15 April 2016

Goats and goat cheese

OK, I thought hubby had put up the pictures from last week, but apparently not ... so here are the first pics of the goat who is helping to keep me busy.  Meet Prim, and her buckling Harry Houdini.
little Harry Houdini nursing his dam, Primrose

Prim and her buckling Harry
While we're at it, here's a nice pic of four out of the five goats resting in the shade and chewing their cud (yes, goats are ruminants like cows).
relaxing in the shade
Prim produces a good amount of milk - between a quart and five cups a day.  This gives me a decent amount of milk to work with, although Prim's milk has a more pronounced "goaty" flavor than Chocolate's milk does.  Last weekend, I made my first batch of feta, and we finally tried it last night.  It has the flavor note from Prim's milk, and may need a little more salt, but is definitely feta and does taste pretty good.

Earlier this week, I made caramel coffee creamer from a recipe in the Raising Goats Naturally book I've mentioned before.  It's just milk, sugar, and a bit of baking soda to keep it from boiling over, then you simmer for however many hours it takes to get it to a consistency you want.  Hubby pronounced it good ... in fact, he had urged me to make it so he could find a way to appreciate the goat milk.  He says he really does want to find a way (this was before the feta was ready to try).

Now, I have queso blanco in the cheese mold - with pasilla peppers mixed in it.  My inspiration was here for a photo tutorial which used jalapeno peppers, which don't agree with me (but hubby loves).  Depending on how it turns out, we may fry up some for posole (Maria and Perla gave me the recipe last night!  Yay!) or just make tacos or burritos out of it, or pop it onto tortilla chips for nachos.
queso blanco with pasilla bajo peppers
(in the mold)

07 April 2016

Goat and dairy update

First off, I will get pictures later when my back isn't bothering me.  Miz Chocolate is being a bully out there any way - once again she is very jealous.  Of whom is she jealous?  The new dairy doe (nanny) and her buckling, Primrose and Harry (Houdini).  I had been thinking while reading about the dairy breeds that what I really wanted would be an Oberhasli, once called Swiss Alpine but now considered a separate breed.  Then, Tuesday after slaughtering Pork Chop, I was browsing the Gainesville Craigslist ... and there it was, just posted: "Package deal: Oberhasli mother and son."  Sounded like fate to me, and the price was certainly right - $200 for both.

Prim isn't a pretty Oberhasli, but she certainly does produce.  I got about twelve ounces from her last evening, then just under a quart this morning ... and this is from just one side of her udder, as the other side is empty, flaccid, and may be what dairy goat people call "blown out."  She is likely registered, but I didn't ask about papers and he didn't offer.  It is not a big deal to me right now, as I doubt I'll be selling any of her offspring.

Harry will definitely not be staying with us.  He still has his horns, and he also shimmied right out of the enclosure last evening before we could even get the fence turned on.  That is why he and Prim were for sale - he is an even better escape artist than his older sister, who was pointed out to me as the goat with the cast on her leg from a previous escape attempt that didn't go right.  They have solid wood horse fencing ... and a coyote problem.

I mentioned I doubt I'll be selling any of Prim's offspring, and that does include Harry.  He will more than likely be our first cabrito - goat meat.  We'll wait until I get back from Kentucky next month, so Prim stays in milk while I am gone as hubby says he just does not see himself milking a goat.

Meanwhile, with such great milk production, I'll have enough to make a batch of cheese tomorrow after the morning milking.  There is two and a half quarts in there right now between the two does (nannies).

05 April 2016

Slaughtered Pork Chop

We slaughtered Pork Chop this morning - it was definitely a learning experience.  He noticeably went off his feed yesterday morning, and hubby said he had looked "off" and listless Monday evening at late feeding time.  I couldn't see any other obvious symptoms, so rather than lose him or let him suffer or waste away, we decided to slaughter him this morning.

Hubby was able to stun-kill him with an air rifle and  .22 hollow point bullets.  Porky was not inclined to stand still to give hubby a chance to aim perfectly, and neither of us could really blame him for that either.  I tried to stick him, and discovered pigskin  is tough!  I'll need to study up on pig anatomy a little better to hit the vena cava and branching vessels like I need to, but Porky was already dead from the bullet so he didn't suffer from my ineptitude.

Rough estimates on feed versus meat:  It cost approximately $21 so far to feed him (half of three bags at $14 per bag) plus the initial purchase price of $2, and the broken bathroom scale says we have roughly 25 pounds of cleaned meat with some fat (and the bones).  We skinned him instead of scalding and scraping, and I can see a lot of fat adhered to the skin.  It won't go to waste, as I have it in the 23 quart pressure canner, along with the head and all the organs, cooking out on the back deck on a hot plate for Hammy and the chickens and maybe the guineas, too.

Slaughtering and butchering even a young half-Pot Belly pig is some work!  I don't know about hubby, but I am wiped out from it.  I'll do the big chicken update later.