Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer came to the Rogue Valley on June 21st. That was the first nice day that we have had all year. Last week we still had the risk of frost so my garden starts have been sitting in their pots waiting for the ground to dry up and warm up. I finally got them all in and hope they get to growing.

Our Kinder kids have really started growing too. The boys are all banded and I put two sets of twin bucklings into the weaning pen. Finally I get that great Kinder milk for myself. I have two large freezers that I put the one quart plastic bags of milk in for my soapmakaing. The rest is for cheese.

I love to make a soft spreadable cheese for toast. Heat one gallon of milk to 170 degrees and add 3/4 cup of lemon juice let sit for a few minutes until a fine curd forms. Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander to drain. Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag to drain for a couple of hours. The cheese can then be salted a little or have herbs added. My favorite is to leave the salt out and use one of the Ms. Dash seasonings like the chipotle, herb and garlic, or spicy hot.

As you increase the temperature up from 170 toward 180 the curd will become a bit tougher and larger and you can actually press it into a log shape and slice it. If you heat it to 180 and use 1/4 cup of vinegar in place of the lemon juice you will get queso blanco . This cheese can be cut and used in salads, soups and stir-fries.

There are a lot of great cheese and meat recipes in the book "Goats Produce too! The Udder Real Thing Volume 2 by Mary Jane Toth. It is well worth the $13 price tag.

One of my favorite recipes is for Cajeta which is Mexican caramel candy.
3 qts goat milk
3 C sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking soda.

dissolve the corn starch and baking soda in 1 cup of the milk to get out all the lumps then add it to the milk and sugar in the pot. I use a very heavy large pot for this as it will foam up and boil over in a small pot. Cook the mixture until it is thick and creamy like caramel sauce. It can be poured into jars and refrigerated. It is great on ice cream. If cooked to a soft caramel stage it is delicious on graham crackers.

Jean Jajan
Gray J Ranch

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What to do with all that milk?

That was the question in my mind when the milk started building up. How can I make money from the milk without selling milk directly. I had heard about goat milk soap and searched for a recipe on the internet. I was a crafter and loved to cook so what better than cooking up a batch of soap. I found a fragrance oil supplier near me and bought a few small bottles of fragrance. I remember the first batch was oatmeal, milk and honey fragrance and it had oatmeal, goat milk and honey in it. It was a hit with family and friends. I added a few new scents and started making it up in decorative molds as gifts.

Over the winter I worked on my recipe until I had a really rich creamy bar of soap with great lather. I decided to try to get into the local farmers market as a vendor. I attended the state agriculture department seminar on small farm marketing where I met our local market manager and learned the most valuable information of all. I was not a crafter. I was a value added agricultural product because I raised the goats, milked them, and a high percentage of the soap was goat milk. While crafters were limited in the market, with a value added product I was move to space availability right after the growers and did not have to wait in line for a crafting space to become available. Wild River Soaps was born

The first year I made up small batches and sold them my self at the local growers market on Saturdays. That first year I actually made a profit. It was enough to pay for all the feed for the goats and all the ranch supplies. That winter my husband was laid off and my son moved out of our 600 sq ft guest house which had a full kitchen so we decided to make soap making our living. We got into two other growers markets that were held on different days and my husband became the salesman and I did the production.
Actually soap making is easy to learn and just plain old clean fun. Here is what you need to get started.


1. Mixing containers such as enamel or stainless steel pots to melt the oils in and plastic bowl to weight the ingredients in NOTE: NEVER, NEVER USE ALUMINUM, it reacts with the lye

2. A heatproof container for your lye mixture such as a large plastic or glass bowl or pitcher.

3. Stainless steel slotted spoon or plastic heat proof spoon or heat proof rubber spatula. Do not use wood.

4. A stick blender, good for 3 lbs. or larger batches. The stick blender enables you to get a faster trace. Use only for a minute at a time and stir in between. This is optional if you don't mind stirring.

5. Use eye protections. Eyeglasses are not enough. You can get some that will fit over your glasses. A splash of raw soap in the eyes can be very painful and damage the eyes.

6. Latex or Chemical gloves. Use this to keep any possible splashes off arms and hands and when stirring the lye water, to keep the steam off the arms.

7. Scale to weight the oils and lye. A digital scale is the best

8. Soap molds. You can use rubbermade drawer liners or any plastic container you have around. Vinyl down spouts, PVC pipes, cut in about 12" lengths. Jello Molds or even cookie cutters for animal shapes and toy shapes, for the kiddies. Be sure it is not aluminum.

9. Thermometer. I prefer the quick read digital one. You can wipe it clean between testing the oil or lye mixtures and it gives you an instant readings.

Creamy Goat Milk Soap

8 oz olive oil

5 oz coconut oil

3 oz palm oil

2.3 oz lye

7 oz frozen goat milk

Melt the coconut and palm oil in an enameled pan on low heat. Place the frozen goat milk in a glass bowl and slowly add lye while stirring with a plastic spoon. Stir until lye is dissolved and all milk is thawed. When the oils are warm to the touch (105 degrees) pour in the olive oil. Pour the goat milk & lye mixture into the oil mixture while stirring. Keep stirring until you get trace. Trace is when it thickens to the point where you can drop some of the mix back into itself and it leaves a trail. At this point use any herb, scent, or coloring and stir and pour into molds. Place plastic wrap on top of soap. Let sit for 24 hours. Unmold, cut into bars, and place on a rack to cure for 3-4 weeks.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Oh my gosh she is big"

My friend and I sat down and planned out my breeding schedule to work around hers. I was to take her beautiful caramel buck to breed to my spotted brown Nubian. Then I would return him and take her dark grey agouti buck to breed my black doe. My young Nubian would wait a few months and then be bred to a second caramel buck she had. Perfect, three does and three different bucks.

