More 4th of July weekend, we are milking again.

Milking a homestead cow.
The Clarks and their first day of milking

Ok, it’s actually their second day but the first day the vacuum pump was locked up so we just brought Dottie in and gave her a trial run. Pictured above was our first successful day of milking, day 2. For those of you who may be wondering who the new people are, The Clarks have moved into the house previously occupied by the Goldbergs who have moved away to another town although they do make an appearance now and then. Bar-B-Jew was in attendance for our beer and BBQ fest.

Milking a homestead cow
The Clarks and Dottie, first day of milking.

It takes two to get our milker onto the cow, making milking a two person job. I’m sure there is something we are missing in the instructions, one of these days I’ll stop and figure it out.

Fresh raw milk from homestead milk cow.
Our first milk harvest of the new milking season.

Dottie yielded 1.5 gallons of milk. We only milk once per day and leave the rest of the milk for Dottie’s calf Lightning.¬†We don’t have to worry about maximizing milk production since this is just for our use so 1.5 gallons is fine.

Processing raw milk
Processing the milk and getting it into the fridge.

Straining and bottling the milk, then into the fridge for a quick cool down. Tomorrow we’ll have real milk again for our cereal.

I’ve been getting up at 4am as we get back into milking. By weeks end I should be back to 5am like normal. So far things are going well. Hopefully things will run smooth this week and having fresh raw milk on the farm is just another normal thing in a week or so.

Greek yogurt, and the whey surplus that it is creating

I read the following article on greek yogurt and whey, and some of the uses for whey. It was a good article with lots of nice tips. It was interesting to see that the rise in Greek yogurt has caused such a rise in whey production which is a problem for the dairy industry. However industry’s problem is a small operations bonus. If you are making yogurt or cheese and find yourself with too much whey left over, there are some good tips on what to do with it.

Making mozzarella cheese
Making mozzarella cheese

Raw milk regulations easing? Or just the media getting around to reporting?

5 gallons of raw milk, making cheese
5 gallons of raw milk, making cheese

Darling Wifey sent me an article on Fox News about raw milk and how some states are pushing to ease regulations. At $13 a gallon in Florida, seems to me we’re causing people to pay black market prices for something that shouldn’t be regulated in the first place.

If I didn’t have my own milk cow, I’d be worried about all the quotes from the different alphabet groups listed in the article that raw milk will kill you. Funny how it’s not killing people where it’s normal, like California and Europe. Unclean milk will get you sick in my opinion, no matter where it’s from. However the less handling between you and the cow, the better off you’ll be.

Drying off Dottie

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Today begins the last period of milking Dottie for this lactation. Sunday morning will be our last milking. Then we will dry her off and give her two months to eat and put some weight on. When we received her she was way down on her body condition and it’s the nature of Jerseys that the more food you throw at them, the more milk they make. We have to take advantage of this two month window while she isn’t milking to put some meat on her bones. And to grow the baby she’s carrying in preparation for birth.

Not milking is also a time off for the milkers. To sleep in, or to get going earlier not waiting for milking depending on your sleep schedule. This morning I could have slept a bit more myself.

Spring is coming. Hopefully during these two months off Dottie and the milking crew will have a good time of it.

Spring?

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Ugh. I’ve had enough. I’ve just spent three days in Chicago where it’s still very much winter while the farm had a chance to warm up in my absence. Upper 60s to low 70s was just devine to come home to after enduring a bonus blizzard in the windy city.

Before I left, I took this photo just after milking. Despite it still being “winter” it is not pitch black when we milk in the morning anymore. A simple change in the routine that signals that spring is around the corner. Its a joy to see beautiful sunrises again. A sign of things to come.

15 degrees

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This is the heater in the milking parlor. Now before you think we have lounge chairs and hot toddys in our plush parlor, this heater was in response to the frozen pipes of a few weeks ago. At 15 degrees this morning, the heater has managed to keep the pipes thawed, barely. It’s still mighty cold for milking but we do have water for wash down so mission accomplished.