Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Farmhouse Cheese Corn Bread

This is a recipe I made up to use up our milk supply/farmhouse cheese supply.  It is not like your traditional salty or sweet corn bread. But is a great homemade "rustic" type bread that is versatile, different and taste great year round.  A slice, fresh out of the oven, with veggies or a salad in summer, a slice with homemade soup or chili in winter . It is good reheated, cut into large chucks, with milk poured over it for breakfast!  Be creative I say!

First, you will need to make farmhouse cheese,  mix in 1 tsp salt for every gallon of milk and let it drain in the cheese cloth hanging for a few hours to make a dry plain salted cheese ball. (like we did there but with out the herbs just the salt)  We do this all the time and use this type of cheese crumbled up to put on salads, put into bruschetta,  mixed in with spicy rice and baked into pepper halves  or sprinkled in soups.  Once you have your cheese proceed……

1 ¼ cup corn meal
1 ¼ cup flour (we use fresh ground wheat flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
½ cup olive oil
1 cup milk (we use goat milk :)  )
1 table spoon chives (fresh chopped or dried)
2 pinches shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup - chopped to pea size, farm house cheese made like stated above.  (large curd cottage cheese works well for a substitute that is drained really well)
Half a stick of butter

And any other spices you might like to add. -  you can dice up hot peppers or use a few red pepper flakes, a few shakes of chili powder tastes great too.  Depending on how spicy you like things. 


Mix all the dry ingredients together – Corn meal, Flour, baking powder, salt, Parmesan cheese.
Then in a separate bowl mix together the eggs, olive oil, milk, chives, cheddar cheese and farm house cheese.

Blend the two mixes together.  It will be pretty thick.

Take a 10 inch cast iron skillet and put the half stick of butter into it.  Place it in the oven and set the oven at 400 to preheat.   
Once the oven is preheated take out the skillet and turn it around a little to coat the inside of the skillet with the melted butter, then pour or spread in your thick batter.   
Spread it around evenly.  
Put it back into the hot oven for 30 minutes.  You might want to keep an eye on it as my oven is a convection oven and bakes a little quick.  It is ready as soon as a knife come out of the center clean.  Try not to over bake it. 

We eat this more in the summer months than the winter months as we always have more milk to use up in the summer.  
video

My son William does "stop animation" for his hobby. The above movie was created by him as he ate his slice of Farmhouse Corn Bread.  Enjoy!

May God richly bless you today and everyday you walk with Him.
susan

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Feeding Newborn and Kid Goats

                                         2009
When a goat is born here on our property I take them away immediately from their moms.  This is a personal preference thing.  We do it first, because I am not usually keeping the kids and want them gone off the property as soon as possible, so I have less work and more milk!  A goat that nurses on its mom will not go easily onto a bottle later.  So in order to sell them quick, I take the time to get them started well on the bottle.  Making sure that they get the colstrum within a few hours of being born and that they are nursing well on moms milk before they go to a new home.  Secondly, if I am keeping a buck or doe, bottle feeding, in my experience makes for a better, easier to handle dairy animal.  I can put a leash on my sticky (in rutt) bucks collar and walk them to a doe pen for breeding.  I don't have to catch them, wrestle them to the does pen, and get all stinky.  I can catch any bottle fed goat easily for hoof trimming, giving wormers and such. So I bottle feed.

As I say in almost all my posts.  I am not a vet and don't know everything.  This is what we found works for our farm and so apply it at your own risk.  But this is what we do...as soon as the kids are born and on their feet and the mom is through with her delivery.  I milk her out or almost out depending on how many kids she had.  If they have more than two babies I try not to fully milk them out for the first couple of milkings so as not to throw the mother into "milkfever".

