So I have been hand milking everyday, twice a day for nine days now. My arms have gone through the pain, tension and numbness of extreme exercise inflicked upon them for forty minutes at a time.
They are now strong and more efficient, with milkings only taking twenty minutes.
I have cursed my hubby for not learning how to hand milk and I have felt self pity for carrying all the milking responsibility on my shoulders, I mean forearms!
Hand milking a cow is not as romantic as one might think. Yes, amber is very quiet and willing. She has never once gone to the toilet while inside the milk shed but hand milking is work, sweaty work! And I have to do it twice a day, everyday regardless of how much it doesn't suit my mood or schedule on that particular day.
I get up earlier than everyone else and head outside to check on the animals. The hens are waiting for me at the doorstep and follow me to the shed. I turn on the lights and get the feed ready.
A scope of grain is thrown out in the yard for the hens to pick at, one bucket of nuts for the pony and a large amount of nuts for the cow. I have a bucket of milk and barley already soaked overnight for the pigs.
The pigs are shouting for breakfast from their sty as soon as they hear me in the shed. I get their bucket and pour it into their trough. They are very excited!
Next into the cow yard, where max the pony and amber the jersey are. They have been waiting impatiently. Amber mooing very loudly. I gave the pony his nuts in the yard while amber makes her way into the milk house.
She stands into her stall where her breakfast is waiting. I tie her in and take a seat down at her udder.
I usually take off my jumper or jacket. Milking is hard work!
I clean off her udder and wash and dry it. I put a bucket under her and milk hard for twenty minutes. Once Amber's nuts are eaten, she starts on her hay. She looks back at me frequently while chewing. Once I have milked her out, I put her back into the yard or if the fields are dry she might go out for a few hours. I leave the bucket of warm milk outside the shed where our dogs are waiting. They drink 2-3 litres at each milking. The rest I use to soak barley for the pigs next meal.
We are not using much of the milk at the moment. Because she has a rear teat that has two openings, it makes hand milking very messy as it sprays everywhere. She needs to be machine milked to produce milk of a good hygiene standard for our home.
I occasionally milk a few litres from her front teats into a bottle for the house.
We have a milking machine! I have being begging and pleading with hubby to get it functional as soon as possible. There is a problem with either the motor or vacuum pump.
Hubby is gone away today to a neighbouring dairy farm to figure out how to fix the machine and get spare parts. I, hopefully, will be a very pleased wife this evening when the milk machine is fully functioning.
And then I can consider making some Greek yogurt or some soft cheeses. Or even taking a bath in milk :-) I always wanted to do that !