You’ll have to excuse her terrified expression.
You see, she’s six years old and has never been off the Amish farm where she was born until now. She had just had her first trailer ride and this was probably her first photo session.
It took one bag of milk replacer at $50 for 25 pounds of processed calf feed and I simply couldn’t stand the thought of nourishing the little heifer I hope will provide my family with a future decade of milk with it.
Dried whey, soy flour, animal fat (preserved with BHA, BHT, citric acid & ethoxyquin), dried whey protein concentrate, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, L-lysine, dried skimmed milk, lecithin, sodium silico aluminate, DL-methionine, ethoxylated mono-diglycerides, propylene glycol, ferrous sulfate, magnesium sulfate, choline chloride, artificial flavor, vitamin E supplement, maltodextrin, selenium yeast, brewer’s dried yeast, zinc sulfate, vitamin A supplement, manganese sulfate, vitamin D3 supplement, copper sulfate, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), biotin, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, cobalt sulfate.
Ben (well all the little ones really) have become experts at signaling while Daddy backs up trailers over the course of the last month! Cracks me up!
We put Holly in a stall with Maby and gathered around to watch. Maby smelled her and literally danced in circles around her for about 5 minutes! It was precious to see her excitement.
(Feed & email readers may need to click through to see all of the cuteness of those first moments together.)
After she calmed down, Maby started licking Holly all over. She knew there was milk nearby, but couldn’t figure out just where to get it from. After a few minutes though, she struck gold and found her source of nourishment.
Even though in the past couple of years we did once a day milking until it was time to start weaning the calf where we then switched over to twice a day for the duration of Maybelle’s lactation, this time we’re keeping Holly on the schedule that she’s used to and bringing her in at 6am & 6 pm. We’re keeping all of the morning milk and have been getting about 3 1/2 gallons from only 3 quarters. Maby then stays with her all day, drinking as she pleases. At night, we’re bringing her into the stanchion and letting the calf do most of the milking before we separate her from Holly for the next 12 hours. Holly gets brushed while she munches some grain and hay and when the calf is done, Bill & Jared finish milking her out. If she still looks full, they’ll wash her down and save the milk, if not the chickens (or the microbes in the garden) get a treat.
We checked the infection last night (we use this easy kit) and it is improving and nearly gone!
We are so grateful for the Provision!
Even though it’s a difficult 3 months drinking water with breakfast while we wait for a cow to freshen, the seasonality of milk has truly has made me appreciate the gift of it all the more! It is so indescribably delicious and refreshing and it feels very satisfying knowing that I’m giving my baby’s (born and unborn) one of the most abundant and nutritious substances our farm can produce!
That said, I’m seriously having a great deal of trouble keeping up with her milk!
Maybelle never gave that much at one milking (at her peak she was at 2 gallons in 12 hours). I’ve made ricotta which tasted wonderful, but the yield was low, yogurt, cultured some of the milk, and tried my hand at butter making. The first batch turned out beautifully (shown above), the second I tried to culture and it was pale and tastes off to me.
Today, my second batch of mozzarella is going. I thought the first one wasn’t quite right. The whey separated too fast while the curd was forming after adding rennet and then the mass was a little loose and grainy. This second batch had the same thing happen to it. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong- if I should let the rennet work it’s magic longer- although that’s not going to help with the whey separating during that step… Or if her milk is on the acidic side already and I need to add less citric acid. The rennet is newly purchased. Perhaps I should stop being cheap and spring for animal rennet. It’s said to have more consistent results and if there is one thing that drives me crazy about cheesemaking, it’s inconsistency.
At any rate, I’m looking forward to getting some feeder pigs soon so they can help me keep up!