Friday, January 8, 2010

Fresh milk: a straining experience

Cleo, the new calf, isn’t taking all of Tilly’s milk. I am able to get two quarts or more in the morning. During the day, she’s pretty much getting all of it, so I don’t bother to milk in the evenings, unless it appears necessary. I expect that Cleo will nurse more as she grows and soon there won’t be much left for us as long as she has free access to it. Bucket-o-milkAt that time, probably when she’s three weeks old or so, I’ll separate her from her mama during the day or over night so that we can have some of the milk. By that age, she’ll be eating a little hay (she’s already nibbling on it), and she doesn’t need all of the milk anyway.

This morning I milked out nearly a gallon of milk. I put down fresh bedding in Tilly’s stall, because she makes a mess of it over night. I give her a nice flake of fresh hay, just lay it down on the floor. While she eats it, she stands still and lets me milk her. I usually take some warm water down to the barn in the bucket to moisten a rag to clean off her udder. Some mornings it’s messier than others (she’s not real careful about where she lies down sometimes). If I forget the wastrainer & funnelrm water, I have to use cold, and she doesn’t particularly care for that (she kind of jumps a little bit). While I’m milking, Cleo often tries to get her share, but I discourage her – she leaves the teats slimy because she slobbers on them.Ready to strain

After I bring the milk back to the house, it needs to be strained to remove dust and any small pieces of hay or chaff that’s gotten in it. I have an old tin milk strainer that didn’t have the bottom screen. I cut a piece of PVC pipe that fits in it nicely and use that to hold the filter. I used to use squares of Bounty paper towels, but, in order to use less consumable goods, I started using a thin cloth diaper (it’s not been used as a diaper). strainingI can use it several times, cleaning it well between uses, before it needs to be washed. It’s easy to adjust it to strain through different parts of the cloth for each day since it’s larger than necessary.

Then, using a funnel under the strainer, I sit it on a 2-quart wide-mouth canning jar and strain the milk through it. The wide-mouth jar allows me to skim the cream later if I want to. We like to drink the whole milk, so it doesn’t all get skimmed. I have been skimming a little bit to put in my coffee, though. Otherwise, we’ve been drinking the milk so far.

After the milk is strained, I set it in the refrigerator and clean the bucket, funnel, and strainer so that it’s ready for the next time.

      the strained milk Two days worth of milk in the fridge


small farm girl

I was raised on raw milk. Now I can't remember what it tastes like. I wish is to get a milk cow one of these days. I want to make some butter.
Nice post.


I'd love to share some milk with you. If you make it down our way (Metcalfe County), let me know.

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