What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On Havng a Cow

After my Q & A post the other day I was asked one more, impromptu question. Since I rather like the gal who asked the question and since I rather like the topic of the question she asked.... I thought I would make a post about it.

Hey. Bloggers can do that sort of thing.

The question was- Have you ever thought about (or plan on) getting a milk cow?

The short answer is... YES. In fact...last year my brother gave us (as his Christmas gift to our family) a tidy sum to go toward a milk cow. We call it our Heifer Fund.

The long answer is... but we don't know when it is going to happen.

Part of Matt starting his own business was to allow for more animals and (finally!) a milk cow on the Place. His going back to work has put all of our plans in a sort of tailspin. Matt is now back to work (and away from home) very often and can not be in charge of the milking and I am, ironically, allergic to cow dander so adding cow milking to my list of responsibilities will leave me a sneezing, swollen and dripping mess for the rest of my born days.

I am considering just dealing with that fact, since I long for a milk cow (and abundant milk and dairy products!) at Hopestead but also sort of dread it.

And despite this conundrum, we also have a fair amount of chores to do before a milk cow can call our place Home:

~ cleaning out the old cow barn of its decades' worth of junk.
~ fence in some pastureland
~ tear down the middle barn before it kills someone
~ get water and electricity to the barn

The first one, especially, is going to be a C.H.O.R.E

So yes. We think about it every day. Andrew asks when we will be getting one SEVERAL times a day. We long for a milk cow. Not only for a quality product and for the experience of having a milk cow (Matt has been infatuated with farming and owning a dairy since he was a boy and has had dairy experience for decades now. He even went to Cornell for animal science.) but also (and especially, in my case) because I value the sustainability of producing your own product so that we will still have access to dairy products (and plenty of them!) even if for some reason we can not get to the store or afford them. In this economy, I rather like being independent. A milk cow, in my mind, is a HUGE part of that.

But, for now, I will enjoy the little luxury of not milking a cow, feeding and watering one through winter and being stuck making batches and batches of cheese (and yogurt and butter) every week until we finally get *our* cow.

Now a question (or two) for those of you who HAVE milk cows, if you please:

~ Do your children help with milking? If so, how old were they when they began milking?

~ Do you find the milk to be overwhelming? What do you do with the excess?

~ How often do you make your own dairy products?

~ Are you happy to have your own cow or is it burdening to you?

And lest I forget~ the LAST of the no groceries challenge!

::: Wednesdays Menu :::

Breakfast~ Zucchini Huckleberry Muffins. Yogurt.

Lunch~ Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with the last of the Feta, peas, red pepper and spices.

Afternoon Snack~ Raisins annnnnnnnnnnnnnddd.........BROWNIES! (I found a BOX of brownie mix tucked WAY back in the far cupboard which means we got something yummy and sweet even without having sugar OR milk in the house!)

Dinner~ Crispy Oven-fried chicken strips with maple mustard glaze. Smashed rutabaga and carrots with honey, brussel sprouts and homemade applesauce.


Terri said...

Yay for you on the grocery challenge! You did great but I also know you wouldn't have done so well if you hadn't been so good about preserving your harvest. So good job, Rebecca!!!

Milk cows - no experience NOR do I want any. LOL

Rosemary said...

First, that picture is priceless!

Your week is over, and you did it. You are a wonder!

Enjoy food shopping.
Yours, Rosemary

Michelle G said...

what about goats milk?
One of my jobs in this crazy mixed up life has been to work at a goat farm - milking cows and making cheese. Just thinking that they may be cheaper to come by?!
Wonderful job NOT shopping :) Delicious looking meals!
Great job!

Tara said...

Why not get some goats. My husband and I really want to get some goats in the future, so we have been researching it a lot. It would be cheaper to buy a goat and to feed it and they can yield up to 3 quarts of milk a day.

Congratulation on Shopping day!!

Victorianlady8 said...

I love this post :)
We have two milk cows :) and fourteen milking goats! So from that perspective sometimes it can get overwhelming, but not usually.
We have learned to raise an extra dairy heifer or two...and the income from selling them is great! We usually milk once a day for us, and then let the calf stay on for the night and put out Mama to graze during the day. Sweet Calf takes care of the morning milking, so that makes it much easier. We don't excessively feed our cows either, they get a can of grain during milking and a flake of alfalfa with grazing and that makes us get the milk we need and the calves need. Now when she first calves she has a LOT of milk, I use the butter churn and churn a lot of butter, and freeze it, I make cheese and freeze it (mostly all soft cheeses) and I make kefir and yogurt often...nearly every day in the oven over night...doesn't take up too much time and is a great way to feed us a nice protein drink for lunch :)
Yes our children milk, but not at five ;) around 12-13 for boys, Strong and big boys. Our daughters have become so strong from milking that their brothers are afraid to arm wrestle them ;) Our eldest daughter could milk so quickly that it was mere minutes for her to hand milk and she quoted the times tables while doing so :)
We LOVE having a milk cow, and they are by far the BEST investment on our farm. Raising Dairy Heifers for sale so that others can buy a young heifer is great too. We sell them at 7 mos for 800. dollars, and between that income and how much money we save on food, the milk cows have been Wonderful! I love Goats too! They are much smaller, easier and their milk is delicious too...just make sure you taste it before you buy one :0 you don't want to get one that has bad tasting milk because it will always be so. :P
I am sorry for such a long response, I could write a book on this subject :)
Blessings to you!!!

