Boo and the cats have an arrangement. They don’t run – he won’t chase them. But he still watches them very carefully in case someone wants to play. butter-041


We had a little gap of brighter cloud-shine at the end of the day yesterday.  Today is dawning clear though.


It seems I have very little to say though. We are just slogging through.


Lady Astors milk production has dropped enough that I can probably dry her up now. Knowing that this is the last of the milk until next year is making me reluctant, I love the cream, and that butter, but it has to happen. I made a decision to be milk free for 2018 so I can put my energy into other enterprises. And she is getting tired of the continual production. She is not a young cow. And milking for almost a year is really not natural. Though dairy cows are not natural either!

So if she continues with this drop, her last milking will be tomorrow. Tomorrow I leave for Chicago then California for my annual visit to my son and his family.  If I am not here all her triggers for milking are gone.  She is lovely and healthy. I have a stack of grass hay for her to eat as she dries up. No more alfalfa.

Also no more lifting that pump up and down those steps, dragging that pump back and forth through the snow and milking in this cold. You would think everyone will be grateful.  But I always miss my cows when I dry them up.  MIlking is my favourite time. Just me and the cow. It is not a chore really, more of a contemplation with movements.  Because her udder is so long and ruinous Lady cannot be bred again, it would be irresponsible,  so this is her last milking ever.

It is a relief to decide to finish milking though. I have been putting it off. Poor old Lady.

She is not going anywhere – she will wander about our fields for a few years yet.

I hope your day is lovely – we have SUN! That is lovely!

Love celi

PS That mess of soaking flaxseeds in the silver bowl is the beginning of some sprouted seed crackers. They have been in the dehydrator all night. I will tell you about them tomorrow.

WEATHER: Sun. Cold sun.

Monday 02/12 10% / 0 in
Sunny. High 18F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.


Monday Night 02/12 10% / 0 in
Partly cloudy. Low 6F. Winds light and variable.

6:51 am 5:23 pm
Waning Crescent, 10% visible 4:44 am 2:37 pm


42 Comments on “WATCHING

    • I can’t really drink the store bought – it makes me queasy – I will just as happily go without milk now – back to black coffee!!
      John will buy himself some milk though. Butter on the other hand I will not go without! – I WILL buy that.

  1. Good Morning! What lovely pink piggies! And that butter is making my mouth drool! I know you will miss your milk, cream and all the dairy products next year, but we must do right by our animals….. Enjoy your trip and enjoy being out of the SNOW and cold a few days.

  2. Gosh, do I understand about the milking! It will be a nice break for you, but no doubt you’ll miss the closeness to Lady, and all of the animals who shadow you to the barn during milking time. It will be so freeing! I’ve decided that I’m only going to milk our goats once a day this year, in the mornings, as the twice a day schedule can certainly cut down on any sort of social outing in the evenings. As you well know, when milking twice a day, everything revolves around milking times! How wonderful to be off to CA and family! I think it will be warm out there! 🙂

  3. I don;t envy you dragging the pump back and forth – it must have been hard labour in the old days, milking by hand. Maybe you could start an ex milker herd – the restaurants would be queuing up for the tender mature beef in a few years time.
    Bon voyage!

    • They must have Frozen too – an experienced milker can get it done in 30 minutes of so i heard but it would take me an hour!! But that is still a long time sat on a stool in the cold. c

  4. I know it’s not the same, but I enjoyed breast feeding for a while with all 3 of mine, but boy when I was done, I was done! Kinda felt like a cow sometimes that needed to get milked. Lady Astor may be happy, even though you’ve enjoyed. You take such great care of your animals. Safe travels to California!

  5. Happy retirement to lady A. Happy and safe travels, the sun awaits you ☺

  6. Oh it must be such a relief for her not to have anymore babies…she has done well but now deserves e rest. I do hope that you will have a safe journey and that your visit to the windy city will be mighty good….

