Posts Tagged ‘Milk’

Milk Rations

While I am enjoying the lack of commitment to my 1/2 ton milk cow, I am starting to miss the never ending supply of milk that came with said commitment.  I am purchasing raw milk from a family that is family in the biological sense and family in the religious sense.  I am glad they are there to supply us with milk and to keep our urge to eat healthier viable.

Yet, I am feeling slightly constrained and committed to my new source of milk.  I am limited to my two gallons a week; as compared to the 21 gallons we were receiving from Maisy.  I am of course purchasing the milk with tangible dollars; as compared to the 2 hours each day I put toward collecting and cleansing the milk from Maisy.  I have to ration out our milk usage.  I don’t want to run out before the next week’s pick up date.  I want to make yogurt and soft cheeses.  I want to make butter!  Yet, I don’t feel like I can “waste” the milk we have available.

We have purchased 1/2 a share of a Jersey bull with our milk providing family purchasing the other 1/2.  They will use him for breeding their cows this month and we will let him court our cows next month.  After he is done getting his groove on with all the single ladies on both farms, he will be meat in my freezer.  He is a multipurpose bull!

So hopefully, he will impregnate (one if not all of) our 3 breeding age cows.  We hope to have some calves birthed around July of next year.  Once the calves are 1 week old, we can start collecting milk for our own usage again!  Yay!

But that is 10 months away!  Meanwhile, I am thankful for the milk we do have and look forward to the abundance of milking from my own cow again next year!  When I start feeling over whelmed by the gallons and gallons of milk I have this time next year, make sure you remind me of this post and how much I wanted all that milk.

The Milk Maid


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No Stink’in Way?!?!

This afternoon, while the girls and I were at our weekly home school co-op gathering, one of our cows escaped from her pasture.  The culprit cow was Tippy.  She is the calf of our milk cow.  Tippy was force weaned about 6 months ago.  She has since been residing in what we call the “weaned” pasture.  She bawled for the first week then seemed to settle into her new environment.  About 2 months ago, The Hubby enlarged the “weaned” pasture, and as a result, Tippy could see her mother from across the drive way.

The Hubby – looking for a quick fix to the problem of an escapee – stuck Tippy in the main pasture where her mother is located.  After 6 months of weaning, he felt it was safe for her to be placed in the same pasture.  Surely Maisy, our milk cow, would not let this nearly full grown heifer nurse……

The Hubby had a meeting this evening; so we went out to the barn later than usual for the night milking.  To our dismay, Maisy’s bag was completely empty.  Tippy had went right back to nursing after 6 months and Maisy let her.

I’m astonished.  I’m in shock. I can’t believe it! That little rascal!!!!! I do believe that calf  was smiling.  GGGRRR….

Lesson Learned:  “Out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to cows.

The Milk Maid

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With a cow’s udder…. 🙂

I shot this video a couple of days ago during our morning milking.  I was playing with videoing and was hoping to use it to experiment with video editing.  But much to my dismay, my videos are automatically converted into .MOV files (Quicktime) and my Windows Movie Maker doesn’t accept these files.  I have reported this problem to my computer technician (my brother) who is trying to help me figure out how to make it work.

In the video you can hear The Hubby and I having our morning chat about the weather and the day’s upcoming events from opposite sides of the cow.   Some mornings this is the only time we have to talk before he heads off to work.  Also, I took note that the video shows the actual milking process to be around 10 minutes.

And here is an interesting fact: It takes an average of 100 squirts to get a pint of milk.  That is 100 squeezes of the teat.  That’s an average of 800 for a gallon.  It sounds like a lot but as you watch the video you will see that it accumulates quickly.

So here it is.  Unedited, raw footage of the udderly amazing experience that we call Milking.  Enjoy!

The Milk Maid

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I woke up this morning all warm and snuggly in my bed.  As I roll out of bed, I choose my milking outfit as my first of the day.  This consists of 2 different pairs of socks layered atop of each other, 3 layers on my legs (long-johns and 2 pair of fleece pants) and 4 layers for my upper body (a T-shirt, a fleece pull-over, and 2 coats).  Then to complete the outfit I pull a warm cap over my hair and ears and slip my layered feet into wool lined boots.

Why so much clothing?  It is currently 9 degrees outside as I type this up.  Thankfully there is no wind to add to the chill.  It’s a beautiful morning.  The sun is shining over our property and it gives me hopes of warmer days.

So how does a person survive milking a cow in this weather?  Thankfully, we have milking down to a speedy art and it doesn’t take us more than 20 minutes from the exiting of our warm home to the re-entering of it.  Also, Maisy, our milk cow, is like all other bovines.  Their bodies are a very warm, very snuggly 104 degrees.  And unlike our protruding parts (fingers and toes), their teats are warm and the connecting milk bag is quite warm also.  So, as we get Maisy into the milking stall and fed, we snuggle up as closely as possible and start the process of emptying her bag.

This morning Maisy’s milk production is down a little so we make it back inside in less that our ritual 20 minutes.  When the weather drops to freezing and below (like today) her milk production is typically going to be lower because her water source is frozen. She needs water (and food) in order to produce milk.  The Hubby goes out every morning during these cold spells and breaks the ice in the water buckets, which is about 4 inches thick on days like this.  He then fills the buckets up so they can have some fresh water before it once again freezes over.  There are heat sources that you can purchase that help keep the water defrosted but we don’t currently have the funds in our farm budget for such.

Some may ask if it is really worth all the work, effort or hassle?  With some many modern conveniences and the ability to buy whatever you need at the nearest Wal-Mart, why would someone want to milk a cow?  For the love of butter, of course!

Once you have tasted the sweet creamy flavor of farm fresh butter, you will never again want to experience that store bought plasticy processed butter that has been dyed and preserved with who knows what.  It’s not only the butter.  It having fresh milk available at all times.  How many of you have had to make a “run” to the store to get milk?  Not I!  And how much do you spend for that milk?  As much as $5.00 for the “organic” stuff and as little as $1.50 for the store brand that makes me a little scared.  Let’s not forget all the dairy products that one can make with milk also.  My favorite would have to be the cream cheese or Neuchâtel.  Oh how my tummy growls at the thought of a pound cake made with fresh cream cheese and butter!  There is so many things you can do with fresh milk.

Yeah, I know that the farm life isn’t for everyone.  Many people could care less about the junk that goes into the processed foods you purchase at the grocery store.  Maybe the idea of having enough land for such is beyond your reach.  Maybe you are disgusted by the thought of handling a cows teats.  I don’t know everyone’s stand on the issue.  But for my family, it is the right choice.

So twice a day we make the trek to the barn to milk Maisy.  We take the time to strain the milk and make sure its clean.  We make our butter, sour cream, cheese, etc.  And you know what?  I feel a little healthier for it all.

The Milk Maid

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