and see the tote is for goats, they show genuine curiosity in what we are doing. On some occasions we even field questions like, “Do you raise dairy or meat goats?”

One such example just happened on this trip. As we ferried ac- ross Lake Champlain, very surprisingly, in this Covid world, a woman was so curious she got out of her car with her mask on to come talk to us through our window. She said, “I saw your magnets and got on your website” (very cool by the way), “and I was just wondering, do you raise dairy goats, too, or just meat goats?”

This initiated a 30-minute conver- sation with us, just chatting goats and supporting, of course, Kikos, but also letting her make her own decision about the breed’s merits. It is always very cool for us to chat Kikos, not just on our road trips, but in general.

When a conversation starts with this question, of course, it always makes us wonder whether we are getting ready to get a tongue lashing for raising meat goats or if most people just always as- sume they must do milk, too.

Generally speaking, we are a meat goat operation. However, that being said, we do dabble in milking every so often. While there are six adults that live in our home, none of us have time to regularly milk our goats. Nevertheless, we are stopped all the time, and the chat often turns back to discussing an easy way to milk goats. Given Kikos are dual purpose, for us, it was important to find the right way to support a conversation on milking, have some direct experience, and be able to offer a solution to potential buyers.

Go(a)t Milk!

Our operation revolves around ease. Everything we do is in hopes of making things easy for us. So when we do milk, it is impor- tant that we have an easy and quick way to do so, so that it is less a chore and more a neat task, that in the end, produces something yummy for us to eat or drink.

In doing our research early on, we came across a milking kit from Dansha Farms that has allowed us to turn what is generally known as a laborious chore into a fun five minutes, where we get some up close and personal time with the ladies giving us the fruits of their labors.

This hand pump from Dansha Farms makes milking by hand less strenuous.

One of the kits they have produced is a quart jar, connected to two tubes that connect to two teat suction cups, with another tube that is connected to a brass vacuum pump. This is a very simple, but an expertly thought out product. Their website notes that this kit is perfect for those who might have arthritis, or those who simply don’t like to hand milk. The kit has also proven itself on our farm as an addition to our operation with ease goals. This article is by no means a product review, merely a go at giving our readers another way to simplify their operation. The kit is incredibly reliable, and as Dansha Farms points out on their website, it is very hard to mess up with this style pump: “With just a few easy squeezes of the pump you will be milk- ing in no time” ( You simply bring up the vacuum until a cer- tain pressure and wait for the milk to flow. You stop pumping, and as the pressure drops, to ensure the flow, you squeeze the pump to bring the pressure back up. Easy as that. Pump until you’ve acquired the desired amount. Another reason why we love this product is that it requires no batteries or electricity to operate it. This is an im- portant feature for us. We are by no

means preppers, we do, however, believe in being prepared, should something happen in the future, where we may all lose power. Self- sufficiency is one of the main goals of our operation. Another goal of our column is to bring to light some of the simple ways one can work off-grid if necessary. Whether you are a prepper or a home- steader, this milker kit is a great solution to milking with ease both on and off-grid.

While we primarily produce meat goats, it is important that we

have an effortless way to milk if need be. Maine winters can be quite harsh, especially during the months of January and February. We gen- erally aim to kid in March; one, because we are usually on school break at this time, and two, because March is a bit milder, which is easier on the goats, but more importantly, easier on the humans. With this vacuum pump system, we have a quick way to milk during the cold winter months. We then freeze the milk. Then we have milk on hand if we find it necessary to help a kid out. This rarely happens, so after the kids are weaned, we can thaw the milk and use it to make cheese. Goat cheese and crackers is one of our favorite snacks. Someday we would also like to try our hand at yogurt, and maybe even soap. We talked to less people this road trip to Corydon, likely be- cause of Covid-19, but nevertheless, we still talked to plenty of people about our operation. We will always enjoy the curious looks as cars go speeding by then slow to take a look at the goats peeking out the back including the New York State Troopers somewhere along the New York Thruway! Perhaps those passing by are checking out our website as they speed along!

(Josh and Kathy Crise, and their grown children, Amelia and Kevin, operate Marble Creek Acres in Lee, Maine. For interest in a future year’s Kiko waitlist, questions or if you have topics you might like to read about in a future Goat Rancher, we can be reached at 207- 619-3758, email or

26 Goat Rancher | November 2020

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