The love nest was set up and everything put in order. A private corral and barn and just to really make it easy I set up my folding leg milking stand on a down slope. When I held the doe backed up to it the buck could just walk out on the stand and do his business. He did not even have to jump up on the stand. What could be easier. The handsome suitor was named Major Force. The doe came in heat and Major let us know with all his romancing. We backed the doe up to the stand and Major would walk out but not mount. We backed her up to the bank beside the stand so he could reach and he still would not do it with that big doe. This doe stays in heat for about thirty six hours so we tried every few hour all day into the cool night and early morning and nothing. It seems that Major Force was a Minor Farce.

Back he went and I picked up buck number two. Buckeye was an old buck who was getting a touch of arthritis but he was built like a little tank. He was after those two does like an old pro. I would back the does up to the stand and he was out there doing his job in an instant. Success. Two month later we were so excited to see the pygmy type ears in the ultrasound. Both the does had settled.

When it came time in late January to breed the third doe, my friend had sold her second caramel buck and had her fourth buck in breeding her does. Back came Buckeye to the rescue. While my breeding plans had not turned out as I had hoped, at least my does were bred.

Over the next three years I used my buck and three different bucks of my friend's to get more diversity in my herd. I have crossed the different lines but have never kept a second generation to breed. Last year I decided to keep one second generation doeling and buckling to breed to each other. I finally have a third generation doeling and buckling.

After having raised Boers for so many years, I get excited at the variety of color combinations and spots on the kids. I also love the vigor of the Kinder kids. They are up and about in a matter of minutes not hours like with the Boers.

Next: What to do with all that milk.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Greetings from the Gray J Ranch

Many people have asked me how I got into Kinder Goats. The truth is, almost by accident and a long round about way. We had just moved from the city and wanted some goats as our property was covered with brush and poison oak. I saw an ad in the paper for Pygmies and bought a little buck and doe. Then I started reading all I could about goats. Whoops, ran the buck to the vet to get wethered and hoped he hadn't bred his little sister yet. They were darling and we named them Poco and Poca which means little in Spanish and also stands for for Poison Oak Control Officer and Poison Oak Control Assistant. No way could those two little Pygmies get much brush and poison oak under control.

We needed bigger goats to do the job and I read about all the dairy breeds and the Boer goat. The county ag extension office had their first Dairy goats and friends program which we attended and got a lot of great information on the different breeds and contacts for breeders. I got the address for the Pygmy goat club in our area and we joined. We showed in their first show and I was hooked as I had showed horses as a youngster. We went to the county fair and my husband stared into the eyes of a Nubian doe and instantly fell in love with the Nubians and I fell for the Boers. Some of my new Pygmy breeder friends also had Boers and Nubians so within 5 months of our getting into goats we had two Pygmies, two Nubian doelings, 1 Boer doeling and three bred percentage Boer does and only a small dog house connecting two 10 x 10 chain link kennels.

We decided that would never do come the rainy season and kidding time. There was a nice two stall barn down the hill from the house with a large horse corral near by but no other kind of fencing anywhere on the property and there were coyotes running around at night. We put up a six foot chain link paddock on the front of the barn that was 12 x 30 and field fenced the inside of the wooden corral. Then we fenced off the area between them to make a runway for the goats to go into the corral during the day and come into the barn area at night for safety.

We had our perfect goat barn and paddock area or so we thought. The Boer herd over the next few years grew at one time to over 40 counting the new kids . We fenced more land and built more barns and areas for the bucks and the new kids. I spent most of the summer traveling to shows and helping put them on and making goat milk soap which my husband sold for me at three growers markets a week to support the goats. This was work not retirement.

I was sitting there the night before a big Boer show I was putting on. I was exhausted and frustrated over trying to finish up the show program when it dawned on me that my goats were not going to be competitive for the championships any more. A lot of the breeders were bringing in high priced new Texas stock to the area and I would have to do the same and spend many, many thousands of dollars to remain competitive.

My mind snapped. I told my husband I was selling out while still ahead and we were going to be done with the Boers. Just then the phone rang and it was a late entering Boer breeder who wanted to get his entries into the program. I mentioned to him that I had decided to sell out my Boers and would have them for sale at the show. He told me he would be there at the show cash in hand first thing in the morning. I had one old buck and doe who I didn't show any more so they stayed home. Well, word got around over night and when I pulled in and started unloading I was getting offers left and right. By the start of the show, I only owned one older percentage doe that I refused to sell and two young bucklings. It was a sad, lonely ride home and a very empty barnyard the next morning.

What to do about freshening my three Nubians? I didn't want to breed them to my old Boer buck and have percentages I would have to sell for meat. I jokingly mentioned to my Pygmy breeder girl friend that I should breed them to one of her Pygmy bucks and get little Pygnubians. She said that the cross was actually a breed called the Kinder and we researched it. She called Pat and asked her about the breed and getting started. I traded my friend my Boer buckling for a Pygmy buckling and she lent me a mature buck for the first breeding. I was in the Kinder business.


Next: Getting the important breeding business done. "Oh my gosh she is big"