Leah T. said...

LOVE today's post!!! (As you can imagine, I'm sure. ;))

1. Our children start helping in the barn around age 3. Esther, who turned 3 last fall, helps milk the most gentle of our "girls". She loves it! The oldest two boys (9.5 & 8) can do much of the milking on their own now. They also do the milking "dishes". Our 5yo & 3 yo help the older children feed calves.

2. Being that we have a dairy farm our situation is a bit different but... If we were to just have one family cow it would definitely be more milk than we would need for daily use. I'd use some to make butter and yogurt. I'd use the rest to make hard cheeses (which I really must start doing!) for future use. I'd also make soft cheeses on occasion for immediate consumption.

3. Again our current situation is different but I'd probably make butter and yogurt one day of the week and make cheese another day of the week.

4. If we didn't have a dairy farm I'd do whatever it took to get myself a milk cow! It is work for sure but the dividends far outweigh the "inconveniences".

Your dinner from last night sounds delicious! :)

Mr. G's Mrs. G said...

Wonderful! :) I have been "lurking" just peeking to see what you have for meals. Thanks for the encouragement and enlightenment! Awesome!

Leah T. said...

Oh, I thought you might like this video about how one family cow owner divides up her milk. She does something similar to what Victorianady8 does with her calf. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfH8vCFVyvc&feature=plcp&context=C402f838VDvjVQa1PpcFM3LNudgP-EcBt7MCxJVAzAKpLweJ66ais%3D

(LOVE Wardeh and GNOWFGLINS! Such great information at her website/blog.)

ulli said...

I think your no groceries menus were delicious! Hope you enjoyed your time at the grocery store!

Anonymous said...

I would love to have been in line behind you at the grocery store...I like seeing what other people buy to make meals...I'm nosey that way :) My husband and I used to have only 20.00 a week for groceries when we first got married...we always managed...sometimes I miss those times. The loaves and the fishes.

Blessings to you and your's

Riahli said...

Have you ever thought about milking goats? I've heard lots of good stuff about Nigerian Dwarf diary goats. And goat milk is suppose to be even better for you then cow milk, easier to digest.


Was thinking with your cow allergy maybe you wouldn't have that sort of an allergy with goats? I would have some if we had any property... but sadly we don't. :( The 8 chickens we have are pushing it as it is.

Rebecca said...

About goats~ my husband doesn't have a passion for goats like he does cows and I don't actually like the taste of goats milk. Os goats are probably never going to end up here-though they are great small scale milking machines! ;-)

As for what I bought at the grocery store....you'll seeeeee...........

Natural Mama said...

Well siree, I was gonna recommend the goat milking, but I see I'm not the only one. :) I haven't been able to read your blog for awhile, but I enjoyed catching up today. I'm glad I read your grocery challenge bc I have just been informed by my husband that I have $100 to spend on groceries for 2 weeks (for a family of seven-which the nursling doesn't count). :)
I have found different breed of goats produce different tasting goats milk. Maybe you could try different breeds of goat's milk. My family has been drinking purely raw goat's milk for several years now and we are used to it, love it, and it's not as heavy (read: gassy) as cow's. My parents have a goat farm so I have tried different breeds of milk. Also, if you don't have a male goat around your milk will taste better (well, not 'your' milk, you kwim. lol).
Anyway, just something to think about. And goats are WAY cheaper than cows. But, that being said, your husband likes cows better. I totally understand that too. :)

Rebecca said...

Natural Mama~ our food budget is 80.00 for two weeks and we get by just fine. Of course, we have another 'envelope' for things like diapers so that doesn't include that-but take heart! There is a LOT you can do with $100.00 when you have to!

Anonymous said...

First, I have loved 'watching' this challenge. It has greatly inspired me! I definately see the need in our own budget to reduce cost and prepackaged items. So, my question is do you splurge on any organic items for your family? I try to buy organic dairy items and some veggies, but it usually turns out to be a budget buster.


Christi said...

You will just have to tell us of the "lot you can do with 100.00" if you have time sometime in the future! I am inspired.

Kim @ Homestead Acres said...

I was going to suggest goats, but I see others have to. :) We used to have 2 milk goats and a buck when we lived on our old farm. I can't wait to get them again!
Anyway we found as long as you kept the buck away from the does (other than breeding season lol) the milk did not taste much different then cow. The buck gives a strong sent that he rubs on the does. It's amazing how that can make the milk taste off.

Maybe they could fill in the gap between now and when you can keep a cow. Goat butter and cheese is really good to!

Kimberly said...

We had goats for a few months. Not great. One of them was crazy and needed to die. So they went to live elsewhere.
We had a jersey cow for six months. She now happily lives at the neighbors with whom I trade eggs for milk. This works so much better for us.
We'll stick with just chickens for awhile. Maybe when the kids (6,4,1) are bigger and I can have an extra set of hands. This just is not the time for me.
I found it all a lot of work and worry. But then I am a city girl now living on a farm.