Friday, July 2, 2010

From Moo to You!

So, this is the the produce from the morning's milking!  Wow!  One whole gallon in the large square container, and most of a quart jar in addition.  Not bad for a little, new cow on grass!  And she's happy, too.  Content.  To think we'll get another full gallon this evening.  And by the way, she walked in by herself this morning, ignored her bellowing calf (which was tied out of reach), went right to eating her grain in the stall...oblivious to all our noise and machinations--getting her secured, and then putting the buckets in place underneath her...not a foot raised in either alarm or animosity...(and I seem to be particularly inept with my left hand, having only milked a cow that had one quarter on my side)(but I am getting better!) how could you ask for more.  At the end...she walked herself out, waited just outside the corral, I walked up to her with a newly purchased brush (one of the better reasons for going to town!) and brushed her all over.  She LOVED it...and stood, by herself, to be brushed as long as I would consent to doing so.  What an accomplishment!
Of course, the calf is now officially weaned.  No more mama's milk.  He's on grain and powdered replacer.   Had Marigold been an experienced milking cow, that would have happened within a couple days of the cow's having calved.  But, training the cow comes before efficiency.  Now, the next step will be to install our one-cow milker at the barn and work with Marigold to get her on the machine. The milker is capable --eventually -- of milking two cows at one time.  The automatic milker will save arthritic fingers and will ensure 100% cleanliness of the product since there is no space between cow and jar.  Yet another challenge begins soon!  Who says there are no adventures in aging?!

Which is to say, animal PARTNERSHIPS are both challenging and rewarding.  We work TOGETHER, not forcing, but asking, gently urging, quietly celebrating, bargaining, taking and receiving, and loving.  The bond is ancient and solid.  Our Border Collies offer much the same kind of relationships.  I find myself considering the tribes across the globe that have, for centuries, depended upon various milk-giving (cows, goats, camels, yaks, sheep, even horses) and skill-providing (herding and guarding dogs) animals for their sustenance. 

I've pondered how the bond came about--taming a virtually wild animal to that partnership in which the animal shares it's produce and trades it for ours.  It's an amazing contract and heartwarming to experience.  In this case, I give all the credit to my patient and gutsy husband.   I see Marigold, now,  as a gentle, humble, yet somewhat independent, individual who is now a member of our "family."  Not just "a cow" but a conspicuous and valuable cornerstone of our life here JOTOLR.  MM maintains that nothing contributes more to self-sufficiency and sustainability than having a Family Milk Cow.  For the vast array of products we get from Marigold, it's amazing.   

Now, what, in heaven's name,  you ask, does she do with all that milk?! Here again, the rhythm becomes the key.  It's part art, part science, part pragmatism, part experimentation as to what and how you manage--and I DO mean "manage"-- the milk flow at the kitchen door. When we first began, it seemed like every container we owned was filled with milk...and more was on the way!

I don't want to bore you all, so let me inquire:  would anyone like to know a little more about how I will make the various products that come from Marigold, on what time schedule, and how everything comes together?  Please comment and let me know.  If enough of you respond, I'd be more than happy to share my processes with you this coming week.  There is a better way to make butter than the "old-fashioned" dasher method; modern yogurt is a cinch and is soooo much better than storebought! I'll steer you in the direction of acquiring various cultures for the vast array of cheeses you can make;  I can take you to "merry old England" and show you how to make Creme Fraische; homemade cottage cheese is fabulous!  And has anyone (except Julia, whom I know knows...:-)) heard of the Weston A. Price Foundation?  Do you know about "ultra" pasteurization?  If not, there are good things to learn.  And I'll share with you some of the benefits of drinking raw milk and the scare tactics used to steer a would-be consumer of raw milk so they'd never go near it.  Do let me know.  If no one responds, I'll go on as usual!

It's Friday!  My, oh my!  When did the weeks, the days, the hours learn to fly?!  Thank you all for your visits this past week.  I have so enjoyed you!  I'll catch up with comment responses this weekend.  Your blogs, too, have been so captivating!  You've had so many wonderful additions and subjects this past week, and I've been unable to comment much on them.  But, this weekend will see some produce from me on that front. 

We're finishing up tomato-staking and last fertilizing, today; The chicks and turkey poults are growing at an amazing rate and I need to update you on them;  so, things are busy out here JOTOLR and we're loving every minute of it.  It's cool again.  (Sheet shock last night as we wormed into the hostile percales.)  We weren't ready for fall quite yet!  But it was definitely a "fall" night last night, up here in the mountains! Crisp and verrrrrrry cool!  Here's that same sunset I spoke of and posted yesterday.  It went on and on and on!

So, that's it for this week.  Have a lovely and safe July 4th weekend!  See you Monday!


  1. Elora - Yes, I am interested in the products that you make with your milk. I am familiar with the Weston Price foundation. That is another thing I remember from the farm life of my childhood. Drinking unpasteurized milk. I still remember the rich taste, delicious. Cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, butter all would be most informative. Hope you do write about it. I think you should put a book together about you and your husband, farming as retirees. My grandfather bought his dairy farm after retiring from his automotive job. He loved it and handled all aspects of the farm -- orchard, raising feed, vegetable gardening, dairy herd, ducks, chickens, geese and dogs. He had a wife that helped too. I just loved spending time at the farm and helping out when I could. Good post!-- barbara

  2. I look forward to your posts -- it's been quite awhile since we kept a milk cow and I could use some refresher tips for when our Marigold comes in.

  3. Well, I wouldn't know about Weston Price if it weren't for you, so I don't know if that counts or not. Heh. You know I'm always open to learning more about using fresh milk. Glad Marigold is settling down ... nice photo of the milk.

  4. I want to hear it all Elora. :) blessings, marlene