When we closed on our house at the end of June, we had no idea we were going to have goats by the end of the week.
Well, sort of.
We had been looking for some male goats to eat our 6.5 acres of very high brush (since we didn’t have and didn’t plan on getting a lawn mower). But when a local goat expert said she was selling some of her milking goats, we were super interested.
Now, just so you have a good idea about the level of experience we are talking about; before this photo, I’d never milked anything in my life.
I was a little nervous about potentially having goats because there was just SO much unknown for this city girl. However, after getting some brief milking lessons, tips on how to save money on goat feed (post to come on details of this, if you’re interested), and where to buy hay – we felt much more confident. I think that much of this was because our goat mentor made it seem super attainable. She didn’t have a huge list of organic materials that the goats just needed to have to enjoy a long, healthy life. She didn’t have a whole list of criticisms of what “other goat owners do”… you know the kind of criticism that makes you feel like you’ll never be able to do anything right?
Nope. Instead she shared money saving techniques and tricks, and contacts for buying hay – and most importantly, encouragement: “You got this!” Which was the biggest thing that we both (me especially) needed to hear; that this thing we were just jumping into blindly, that it was totally do-able. That doesn’t mean we’ve done everything perfectly, but we’re learning (reading books, listening to podcasts, & asking a lot of questions) and the goats are still alive and milking!
Here are some photos from the past few months
Here are some things that we & neighbors have made from the goats milk so far:
- Mozzarella cheese (plain, garlic & onion, and pepperjack)
- Cardamom ICE CREAM (so.good.)
- Cajeta carmel
- Homemade Fudge
- Feed for chickens (super high protein is great for our little pullets)
- Used it in baking in place of cow milk
Something slightly magical (yes, I said magical) happened when I first milked these animals. I got SO pumped about having our own homestead, taking large steps towards being self-sustaining. There is something so invigorating about taking care of your animals, and they in turn take care of you. Whether that is through milk, meat, or fiber. I’m learning so much through taking care of these animals.