Miss Daisy

If you’ve been following my Twitters, you’re aware I suddenly speak of little other than milk & cream…. because I have finally put a long-held dream into action: I got a dairy cow!  Daisy is three years old, a Brown Swiss with a bit of Jersey in her.  She is solid white but for a blond topnotch and blond kneecaps.  And she is amazing.  Sweet, curious, gentle, and kind.  To get this photo, I had to run from one end of the corrals to the other and quickly shoot off an image while I could – you can see she’s on her way over to me because she loves her forehead scratched and a good body rub.

I bought her from a small dairy farm (~500 cows) about 150 miles north of here that was selling just a few of their cows due to the dreadful economy; Daisy is considered a low-producer in the dairy world, but that makes her perfect for me.  She was named by one of the girls who worked at the farm, and everyone was sad to see her go; I love that she was such a beloved cow, and I can already see why.

Daisy was used to being milked by a machine but showed incredible patience the first few days as I fumbled and tugged below her.  And now, less than a week later, milking is a ritual we both look forward to.  Though my hands are so sore.  So, so, so, so sore!  So sore that the day before yesterday, knowing milking was ahead of me and looking forward to it but dreading the pain and cramping, I finally remembered those remarkable little pills designed to take away pain.  I never take pain-relievers, but I will bow to the alter of Advil until my hand strength catches up with my work.

Daisy produces between 4 – 5 gallons a day, split between morning and evening milkings.  The first few days I swore I could hear her producing milk faster than I could milk it.  But now the milkings take 20 minutes?  Half an hour?  I have no idea as time just disappears as I sit beside her and feel her warmth and listen to her eat contentedly.  I get up periodically to rub her head, which she loves, and to rub my face against her cheek, which I love.

Half the milk goes to a calf.  It’s not Daisy’s calf; hers was taken off before I got her.  Recently, a neighbor across the way had a cow who had twins.  Another cow, who had already calved, adopted one of the twins and orphaned her own calf!  So that calf (a black angus) was being fed with a bottle, and I adopted him.  I still feed him with a bottle several times a day (filled with Daisy’s milk) because, though the calf has tried to suck her, Daisy does not allow it.

And I get the other half of the milk!  I share some with Charlie, Chloe, Eli, and Jake (Jake is MC’s 20-year-old dog) and they all love it.  {Note! Raw milk and pasteurized milk are completely different substances both nutritionally and molecularly. It is not recommended that animals be fed pasteurized milk.  Raw milk, however, is generally quite fine for their systems.}

And I love it too.  I milked two gallons from Daisy the other night and when I separated off the cream (I use a turkey baster), I had one gallon of milk and one gallon of cream.  Daisy, you make heaven a place on earth.

I made butter a day or two ago and will be making more tonight, along with a huge batch of yogurt.  And her milk is simply divine, warm or chilled, straight out of a Ball jar.  It’s a good thing my life is one continuous workout because I’m about to increase my caloric intake by 400%.

I’ll leave you with Daisy’s super-soft neck ~

Comments are closed.