Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ah, the country life for me

I haven't bought any milk since my Jersey cow, Bonnie, gave birth. I get plenty from her to supply me and Cliff and his sister Rena next door. I put her calf up overnight when I want milk, and next morning I take half of what she gives, leaving the other half for Sir Loin.
This is a sharp contrast to the way it was for all those years I milked cows and fed the excess to bottle calves and pigs. Back then I was forced to milk twice a day, rain or shine. But I was younger, and I really loved doing it. Now the calf takes care of the milk until I need some, which is about twice a week (we don't drink that much, but I skim the cream off for butter... and Cliff's sister uses some).
Because we've had problems getting the timing right with artificial insemination for Bonnie, we're going to take her to Cliff's brother's place for a visit with a Polled Hereford bull. She should come in heat Sunday, and if all works out, we'll bring her home Monday or Tuesday. Of course Sir Loin has to go along, to relieve her of her milk. We're also taking the brother-in-law's two whiteface heifers home; they're safely weaned now.
I was going to collect a gallon of milk this morning, to supply us while Bonnie's gone. There was a torrential downpour going on, so I put on coveralls and boots and got an umbrella. I took the usual small towel to wash her udder, plus a bath towel to dry her body on the milking side. Because I don't want rainwater running off a dirty cow dripping into my bucket of milk.
Bonnie has gotten to the point where she will "let down" her milk for me, without her calf being there. This is a good thing, because that Baby Huey of a calf butts at her and manages to drink his half of the milk in a minute flat, while it takes five minutes or so for me to get my gallon. I usually milk at least half-a-gallon out, then let the calf in while I finish milking my side.
But this morning Bonnie wouldn't let down her milk. Okay then, I'll let the calf in and fight with him for it, I says to myself.
He began butting at her udder like crazy; she wanted to kick at him to suggest he stop that, but that's her baby, right? So she lifted the back leg on my side. Oh, she didn't kick me; she wouldn't do that. But she kicked the bucket, getting barnyard muck on the edge of it and spilling what milk I'd collected.
We'll be buying a half-gallon of milk this week.
"Don't cry over spilt milk" comes to mind.


  1. The milk you buy will be disappointing for sure. Sorry you had such a rough time this morning. You think now Bonnie will have another calf in the Spring?
    Hope the rest of the day goes better. No rain here today but it starts again tomorrow and all through the weekend.

    'On Ya'-ma

  2. I remember the kicking of the bucket very well especially if there happens to be a small brier caught in her udder. Sometimes the foot would land in the bucket. Ruins the milk for sure. Helen

  3. Bet you won't like the price of milk either.


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