Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First Milk

Oh how I LOVE having a milk cow!

Fresh, raw milk from our own backyard Jersey milk cow.
Just over two liters of milk this morning. With NO bucket kicks!
Bridget Da'Cow and I are getting out milking routine down. It's taking a while for everyone to settle, so I expected a bit of an uphill climb. That's compounded by the fact that I've never milked anything before, so I am learning the technique while she is learning, well, everything that goes on here.

My setup is vastly different than what she was used to just a few days ago. For one, they used a milk machine frequently (not always), and I am in the 100% hand milk school. The folks at Beatitude Farms sold me on the virtue of hand-milking last year. So I never even considered a machine. So there's an adjustment. Second is the timing. Bridget was milked out around 5 AM so the dairyman could get finished and attend to his second job. I milk around 6:30 to 7 (after the sun is up). Third, she's used to a big ol' barn, a fancy stanchion, a dozen more cows, and the whole big operation. I have a T-post, a dog leash, and a steel bucket.

Supplies I use for milking: steel pail, colander, and glass storage jars.
My milking supplies are lo-tech, but effective for how I work.
So we're all adjusting. She's calmed down and is easily led now (it was a struggle all weekend). She's adapting well, and seems at peace. It is much more peaceful here than with the big dairy herd and machinery where she came from. I can tell that from just spending an hour down there.

Bridget the Jersey milk cow.
Bridget saying hello.
Oh yeah - she's also learning a new name. She was named "960" before (you can see that in the ear tag above), but we just love the name Bridget for a cow's name.

But with most of the early "get to know you" phase behind us, we can now work together to produce milk and meat for the family, and provide a calm, peaceful, loving acreage for her. Wife let the cream separate for a bit and made an afternoon coffee.

Afternoon coffee with fresh Jersey cream.
Coffee with same-day Jersey milk-cow cream. SO YUM!!
I sipped the sweet cream and coffee while taking a break from my day job and looking out the window, seeing Bridget ruminating in the peaceful sun of our quiet little homestead.

And I have found that nothing is better than for a man to rejoice in his work, and that this is his portion. -Ecclesiastes 3:22

Rejoicing is a whole lot easier with fresh, backyard milk.  :)

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