Friday, September 24, 2004

more Sacred Family Cows

Posted by Hello Still milking here. Since the fairies got the milk about a month ago they haven't been back.

However, production is down a little. At first I thought maybe this dip was related to cycling – maybe she hadn’t “caught” when we bred her back in May. We’re very low tech around here and don’t know for sure, although she shows no overt signs of cow heat; no walking around bellowing, no breaking down the fence to get to the bull at the neighbor’s place. So in the end we think she is bred. Nonetheless, we’ve begun coming up with possible alternatives in case she isn’t – it is the “there are always more alternatives/choices/possibilities than anyone ever thinks of” thing. We tend to have plan A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, with several contingencies built in to each plan to boot.

Although the total amount of milk production is somewhat down (and it really hasn’t changed much), the amount of cream is the same as before. Since she’s a Jersey, her milk is pretty creamy. It will be interesting to see how the color of the cream products changes as the grass dies. I’ve always heard of “white winter butter” because it is the chlorophylls that give the butter that nice yellow color. We’re letting the mowed front fields grow a bit to serve as winter fodder (standing hay) for the horse and cow.

Our grandparents milked and I could no doubt benefit from their experience. However, my grandfather Charley once had a milk cow he couldn't milk. He had bought this cow with very intention of milking her but when the time came, she turned out to be a kicker. She'd kick you; she'd kick the bucket over; she'd kick the wall, but she would not let you milk her. He did everything he could to tame her, he hobbled her, he tried every trick he knew and every trick everyone else he knew knew, and he still couldn't milk her. So he decided to sell her.Only problem was, he couldn't in good conscious sell a kicking cow. Unlike the fellow who sold her to my grandfather, my grandfather couldn't be so dishonest as to not tell somebody that this was a kicking cow. So it happened that when he stopped by a car dealership there in Dickenson County he still owned this kicking cow. The year was 1934, toward the end of the Great Depression and there was not much money, especially in the coalfields, for cars, so the boys at the dealership were willing to trade just aboutanything. He talked to them for awhile and a deal was struck -- he sold a cow he couldn't milk for a car he couldn't drive! The salesman rode with my grandfather from Clinchco to Mill Creek, only about two miles in all, told him he could drive, and walked back with the cow having completed the sale.

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