Tuesday, January 22, 2013

While We're All Waiting

And yes indeed, we are still waiting, although Sarabi finally has signs that are supposed to mean she'll deliver within 24 hours (I think we can all see how well "supposed to" means with Sarabi . . .). From what I understand, this pretty much means she'll always go at day 155 or so. At least next time we'll know!

As I mentioned a long time ago, we try to follow organic practices in crop and stock around here to the extent possible. It's what the garden and livestock are all about. Could we be certified organic? No. For example, the main support beams of our barnlet are pressure treated wood, not allowed. I have given the goats de-worming medicine rather than lose a goat. But by and large, it's a pretty organic operation here. We are super blessed to have a tiny feed store five blocks away from our house that has an owner who is passionate about organic, non-GMO feed and supplements - and his prices are equivalent to conventional feed prices. I was in there yesterday and asked him why he didn't use a popular brand of organic feed that our health food store carries, and wow, he had an enlightening reply and blew me away with the depth of research he'd done on each ingredient. I'd just read the label and assumed it was OK, though I never used their poultry feed. It's a real blessing that he's there, so convenient, because trust me we don't live in the sort of neighborhood to carry organic anything. We're more of a pawn-shop, used tires, car wash, meth lab kind of neighborhood :-).

Anyway, looking into what I would use for milking paraphernalia, I realized the "bag balm" that the farmers of my youth used (and we used to use on our hands), while relatively innocuous as these things go, has a couple of ingredients I'd rather not get into our milk supply. Plus, I've always personally had a problem with lanolin, which is a big ingredient in conventional bag balms. I'm also trying to switch away from detergents here in favor of soaps (for my small allergic people), so the commercial teat dips/sprays were also problematic.

Of course, there's the internet!

It's kind of fun that the recipe I ended up using for udder balm, found here, is relatively similar to the spoon oil I've been rubbing into our new kitchen countertops. I used tea tree oil, lavendar oil, and peppermint oil in this - all of the girls in the house rubbed it into our hands, and it's quite nummy. The oils used are all oils that are non-allergenic in our household: coconut, shea, olive, and beeswax.

The teat spray is a recipe found here and the goal is, along with other cleanliness measures, that the goats will remain infection free and we will have clean milk (as we will be drinking it raw). We test yearly for the diseases that are passed to humans, and one benefit to living in suburbia is that goat diseases that can live in soil aren't likely to be harbored here.

Well, out to feed the animals. The ducks are moulting (one of them looks really creepy, like a skeleton, because she's lost so many feathers) so it looks like there was a pillow fight out there. I've been fooled a couple of times looking out the kitchen window into thinking we've had snow!

Hopefully you can watch this space tomorrow for baby pics!


Kristin said...

I am interested in your feed store info. I am having a hard time finding organic feed. I am hoping for organic for the goats and chickens.

I also didn't like most of what is in the sprays/dips. For milking this last Summer and Fall I just brushed the underside of the goat with a soft horse brush then wiped down the udder with a warm damp baby washcloth. For the dip I ended up just dipping into the strip cup. It worked great and I had no chemicals.
Congrats on the new baby doe! Looking forward to pics. :-)

Kimberly said...

Kristin, I'll message you "over there" about the feed store.

I'm going to try the Infusium hand wipes as sanitizer wipes since they're pretty much thyme oil and safe from a detergent standpoint as well - it will be interesting to see how this whole thing evolves. It's great to see the community at work to figure out safe and organic and healthy ways to grow and process food at the micro-processing level like this.