For many years, I milked anywhere from two to a half-dozen cows and fed their milk to baby calves, so I was tied down to the milking routine in a big way. Believe me, we never went on vacation, even overnight; I had to be home for the twice-daily milking. Not that I really cared, back then; most times we really couldn't afford a vacation anyhow, and Cliff has always been a home body. And I did love my cows and calves.
(Click on any picture to see it in more detail)I found this picture from the mid-1990's. Now, why I was hand-milking a cow when I owned a bucket milker, I can't tell you. Maybe she had just freshened (had her calf) and I was just getting enough out to relieve the pressure. Notice my bare feet: see how close the cow's hind foot is to my left foot? That poor foot was stepped on many times over the years, but that didn't make me wear shoes. A podiatrist took x-rays of my feet a few years ago and asked, "When did you break your toe?"
Let me count the times and ways. I remember over the years how children and adults would ask why I never wore shoes, and I really had no answer except that it's one of my many eccentricities. I just feel much freer when I don't have to wear shoes.
Cliff's shop is located in the area where I gardened back then.This picture was in the previous entry, but I like how it shows all the calf hutches in the background. I'd pour the milk into a bucket and then pour it from the bucket into half-gallon calf bottles and feed the babies. I had hangers for the bottles that hung on the panels in front of their hutches, so I didn't have to stand and hold the bottle; I'd just walk along hanging the full bottles, refilling them as needed for the next calves in line (each calf only got one bottle-full).
There are reasons for the individual houses for calves: Young baby calves get sick really easily, and if they're cooped up together, germs spread like wildfire. Another problem is that after they've had their bottle, they tend to nurse on one another, whether it's on the little udders of the heifers or on the umbilical site or one another's ears. This can cause problems of various kinds. So I'd keep the calves separate until they were well weaned. Believe me, I spent a lot of time cleaning those hutches and carrying fresh water and calf starter (grain) to each calf. It was fun, and I'd love to do it with just one calf again; but not on the scale that I did back then!
blog I enjoy reading because it has lots of pictures of squirrel dogs, and those remind me of the terriers I've had in the past.
At that time I had a varmint-proof chicken house and pen; even the top of the pen was covered to keep predators out. That's the only way you can keep poultry around here.
That's enough strolling down memory lane for awhile. Looks like I have an application to fill out, and a $57 check to write to the IRS, so I can get a copy of our 1986 tax return. *sigh*