Wow we have been so busy this last couple of weeks! It seems like we have something going on about every night. Last weekend when it was warm, we got the cow lot scraped and everybody bedded down for the cold weather and fresh mulch spread on the walking paths. We got the store painted and some shelves put up. We also put up some videos of us milking, feeding the baby calf and making butter. On Sunday, we had our families over to celebrate Harrison's birthday. It's amazing how comfortably 16 people fit in a 575 square foot house! We all went down to the creek and walked and slid on the ice. It was a great weekend. We're really looking forward to the nice weather this weekend as well.
It was really cold this morning, but proved to be a good day to take pictures. We took some videos and pictures to add to the website. We have been working on the site to make it easier to find the new information and added a blog for Christopher, so he can keep everyone updated on the projects that he is working on. Check it out!Check out Christopher's Blog!
Thank you to everyone for all of the great feedback on the website. We're so excited! We posted some winter pictures that we took today of the calves (including the new one) and some of the things that Christopher has built. We will continue to post picture and videos, so keep checking back.
We separated the milk tonight and got half of a gallon of cream. That puts us up to 4 gallons of cream in the fridge. Looks like it's time to make butter again! Last time we had about 4 1/2 gallons of cream and we got 42 lbs of butter! Needless to say we fry everything in butter. And our cholesterol levels are great - no kidding!
Our favorite breakfast these days is a slice of buttered Wise Oven Sourdough toast topped with an over-easy fried egg, saurkraut and Cholula hot sauce. We of course wash this down with a cold glass of milk! We love breakfast.
Lilly had her first calf a week ago today, just as the snowstorm started. She had a pretty red and white heifer. Yay! We got about 7 inches of snow that day and school was cancelled for 2 days. Since she's a first calf heifer, she had a lot of swelling in her stomach and udder, so I was really worried about frost bite on her teats. Fortunately, she's a small cow, so she and her calf fit in one side of a small shed that we sometimes use for baby calves and they were both able to stay warm in the subzero weather. I left the calf on her and also milked her twice a day for about 4 days until the temperature came up. I have separated them now to train the calf to nurse a bottle and tame her down a bit. In a couple of weeks I'll probably try to put the calf on a nurse cow. Lilly gave 20 lbs of milk each of the last two milkings and her udder is looking very nice. She lets down her milk quickly and milks out very easily. It's so exciting.
Now that Lilly freshened, I'm milking 3 cows (Daisy, Dharma and Lilly) and I'd like to stay at 2. So, I think I'll make Dharma a nurse cow for Lilly's calf. Dharma is only producing about 13 lbs per milking and she's been milking for 8 months, so her production won't come back up too much. I already have 2 calves on her sister Dolly, so I'm hoping the 2 of them can nurse the 3 calves. Then I'll be back down to 25 minutes to milk 2 cows with no bottles to feed. We'll see how it goes, but that's my plan.
This website has been in the works for quite a while. It's hard to find the time to work at the computer, but I have a lot of information that I would like to share about dairying. Even though we love milking, it's a very complicated business to manage and takes a lot of time and energy. There are so many aspects and so much to learn. So far, we just have basic information about us and our farm on this site, but I hope to continue to add information, stories, diagrams, pictures, instructional videos, a glossary of farm terms and anything else that might help things go a little more smoothly for anyone else who wants to milk or learn about milking. When you get dairying in your blood, you just can't help yourself. :) I am lucky to have a family who is very supportive and knowledgeable about milking and I hope to pass this on to others.