    On 12 February 2018 at 14:47, thekitchensgarden wrote:

    > Cecilia Mary Gunther posted: “Boo and the cats have an arrangement. They > don’t run – he won’t chase them. But he still watches them very carefully > in case someone wants to play. We had a little gap of brighter cloud-shine > at the end of the day yesterday. Today is dawning clear th” >

  7. Well, welcome to extremely warm California…burned forests, cities, mudslides, floods and all!

    I remember being with my grandpa in the barn while he was milking and talking to Bossy. Tucked her tail in the crook behind his knee while he sat in the 3-legged stool, rested his head against her side, and milked away, once in a while aiming a squirt in the direction of the kitties. What comfort that old barn had for everyone who spent time in there!

    Come safely, Ceci!

    • I am going into the Central Valley – near Fresno – thankfully no where near all your troubles. Just a very early spring which has the growers unnerved. Your grandfather in his barn sounds like a glorious memory.. so lucky you were.. c

  8. Maybe we can shed some chores together this year. I’m cutting back on the garden and I won’t be taking on orphaned critters as we have several events to attend in Nebraska this spring and summer. I wish you a wonderful trip!

  9. I guess I’m the odd one but I drink soy milk. Allergic to cow’s milk. How old is Lady? Have an enjoyable trip, Miss C.

    • I bought Lady in and she had had two owners before so I think she will be about 11 or 12. Young to stop really but her udder gets in such a mess i cannot risk another pregnancy.

  10. A very last milking for Lady A; a bittersweet time for sure ): thankfully you’ve got sun to help take the sting away… The butter “churning” looks so inviting. (Lol, how things have changed, hey? – I still remember how excited my Great Aunt was when she got her electric Separator: )

  11. I could do without milk, but butter is a whole nother story… Lady A has performed a sterling service but I think she’s going to enjoy her retirement. Beautiful photo of those red branches, by the way.

  12. Milking: ‘a contemplation with movements’ — I love this description! What will you do for ‘contemplation with movements’ once Lady A is dried up? Maybe there’s something else that is less strenuous but also puts you in the zone?

    • It is lovely to be in that zone – walking does that too I guess – very good for the emotional brain to have that open minded time – no music or words just being

  13. We are all different! Often have no butter at home at all and do not eat ice cream . . .have even drunk my coffee black since childhood . . . .but just have to have a glass of milk, even store bought, every day and could not go without cottage cheese or ricotta 🙂 ! Have a wonderful and warmer trip to California . . .

  14. O my, that last milking.. that is a indeed a bittersweet moment.. not just the last milking for this year but for all the years to come.. I am glad that Lady has you. I am waiting for milking to begin for here on the farm for 2018, I finally have two mature milking sheep and one mature milking doe (goat) that I have high hopes for this year. I had really wanted to like Juno’s milk but did not.. so I am hoping that I like her daughter Jada’s milk, it should be a lot richer then her mothers given who her father is breed wise.

    But honestly its the sheep milk that I am craving.. that rich thick sweet milk is my favorite in so many ways.. I can’t wait to have all the milk, yogurt and cheese back in the house.. my mom cough’s hard on cow’s milk and cow’s milk products from the store, so I am hoping that she will find that fresh sheep milk and products will not have the same effect on her now that she is living on the farm with us.

    Enjoy your trips and time with your family.

    • Oh how lovely that your mother is living with you! On your farm! I wish I could convince my mother to live with us. But she has decided that 83 is too old to make such a move. Maybe she’s right and I’m just being selfish.

  15. Hi Celie- just wanted to “drop in” and say hello. I’ve been looking through cracker recipes but you managed to make it the least complicated. I think I’ll try them this weekend.
    Cow question- have you had any who ear bark? Our Else was raised with goats and I’m wondering if she literally just learned it from them. She’s got loose minerals and a salt block. We are going to try just feeding her more as well- it’s winter after all. But wondered if you had any thoughts.
    Have a lovely, sunny trip in CA!
    x wendy

    • I am not sure what you mean by ear bark. Eat bark? Yes. Definitely and mostly in the winter when there is no green feed around. Actually mine are chewing on the willows at the

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