I wanted to document a milking in pictures for you. This was easier said than done as I needed to bring in people unfamiliar with my camera (Our John and Tall Teenager) to take the actual pictures. And there is no way to set it up. Milking time is milking time! So, this post has taken three days to make. Usually I ONLY post what happened in the last 24 hours. But to get the complete story we needed a couple of reshoots. If I knew I was making a documentary I would have been sure to wear the same thing for each take but ah well. I have to work with Daisy and ignore my camera people so it took us a while.
Before I begin to milk I bring Daisy in off the field to settle in the yards by the milking parlour. Hairy MacLairy always comes too and stations himself under the tree to wait.
The first thing I do is rinse out the bucket and the lines with very hot water. Daisy comes to the door the minute she hears the quiet chug of the little pump. When I am ready I ring her bell and in she comes. Cows are clumsy and being so large they are awkward in a small space so we always work quietly, doing exactly the same thing every day in the same order, so she does not get anxious and hurt herself or me. She has a tether on the wall. And her bin is full of treats – greens from the garden (she loves cabbage) and alfalfa cubes, barley and oats. Not much. Just enough for a treat and to help her get into the routine. She can see cabbage in her feeder!
If I keep my hand on her she is quiet. When we are by ourselves I might sing to her. Porgy and Bess is her favourite score so far. Oklahoma comes a close second. (Both records my parents had when we were kids growing up by the sea, so I know every word of every part!!) We usually don’t get very far as the milking is over in about three minutes.
When the milk has stopped flowing I cut the suction and take off the cups. Then her teats are annointed with an Iodine wash. It is not pretty but it is best to keep any wee bugs out of the udder. Iodine is old fashioned but no bacteria can live in iodine. Anyone milking cows is fastidious about hygiene.
So far she is averaging 33 pounds or 16 kg of milk, each milking time. That is 3.8 gallons or 14.5 litres. Twice a day. She gives more in the morning than the evening which is normal.
After the milking, everything is cleaned and sterilised again. It does not take long but it does need to be thorough. I portion out the milk into buckets and bottles, then I carry my share of the milk up to the house, set it to cool and go back out to feed all the animals.
The milk is divided between the calf (Bobby Blanc) , the piglets (The Shush Sisters), the pigs we are fattening (The Plonkers), the bottle fed lamb (Minty), the chickens, the cats and dogs and the house. Big Dog is the one who sits in the barn door and waits for his milk, glaring at any cats who try to jump the queue. Raw milk is a pure whole food and very good for an old dog like Big Dog so he is indulged.
You can see now why I call Daisy the Mother Ship. She is one of the biggest cogs in the farmy wheel. This is why she gets very good care and the best fields. She is our treasure.
Yesterday I made the long awaited cheesecake. Felicity’s Cheesecake made from our own milk. Pseu sent me this recipe a few days ago. It is in the comments section of this post. Which is a wonderful place to be by the way. Your comments are the fuel that this blog runs on. This cheese cake is lovely, lovely, lovely. Thank you Sarah. Here is the original reference.
AND also yesterday I made Mama’s Lasagne, every lasagne is different of course and this one is made with a layer of tangy home made ricotta mixed with home made yoghurt, rosemary and pepper. Home made noodles made with our own eggs. The sauce is made with one of the last jars of the 2011 summer sauce. This post from last August has my basic lasagne recipe and some images from old Route 66 service stations if you are into that kind of thing … which I am!
There you are. The cycle.
Good morning. The haymakers field was cut yesterday so we will be baling again this week. There is another pot of yoghurt turning on the cold concrete floor of the cave. Today I will start another hard cheese. I shall gather two gallons of milk from this morning and two from this afternoon and start it tonight using the yoghurt as a starter. You have a lovely day.
I have a surprise for you tomorrow. I hear Daisy calling from Pats Gate! She is early. Gotta go!