Dairy-maid’s Arms

When I was small my Dad used to squeeze my upper arms between his thumb and his forefinger and chant.. “and the muscles on her scrahwny arms stoock oot like spiders knees”. Always in a broad and deeply pretend Scottish accent.  I would scream with laughter and wriggle away, long sunburnt arms pumping my skinny self along the beach.  My spaghetti thin bendy legs flying up behind me.  When I was little I knew I could fly actually I am sure I still could,  I  just choose not to right now, thank you very much. I am practicing being grounded. milkmaids-arms-033

Anyway back to my Dairy Maids arms. Yesterday at the feed store the woman at the check out asked if I needed help picking up a mineral block.  I picked it up and smiled thank you, but I am a lot stronger than I look. She was gracious but disbelieving. I am not brawny much to my despair.  But I am fast developing milkmaids arms.

Here is why. Every feed bag of oats weighs 50 pounds. Every bale of hay weighs between 60 and 70 pounds -some are heavier) Every morning I carry three buckets of water over to the barn from the house for the milking.  Full, big buckets about 4 gallons of water in each. And we all know now that there is 8 pounds in a gallon. There is no running water in the barn remember.

milkmaids-arms-011 After the milking I lift the milk bucket which has between 40 and 50 pounds of milk in it. (Imagine how much Daisy would give if she had four healthy quarters!)  I then carefully divide this milk into six containers. One for Sheila and Poppy, one for the plonkers, one for the chickens, one for the peacocks, one for the cats and dogs, one for the bobby, one for the old dog and one for the house.  Holding that amount of milk up and pouring carefully into containers works the muscles very well.milkmaids-arms-006

Then the water is used to clean the milking hoses and bucket. First clean water is pumped through, then an acid is added to the next bucket and pumped through,  then a clorine solution to sterilise it all again ready for the next milking. Between each of these required washes I tighten the lid and bending my knees I pick up the milking bucket and shake it up and down to make absolutely sure both the bucket and the hose  and the cups are cleared of any old milk.milkmaids-arms-026

(Look above: see how Daisy’s ear is close to her milking bells – top screen left – I ring these bells and open the gate when it is time for her to come in to be milked.  If I take too long rinsing and cleaning before the milking she rings the bells with her ear! With HER EAR!  Banging the bells with her ear saying ‘Come On, get a wriggle on!’.  That cow is such a cow!

Anyway, that done I add the old rinse water to the pigs milk.

Then I carry each of these buckets to their recipients. The Bobby is now drinking out of a small bucket and Marcel is weaned (though sticks his wooyl head in the Bobby’s bucket of milk anyway) so there is no need to fill bottles as well now.

For the next few days I am doing this entire workout three times a day, usually twice a day.milkmaids-arms-018

Later I carry buckets of water to anyone in a pen. After dragging hoses about to fill the big troughs (from my one outside tap) .

Yesterday I collected a full 5 gallon bucket of restaurant scraps. It was so heavy I could hardly get it high enough to swing it into the boot of the cooking oil car. Full of twice baked potatoes and noodles and cake. (No wonder Sheila has trouble with her weight).  That will keep Poppy and Sheila going for few days.

You see what I mean?  I like my milk maids arms.

And in the not so distant future I will be hauling two chicken tractors down the fields three times a day!  No need for a gym membershop round here!

What shoe size is your pig?


Good morning. I hope you have a lovely day.


The kitchen pig! I am training her to stay on her cushion instead of standing in the middle of the kitchen moving to and from as I move to and fro.  She is getting it too.  Good little piggie.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farmy


47 Comments on “Dairy-maid’s Arms

  1. Reckon I should come and get some arm training in on the farmy C – I need it!
    Your first pic is absolutely adorable! Kitty is not too happy that piggy has a nice comfy warm spot inside. Jealousy.
    have a wonderful week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  2. i need a membership to the farmy gym too! i’ve been carrying big heavy planters and i can feel how out of shape i am after this winter.

  3. I hear you sister! Stone mason arms are big too… Been tossing around 75lb bags of mortar like pillows this week and feeling great about it. Eating like a horse, too. The only dietary worry in this work is whether I can eat enough to keep going (and then learning to stop in the off season when I don’t have such hungry muscles!). Keep up the good work!

