Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Date with Daffodil

| | 2 comments

Tonight, a lifelong ambition of mine came true.

No, it wasn't finishing my novel or discovering a new way to make electricity.

I milked a cow for the very first time.

I mentioned earlier this week, on our way to harvest grapes at Nordic Hills Farm, we passed by Daffodil, the Olsen's milk cow, on our way to the vineyard. I love Jersey's, their color, their huge brown eyes, their sweet nature. 

Not that I've personally known one before mind you.

But I was about to.


After calling her in from the pasture, lured by the rattle of alfalfa pellets in a bucket, Daffodil was led to a post where a lead rope was clipped to her halter and the pellets were deposited in a feeder.

While Jim went for the milking tools, I stood watching Daffodil eagerly lap up her alfalfa and munch on the 3 apples Jim gave me as a "getting-to-know her" gift. (The mattress pad is to keep the flies off of her while she's being milked).


From time to time, she'd pause in her eating and gaze at me with her unbelievably big brown eyes as if to say, "What are you standing there for?"

As I watched and waited, I was not alone.  There were the kitties, too.  The sweet calico and the Siamese kitten I saw the other day.


I love this Siamese kitten.  She (at least, I think it's a "she," but I can't say I'm an expert in sexing kittens) lets me pick her up and hold her, purring like crazy and rubbing on my hand the whole time.  She is sweetness wrapped up in a bundle of cuteness.  I could hardly stand it.

{Have I ever mentioned what a sucker I am for a beautiful kitten?  Oh, I have? Never mind then.}

She would make a perfect addition to our own barn.  If we had a barn.  But I don't think Jim & Mary are quite ready to give her up.  So for now, I'll just admire her when I visit. And love on her as a replacement for missing my own bundles of feline furriness.

But back to Daffodil, who is still standing patiently in the barn.


Jim returned with an ice cream pail and a enamelware milk canister, and began his instruction.  An old milk crate turned upside down (how ironic, eh?) became a milking stool. His agile hands quickly got her to let down her milk, and streams of the palest creamy yellow shot right into the pail.  He could even do this two-handed, although the flies were bothersome enough that Daffodil would take a step forward or back from time to time and he had to grab the bucket and pull it out of the way lest it get kicked over.

Finally, it was my turn.  I gripped her teat exactly as Jim had shown me and tugged, extracting exactly nothing.  I tried again - nothing.  And again.  Finally a short stream shot out and missed the pail.

Eureka!

From then on, the milking was easy peasy.

{not}

Sometimes it seemed I had the system down, and the milk came out in a nice stream.  Other times, I tugged, to no avail. I tried doing it the same way every time, when I had success, but it was still very intermittent.

Jim suggested I place my forehead into her flank.  I tried that, too, but I think she could tell it was not Jim's.  A cow, I'm sure, gets used to her milker, and she knew I was not him.  She swiped her tail into my face, which managed to get behind my glasses and get me in the open eyeball.

{ouch}

But she was still patient and calm and beautiful, despite my clumsy attempts, and I was in heaven for being there.


At the end of it all, I got to take home a quart of fresh, still-warm Jersey milk with the cream rising up on it.  And a sack of zucchinis.  And a grocery-bag full of apples.

And I have another date with her tomorrow.  Maybe I'll even get to meet her calf, a Jersey-Holstein cross named Fudge.

Fudge & Milk - what could be better than that?

Cheers -

2 comments:

Jess said...

Her udder, in that second photo, looks like it's nearly bursting! I'm a total sucker for Siamese kittens too (is it the blue eyes?), and she's so gorgeous.

Beautiful story. I can just feel the simple calm peace. I wish I could have milked her too. Or, attempted to. ;)

Victoria Strauser said...

I thought the same thing about her udder! Jim tells me it is actually difficult to milk if it's too full and I can beleive that! I think it is those blue eyes that get to me...

I hope you get to milk a cow like Daffodil, too. :o)

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