Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Back in business.....

Our newborn calf, Coal, is thriving thanks to his fantastic Mom. He's round and perky and quite sassy. I was cleaning out their stall this morning, working around him and he tried to kick me! He's very inquisitive and he met the dogs today. Dan didn't pay much attention. Otis, our new pup, wasn't sure what to make of him. Both were quite wary of each other.

We are thankful to be back in the milking business. The 65 days our cow is dry before giving birth is difficult on our family. We are used to fresh, pure, raw whole milk. We are big milk drinkers but that changes for those 65 days. I do buy milk at the grocery store but we consume much less until miking begins again. As always, Jan has plenty of milk for Coal and our family.

I use an old fashioned surge milking machine to milk my cow. All of my equiptment sits on the end of my kitchen island after being washed in between milkings. As much as I would love to milk by hand, my thumbs do not work well enough to allow me to. When I first got a my cow, I did milk by hand. I loved setting on my little wooden milking stool that my Dad made for me, listening to the milk hit the bucket. Plink, plink. Plink, plink. Once you get the rhythm, it's almost mesmerizing. Cows smell good and they are always warm. I would lean my head against her flank and get quite comfortable. Unfortunately I couldn't get my thumbs in shape and it was taking me way to long to milk her out. The milking machine takes about 5 minutes and we have a routine that we strictly adhere to and it works well for both the cow and I.

I carry my machine and a bucket of warm, wash water to the barn at chore time each day. I give her milk bag a nice warm water bath, dry her off and put on the machine. It's all a piece of cake for her. I pour my milk into my milk can when finished. Share what milk is leftover with Charlotte and the chickens and then come in to get that milk strained and into the refrigerator. Then it's time to do milk dishes again. Hot, steamy water and a special dairy soap to cleanse and disinfect. It air dries on a clean towel, ready for the next chore time.

It won't be long now before we will be making butter and Ice cream again and my favorite, fresh whipped cream :)


mappy said...

deb would love to do that never home though.
thanks Matt

Deb said...

I think more people would like to have a dairy cow but it's impossible to be in two places at once. I'm very fortunate to be able to farm full time and be home :)

threecollie said...

Nice post! Your equipment looks great...nice and shiny. I used to hand milk too, but the machine is a lot kinder to the arthritis and I think it is comfier for the cow too.

Anonymous said...

Coal is a cutie! I would love to have a cow, but it is not in my future. I'm hoping someday a milk CSA will form, and I'll be the first in line! Enjoy the milk and butter....

Vickie said...

That is so cool. I'd love to have fresh milk everyday. I guess having to milk your cow(s) everyday twice a day does sort of tie you down to the farm. Somebody has to be there to do that. Or I guess your calf gets some extra!

lisa said...

I agree with the hubby on that one (mappy), I am not home enough to do it either. I might consider it when and if I am a full time house wife and farmer.

DayPhoto said...

OH! YES! I do agree with you. And we used the surge milkers. I had three of them. Plop one on move to the next cow, plop on until done. Come back take the milker off, let the cow lose, and so on.

Fun memory for me!!!


Anonymous said...

Great description of a hand milking morning. One thing you can add to that routine is a cow is a good listener. Through the years, my mother had several personal cows - they talked about a lot of things and helped Mom start her day.

Like DayPhoto I have started down through a barn of 30 cows at zero dark thirty in the morning with a pair of surge milkers. Just talkin to cows - BUT when the electric blinks off it would make your heart go thump .... that would mean a lot of hand milking to do. Thanks for the fun - Bill

Anonymous said...

Coal is a beauty! Or I should say very handsome.

Great post on explaining the surge milker.
Have a great weekend.

Gayle said...

What a beautiful calf. The milking would be interesting, but we just have too much winter here. Animals are really a lot of work at -20 or -30 or -50! I would have the milking machine as arthritus would never allow it.

Callie said...

Your post brings back wonderful memories of time spent in the dairy barn with my Aunt and Uncle. I remember the fresh raw milk, the barn cats and the warm cows. Good times. Good memories. Thank you!

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