A momentous decision

I have decided that this season is my last summer milking cows. It has taken me a lot of thinking but I have made up my mind. A number of reasons really – among them and the most important: my family keeps growing, they do not live close to me and I cannot travel for eight or nine months of the year. I am tied to a cow. Sometimes my children need my help and I want to be available for them.

Another  reason is getting the cows pregnant. My cow vet is far away now and coordinating with someone to breed them has become a real problem. Asking favours of people I do not know to breed cows I don’t want to milk. It all adds up.

It is a hard decision with a lot ahead but I know it is right.

So (as well as a few steers) I will be selling Aunty Del, Carlos (who has produced no calves) and Aunty Anna. Lady Astor is too old to be sold on, and she has been a good milking companion – once she accepted her training and stopped kicking me – but her udder needs special care so unless I can find her a special home, she can just make like a horse and wander about the back fields for a while.

It will be a wrench to sell the Aunties but it has to happen. Aunty Del is young – she has a real future as a milk cow. Alex, Txiki and Tia will go to visit a local low line Angus, but they will raise any calves they have as beef. Both of the young ones are half Angus. I am not milking them.

My fourth son who lives in New Zealand is out working in California for a few months and he has his family with him and I cannot visit them because I am milking a cow. This makes me sick. I so seldom see my family. How can they possibly understand. Choosing a cow over them. I need to be able to move about more now. That is all.

Anyway that is my decision. And I am happy with it. I will  milk Lady until Christmas then hang it up. 

Today Alex leaves us and I am on my own for three weeks. John is home one day a week. But I am almost up to date in the gardens, Alex has left me in good shape, so as long as I put in the hours it will be alright. I really need the gardens to sell produce so I can go home to New Zealand for Christmas this year.   I am happy to put in the hours. It all works out.

It is dry now – after all that rain. And hot. Now I am watering every morning and evening.

Rue the wee piglet came in and hung out in the house for the day, rearranged all my furniture and stuck his nose into everything, he played with a pile of ice on the verandah for ages but I got nothing done – he cried and carried on every time Boo and I went into the gardens.  He is little and bony but healthy  and bright so the pig lady is coming to collect him today. She loves it when I send her a runt. He will do well with her.

The corn is up. 

Oh and all the piglets are now together – the barn doors and both the backyard gates are wide open.  No problems at all. The pigs adapted well.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love celi

The weather forecast: If I had hay I would be cutting it. Hot and dry.

Saturday 06/10 0% / 0 in
A mainly sunny sky. High 89F. Winds SSW at 15 to 25 mph.

Saturday Night 06/10 0% / 0 in
Clear. Low 68F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph.




49 Comments on “A momentous decision

  1. Decisions like this are so difficult, but you know what is best for you. The milking thing is a tough one, as I know! I am just lucky my boys are in the area for the moment

  2. A hard but sensible decision…Family are a most important of anyone's life…so well done Miss C…a very good decision  

    Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 1:15 PM

  3. i think that this is a good decision overall. while some things will be lost, you will gain so much more –

  4. No decision you make on the farmy is an easy one C, but it always has to be one which works for you.
    Have a glorious weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. Tough decisions, but you know what is best for you. We know how you love your travels, but oh, the cream, yogurt and ice cream . . . . A shame the family doesn’t come to visit you. I hope they do.

    • Yes the cream. My children and their families live all over the world – they all visit on occassion but it should be easier for me to move about than for them.. c

  6. I am thinking along the same lines. My 82 year old mother came to visit for graduation and I realized that this could be the last time I see her. I can’t leave the farm to make a trip to Texas because I am milking a cow. All my children will be gone to college next year so I won’t even have any milk drinkers at home. I’m still in the process of thinking this through, however, since our milk cow is like a big dog and one of the family. Hmmmmm. Much to think about.

  7. This is a big decision!!! So glad to read your careful thoughts and that you feel good about it. Hope you can get to CA again somehow to see them before they leave.

  8. Hard as change is, progress is rarely made without it! Pleased the piggy transitions went smoothly 🙂 Laura

  9. My family gave up our dairy business in 1993. We were all a bit lost for a while. It is so hard to redefine your time and purpose when you quit something that has taken up so much of your life for so long. The cattle will adjust and so will you. You will find that time without milking is good time and relinquishing those ties that held you back will feel more like freedom. You will still be able to witness the soothing energy of Lady Aster in the pasture. 🙂 Best wishes for your new start.

