Considering I usually have a milk cow or two on the place, that should come as no surprise. But a month ago when the weather turned cold and I had three calves willing and able to take the milk directly from Grace, I stopped milking. I've been buying milk and cream from the store.
I could have opted, as I did when Grace first calved, to steal a little milk to bring in the house and let the calves fight over what's left. One teat gives a half-gallon, which is plenty of milk for a couple of old folks. But I decided, instead, to take all her milk this evening. All the calves are over four weeks old, and eating lots of hay and grain. They will think they are starving tonight, but their hunger will actually cause them to eat more calf starter, which is a good thing because it gets them on the road to eating more grain and growing fast.
Because it had been so long since I milked, I was somewhat apprehensive. How would Grace take to it? She really enjoys nursing the babies. Would she perhaps try to kick, and fidget around? Maybe she wouldn't "let down" her milk for me, since she's used to giving her milk to the calves. Another factor was the mud. It's rained all day, and cows lie down to chew their cud, whether it's muddy or not. I took a bath towel out with me to wipe the moisture off the side I milk from, because who wants water dripping off a cow into their milk?
As it turns out, everything went perfectly well and I came in with two gallons of milk. Of course we won't be able to use that much milk before some of it spoils, but the chickens love clabbered milk.
So if any local relatives want to put in an order for some food item I make that needs a lot of cream (potato soup or rice-and-raisins), this weekend would be the time to do it. I'm just sayin'.