Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Evening chores

036 I love a great sunset. With my new camera, I find myself looking for nice photo opportunities. Sunday evening (and several other previous evenings) I took my camera with me at chore time. This time of year, evening chores fall during the time the sun is setting. So, I watch the sky on the way down the hill to the barn and on the way back up afterwards, taking as many photos as I desire. The memory card in my camera can hold over 1,000 photos on the highest quality setting. I don’t expect to fill it up on these evening journeys to the barn and back.

Sunday evening there were clouds in the sky to catch the colors of the setting sun, and I snapped a few photos. I’m still learning my new camera. So, I try different shots with different settings. It’s quite fun. I usually can’t wait to upload them to the computer to see them clearly.

Chore time involves cleaning out Josey’s stall, milking her, carrying water for her, giving her enough hay for overnight, and closing the turkeys in their house. We have a well with a hand pump that is about 150 feet from the barn, and I carry water to the barn in five-gallon buckets. There are a few hundred bales of hay which we baled last summer in the loft. Josey’s hay feeder has a chute to drop the hay into from the loft. 

On Sunday, I let Ramiah take a few photos while I was milking Josey just to show that I was actually doing more than taking photos of the sky. 053I give the evening’s milk to my parents. They use the milk for cooking and cereal after skimming the cream off. My mom makes butter with the cream that Dad doesn’t consume or that doesn’t go in their coffee.

Josey is a gentle and affectionate cow. I’m thankful for that. I’d never owned a cow or been around any before buyer her. When I put her in the stall when she first came to the farm, I wondered about my decision to purchase here. She seemed so huge in comparison to our goats.

Yesterday, I worked for a while cleaning out another area in the barn in which we had goats until last summer. I just hadn’t gotten that job done yet. Josey would also spend time in there with the goats, and more recently I’ve used it for housing Chucky Joe overnight (he’s staying with friends for a few weeks right now). Josey had to be right there with me while I worked, trying to nibble on my jacket or pants while checking out what I was going and searching for any good bits of hay that might have been overlooked. Once I finishing getting it cleaned out, I’m going to move Josey into this area. In her current stall, even though I clean it out and put down bedding twice a day, she still manages to lay down in her own mess too often. The other area is larger which will give her more places to choose from when it’s time to lie down.


Amy E

Any pros or cons you'd like to share on owning a milk cow? I have been considering it, but my husband isn't so keen..we currently purchase raw milk from our local dairy.


I love my cows. We had milk goats for a few years before we had cows, and I prefer the cows over goats. They are gentle creatures for the most part, and are easy to fence in with a single strand of electric fence wire (you can't do that with goats). The milk is great, as you know. I like knowing what my cows are eating and the conditions in which they live -- I know what's in the milk we drink. Once the cow is paid for, it is content to eat grass when it's growing. During the winter months, we feed on average 1 small square bale of hay per cow per day. Another positive is the amount of manure a cow produces. During the winter we accumulate the manure with deep-bedding in the barn which is then piled up to compost. The biggest con to owning a cow is the commitment it requires -- daily chores including milking 2 times a day when she is lactating. You also have to make arrangements for breeding, whether via AI or a bull, about once a year. I think it's well worth it for the milk and meat production (a bull calf is raised for beef).

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