We love Sundays. The blessed Sabbath Day, a day of rest. But if you live on a farm, particularly if you have dairy cows, the animals still have to be fed and the milking done and done on time! And yet, somehow it is different, any extra chores remain undone on this day. As I snuggle in against the side of my favorite milk cow, I am reminded of a little poem that appeared in “A Little House” by Laura Ingalls Wilder:
“She’s a thing of beauty and a source of wealth
She’s a sure guarantee of riches and health,
To the one who lives by the sweat of his brow,
God’s greatest gift is the Jersey cow!”
I love milking my mini Jerseys, especially when the weather is cool. Bugs aren’t a problem, and even if my hands start out cold, by the time the milk starts to flow they are warm from the wash water I cleaned her udder with, and the flow of warm milk.
Milking is such a simple thing and the rich milk and cream are so worth the little effort involved. However, you do need a good place to milk. It doesn’t need to be fancy, as evidenced by the picture with today’s blog. My husband is having a fit knowing I’m putting up a picture of what I’m calling the Taj Mahal Of Milking, which is a hastily erected shed right outside our side door. In our part of Texas the weather is so temperate that until now I’ve always milked my cows either in their stalls if the weather was unpleasant, or most of the time I’d just tie her up to a fence post and milk there. But as we’ve increased the number of cows to milk, I needed a better place. So yesterday when I heard the weather forecast of 30º with rain and sleet, I asked my husband to build me a shed – and with a little help from me, he did!
Here are the primary features of my little shed: First it’s got shelter from the wind to protect the cow and me from cold, and to keep dirt from flying into the milk pail; second, it has a raised platform for the cow to stand on. This allows me to keep the area much cleaner and lifts the cow up a few inches. Miniature Jerseys are considerably shorter than full-size Jerseys, so to milk them, you don’t sit on a stool, you kneel beside them – with this new building, I can sit next to her on the platform (what a back saver). Lastly, is a place to put food or a small flake of alfalfa hay to keep her busy while I milk.
And that’s it – Happy Milking!