It is often a messy job teaching the babies to nurse.  Tongues hanging out the side of their mouths or them not knowing quite what to do.  Some take to it like they have always been doing it.  Yeah!  Others you might need to pet on, especially down near their tail area on their backs.  As that is where the moms are licking them off and stimulating them to nurse if left with mom.  If you can not get them to latch and nurse.  It is just easier and safer(risk of aspiration of milk into the lungs if they can’t nurse) to tube feed them that first nursing.  Usually, if I bolus them (tube feed ) them that first time, their sucking reflex kicks in by the next nursing. 
 
I go out to feed the babies every few hours the first two days (during the day hours) letting them drink all they want each nursing. 

On full sized babies (Nubian, Lamancha, ect.) your goal is 40 ounces a day broken into three feedings.  Usually they are there by day two or three.  As soon as they can drink 20 ounces in one go, they can be fed just 20 ounces twice a day.  (We also disbud (dehorn) them at about 4 days old.)  By week three you can put out a small bucket of water, some hay and leave a small amount of grain out.  They will soon discover it.  I slowly work it up till they are getting 3/4 cup of grain twice a day. (morning and evening)  You can use something like goat feed or some people use Nobel Goat as it has a cocidiant in it to stave of coccidia. Still continue with the two bottles a day while introducing these foods as they are going to have to develop their rumen and can’t digest food yet, so they NEED their milk.  Some people wean at 8 weeks and some later.  The goats I am keeping, I wean at 12 weeks to get as much growth on them as possible.  As I want my does a good size for good birthing some day and my bucks big and strong. So at 8 weeks I cut them back to just one 20 ounce bottle in the evening and then done at 12 weeks.
On Nigerian Dwarfs it is about the same schedule as above but smaller amounts.  Your goal is 24 ounces a day when a few days old.  Once they can down 12 ounces at a go you can cut them back to two feedings a day.  By week three you can put out a small bucket of water and some hay and leave a small amount of grain out.  Once they start really eating the grain I work it up till they are eating a ¼ cup in the morning and ¼ cup at night.   And the weaning schedule is the same as above. 

If you decide to feed Noble Goat as a starter feed, you need to work any does kids off it and onto a regular goat grain before breeding and milking, as Noble Goat has that medicine in it and you don’t want a pregnant goat eating it or it coming thru a milking doe into your milk.  So it would be a good starter food but change over.  Some people leave their bucks on it their whole lives as Noble Goat has Ammonium Chloride in it to help stave off urinary calci. You can also purchase Ammonium Chloride separate and sprinkle it over your choice of feed to help prevent Urinary Calci in bucks.

Years ago, I did sometimes leave babies on their moms at times.  It worked very well for first fresheners that I could not get my hands on their teats well to milk. (short first fresheners teats) If I let them raise their kids the first time, the kids would stretch out the teats so I could milk, without harmming the udder, after just a few days to a weeks time.  I stopped doing this practice after having two udders ruined by buck kids.  They chewed holes in a teat and were so ruff on the udders it caused infections.  So I just don't leave the babies on the moms anymore.  If you don't have a good, healthy udder you don't have a milk goat.  I go thru to much to selectively breed a goat, raise a goat, breed that goat and wait for it to freshen to have a kid ruin it.  

When you do let the moms raise their kids just make sure that the babies latch on and nurse well with in the first few hours. I have once in the past thought a baby was nursing well because I saw it nurse.  But with in a day it was to weak to save.  So make sure you see them nurse well and often.  Make sure the mom has milk.  Once the baby starts to nurse well you really don't have to do to much till they are two weeks old.  (Other than disbud (dehorn) them at about 4 days old.)  When they turn 2 weeks old you can start to remove the babies in the evening.  Put them in a safe dry stall or large dog kennel for the night.  When you go out in the morning you can milk the mom and get the 12 hours worth of milk from her body making milk all night with out the kids nursing on her.  After you milk you can put the kids back with her for the day.  They will nurse all day long and get that 12 hours worth of milk.  Doing it this way, some people let the moms wean the kids and some take the babies away for good at 8 or 12 weeks and call them weaned. 

