Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Milk

Well, until November, anywhoozles.

Bridget chows down her last bucket of oats before I milk her out for the last time
until after she calves.
It was kinda sad, but I'm also ready for a break.

The saddest part is no fresh chocolate milk or coffee cream.  :(

But I am ready for a break. It's been steady milking since February, with a brief few-day break in March when I let Brisket have it all while we were out of town. Her production plummeted then, so I went to three-a-days for a week to get it back up.

Since then, it's been twice a day, every day. I never did the kids to milk successfully this go-around, and Wife was exempt due to her yogurt, butter, and cheese making abilities. In preparation of the dry-off, I went to once a day in late July. So, mid-March up through nealry August, I milked twice a day. Every day. I knew this, and accepted it, back when I was musing about the pros and cons of the family milk cow.

But like all things in nature, it can't be "ON" 24/7/365. We all need a sabbath, of sorts. So, Bridget will now devote her energy into growing out her calf and building her condition before winter. I will get a much-needed rest for my forearms.

The milking supplies will be put away for two months. From bottom, we have the milk jug,
a cloth to dry the udder, a bowl of soapy water with a washcloth for udder cleaning,
my morning coffee, a bottle of DIY fly spray (ineffective, FWIW), and a brush.
Bridget turned to smell it all.

Yup. The last milking for two months.

Bridget in the stanchion.

Action shot!
This is what I got today:

It's a bit less than a gallon.
So, tomorrow morning, and for the next 60-ish days, I will simply tether Bridget out to graze first thing in the morning. She'll be off her oat treat, and be grass-only with water and minerals.

based on when the farmer I got her from says, Bridget is due to calve on All Saints Day - the first day of November. Now, it could swing a few days to either side, of course, but based on a cow's cycle, could also be three weeks later.

But she IS pregnant, which has been confirmed both by a blood test I did in May and by my feeling the calf kick me during several milkings. That's a cool sensation.

I will miss the yogurt, the coffee cream, the chocolate milk, the fresh butter, the heavy cream and fruit, the farmer's cheese, and the other yummy dairy stuff Wife is so awesome at making. But that's OK. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, eh?

Plus, with the extra half hour back in my day (45 minutes if you count clean-up), I can use the next few months to first catch up on sleep, and then catch up on odd and unfinished projects around the homestead. i am looking forward to that.

I am also looking forward to the calf - our next newest member of the farm family.

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