Life has been full blown lately! Sometimes we look at each other in amazement and say, "Can you believe it's already August?"! It feels like the older I get, the faster time flys...
So, what's new, you might ask?
My grandparents are arriving home tomorrow after a whole month of vacationing. They took two weeks to visit Jordan, Caleb, and the whole Yuck family in Canada. Then they spent the next two weeks with their brothers and sisters in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. We missed them sorely, and are so looking forward to them getting home, but we know that they had a wonderful time, and Jordan really enjoyed their visit!
Clancy, our big Goldendoodle puppy is currently enrolled in dog obedience classes. The boys and I have been taking him once a week to his training and it has been quite interesting. I personally think he is still the most obedient dog in the class, but I might be a little biased! ; )
This past month we took one goat from each of the groups that come in to get milked, and we handmilked them, instead of machine-milking them, so that we could get a measurement of exactly how much each goat is giving in a whole day. And did we ever find out some intersting information. But let me back up a little. We had 23 goats that we were milking, all Nubian except one, Cotton, who is a Saanen. Now through the years we have bred our goats to produce a larger quantity of milk, and it has worked to a degree. The majority of our girls are giving one-half gallon a day, which, when we first started our dairy, was a good amount (we thought). BUT, towards the end of our handmilking this past month, we milked the Saanen and found out that she was giving a whole gallon a day with one ounce to spare! We need more goats like her so that started our search. We looked online, in market newsletters, in the goat membership directory, just about anyplace we could think to see if anyone was selling Saanen or Alpine (another high milk producing breed) goats that were nearby. We ended up finding three Alpine doelings and one Alpine buckling, three Saanen doelings, and a two year old Alpine in milk! We drove about 16 hours in three days to get these goats, but it was well worth it. We are hoping to breed the different breeds together and get a higher producing goat than what we now have. So,....all that to say that we have done an about face and are trying some new ideas! Maybe to some of you this doesn't sound so exciting, but the prospect of being able to milk 12 goats that give the same amount of milk as our 23 is VERY exciting! It just makes us realize that you never really stop learning. While trying these new breeds as well, we will be dealing with different buttermilk levels, so we will be doing some experimenting with the three breeds to see which combination produces the most milk while maintaning a high butterfat count! We shall see....
That brings us to breeding season. We will start breeding our does next week, so we have spent the last two weeks planning out who to breed to who? and when? and who to keep milking through the winter? and who to try to keep the babies off of? and should we try keeping a young buck off of one of our does? and round and round the questions go. We have learned that if we start thinking about the breeding schedule ahead of time, we usually make better decisions, because it gives us time to think about things and change some things that would work better.
Hmmmm...other happenings lately?
We turned one of our pens into a buck pen by reinforcing it with wood fencing; tried out a goat milk fudge recipe (yum!); we were interviewed by a college student writing a paper about goat dairies (she spent half a day with us, and helped with various projects around the dairy, ending the day with an interview); school started back today for Ethan and Noah; and we have enjoyed shopping for my expecting sister as well as for Baby Yuck!
Life has been very full and very good! I love each and every moment I get to spend with my wonderful family and I am very thankful to the Lord for the life that He has given me. I can say, along with the Psalmist, "...my cup runs over." (Psalms 23:5b)
"I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1)