I love my chores. It may sound sound strange since many people despise them most vehemently, but I really do enjoy early morning work. I have become a bit of a morning person in the past several months (which I was always very far from being before), and now with the milking and everything I am taking advantage of it. Really, tell me what city girl has the chance to milk a goat every morning and cut fodder for her chickens? What city girl gets to give a baby bottle to a goatling and fill buckets with hay? And just so you know, I have no pride in being a city girl. I would fit in on a Texas farm much better.
If you were wondering, yes, my mom did solve her milking issues, and yes, it did involve a new milk stand. I would say 'I told you so', but I try to be a polite little creature most of the time so I'll refrain. Anyway, she cut up an old microwave cart that was in our garage, put some boards and brackets on, and now it is a stanchion. Sorry that this picture isn't very good; I couldn't back up any farther or I would fall into a fishpond. That wouldn't be very fun on a cold morning, now would it?
I got up a bit before six this morning, threw on a coat, and got the milking things together. That includes Thorin's bottle, the udder-washing washcloth, and the jar for the milk. After I have everything together, I head outside.
I go to our neighbors' yard where Thorin and Lily are through the back flood easement, but get Eponine the stuff she needs first. In our yard, I make sure her bowls of goat minerals and baking soda are full (she had knocked them over onto the ground today), and give her some black oil sunflower seeds and alfalfa pellets. The pictures are all blurry because there was not very much light and the shutter speed on my camera was as slow as molasses.
The chickens also get a handful of sunflower seeds, or at least the ones that are around at the time. I actually think that this picture is kind of cool!
They also get some fodder out in the basket in the flood easement:
Then, finally, I got over to our neighbors yard. I let Thorin and Lily out of their pen, and while Lily stretched her legs, I gave my baby his bottle. He really was not holding still, so these pictures are extremely blurry.
Then, I took Lily over and got her up on the stanchion with a nice bowl of oats and sunflower seeds. I strapped her feet and head in - a necessary thing when milking goats, and got to work. I have to lock Thorin out at this point because otherwise he tries to climb all over me and spills the milk.
Then I can start the milking, after I wipe down Lily's udder and get the milk jar out. I have actually become quite proficient at it in the past few days. :) It is very good for a Nigerian Dwarf goat to give one quart a day as an average over the whole milking period. Peak production is at about six weeks, and Lily kidded not one month ago, so I am pleased with getting just under a pint at each milking right now (I do two a day). Lily didn't come from great milk lines, so I don't have soaring expectations of her. This is the milk I got this morning in a pint jar.
I cap the jar, and clean my milking things up. Then, I take Lily and Thorin into their respective pens and head back to my house to get grass hay from our shed to feed them. They each get a small scoop of alfalfa pellets as well; that's what their eating off the top of the hay in the below pictures. Thorin likes green food (kudos to you if you get that reference!).
So those are my delightful morning chores! I love taking care of the animals, and milking Lily especially, and my mom is glad to get to sleep in for another forty-five minutes or so. Perhaps, though, when it raining in a couple of days, I won't be so happy about it...