One very important thing to remember is that a baby buck kid can re-breed his own mom or any doe in the area as early as three months old.  I have even heard of them breeding their own mom as early as 8 weeks old.  So any buck kids born, might need to be weaned or castrated by 8 or 12 weeks at the very latest.

God is so good to us always.  I have really enjoyed raising and milking goats thru the years.  I don't think I can sit and watch baby goats skipping and jumping all over the place, like silly kids and not smile. :) 

God bless you this spring as you live and grow in Him,
 susan


Psalm 104:14  He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;





Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby Goat Update

The goats waiting to be brought up to the barn after grazing in the field all day.  Amelia and MiniBell are the two all the way to the left.  Haven't they gotten big!

Carolyn running the goats to the barn from the field.  They all just follow her up to the barn.

Many of you know I am in the middle of the "Great Goat Experiment" here on our farm. I have raised full sized dairy goats for years (Lamancha's and Nubians) and loved and enjoyed every moment.  They were just what we needed at that time.  I had so many children drinking milk and two children with g-tubes that I used goat milk for their nutrition.  I worked for years in my herd trying to come up with, thru breeding, my idea of the best "back yard" milker for myself and family.  A goat that is hardy, healthy, and easy to hand milk with long teats.  I didn't care so much about pure bred anymore because I found over time the hybrids to be healthier.

Now that my children have grown up so much. We don't use as much milk as we did in the past.  So I can move to a smaller, easier to handle goat.  Also, the larger goats have been pushed thru genetics and heavy graining for high milk production.   They really need to be grained year round to maintain good body condition.  That gets to be expensive with grain prices going up and up, I am now really wanting a moderate amount of milk, smaller goat to feed and a goat that can produce a nice amount with out to much grain. 

Thus the introduction to the Nigerian Dwarfs into my life.  They are smaller, easier to handle, have not been bred for a huge amount of time for huge milk yeilds and don't need grain in most cases to maintain body condition unless in milk.
 
               Twinkie and Bluebell
So I sold my herd of full sized dairy goats.  All but my two best Milkers. (Twinkie and Bluebell, Just in case I was unhappy with my new goats)  Twinkie and Bluebell give over a gallon a day each.  I did a lot of research to find and purchase clean Nigerian Dwarfs that all had the genetics to easily be hand milked and purchased four doe kids and three unrelated bucks. 

I sort of have two things going on here right now.  I am crossing my great full sized milkers with one of my Nigerian Dwarf bucks to come up with a mid-sized or "mini-milker"  And then now that my four pure Nigerian Does are old enough bred them straight to the pure Nigerian Bucks. 

So far on the farm this year 2013, we have had two goats to freshen/deliver babies.  I guess phase 1 of the experiment.  Twinkie kidded end of January with triplets. Two does and a buck.  I didn't need the buck so he is gone and I kept the does for my experiment. (Amelia and MiniBell) 

Amelia and MiniBell  are just a few days short of three months old now.  They were disbudded at a few days old.  They are chewing their cud.  Eating grass, hay and a bit of grain and drinking water.  They are about 40 pounds each and have both been dewormed for the first time.  They are doing well and large and healthy enough to spend the days out in the pasture grazing with the rest of the adult does.  Since they are crosses between the Nigerian Dwarfs and the full sized goats they are already taller than the adult Nigerians that they graze with.   I weaned them last night.  They had their last night bottle and are officially weaned.
  
Bluebell kidded in the beginning of April.  She also had triplets.  Two bucks and a doe.  I don't need either of the bucks so one is gone and the other staying to keep the little doe company till she is big enough to be put in with the other does.  They are about two weeks old now and drinking one 20 ounce bottle in the morning and one 20 ounce bottle in the evening.  They were disbudded at a few days old.  They are nibbling around at things but I have not actually seen them eat anything much yet.  We have not named the little doe yet that is staying.  But she is a cutie pie.  Carolyn has been calling her Calfy because her face is split white and black and looks like a calves face.  Carolyn calls the little buck Dinner!  But I doubt we will eat him.  There is a huge market for goats in our area and I have never had trouble selling them.
      The unnamed doe also known as Calfy for now.
The very nicely put together buckling that is staying for a short while to keep the little doe company.




