Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I love gentle cows

First of all, let me tell you that my twice-a-week milking is going great. I'd only have to milk once a week, because a gallon is about all Cliff and I use. But I like to keep it fresh, so I skim off the cream, we drink what we want from that gallon, and in three or four days, I pour out what's left and we start on another gallon... skimmed, of course. I'm still having fun churning, but after taste-testing a little butter on a cracker or piece of toast, I freeze the rest; home-made butter is great in baked goods. Neither Cliff nor I ought to be eating butter, but I'm using it in moderation.

Bonnie is one of the best-natured Jerseys I've ever milked. Now that she's used to the routine, she stands quietly, even when her sweet feed is gone. She doesn't poop or pee during the milking. You might wonder why I'd mention this: Well, I've had cows that got into the habit of doing this every time I milked them, as soon as their feed was gone. When this happens, I have to grab the milk bucket and get up really fast, because who wants drops or specks of that sort of thing in their milk? If the milk gets contaminated, I pour it out. I'm not squeamish, but there are some things I won't ingest.

I noticed the other day that Cliff had stored my old milk stool up high in the barn, and I decided to try it. That didn't work so well, since my knees don't like for me to squat. That red stool I started out with is serving me just fine. The milking stool simply consisted of two pieces of two-by-four, made into a "T". The advantage of it was that if you needed to get up quickly, it fell over and gave you room to move away quickly; since Bonnie is such a sweet, gentle lady, I don't need that anyhow.

I've mentioned before that Cliff's brother brought two whiteface heifers here: one is seven months old, and one is thirteen months. The youngest was brought to wean her from her mother, and the oldest is here to keep her away from the bull for a couple more months.

I generally call the cows up once a day, even when I'm not milking. I scatter a little feed in the trough so they'll know that they are rewarded if they come when I call. This will make it easy to get them up and loaded when Phil wants to take them home.

The younger heifer, taking no interest in the feed that Bonnie and her half-sister are eating.

The young whiteface is wild as a March Hare; if I so much as step toward her from across the pen, she's gone.

The larger one, though, has never shown a lot of fear; and now she'll actually let me pet her while she's eating. I've gotten rather attached to her, and I keep telling Phil I'm not sure whether I'll let him take her home.

Maybe the younger one is wising up; this morning after I left the pen, she joined the others for a taste of sweet feed.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You are a gentle woman and that could be why you have some gentle cows around you. I think any animal senses that kind of thing. How nice to see you in the pictures today.

madcobug said...

Bonnie is a good gentle cow. I didn't see Secret in the pictures. Is she still around or have I missed something? Helen

Paula said...

Aww what a nice girl Bonnie is. You sure have some green grass there.

Barbara said...

Love the cows AND your beautiful place! Ever notice how sticky something gets when you fry with vegetable oil in it repeatedly? Doesn't seem to develope that film with butter or lard. I often wonder if we don't "healthy" ourselves to death sometimes.