Yes. This is hard. It is hard physically and otherwise. But you know what? That's ok. Hard work makes you stronger.
I milked earlier and faster this morning. I had two gallons done in two hours including prep work. Prep work is getting the grain ready, get the teat washing stuff ready, getting the cow into the barn, getting her into the staunchen, tying her tail and hobbling her, and whatever else happens before I can sit down and milk.
The first few days were absolutely miserable. Totally. But now I am sitting here with everything cleaned and ready for this evening, all the milk skimmed and frozen, and three quarts of cream to play with. I think I'll make butter and freeze it as I still have boughten butter to use up.
It will be ok. It is not great right now, but it is getting better each time. Plus, want to know the neatest thing? I've gotten to hang out with my wonderful neighbor.
She's come over the last three evenings and milked with me. She was raised on a ranch and knows so much. She really is great. This is the first opportunity we have had to get to know each other because she travels a lot. Plus, she has a project I can work on in exchange for her help. That's nice.
The cow-who-still-is-nameless is a wonderful cow. She has the sweetest temperament. Not many cows would put up with how long this is taking. Especially one used to being machine milked.
My mom has been a Godsend. She has been watching the kiddos a lot. I am sure she is as tired as I am! We reeeeally appreciate her help. The kids have LOVED having her here. I just wish I could get to see her, too!
Sweetheart was on milking duty with me from the get-go on Saturday and Sunday while Grandma was over. However, he has been working on the milking machine side of things and has not been able to milk more. He has had to make all day trips to get machines and parts and been working on putting it all together. There were no fully ready machines available even all the way to Boise. Plus, he is the one taking care of the kids while I am milking in the mornings.
The cow was putting out sixty pounds of milk for the dairy we bought her from since the calf was born on the 16th. They milked her by machine and bottle-fed the calf. We have since just turned them out to the pasture together and he drink at will.
Why didn't we have a machine from the start? Several reasons. They are expensive. I did not want a machine as I thought it might make the milking time a bit shorter, but add extensively to the clean up time. I figured it would equal out and therefore not be worth it to me. I thought that because I was used to milk the goats, I could handle this. Plus, we have an excess of machines in our lives. Need I say more?
Here's what I didn't know. First, that we'd have so much trouble just getting her in the barn. Second, that they were telling the truth about how much milk she produces. ( I figured it was exaggerated based on the fact that every seller seems to exaggerate animal output.) Third, that she is short, her bag hangs low, her teats are a lot shorter than a goats and that her bag is so big you cannot reach both sides at once without almost laying down.
So, we'll machine milk her. Soon. I am praying that it will start tonight!
Yes, there have been a lot of tears. Yes, it is frustrating. Yes, is has been really messy. Yes, I am sore. Yes, I have prayed for help and forgiveness a lot.
Last night, was pretty bad. She broke free from the staunchen, she got poop all over me, I spilled milk all over the kitchen and cried over it.
This morning, it went a lot better. She got free again, but I got her under control all by myself and rigged it up to hold better. Learning something new, seeing how strong I can be, and working hard all feel pretty good even when my forearms and fingers don't!
Love you all! And please, please, come over and get some milk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PS--What is fresh milk going for in your area? The store milk here is $4.00 a gallon. I am not sure what to price it at. PLEASE give ideas for prices. And pray the machine works.