  10. You are wise to follow your gut, to weigh and measure what is important to you. Most of my unhappiness in life is because of decisions I make to do for others and not having followed my heart for my own good. To be courageous and loose yourself of what is not working or prohibiting you from living your life, is the best gift to give yourself and those around you. You should enjoy being the mother and grandmother that yearns to be a gypsy… to travel and be present to enlighten your growing family and bathe them in love.

  11. The Fellowship has said it well, be true to yourself. If only you had some maids a ‘milking’ to rely on. Do what you must. Perhaps some barter in the area with a small farmer who milks their own cows could provide butter and other dairy products. Just a thought.

    • Hmmmm, aids to milking rather than Maids…. Is it too late for Lady A’s calf to take back the store, so to speak? Any chance of a local who would come milk and take the milk with them for a week to allow you a CA break – and if that works, maybe periodically through this last milking season? Do you have any nearby Amish or Mennonite families – just thinking with my fingers. (call Lady A your therapy milker and take her with you! What a sight that would be!)

  12. I remember the day we gave up the milking. It was a sad day. BUT we kept all the cows and started raising beef cows from them. The steers brought in extra money and the heifers were kept to grow the herd. We kept cows for years this way…when Terry decided he was done with fences and the herd cows I cried. But life does move on. And so did we. Something goes and we all adjust.

  13. Wow! This is major! Heartbreaking. I admire you so much for having the courage To make such hard decisions, especially when John is disappointed. You have made enormous sacrifices. You have given ALL to your critters particularly your cows. Thinking of Daisy and your recent absolute terror with Lady and milk fever.

  14. What a great plan for you, Celi! I’m so glad you’re making the hard decisions early and doing what’s best for you. My husband and I are trying to forward-think our lives, and it’s been illuminating to see the picture as it is, and not what others would like it to be for us. Most (if not all) of our friends and family have their adult children close (within same state or easy day’s drive) and do not move around. We, however, are getting ready to launch both of our young adult sons out into the world, and our future looks very different with both of them possibly being at opposite ends of the world on any given day. Our future is full of travel, both for them and my husband’s job, so for us moving to a rental, lowering daily responsibilities around the house (read: garden and pets), and being flexible at a moment’s notice is essential. What an adventure that lies ahead! Good on you for shifting your life to align with your current and future realities. Most people find that too difficult. Maybe we’ll cross paths on a layover somewhere around the world in the future…. 🙂

  15. Well done in making a very wise decision, as you say your family is growing and of course it’s only natural that you would want to be able, at a moments notice to join them where and when you want.

  16. A tough decision to make. These days with air travel and distance being less of a problem finding yourself stuck because of something like milking a cow has to be difficult. I think of those women during pioneer times whose children married and moved away, sometimes not all that far by our standards, who were not seen again during their lives. Perhaps having the cow was a comfort back then. It certainly would be nice to have someone able to come and milk Lady A so you could scoot off for a visit. I know you will find the best possible home for the Aunties. I know the milk, cream, butter, yogurt, etc. will be missed. Change, the most constant of constants and not something that can be escaped.

  17. Yes, the only thing constant, is change and without it…we are stuck in a rut which helps no one to move forward and do what they must! I admire you for making this huge, difficult but very important decision. Our families must come first for our happiness and theirs. You will be able to bask in their love and they in yours, so much more often! As it should be!

  18. J & D > Similar hard decisions to be made here. But nothing like giving up milking: that’s such a major major aspect of daily life, and of course there’s the special relationship that develops with the milk cows. That’s why we didn’t start. You’ve given up the reality ; we gave up the fond hope – and at the very point where after nearly forty years of gestation (pun not intended) it was about to come to fruition. It was too late.

  19. Lots of thoughts Celi.. milking is such a committment, so it will feel lovely for you to be freed from that… and at the same time so hard to make a decision like that which involved other creatures and their welfare… and yet when it’s the right decision for you, it will work out for them… the universe always balance the right things out… and how lovely to think you’ll be in NZ this Christmas… any chance of another rendezvous? I’d break an arm and a leg to get to see you – actually no – been there, done that – but will drive for miles anyway…!!!

