The Last Time

Last night I milked Lady Astor, the house cow, for the last time this season.  She does not know it yet because she is a cow and though invited to the meeting of me and … um … ‘me’ to discuss the future of her milking season – she had nothing to say other than “What is this crap hay?  I would not even waste Spit on this hay. Take this rubbish away and get me something decent to eat”.

But her production has dropped to about one and a half gallons a day so it is time to let her close up shop and concentrate on her growing calf.  (Though I never quite believe a cow is pregnant until we have another calf on the ground in the spring!)

So off into the back paddock she has gone. The milking door is shut and will remain shut.   I will leave her alone and do nothing that will give her the impression that we will be milking any evening soon. TonTon, who religiously goes out to escort the milking cow in at about 4pm every single day  (and cannot be commanded otherwise) will go and have a holiday in town with Nanny for a few days.

Lady Astor, after a rather rocky start, has been a lovely cow to milk for this summer. Even letting Our John be replaced by Hugo and having a myriad of visitors observe the milking. With just the odd kick in the face here and there! Bless her, she had never been milked before, always raised her own calves without humans trying to nick some milk for themselves. So she has done well. We have butter and ice cream in the freezer, in fact I froze more butter and ice cream than tomatoes this year!  And not even a whisper of the dreaded mastitis that dogged Poor Old Daisy. Lady Astor raised her own calf, Naomi, and fed us all as well. And hopefully next year will do so again.

Thank you Lady.

Much love,


55 Comments on “The Last Time

  1. Daisy will always be our flagship cow 🙂 I know you are going to miss your raw milk during the winter, hopefully Lady A will remember about milking in spring without the hoof action. Laura

  2. She has been a Lady of decided opinions but has clearly realised on what side her bread is buttered, and that the Farmy has only one female in charge, and it is not she. It will be lovely to have a new young calf around the place, hopefully another little heifer like the beautiful Naomi. Any news on whether Aunty Del has taken, or was the breeding not successful?

    • I watched Aunty closely at her last (possible) heat date and there was some shambling about but nothing lie her when she is in heat. Her next date to watch will be on the 12th.. on 4 days.. so we should know fairly soon if it has caught.. c

  3. Will Lady Astor have any discomfort now that you are not milking her? We are drying off our two milk goats, and have gone from twice a day down to once a day in the morning, and they are so full in the morning and crying to be milked. Now we’ll have to move to 36 hours between milkings, and hopefully in a week or so they will be dried off and doing well. A Billy Boyfriend arrived yesterday, and immediately, and I mean immediately, like within one minute of being put in with our girls, bred with one of them. I’d never seen it happen so fast!!! The two remaining should cycle into heat pronto with his being there with them. I’m already excited about baby goats next April!!! 🙂

    • Lady has been on once a day for so long that with the decrease in good feed, I was having trouble keeping the cups on her. Her teats are tiny now. Her milk only came down after I had started to milk. PLus the last two days she has been reluctant to come in at all. I expect her to make some noise in the evening because that is her milking TIME when she gets treats (the good green hay) and a pat and a brush. But she will be right down the back far from the barn and that routine. So she will moo a bit about the lack of good hay then go back to grazing. Her udder has not gotton tight in weeks. It is possible that your girls are just yelling about their routine being broken. Fancy your billy getting to them like that. Fast! c

  4. What a kind post. After finishing with my own milk for our first child, our daughter drinks cow’s milk and I’ve come to explain it to her as “a mama cow made extra so we could have some.”
    Best of luck next year. Hopefully it’s just as smooth on the mastitis front, with an ease of experience for her this round.

    • Yes – this has been a wonderful milking really – i am especially pleased that her calf was able to be with her the whole time til she was weaned.. a pity I could not have done that with Daisy but her udder was already way too huge – right from her first freshening she was in trouble.. Poor old girl.. c

  5. One of the reasons I love your post is that I do not live on a farm. My children don’t live on a farm. Not since my great uncle Hiram had his farm, has anyone in my family lived on a farm. We drink milk every day, eat butter every day…and rarely think about where it came from. About the cow that produced it and gave it to us. There’s a real animal out there with a real personality and a real life and real ups and downs for every cup we consume. I like thinking about that. The story behind every swallow and every bit and every satisfied stomach.

    • Yes. Just to take the pressure off her udder though, and after all this will be her diet all winter when the grass has gone. They will never eat hay over grass.. c

  6. I feel enormous sympathy for Lady A: I remember well the physical and emotional wrench when I had to stop feeding my baby due to an abscess. But I quite see the importance of nourishing the unborn calf.
    A beautiul day today, leading to an agricultural appreciation poem and picture.
    ViV xox

  7. I love that you are thankful. It is always good and kind to have gratitude. I hope you are having a lovely Sunday. It’s a beautiful, calm day here with lots of sunshine! 🙂

  8. I think we can chalk Lady Astor up as a success… she just needed encouragement and time to ‘get with the program’! Yesterday I bought my one and only new appliance to take with me for the upcoming move to the country… a yellow icecream maker that matches my kitchen which is similar colour to yours. I’m not a huge icecream eater but the G.O. is quite fond of it… but for 10 years in the city we’ve had a tiny freezer and no room for icecream. Also takes care of the issue of stopping it melting in summer 25 mins drive from the shops in town.

  9. I’m on a different milking schedule than you – April/May dry time – which gives me quite a bit of freezer space (frozen veggies/beef/pork/chicken and lamb have been reduced some over the winter) so I am usually able to freeze 25-30 gal. of milk to tide us (humans, chickens, pigs and cats) over until the next freshening — takes a bit of planning and LOTS of reusable jars 🙂

    • You must be in a milder climate, that sounds like a great idea, I milked Daisy through the winter once and it was HELL on everyone.. it is way too cold here for that to be anything but horrible.. c

      • I don’t think our winters are much milder than yours weather wise — we get lots of sunshine and not too much snow – more in the spring – temps average highs in the 20’s and lows in the 0’s….but can warm up to 50 and also freeze down to -25. I have always milked thru the winter…not fun on those cold mornings — things tend to not work so well — I have a heat lamp on my milking machine and SO many layers of clothes that it’s hard to bend over. I’m thinking about retiring my Molly cow in a year or two and my get a replacement cow that will freshen in March so that would give me at least a couple of winter months off…..getting harder to do as I age 🙂

  10. You delivered a nice Thank you speech about Lady Astor and her “milky ways” during summer. It’s so lovely how you put yourself in the position of her and sympathise with her. And again there is your caring nature being seen. How long is a cow’s pregnancy time? So when will the next baby cow be expected to come? And who is the Nanny who takes TinTin to town? Not a bad idea to release him a bit, but it will be a completely new experience for him…. – You’re sure he will have forgotten his “duty” concerning Lady Astor when is back again?
    Have a nice and comfortable evening, Celi!

  11. I would much rather have ice cream. 😉 TonTon gets a holiday–Does his Nanny spoil him like all good grandmothers do?

  12. Oh Daisy, I was remembering her as I began this post. Lady Astor has done so well. I know how happy you are when milk is pouring into the farmy and the larder is well stocked.

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