So Amelia and Mini Bell are weaned and I have a ways to go on bottle feeding Bluebells babies as they won't be cut back to one bottle a day till they hit 8 weeks old.  The next phase in all this should be around June 1st when all four of the Nigerian Dwarfs should start to freshen for the very first time.  They will be the first pure Nigerian Dwarf babies born on our property.  So should be fun.  I have been waiting a long time for this as I will see who out of the four does are going to be easy to milk good milkers.  And will know what does to cull and what babies to retain for the future. Bottle feeding babies is not my favorite job.  I just can't catch a break from it this year I think.  :)  But Carolyn helps me and I am happy and grateful that God blessed us with three does from the first two kiddings of the year.  Very blessed.

Blessings,
susan



2 Corinthians 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lest a Seed Die



Lest a seed die, a plant would be not born. 
Laid to rest in the ground, by the sun being warmed.

The tears of heaven fall, life bursts forth from its sleep
So small and tender green, up toward heaven it does reach

Growing strong and tall, its flowers it does form
Kissed by bees and butterflies, on buds it does adorn

Buds give way to fruit, seeds nestled deep in side
Joyful harvest for our homes, our food for many times 

We save back precious seeds, whose death we do not mourn
Lest a seed die, a plant would not be born

susan nichols

John 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

May we all be willing to die to self, to bring forth fruit for our Lord and Savior!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Pollen, Pollen Everywhere!



It was another beautiful day here in the North Georgia mountains yesterday.  The Lord helped us get so much done.  I am grateful. He helped me get all this weeded.  As I worked I could see the yellow haze in the air of yellow pollen.  After being out in it for just a short time my skin was gritty with it.
                I weeded around the blueberry bushes we planted last year. 

The kids cleaned out the chicken coop and put clean fluff in there for the chickens.  They also took several loads of weeds (chickweed and henbit) and branches down to the compost pile for me. As they worked they were all covered with yellow pollen.

I have an old water troth that was leaking I am going to plant some things in and some half barrels.  The kids didn’t finish, but started filling them with soil from an old compost heap. 

While they did that, I weeded and trimmed all the ornamental beds.  Also trimmed and picked up branches.  We lost a few blueberry bushes I planted last year and a young cherry tree this winter. I plan on replanting.
On Wednesday evening I planted one of the beds we raised up in the last post with four Triple Crown Blackberry bushes and in front of those, two kinds of strawberries.  One is an ever-bearing variety and the other a June bearing variety. 
The pollen is very thick in the air and yellow gritty like a fine layer of dirt all over everything.  I can’t hang out the laundry because of it.  The ponies nostrils are yellow with it.  It is hanging yellow and hazy in the air.  The pool cover is covered with it.  It has even worked its way into the house.  On the furniture and floors.  If one of the kids puts on socks the bottoms get yellow from the fine layer of pollen on the floors!   I was so glad to get so much done yesterday as the forecast was for rain today.  It is raining as I type this.  Hopefully this rain will wash all the pollen out of the trees and air and give us all some relief.  I know many people that are suffering from allergies from all the pollen.  Praise God none of us have that trouble so much.

I guess because it is raining today, it forces me to stay inside and get to cleaning my very neglected house.  I have put off my normal cleaning and keeping it tidy because the days have been so lovely this week.  I just could not stay inside.  We were all outside from early morning till evening.   It has felt soooo good because we had to stay inside so much this winter with lots of cold and rainy days.  So it feels wonderful to get outside and get dirty again!  God is so good.

May God richly bless you as you live, learn and grow in Him, 

susan