Saturday, July 25, 2015

Meet Erin, as I answer her milking questions

Someone who had never commented on my blog left her first comment the other day.  Since the name she uses to comment on Blogger is Erin from Iowa, I left a question for her in the same comment section, asking in what part of Iowa she lives.  She came back with this response, still in the comment section: 
"Hello again! I live in a loft style apartment in downtown Des Moines,Iowa. My three daughters also live in DSM with their families. I am deaf and lip read. I have lots of windows so I enjoy gardening with my houseplants. I also keep busy cooking, baking, reading, knitting, sewing, the list goes on. One good thing reading your blog did for me was made me realize I could get a breast reduction. Which I did in 2008. Five pounds off each side! I tell folks get two five pounds bags of flour and hold them to your chest. That's what it was like. So I thank you for being so forthcoming and helping others. :)"

I don't get nearly as many comments in my comment section as I once did, chiefly because I share each entry on Facebook as soon as I finish it.  (That's too soon, because I often find myself fixing typos and correcting stupid mistakes after several people have read it, but being polite folks, they don't say anything.)  These days most of the comments on my entries are on the Facebook update.  So this was a nice surprise, and a reminder that you never know whose life you may be influencing.

On my last entry, she posted some questions.  Being a city gal, she doesn't know any of the old-timey farm basics, and was curious.  So I'll answer those questions for her and my other "townie" readers.
"Do you have a post showing the steps taken to home pasteurize milk? How to get the cream off? How to store the milk and cream. You never know when city folk might find a source for the real deal."

If you click on THIS LINK, you will see how to pasteurize milk at home.  If you want to spend $400 or so, you can order a pasteurizer (click HERE).  

Around here, we drink raw milk.  Yes, we do.  In the interest of world health, let me give you a warning from our government, because we all know they have our best interests in mind:  

Why raw milk is dangerous

Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that can make you very sick or kill you. Yes, it’s true that it’s possible to get “food poisoning” or foodborne illnesses from many foods, but raw milk is one of the riskiest of all. Raw milk and products made from raw milk (such as cheeses and yogurts) can cause serious infections, such as SalmonellaListeria, and E. coli.

What happens if you get sick from raw milk

Getting sick from raw milk can mean many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Less commonly, it can mean kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders, and even death. The seriousness of the illness is determined by many factors, such as the type of germ, the amount of contamination, and the person’s immune defenses.
Speaking of immune defenses… it’s important to remember that some people are at higher risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk. The risk is greater for certain age groups, such as infants, young children, and older adults. It’s also particularly risky for pregnant women (and their unborn babies) and those with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV/AIDS.

I'm sure I'll drop dead any day now.  It's my opinion that people who live in the country and chore after animals build up immunity to things like e. coli, salmonella, and listeria.  My children grew up consuming raw milk, butter, and ice cream made from raw milk.  So did my parents and all my ancestors before them.  In past years there was one serious illness you could get from raw milk, undulant fever, which in cattle is called Bangs Disease.  That has been pretty much eradicated in this country.  TB was also a concern in the past, but I never hear much about that these days. 

I don't sell milk because the government has cracked down so much on it that it's almost an illegal activity these days.  We were buying milk at the store for the kid I babysit, but her mother, another country-raised lady, actually prefers that her daughter drink raw milk.  
Before I milk Penny, I clean off her udder with a soapy rag.  She seldom has any visible dirt on her udder, unlike Grace, whose nickname could be "Pigpen".  Clean or dirty, I clean off the cow's udder and dry it.  If any visible chunk of dirt or manure falls into the milk, I don't bring it to the house; the pig gets it. 
Now, as to how I get the cream off:  When the milk comes from the cow, of course, the cream is all mixed up with the milk.  But because cream weighs less than milk, it soon rises to the top.
I put a mark at the cream line in case it didn't show up, but you can see it pretty well.  The cream has a yellow color to it.  Jerseys and Guernseys give yellower cream than Holsteins because they don't process the carotene from the grass they eat.  If you butcher an animal of those breeds, their fat is yellowish, too.  By the way, most purebred Jerseys I've had would put twice as much cream on the milk.  I don't know if they are breeding that trait out of the breed, or if the small percentage of Holstein she has in her background cause the small amount.  
  And a ladle like this is what I use to skim the cream off the top.  I store the milk and cream in the refrigerator, as you would any dairy products.  When I save enough cream to make butter, I pour it into a gallon jar, put on a tight lid, and shake the contents of the jar until the yellow flecks of butter sort of lump up together.  Then I pour off the buttermilk (nothing at all similar to cultured buttermilk from the store), put the butter in a bowl, and keep washing it with cold water and working the hunk of butter until most of the milky color is gone from the water.  If you leave buttermilk in the cream, it will spoil faster.  The old-timers would let the cream sour before they churned it, but I prefer sweet-cream butter.
I hope this answers your questions.  As you can see, my background turned blue after I copied and pasted that government article onto this entry.  Isn't that just like the government?  They will foul up almost anything they get their hands on!


ingasmile said...

I love learning about milking. I think I would like to try it someday! But we don't have enough land for a cow right now, but you never know!


Angela said...

That is a neat story about Erin. I'm glad you learned more about her.


Fascinating tutorial. Being a raw milk drinking family for generations, I think your DNA could help create meds that can help those with various illnesses related to folks not exposed to things you are. just a thought.

Sister--Three said...

We drank raw milk at home. Brother Clayton would buy it locally and continued to drink and prefer it!

The buttermilk after we churned the butter is sooooo delicious!

Jon said...

Well, you've answered the questions I had about raw milk and never bothered to ask. I always wondered if you pasteurized it or not. Interesting post.

My New Jersey relatives who lived on farms, and my New Mexico relatives who lived on ranches, always drank raw milk and were never affected negatively by it. In fact, most of them lived to ripe old ages.

Jon said...

By the way, when I was young and lived in California I used to buy raw milk from a health food store (heck, I didn't have cows). It took awhile to get used to drinking it.

ErinFromIowa said...

Hi Donna! I made Greek Yogurt with what we are calling Amish milk. ;) I inoculated it with siggi's plain yogurt. Delicious! Best yogurt I ever made. I left the cream in it. I was too tired to mess with getting it off the top after fast cooling the milk to 110 degrees.
I feel famous after your post about me. :)