  20. You are a wise, sensible and good woman and have reached this decision using those talents and I totally respect you for it and understand. We only have two small dogs and life is complicated enough so I can only imagine how many considerations come into play to organise a trip. Big hug xx

  21. A tough decision, but, one that sounds right for you and your family. Life never stands still and we must learn to adapt and move forward, even if that means making tough decisions:)

  22. Absolutely logical, to my way of thinking! You have had to make changes all the time since I first came to have a cuppa some four years ago . . . . you know what is needed ! And this makes total sense – wish you could do it this year. My only problem is that we all need milk products for a balanced diet . . . so hope you will find some organic sources to fill in the gaps. Good weather and lots of energy for the growing garden in the meanwhile till your next wwoofer arrives . . .

  23. I’ve always toyed with the idea of milking a goat or a cow but two reasons have held me back. One, as you’ve mentioned is the need to be there every day, sometimes twice a day at about the same time each day. Two, they have to have babies to have milk, seeing that I recall only one creature that left my care before its time was up I’m sure I’d be over run! (Ach, she was a good cow/goat, she can say, or ach, such a bonny wee baby, lets keep him/her.) See my point? And tell John you have enough love and room in your heart for both families. I have my John’s in laws, nieces, nephews, etc. from his deceased first wife as well as his siblings’ families as well as my siblings’ families (no natural kids of my own) and we celebrate life’s happenings with all of them. Fortunately so far we do not have to travel far to do so but I have one grandson in the marines boot camp right now so who knows!

  24. Any tough decision which results in a sense of resolution or relief has been the right choice. It will be a wrench to bid farewell to your girls, but the freedom it will give you from the daily chore, the careful planning, the raised and lost hopes of AI, the expense of it all, will help to compensate. I hope you’ll be able to source some good clean milk for butter, yoghurt and cheesemaking; surely there’s *someone* else out there who’s thinking and working along the same lines, and even if you have to freeze quantities of it because you have to buy in bulk, that’s still better than none, isn’t it? Bravo, Miss C, a hard decision well made for all the right reasons.

  25. Oh boy, what a decision. I completely sympathise. I also have to chose my growing family in Vancouver over my love in the UK and vice versa. Although they all understand, no one likes it. 😦 I know you’ve made the right decision. Hopefully there will be a milk cooperative among your friends where you can get fresh milk from.

  26. While I’m a bit surprised to hear of your decision, I’m also not surprised.

    As I dreamed of having a homestead with my goats and flocks of guinea fowl, chickens and ducks, I also struggled with the idea of limited travel. In the end, my homestead dreams never came true so instead I travel without worrying about animals, other than my dogs who I can take with me or board.

    I look forward to reading about your future travels as you visit you family both here and abroad.

  27. When we first got goats I thought I would milk them and make cheese. But I was also reading your blog and knew that I couldn’t commit to all the work that milking entails — plus the time commitment — when I work long hours away from the ranch. With the animals we have it is hard to leave as it is; we have decided to not replace animals as they go so that someday we will have the freedom to travel. Jackson, one of the horses, has to be medicated twice a day — and will need that for the rest of his life. Five medications to manage — so I have to be here for that. It does tie you down. So, I completely understand your decision. It is hard to balance love of this life with the desire to travel and visit your children.

  28. Priorities and abilities shift. As a woman who appreciates the help of my husband’s parents, I know your children are grateful.

  29. While not being a farmer, I understand wanting to be around the offspring that you don’t get to see enough. Even more so for me now that there is one under 1 and I don’t want to be the stranger that makes him cry when I visit.

  30. I remember when my parents gave up the dairy. It was a hard decision but It was too much work for them and my father’s of arthritis was kicking in big time .

  31. A tough decision, but definitely the right one. Family – and your own wellbeing – come first. Making the decision to lose half of our birds/veg plot was small scale compared to cows, but difficult even so. I miss my muscovies something rotten!

  32. Maybe you will go back to milking again someday – it doesn’t have to be a permanent choice does it? For now though you have to do what has to be done – things will be all right I hope.

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