Monday, 17 March 2014

Welcome to Rosie

I've got a cow. A beautiful pedigree Jersey heifer, Dalena Gunner Rosen or Rosie as I call her. She's absolutely lovely, halter trained so easy for me to handle, and with a quiet and docile nature. I've always wanted a cow, and when the opportunity to buy Rosie came up I couldn't resist. I've had her about a week or so now, and it's been a steep learning curve for me, but I've had a lot of help and support from Lena who breeds Jersey cows, and from farming friends and neighbours. The first day I spent trying to work out how to keep the cows feet out of the milk bucket, and the second day, I managed with aching back and arms to get about half a bucket of milk when Rosie decided to change position and in the blink of an eye, over went the bucket. I now know the origin of the saying about not crying over spilt milk!

On about the second or third day, when I was starting to think I'd never be able to manage it, and I don't mind admitting that tears of frustration were not far away, along came Jeremy my farming friend and gave me an on site demo and a few tips. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. Among Jeremy's suggestions was to get
a calf for Rosie to nurse. It's important that all the available milk is taken from the cow at each milking, or the cow's system takes any left unmilked as a sign to reduce the supply. So  a few days later a lovely little Aberdeen Angus cross calf came along and she takes any milk that I fail to get and will enable me to go over to once a day milking in due course, as she grows and takes a larger supply. Also she's really cute and Rosie loves her. and I don't think it's ever ideal to have one of any animal on its own

Of course it's pretty unusual these days for people to keep a single cow, it's not economic in modern farming terms, but in days gone by many country people kept a house cow, and enjoyed their own dairy produce. I've so far made some delicious butter, some crème fraiche. I've also made some not very successful clotted cream, and some soft cheese that was rubbery enough to stuff a mattress with.  But never mind, there's an endless supply of fresh milk every day at the moment I'll try again, and as I say it's a learning curve. I've learnt so much since I've been here at Chidgley, and fulfilled some long standing ambitions, so I'm grateful for that. Anyone know where I can get one of those old fashioned three leg milking stool with a little handle on the side for any quick position changes that may be needed? -  I'm sitting on an upturned bucket at the moment and the maker's mark is becoming indelibly imprinted on my rear...

2 comments:

  1. with the goats we use a plastic folding stool, and if it upturns when there's "a bit of a scrabble" the legs don't stick up and trip you, it just collapses flat!
    Spilt milk is a real AAARRRGGGHHHHH moment isn't it?!

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  2. I do hope you start writing your blog again once you are settled into the new house Kathy. Must try that Yorkshire pudding recipe from one of your previous posts! x

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