A Typical Morning on the Homestead

My daughter is my best helper. She carries the cloths used to clean the does udders before we milk.
My daughter is my best helper. She carries the cloths used to clean the does udders before we milk. | Source

Before we moved here I dreamed of how it would be.I imagined how I would get up joyfully at sunrise to feed and care for my livestock before milking and returning to the house to fix a full country breakfast for my family. I imagined the delicious, organic goats' milk providing super nutrition to my children. I imagined many things but the reality has been much different.

First...Getting up in a rosy glow of sunrise is not such a joyful thing sometimes, especially when the rosy glow of sunrise is camouflaged by dark storm clouds. Milking is no fun when the goat steps in the milk pan or kicks it over and you have no milk for the day. Fixing a full farm breakfast is a wonderful thought, I wish someone would come do that!

There are, however, many things that I do love about it. I love the warmth of the goats and the smell of the barn. There is a peace that comes with milking and a pleasure in the independence of being able to walk right by the $4.00 a gallon hormone infused commercial cow's milk at the store because we are paying $25.00 a month to feed animals that produce gallons of sweet, creamy, organic milk. I like that my children have an understanding of where real food comes from and an appreciation of the work it takes to produce it.

I took a series of pictures In April 2007 of my morning. I wanted to share them with my grandchildren who live a long ways away. In doing so I felt that they would experience connection with me, and they did.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, a little peek into what life is like here for those of you that are still dreaming about rosy dawns and milk pails.

We head out to the barns. Things are still very green because it is so early in the springtime.
We head out to the barns. Things are still very green because it is so early in the springtime.
Here is the door to the goat barn. It is properly called a loafing shed.
Here is the door to the goat barn. It is properly called a loafing shed.
My son has all ready put the first goat on the milk stand. The milk stand is a platform that holds the goat securely (and painlessly) while she is milked.  You can see how full her udder is.
My son has all ready put the first goat on the milk stand. The milk stand is a platform that holds the goat securely (and painlessly) while she is milked. You can see how full her udder is.
I use my fingers to gently squeeze the milk from the teats. Some people feel that the Nigerian Dwarf's teats are too small for milking but I have never had a problem
I use my fingers to gently squeeze the milk from the teats. Some people feel that the Nigerian Dwarf's teats are too small for milking but I have never had a problem
The milk pan fills up pretty quickly
The milk pan fills up pretty quickly
Grin calmly chews her cud while I milk
Grin calmly chews her cud while I milk
My daughter plays with the baby goats. The are very friendly because they get alot of attention.
My daughter plays with the baby goats. The are very friendly because they get a lot of attention.
When we are finished my son lets the doe out of the milkstand so she can go eat hay.  Goats are really very fussy eaters. They will graze and nibble here and there but they will not eat just anything. They are curious animals and will explore things
When we are finished my son lets the doe out of the milkstand so she can go eat hay. Goats are really very fussy eaters. They will graze and nibble here and there but they will not eat just anything. They are curious animals and will explore things
Grin waits at the door impatiently!
Grin waits at the door impatiently!
She is let out to graze with the other goats. We feed approximately 3/4 lb of mixed grains twice a day and then hay, and all the grazing they like. Nigerian Dwarf goats are very healthy and easy to care for.
She is let out to graze with the other goats. We feed approximately 3/4 lb of mixed grains twice a day and then hay, and all the grazing they like. Nigerian Dwarf goats are very healthy and easy to care for.
This is Prometheus. He is just learning about eating hay. You can see the scabs on top of his head where we cauterized his horn buds so he would not grow horns. Horns are considered undesirable in the show ring and points can be removed.
This is Prometheus. He is just learning about eating hay. You can see the scabs on top of his head where we cauterized his horn buds so he would not grow horns. Horns are considered undesirable in the show ring and points can be removed.
We head back into the house to strain the milk. Goats' milk is very delicate and it needs to be strained and chilled quickly for the best flavor.
We head back into the house to strain the milk. Goats' milk is very delicate and it needs to be strained and chilled quickly for the best flavor.
The kitchen is a little messy. We are in the midst of ongoing restoration of this 100 year old house so it is not the kitchen of my dreams...yet.
The kitchen is a little messy. We are in the midst of ongoing restoration of this 100 year old house so it is not the kitchen of my dreams...yet.
I pour the milk through unbleached paper coffee filters and a canning funnel. (Now I use a gold plated coffee filter which works much better and does not require the use of trees for paper)
I pour the milk through unbleached paper coffee filters and a canning funnel. (Now I use a gold plated coffee filter which works much better and does not require the use of trees for paper)
The milk is so creamy it sticks thickly to the sides.
The milk is so creamy it sticks thickly to the sides.
One quart is done and there is still more to go. The does give about 3 quarts each during hte early par tof their lactation and then it dwindles down to only 1 quart.
One quart is done and there is still more to go. The does give about 3 quarts each during the early par tof their lactation and then it dwindles down to only 1 quart.
Now the milk is dated and set in the refrigerator to chill.
Now the milk is dated and set in the refrigerator to chill.

