I have a few minutes to write while Wally is making a gate leading into the lower pasture a bit wider. We have a cow to take to the processor this morning and given how muddy it is down there, he wants to have plenty of room to maneuver the truck and trailer through this gate. The last time we took the truck and trailer in there, it was a close fit.
After we drop off the cow (a two year old named Cheeseburger), we’ll be heading up to our Amish friends’ farm to pick up three bottle calves. Hopefully these three calves along with the other young cows that we have on the farm will get us ahead in our Jersey beef production. Jerseys grow so slow and when you take them to be processed, they do not have as much meat as a beef-type breed. No matter, they taste way better than most beef-type breeds.
I haven’t written much lately. It’s been a stressful almost two weeks. Penny, one of our Jersey cows, freshened with an udder the size of a beach ball, as hard as a bowling ball. This is not unusual for a dairy cow to freshen this way, but milking her by hand was virtually impossible. Luckily a good friend of mine let me borrow her milking machine, which enabled me to milk her, but which introduced it’s own form of stress.
I’ve been milking goats and cows since 2008, all by hand until now. Even though Penny’s udder is not as swollen or hard as it was, she’s giving a ton of milk! There is no way I’d be able to milk her out by hand so I invested in a milking machine. There goes the funds I had set aside for a greenhouse, but it was a necessity.
Penny had a heifer calf and the agreement when we got her from the dairy was that if she had a heifer, the dairy owner would take the calf and give me a cull milk cow. We’ve got her picked out and we’ll pick her up in a few weeks. I need to get over the learning curve of the milking machine before we bring in another cow. That will bring the number of Jersey milk cows to three: the number I wanted to have.
I see Wally is backing the truck down to hook to the trailer so it’s time for me to end this and go down to help load Cheeseburger.
Until later …