On having a milk cow... Part ONE
It's been about a month and a half of having a family milk cow at this point. I wasn't planning on going into the play by play of our experiences, but I have heard so many of you loud and clear. You want to know what it's like having a family milk cow. You want the play by play, the day by day. You want to know what it's really like.
I'm still not sure what to say or even if I really feel like journaling our experience. You see, this is all completely new territory for me. It's already been a huge learning curve and the story really exposes my inadequacies. It's hard putting myself out there for things that I am feeling like a beginner.
But this is life. This is homesteading. This is what I wanted and signed myself up for. So, I shall start the story of owning a milk cow. It will likely be in a gazillion rambling thoughts type of post/posts, so hang in there!
Growing up, we had cows. Many beef cows. I helped here and there with the grain, hay and sometimes the manure situation. I watched the breeder, attended births, helped with bovine escapees. They were always fenced in adjacent to our farmhouse, I was comfortable with them, used to their gentle spirit and liked their mooing. My dad was a large animal veterinarian growing up and we always went to the fairs. I did cattle judging as a part of 4-H. I have uncles, aunts, cousins who are dairy farmers. I've been to their milking parlors a number of times. While I tried out hand milking for a couple squirts, fact is, I never learned how to hand milk. Never filled a bucket. My city boy husband had not a lick of experience with cows in general.
So I get the idea we'll buy a milking cow. But then I think cows are big, let's try goats. Repeated attempts of breeding our goats didn't lead to kiddings. I didn't want to wait and try again with the goats, thinking that it would be another whole year of hopefulness and no kids and no milk.
Every couple months, I would browse craiglist, looking for a cow. Nothing felt right. I didn't want just any cow. I wanted another family pet. A cow that would be gentle and patient around kids. I came across an ad for this milk cow and her calf. This family was looking to rehome the mama/ calf duo. Something about that post just tugged at me. I contacted sellers and they said they had other offers, but were holding out for the right match.
They suggested a meet and greet. We traveled a couple hours north for the grand introduction. We arrived at the loveliest homestead. A homestead bursting with animals, surrounded with the loveliest of plants, with the three most wonderful homesteaders. We met the couple and their son (who is the same age as Adrian) and had such a peaceful morning playing, chatting and meeting the bovine crew.
I left their house happy, hopeful and totally smitten. I was convinced the duo belonged with us.