  4. I have plump arms that can’t lift pussy! Haiga on the way on that first picture! Enjoy your day. We’re going to a concert tonight given by my friend’s French choir, Villebeauson, augmented by a visiting British choir, so the concert is called Frangles.

  5. I think we need to petition John to lay a water pipe to the barn! Up until the time you wrote about moving the chicken tractors I was still thinking you would need a gym membership for a bit of treadmill/spinning training 🙂 Laugh. Your cat is totally shocked at Tima on a cushion in the kitchen 🙂 Daisy ringing her bell reminds me of the horses that all bang their stable doors with front hoof at feeding time, you can’t hear yourself think! I’m going to have to walk up my flight of stairs at least 10 extra times a day (sigh). Laura

  6. Hi Celia
    I love how your posts arrive on my iPad at the start of my first break on graveyard shift at the bakery. It’s a little artisan bakery in about an hour north of Auckland. I’m quite new to this volume of baking – 20kg flour sacks, liters of water, and dough …. soft floppy 15 kg doughs to wrestle out of the mixer and onto the bench to form, proof, bake and pack. I too am learning of muscles I had long forgotten the use of. I have been at the baking for about three months now and the results on the physique are seriously better than any gym membership. And what really rocks? They pay me! Yup money for getting fit and doing what I love – I am right along side with you there.
    I love reading about your four legged family, makes me think its time I put in some effort with my own little farm blog.
    You are an inspiration lady. Thank you.

  7. I am laughing at your muscles like spiders knees. Jack always said I had muscles like sparrows kneecaps! Like you, I have no time for going to a gym, but prefer to work out at home to music with a good beat. Household chores are all done in half the time with good music.

  8. I know what you mean about dragging hoses around Celi, as we, too, have only one outside source of water for the farm. But I’m thankful for that source, especially after having to pack water from the house to all the animals this frozen winter. That little Tima is growing like crazy already!!! xo

  9. I know just what you mean – and after a looooooong cold winter my muscles are reminding me they have been on holiday for quite a while. I have old red brick paths every where, which are really nice and rustic – until they are home to growing more dandelion plants then I can count. So yesterday armed with spray bottle of white vinegar I crouched and sprayed, crouched and sprayed, crouched…. you get the picture! Did this for over two hours! This morning my hands are stiff and my knees are too LOL. Who needs a gym?
    Hugs, Lyn

  10. Marmalade wants in….wants in now! 🙂 Great images today, as usual. Make sure you are eating enough. That is a lot of expended energy!

  11. I’m in love with your kitchen pig 🙂
    In my late teens and early twenties, I had kennel maid’s arms. This enabled me to beat men at arm-wrestling in the pub, which earned a pint of beer a time. This was just as well, as on kennel maid’s pay, I couldn’t afford to buy my own pint!

  12. I totally relate to your work ethic and farmy workout routine. My husband’s employer has a wellness program where we log our “workout” hours on a spreadsheet. I used to work out at the company gym before we moved to this ten-acres. I get a more of a well-rounded workout here doing my daily chores than I ever got in that gym. People can say all they want that I’m just skinny or lucky that I have a high metabolism, but the truth is – I work my patootie off on this place keeping active with every day work. We farm girls are a tough breed… and I’m proud of that!! We all rock, don’t ya think? LOL

  13. Yup me too with the weight lifting, 30kg feed sacks, one hose that gets hauled between the pigs bath and the vege patch, then water from the bath to the pigs in 15 litre buckets. But the hardest is moving the electric fence every week. The line is 400 metres, it gets rolled in, the fence posts are moved then the line is rolled out again, all done on a hill, AND you have to keep the line taut the whole time else it all goes to hell in a hand basket. Very good for the abs and triceps, but I am seriously exhausted when I am done particularly if I dont do it at the crack of dawn before it gets hot. I liked this post, lots of farmy detail. I hope you can beat that damned Mastitis, so frustrating. Have you had time to make any cheese yet?

  14. We have a lot of plans for our future farm and your blog discusses a very good reason why it’s important not too take on too much too fast. The body needs time to build more muscle and adjust to the added responsibility it takes to run a farm of any size.

