Friday, September 11, 2009

Summer in September

After an unusually cool summer, here we get a stretch of 80 degree weather. Not that I'm complaining or anything. It is a great finish to the growing season. But, we are still low on rain. The streams and lakes continue to shrink. The watering hole we have in one paddock completely dried up. So my dad took his tractor and scraped out the muck and made it a little deeper. We have water in there once again. It is spring fed. Normally, even though it's shallow, the water stays fresh and clear with very little algae and takes a long time to freeze in winter.

We almost got us a milk cow. It was all set, the only thing we had to do was make a shelter for her and a place to do the milking. Last weekend we went to see her for the first time and Kelli tried her hand at milking the cow. The cow is a Jersey named Tiny. She's called Tiny because her two rear teats are very small. I think it's a funny name but, my family wanted to change the name if we got her because they thought it was insulting to the cow. I think it's funny also, that they think it is insulting. I think it is entirely appropriate, but that's just me. ha, ha..... Anyway, after we saw the cow we saw that she had diarrhea and that she was a little on the skinny side. We know milk cows can be bony but, she seemed excessively so. I could be mistaken but, I think the farmer said she had the diarrhea since June when she went out on pasture. That seems like a long time to me. Our animals often get it too when put on pasture but, tighten up in a week or so, not months. So we have been kind of apprehensive about going into winter with a cow that is thin and has diarrhea.

The story on this particular jersey cow is that another family owns her and they keep her at a farm where the farmer takes care of her and does all the milking. They in turn buy the milk from him, from their own cow. This is his payment for boarding and milking the animal. I guess this is one way of getting around regulations. Plus, they don't have the room for her at their place. The reason Tiny is for sale is because the farmer is wanting to simplify his life some and wants to have one less responsibility.

Well, we went to see the family that owns Tiny and they said if we didn't want her then they would just turn her into hamburger. No big deal because they said they need the meat anyway. They also said that the farmer told them that Tiny is getting harder to milk and is getting more and more impatient. So between the health issues and Tiny possibly developing an attitude problem, we decided to hold off on getting a cow at this time. Which is actually a relief because I have no idea when I'll find the time to put up a shelter and build a milking stanchion.

Earlier I wrote a check and had to look at the date on the calender to remember what day it was. I saw that it was 9-11 and had an instant reaction to the date. I knew it was coming up but, when I wrote it I had instant recall of that day as I'm sure so many people do from that infamous day. I won't go into my personal opinions about 9-11-2001 but, it sure turned our world upside down. We have the seemingly never ending "war on terror". Two seemingly never ending wars in two different countries. And an economy that is in total shambles.

I remember exactly what I was doing and where I was on September 11, 2001 when I first heard the news. So this is my little tribute to that day.
But, back to the subject at hand, summer came and went and is back again in September. 80 degrees is in the forecast for the next several days. Amazing! People every where are talking about it. Cool weather when we should have warm weather and now warm weather when we should have cool. It seems like even the weather is upside down these days.
At least with the warm dry weather it makes setting up and taking down the farm stand more enjoyable. Sales slowed down after Labor Day but, people are still coming. We've turned it to self serve, probably for the rest of the season.
Well, that's all for now.
Until Next Time


Blogger Joseph said...

If you are open to suggestions consider a goat for milk. They produce less volume but depending on the breed and how good of a producer they are you can expect 2-3 quarts/day during their milking 'season'

IMO the only reason we have cows for milk is for commercial farming and volume. In our research to decide which type of animal to purchase for dairy production we found a goat's milk to be a healthier alternative. Here is just one example:

All the best to you and your family.

3:54 AM  
Blogger RL said...


Yes, I'm always open to suggestions. Thank you. I am aware of the health benefits of goats milk. We have done goats in the past. Some of my relatives in TN raise goats and have told me for years how goats milk is better than cows milk. I completely agree.

We got away from goats for several reasons. The first is that the goats we had seemed to not take the cold that well. We had to have pretty tight shelters other wise they shivered alot. Secondly they were pretty good escape artists. And, the last Doe we had for milking had that "goaty" taste. So we sold off our goats and later got sheep. We've heard that you can milk sheep too but, have been reluctant to try it.

Another reason we have been looking for a cow is that my family has always wanted one. Probably more for nostalgic reasons than anything else.

But, if it was a matter of survival I'd definitely want a few goats around. Who knows, if we can’t find the right cow maybe we will get back into goats.

Thank you for the website, I’ll be sure to make a mention of it in my next post.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous wl said...

Funky weather, same thing down here (we're down towards Oshkosh).

We've been considering getting goats also, for meat and milk. I'm hearing rumors that goat milk prices are on the rise as more and more people are looking for healthier alternatives to mainstream food supplies, though I haven't checked it out yet. They do tend to be a little crafty when it comes to getting out, but the thing about a goat is, you can tie it off. Or so I'm told.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We tether our Jersey in the yard, just like you would a goat.

Good call on Tiny...persistent diarrhea could signal a whole bunch of different problems. If you are looking for a milk cow, put the word out. Now is a good time to buy, as dairy prices are terrible and farmers are selling off slightly lower producing cows, trimming back for the winter. These make great family milkers, for those who don't really want 10 gallons a day!! Sheesh.

8:28 PM  
Blogger RL said...

wl and anonymous,

Thanks for the comments. I'll keep them in mind.

9:29 AM  

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