We spent this morning with a potential goat buyer. She is just now starting her herd. She is from Virginia and arrived early enough to watch the morning milking and try her hands at it. Then we introduced her to all the goats, and she told us which ones she'd like to buy if we decide to sell them in the future -- or alternatively, which ones she'd like to have a kid from. Then we came inside, and I showed her how to make yogurt from sheep milk and queso blanco cheese from goat milk. (Yes, that means we milked our Shetland sheep! More on that later.) Then we made pasta and sauteed queso blanco, a main dish I created.
After lunch, she left to visit a nearby alpaca farm, and Mike and I went into the woods for gooseberry picking. We have a 5-cup bucket about 4/5 full. Tomorrow, we'll be having gooseberry muffins for breakfast. They are delicious -- somewhere between the taste of raspberry and blueberry. The wild raspberries aren't quite ready yet, but we nibbled on a few early ones as we made our way through the woods. We also discovered an unusual tree in the woods, and Mike's research online showed us that it is a cucumbertree! I didn't know such a tree existed, but the pictures match up.
Now, about the sheep milking ... A few days ago I got the bright idea that we could milk our Shetland sheep. I noticed one of the sheep had a very impressive looking udder -- at least as good as some of our goats. So, I convinced Margaret to milk her. Since catching sheep is not easy, we decided to put her in a smaller pen, but then she got lonely, so I decided she needed a friend, whom we could also milk (since her babies are two months old already). Well, now I know why no one milks their Shetland sheep. It took us four days to get a quart of milk from the two of them! Margaret said she loves milking them because they have very soft, easily milked udders, but the quantity is quite small. Now I also understand why their babies don't nurse as long as the goats. Some people say the ewes wean their lambs, but now I think the lambs just give up around two to three months of age. It's just easier to drink water and eat grass than to chase down the mama for a sip of milk -- and I do mean a "sip" because that's all the sheep have at this point. So, Shetland sheep are not dairy animals. I am hoping the Icelandic ewe proves to be more productive when she freshens next spring.
The top picture for today is Carmen, the goat who won grand in the show two weekends ago. I had posted a picture of her in the show ring and a picture of her as a baby, but then I realized I didn't have any pictures of her beautiful, sweet face. Katherine took this picture for me a few days ago.
The goose is one of the goslings that arrived on Antiquity Oaks slightly more than three months ago. I can't believe how fast they grow!