I have been up for over an hour. The sun came up, or dawn mixed with night long enough the sky is now the color of a muddy rain puddle. And then I heard the bellowing. I was waiting for it, it was my first go around in the rain, and I was wondering how it would feel.
I have had a few friends with milk cows. Friends that had to scurry away from a meal in the evening to milk, or couldn’t stay out too long for their days began too early. Always, a tinge of jealousy at their never ending supply of foamy white milk hit me right in the chest. Seeing those big eyed jerseys with their bouffants on top, and silky soft noses, made me want one like I can’t explain. And recently, my wishes came true! With the pigs settled in nicely, we knew we wanted to feed them as much milk as possible. It makes for the healthiest of meats, and the most delicious- never mind cost-effective. My sweet dairy-farming neighbor was kind enough to let us borrow Sorrel, the old lady jersey, for the summer. We have had her about a week and she looks perfect out there. The milk is sweet and delicious for both us and the cloven ones on the other side of the garage.
There is only one problem. I am holding back tears not to cry over spilled milk. The girl has no patience for me, and likely misses the 6 minute milking back at the barn on the machine. And after about ten minutes in she starts kicking like an excitable baby (if a baby had a leg the size of my body and a foot that could crush me of course). It is frustrating to say the least. I am finding myself on dairy forums, on the phone with cow-ish people, and just generally fretting. It goes without saying I am truly learning to appreciate every drop of milk. Our food is so precious, and behind it is work. Hard work. In the rain work. During a bout of sickness work. All the time it is work. I can’t believe it took me 33 years to see this so clearly.
This morning, I came in from milking with a little more knowledge, a tight lipped determination to hold on hope, and a little over a gallon of milk. I made a latte because that was the most sensible thing I could do, and then I toweled off my wet hair. I’ll try again this evening.
Until then- all this nice rain is going to help the garden so! It feels like things are really going out there now. We are eating regular meals of asparagus and herbs and sorrel too! Soon enough our lettuces and peas will be part of the repetoire too. And my absolute favorite- fresh flowers on every table. The world smells pretty good right now.
Now wish me luck with this kicky cow!