One of the simplest things to do with milk is to make your own yogurt. While not necessarily cost effective if you buy milk, if you're like me and own goats or other dairy animals, making yogurt makes sense. Not only do you have control over what goes into your yogurt, but you also save a bit of money. Organic yogurt typically costs 99 cents to $3 a serving, which makes making your own that much better.

The recipe I used is from Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses, but you can use just about any yogurt recipe. They're really easy to do.

Basically, you heat the milk to 180F, let cool to 116F and add yogurt starter.  The simplest way is to buy a small cup of yogurt and use a couple of tablespoons to start your yogurt. You then let it sit at 116F for 6 to 12 hours.  Using a yogurt maker, is probably the best solution,  as it keeps the yogurt at the right temperature.  I use the Deni 5600 1-Quart Electric Yogurt Maker. If I had my druthers, I would prefer a yogurt maker with one container, rather than 6 small containers.  You add the flavors after the yogurt is done, so it's kind of silly to have 6 little containers.

One useful thing this recipe suggests is to add pectin to the yogurt. If you make traditional yogurt, even if you let it go for 12 hours, it'll probably be runny.  Adding pectin thickens the yogurt, and while less than traditional, if you like the thick, creamy type of yogurt, you should add pectin.

Cool flavorings to add:

1. Homemade jams
2. Maple syrup
3. Chocolate chips
4. Vanilla (real)
5. Nutmeg or Cinnamon
6. Homemade apple pie filling

Mmm, good!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surprise! There's a Kid!

8:54 PM
So, Lisa and Lulu, my two Saanens haven't been showing signs of imminent kidding. I figured they were due to kid sometime very late March or even April. Lulu sure didn't look that big... Today while I was milking does and feeding everyone, I noticed that Lulu looked a little bony (first clue). She also was making odd low noises (second clue). I looked at her back end. Didn't see any discharge and left her in the pen with the others.

An hour later, my DH comes home and runs to the door. He's afraid our blonde buckling, Mika, is hurt and can't stand up. I go down to the barn. He notices something strange about the kid--it has EARS--Mika is a LaMancha.

I walk into the pen and see a cute little Saanen doeling in the mud with both Lisa and Lulu staring at it. Lulu has a bag of afterbirth coming from her. Okay, then. I pick the kid off the soggy ground and bring her into the barn. I lead Lulu there and put them in the kid pen. I then go to the house to get towels, iodine, dental floss and scissors. My DH is relieved this is a new girl and not an injured buckling. We dry the doeling off and have Lulu take care of her while I give Lulu some hay and grain.

Well, that was different! It's supposed to get cold again tonight, so I've closed the barn. I'll take the youngest kids and put them in a dog crate for the night. After that, we'll have to sort out arrangements for Lulu and her baby. I'll get pictures tonight or tomorrow. Lisa still has to kid. She's much bigger. I suspect twins.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Goat Kiddings This Week!

12:09 AM
Annie's Kids
This past week we had three goat kiddings!  The first was Annie who surprised me on February 25th with three adorable mini-goats. All girls.  When I went to care for her in the crate, I heard little maaa maaa! coming from the barn.  They were all wet and still had their umbilical cords hanging.  So, I tied off the cords, trimmed them, dipped them in iodine.  Then I bundled the babies up and brought them inside to warm up.  Once dry, I brought them back to mom.  Annie is a great mom!

On February 27th in the wee hours of the morning, Belle had her kids.  Two girls: Mocha and Splash.  They were wet and cold with Belle and Heidi staring at them.  Belle had a congested udder which caused so much pain that she wouldn't take care of them.  So, her kids came inside to dry and are bottle babies for the moment.

Belle's Kids
Today, March 3rd, Heidi kidded. This one was difficult.  She had her first baby, a buckling, but her second was malpositioned and was stuck in breech.  I had to go in, reposition him, and pull him out.  No, it wasn't pleasant.  Yes, there was a lot of screaming from Heidi.  He died earlier in the canal.  The next kid was breech too, so I had to reposition him and get him out.  This time, he was alive.  So she had two live boys and one dead boy.  They seem to be doing fine.  I'll post their pictures soon!