Saturday, 7 September 2013

No Milk - Saying Goodbye to a Friend

It has been five days since I milked MamaMoo. We already miss her generous milk!

She was drying herself off, only giving 3 litres a day on once a day milking. So I stopped milking her on Monday in preparation for her leaving us this Monday or Tuesday to go to the factory. She is an old and empty cow. She was bought as a cull cow and we knew that we would only be prolonging her life/usefulness another year or two. Although we had hoped to rear a replacement heifer from her.

I have learnt a lot from her, as have our children. She has set the standard very high for the next cow. Her temperament was/is amazing! The kids could milk her comfortably, I would never worry about a kick from her or a tail switch in the eye. The dogs would lie underneath her during milking, keeping an eye on the milk bucket. She would never ever go to the toilet during milking. That is truly a blessing after having a cow previous that would, and then flick it into my face with her tail. 
She will be missed and fondly remembered. 

So currently we are in a milk drought. I have found this week that I have gone to the village store everyday to buy milk, cream and eggs.
We never ever do this! I go shopping every week or two for dry goods. We are never stuck for fresh anything.  
We are getting very few eggs now as I need to repair the nest box. The eggs are falling out and breaking. The hens love to eat broken eggs!
Our shopping bills are more expensive now, everyone is eating more to make up for the milk, even the dogs and pigs.
The dogs were feed mainly on eggs and milk, but not now much to their dissatisfaction. They miss their daily walks back the field at milking time to bring in the cow. 

Another thing I miss is cream for my coffee. Tea doesn't taste as rich with store bought milk. I have no spare cream or milk for baking and cooking. My food doesn't taste as good! 

I realise how truly generous a milking cow is for the cottage economy. 

Our next cow has been narrowed down to either another jersey or a Kerry breed. 

There is a large jersey farm located about 35 miles from us that we can have the pick of. I am very comfortable with the jersey having had three already but I am interested in the Kerry also.
I met a friend from college recently that milks a Kerry and she give me the phone number to a Kerry dairy farm located in Kerry, some four hour drive away. These are machine milked twice daily.
I will ring the farmer for more information, as they are so rare, it is hard to get first hand information/experience about them.
They are a small black hardy cow generally with horns.

Should I go with what I know and trust or be brave try something new and endangered?

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