  15. So, you and Clover have another thing in common, besides a deep love of cute kitchen pigs, you both have fantastic toned arms. (Her’s from rock climbing) Chloe thanks you very much for the photo; she’s saved it to her favourites. 😀 I love that first photo of poor Marmy looking into the kitchen. I so recognise those cat ears of hope…lol. Hope you let him in.

  16. Poor Marmy,,,,kicked out because of a pig, no less. When I was younger I had great muscles, too. After we lived on our farmy for a couple of years I said we needed some water out in the barn and the garden and everywhere else. Took us two years to get all the pipes in. DH did the trench digging by hand. As far as I am concerned, it is the biggest convenience on the place. More than hot water, even. A bell ringing cow…music in the barn.

  17. I’ve met you, Celi, and I’m amazed that you can lift and lug the weight that you do. You should sell weekly memberships on the farmy. Just one week on the farmy and your customers would be in the best shape of their lives. I was in the yard with Max and the wind shifted a bit, there was a chill in the air. Looks like we’re heading back to normal again. We did have 3 very good days, though, and there are plenty more ahead. Have a great day, Celi.

  18. Every post is so precious! You make me smile and giggle with delight! I know you are working so hard….but it is good work and you must be satisfied to your very soul! Thank you so much for opening a wee window to your world for me to have a peek in. HUGS

  19. I was just going to ask when you found time for a daily gym workout, but strangely enough I see you don’t seem to think you need one! *chortle, chortle*

  20. I have had my daily exercise just reading through what you do…I am absolutely whacked. Now I need a rest..
    your piggie must be really tiny, can you measure the length and height please…..
    mind your back doing all that lifting

  21. My puppy rings a bell hanging on the back door when she wants to go out, if I don’t hear it the first couple of times when it’s a gentle tingle, she gives it a good hard whacking against the door…that brings me running. I have a daily workout too in my little urban homestead, hauling bags of chookfood, bales of hay and sugarcane mulch and water buckets…tiring but satisfying.

  22. I just love the picture of Marmalade looking in, saying ‘what?’ at seeing a pig on the cushion.

    I also have those arms! Hubby said he’d heft something for me yesterday, and I just smiled and said, ‘you have no idea what I do all day, do you? I’ve got it.’

  23. I think Marmalade has “the sad face” on….so cute peeking in on Tima…….they don’t say “Cats are curious” for nothing…LOL! 🙂

  24. So are we going to have a photo of your muscles? How about a farm gym business, and you could get the members to do their workouts with the buckets of milk and water.
    Seriously though, could you pipe some water to the barn? Kiwis would just run an alkathene pipe down there – if it is down, of course. Gravity is needed to cooperate with such a scheme.

  25. Oh my, Tima is growing quickly! I know what you mean, if I had to go to a gym to work out it just wouldn’t happen. Last year I hurt my arm and seriously thought I tore something so I went to have it looked at. I had a shirt over a tank top and when I took off the shirt the look on the doctor’s face was comical. He said ‘my goodness you have very toned arms’, I guess that’s not usual for a 60 something year old woman, haha. Now I can’t stop with the lugging lifting etc. or my ‘toned arms’ will develop the ‘double wave’.

  26. Have a total inferiority complex reading this . . . virtually ‘living’ in my office most of the day I think every body part protests when I drag 30 litre bags of garden soil around 🙂 ! Preferably one at a time!! Luv the ‘peeking in thru’ the window’ photo!!!!!!

  27. The expression on Marmalade’s face is priceless, as is Daisy’s ringing of the bell. You know what they say about cats and staff – seems to be the same for cows. Like Eha I currently spend a lot of time at a din the office. I’m always parroting ‘use it or lose it to my Dad’, and try to take my own advice by walking, cleaning etc but when we’re at Taylors Arm a couple of hours gardening has my measure. One day however…

  28. Love the kitty captured peeking in the window. That Daisy is a character. She’s a smart girl. You really do get a workout every day.

  29. I’ve thought about adding a “Daisy” to my farmy….did you grow up on a farm with these types of animals, or did you learn how to care for them along the way?? I’m a city girl who’s heart has always been on a farm..finally after 48 years…I’m here!! I want to add more animals than my chickens, but am not sure how to learn about all the stuff you do. Any hints?? Also, with all that responsibility, do you ever get to leave the farmy?? How is the farm cared for if you do? I HAVE to be able to make a trip to my happy place…Disneyland…once a year or two..LOL!

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