Question: How many udders does a cow have? If you answered four, I promise I won’t laugh at you. That would have been my answer a few years ago too! Because of the fact that over the last 3 weeks I have been thoroughly acquainted with bovine anatomy, I will gently correct you…the answer is one. One udder, four teats. Aren’t you glad we cleared that up?
Now I have a confession to make: I am not the primary milker of Sweetums. I am the assistant milker. I realized early on in the milking process that I was not going to be able to go out in the morning by myself and milk the cow. This is the case for several reasons. First of all, I have a five month old baby that needs tending to early in the morning (plus 2 other youngens, but they aren’t nearly as dependent on me as the babe). Second of all, I have a healthy fear of my 800-lb animal with horns. In other words, as much as I love Sweetums, I don’t feel comfortable coaxing her into the milking stall by myself. And last but not least, milking a cow requires strength, stamina, and speed. Early on in the learning curve of milking Sweetums, the farmer and I would take turns milking her because of how tiring it was. I just wasn’t as fast as the farmer, and when Sweetums is done eating the scoop of sweet feed, she is done with milking-whether your bucket is full of milk or not! So my very gracious farmer-hubby has taken on the role of primary milker, and I stand by for moral support and back-seat milking advice. He is able to get about a gallon of milk in 15 minutes now!
I then carry in the bucket of milk and proceed with my duties. The assistant milker has several very important jobs and I take my responsibilities quite seriously. I strain the milk into glass jars and put it in the fridge. A few hours later, I scoop off the cream that has risen to the top to make butter, half & half, and ice cream. I then make yogurt from the extra milk. It is a good thing none of us have a dairy allergy or are counting calories! The past 3 weeks of enjoying fresh milk have been some of the most delicious weeks of our lives. I’m not trying to make you jealous, but this milk and the by-products of it is honestly the best in the world!
Many of my readers have told me about their experiences as children, growing up with a family milk cow. At first, it is a novelty but quickly it becomes a chore. Not a chore that is bothersome, but a chore none the less. It has a reward at the end. For us, this reward has been 3 years in the making and has come along with many ups and downs, joys and sorrows. It has all been worth it and it has taught me many things along the way. For some reason, I don’t think I’m done learning all that farm life has to teach me…