We have had new additions to our milking goats…
…and so I decided to build another new milking stand. But I wanted to see what could be done with a pallet.
First I cut out a section that will allow for a comfortable seat for the milker.
With a bit of niggle I got sturdy legs in place, diagonal bracing, and a feed box made from an old drawer.
To make a pivot for the stanchion I used – what else! – Number 8 Wire.
The Kiwi fix-all! (The extra wire also binds the pallet to the bearer.)
The last thing I added was a platform (old cabinet door) so the goats hooves won’t slip through the cracks (although they are amazingly sure-footed) and for easy cleaning. Two pins hold the door in place that can be lifted out so that it can be removed and washed.
Just add goats.
Turning liabilities into assets is a full-time job on our farm. The 2015 floods and land slips focused our attention and efforts on stabilising hillsides and stream banks for the last half decade at the expense of having a big vegetable garden and…surfing.
But that storm event also shaped our thinking about the holistic management of the farm and what plants and animals would best suit our conditions, and also work in coordination with each other for synergistic effects. The main goal has been to develop a climate resilient farm that withstands extremes of both wet and dry. This summer we’ve been tested.
You can see in the image above how dry the hillsides are, although patches of gorse remain darker. You can just make out our white goats grazing a paddock with longer grass that we’ve just opened to them this week. But our main source of nutrition for them over the last month has been poplars on the hillsides and willows along the stream.
The kune kune pigs even nibbled away at the tender tips of the poplars.
They left the branches throughly stripped.
The willow below are the first ones we put in after the flood that took cubic metres of soil with it. We rammed them into the banks with the expectation that we would actively manage them as a chop and drop fodder system for the goats during late summer and early autumn so that they would not get overgrown.
And the results! It’s been so rewarding to watch our fat and healthy goats munching away happily in the middle of a drought.
After a mid-winter break we are back to making goats cheese on the farm.
We had a cosy Friday afternoon/evening by the cooker warming the milk (and making a shepherds pie for dinner.)
We heated about eight litres of milk to just below boiling and then added 700 ml of lemon juice.
After about 30 minutes we poured the contents into a cheese cloth and let the whey drain out. (We have mixed the whey with grains to feed to the chickens and ducks.)
The final result is about 2 kg of cheese.
Thanks for our new intern, Jasmine, for taking some of these and many other great photos of ongoings on the farm.