And there you have it. A slice of my morning on the homestead.

A lot of people ask me what goats' milk tastes like. It is a lot like raw cows milk, which does have a different flavor than the stuff you get at the store. The goats milk does not have that musky flavor when it is fresh and as long as the does are kept separate from the bucks. You cannot judge the taste of goats' milk by the kind you find in the store.

Since it is naturally homogenized there is not a lot of cream that rises to the top. The milk is very creamy and will make a thick, rich pudding with an amazing texture. It is used cup for cup like milk in all things.

I hope you enjoyed the trip. I would be glad to answer any questions you may have about raising dairy goats.

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Comments 14 comments

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

I love your photos, Marye! It is a few years since I last kept goats, but suddenly I can smell them again ... lol. Mine were never fussy eaters, but they were great characters and I miss the fresh milk.

Voted up and awesome. Thank you. :)


Joe 4 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your family and your pictures with us. I can relate to what your saying, after being on this homestead for better than 35 years, http://homesteading-backtobasics.com I've had those dreary days,but in the end it was worth it,and I can tell you this the little girl in the picture will never forget it. Thank you for the post.


ohiogoatgirl 4 years ago

I laughed aloud at your comment on walking by the milk in a store. As a kid my family had 6 milking does and my dad had worked out all the numbers and he said that if none of the goats get sick then we were paying about 21 CENTS per gallon of milk. 21 CENTS PER GALLON! Of course then a 50# bag of feed was at $9 I think and now it's going on $12 a bag. And how about going out to milk at 8 AM in February, in Ohio? Temperature probably at around 13* F. Get out in the barn and bury your frozen nose into a warm goat belly as you milk. :)


ladylux profile image

ladylux 6 years ago

I'm a big goat's milk fan! Makes marvelous kefir, yogurt, cheese etc. One question though, what happens if you don't strain it? I'll have to ask my local farmer if she strains hers.


Ron C. 6 years ago

What a great website! I blog for the Farmer's Market in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Your site is very well maintained. I love your kitchen, it looks so country. I've lived on a farm all my life, but my Wife was from town when we first married. That was 17 years ago, she's just now getting used to the idea of a farmhouse being an eclectic collection of furnishings. The whole country farm house effect is ruined by fancy things that all match. Now we buy things at farm and estate auctions because they appeal to us, not because they match! It gives a farm house a good, homey feeling that cannot be matched by store bought furnishings.

I think it's great what you're doing for your children and grandchildren! My Grandma was born in 1898 and passed so many things on to her children and grand children and great grand children, that I think she will live on in the hearts and minds of her family for another 100 years.

Keep up the good work!

Teach your kids everything you know!


Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet 7 years ago from Lancaster, Texas Author

Charley..almost anywhere. They are called permmanent coffee filters. I got mine at Target


Charley 7 years ago

gold plated coffee filter?

I must live in the dark ages! lol where you find those at?.


Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet 7 years ago from Lancaster, Texas Author

Sounds like mastitis


jan weiss 7 years ago

Hi marye

i loved your hub, i too am experiencing the the good life of down on the farm from liverpool to nz, i bought a sarnan milk goat and then she went missing 4 months in the bush with a wild billy she has just returned, (in milk,) but her milk is very salty, un drinkable even to the cat, is she defficient in salt?


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

I really enjoyed this hub. I love this patio chairs around the dining room table. Much more economical, right? My sister, when she lived in the country, had a big pic-nic table in her dining room. She still had 6 kids at home. It actually looked great.

I just published a hub similar to this one, asking international (and American) hubbers to do the same so we could get a peek into each others' lives, in the hopes of inspiring more international dialogue. You were way ahead of me!

Here's the link if you'd like to check it out: http://hubpages.com/entertainment/A-Day-In-The-Lif...

But, it's boring compared to yours :)


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks Marye, I tried some goat cheeses here, they are lovely, the milk seems very healthy compared to the dairy milk we are getting at the groceries. My Granddad used to raise cows, the milk was excellent but the milk at the groceries causes problems. Do you guys allow others to get training, I wish I had time would love to learn this :)


Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet 9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas Author

These are small goats so they really couldn't chase anyone..They are only the size of a large golden retriever. They get handled a lot and taught to walk on a leash so even the small kids can show them. The breed is very gentle and sweet!

Glad you enjoyed the hub


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

Great Hub, that is real nice what you are doing, and glad you are teaching your children also the same.


jstankevicz profile image

jstankevicz 9 years ago from Cave Creek

Thanks for the nice page on your homestead. Children and goats seem to be thriving under your care! My only experience with a goat was as a four year old. Goat chases jack. jack runs and looks back at goat over shoulder. jack runs into tree. Goat laughs.

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    Marye Audet profile image

    Marye Audet4,737 Followers
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    Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.



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