I'd love to take a minute to explain to you our plans with our new milk cow and how she came to be. Since the calf has been born we have been asked repeatedly when we're going to sell raw milk. The answer quite honestly is..... we are not. Not in time soon.
To explain this let me take a step back in the past and tell you the whole story.
Brian and I had been dating for about a year and a half and most of the time farming together. Each of us had dreams of having a milk cow. We told each other when we were ready to settle down we'd get a milk cow. So last October, he began looking for a milk cow. When we met her the first time I fell in love. We had her vet checked. Everything checked out great and she had a confirmed pregnancy. She was due March 11.
Brian asked me, "are you ready to get a milk cow?"I responded, "Of course!" So, we headed out to get Miss thing down into the barn. When we went to unload Miss Gracie (AKA Chloe) from the trailer Brian said he had to go to the house real quick. I was getting her stall ready so didn't think much of it. When he came back he handed me a lead rope and said let's get her off the trailer. It was nightfall and we are both ready to get see her in the stall. So when he handed me the lead rope I said "I think they use a different type of lead rope I'm going to get a different one. He said, "no use this one,"emphatically. Shocked at his display of adoration for this lead rope I looked at the lead rope and lo and behold there was an engagement ring on it!
He asked me if I wanted to get married and I said again, "absolutely!!!"
He went on to explain the story behind the ring. It was his great-grandmother's and they got married in 1918. She was the matriarch that helped settle their home place in Jackson, Tennessee. She also kept a milk cow.
We decided to name her Gracie after my great grandmother who kept milk cows. We began getting acquainted with her and rubbing her udders to make sure she was comfortable with us being around her down there. We both feel the lump and after asking the previous owners they stated that the vet had said that it was just a cyst not mastitis. Come to find out from our vet that's not really something that you could ever be able to diagnose. About a month and a half later there was a bump that was exposed on the outside of her back right quarter. We panicked. It eventually ruptured and expose itself as an abscess that had emerged from the inside.
This is our first milk cow for gosh sake and this was the worst case advisers and vets alike had seen. Mastitis of this degree is not something that most small-scale dairy's have to deal with. So we reluctantly, began a round of antibiotic's that would not affect the baby and not affect the milk in the long term. We begin flushing out the wound and it was so painful for everyone involved to see and do. My dad came almost weekly and helped us figure out a good way to treat this thing. It has been a tiresome stressful and painful process just to get to this point.
Gracie has gotten better about letting us treat it and gradually the infection has cleared up. We are currently milking the right side separately from the left side because the right side shows slight signs of infection. We are feeding the right side of the pigs. The left side shows no signs of infection. (It's Daisy's favorite side) I'm currently sharing milk out of that side with her.
We are learning! We got the this cow together as a sign of our love. We are by no means professional dairymen/women. I am still getting used to all of the equipment and the processes. I'm not even really sure what milk stone is! So for now, for me to say, "yes I have a consistent supply for you customer," is absolutely unfathomable. (and if I'm being honest intimidating) I also can't in good conscience say that I'm really doing this right.
If you make a trip out to the farm and your pet is just absolutely starving we might be able to pour him or her a glass. We have a beautiful little heifer that I am working on being just as lovie as you could ever please.
Daily I read, learn, and stress about how we are doing things and trying to get it right. So for now… If you were truly interested and you have made it to the end of this long winded email. Email me back and I'll put your name on a special list of interested customers for the future.
I love hearing from you! Do you have any dairy stories you would like to share? Did you used to watch your grandmother milk a cow? Or remember when there used to be a dairy in to area? I'd love to hear about it.
p.s. the vote is in and we decided to name the heifer calf Daisy
Joining a CSA was a big commitment. We have to show up EVERY week with an appropriate container. We receive a seemingly huge amount of veggies THEN we have to figure out what to do with it throughout the week! It can be a pretty intimidating idea to even think about. Here are some tips that have helped me stay afloat from drowning in veggies throughout the week