This morning, as I started milking goat number two, Biscotte, I thought I’d count how many times I needed to press the udders until I had emptied them. I am milking one udder at a time because one hand has to hold the awkward vessel I am currently using which makes the counting exercise easier. (I can milk with both hands, I am proud to add, which means that the loss of one arm would not stop me.) This morning I needed to press 373 times for almost 1.5 litres of milk, I could press harder and thus reduce the number but I like to go at it gently, I empathize greatly with my goats, especially in the instance of production and extraction of milk as I too have produced milk for my children. I am not necessarily a neurotic counter but I often like counting—sometimes as relic of a childish comforting thing but also, as this morning, in the name of science. I now know roughly how many times I have to press udders every morning for my milk and I feel cleverer for it. Milkers must have interesting muscle development in their hands, I wonder what other use they can be put to. I also brushed the donkey, Alaska, to try and get his dreadlocks away but I was not counting the strokes.
Today I am experimenting with a Hungarian farm cheese recipe Lazslo (thank you) gave me last saturday. Leave raw milk to sour at room temperature. Remove sour cream and heat to near boiling point until good curds form. Drain and salt lightly. So the souring is happening as I write. How many hours, days, curds, salt grains ? The drained whey is great for cleaning linoleum and slate floors, and also the hens love it.