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My biggest want and need for the homestead is a family milk cow. Just imagine all of the fresh creamy milk, butter, cheese. Not to mention all of the other great things you can do with the fresh milk. Until then I am satisfied to have a milk share and getting to enjoy Mia’s milk. Mia belongs to my friend Tonya at Clover Hill Farm.
I’ve mentioned Tonya in several different posts, she is pretty much my homestead go to girl. Tonya and I go way back. We were pre-teens or early teens when we met through our 4-H club. We spent many years riding and showing horses, going to horse camps, and many other 4-H events together. Ah, those were the good ol’ days. These days we both find ourselves doing the homestead thing and being mommies.
When Tonya asked me if we could feed the pigs and milk Mia for her while they went away for a short trip I was very excited.
I was totally honored to be entrusted with the milking of Mia. I mean, a girl doesn’t let just anyone milk her cow you know. It was kind of a big deal for me. We had two training sessions before going solo. We went over one evening and Tonya showed us the ropes of how the milking machine works and let me hook Mia up to it. The next night, Tonya watched and walked us through the whole process. When Saturday rolled around I was ready to go.
When I was a teenager I spent many years helping my friend hand milk her goats. I am quite familiar with livestock and milking (though a little rusty) but I have never used a milking machine. It was fairly simple and straight forward. First we got the milk can and the claw which is the part that hooks to the teat (I know, nursing mamas that sounds scary!) set up and ready to go. We placed the claw into a bucket of hot soapy water to disinfect it before beginning.
We let Mia into the milking parlor and she went straight in to eat. I sat on the stool and used several disinfecting wipes to clean her udder and teats this also helps to let her milk down. It had been raining all weekend so she was a little dirtier than usual. We hooked the vacuum hose to the machine and removed the claw from the water then turned on the machine. This was the only “tricky” part and it is mostly because I have small hands. I had to fold each hose on the claw and kink it to start the suction. I had to hold each hose kinked until I got all the teats hooked into place. I started with the front left teat and worked my way around counter clockwise.
I got the teat lined up with the hole in the claw and let the kink out and the teat “slurped” right down into the claw. I did this all the way around, the trick is to keep each hose kinked so you don’t lose suction. If you lose suction, the claw falls off and you have to clean it and start all over again. Luckily, I succeeded and all of the teats stayed suctioned.
Now, I let the machine do its thing. Each quarter of the udder may give different amounts of milk so I needed plugs for the claw as each quarter emptied out. As a teat is ready to be freed from the claw I kinked the hose in the one, slipped it off, put the plug in the claw and let it go again. I did this until she was all milked out.
Next order of business is pouring the milk into jars. We use wide mouth half gallon jars for the milk. Farmer Derek just poured the milk through a fine mesh strainer nested in a funnel. It’s pretty simple. The milk goes straight to the fridge from here. Back to the milking parlor with the can. We cleaned all of the equipment so it was ready for the next milking. We let Mia go and our work was done. We got to take the milk home and enjoy!
So, as if I wasn’t already
completely obsessed with eagerly awaiting the day I get my own cow, my fire is fueled all the more. Ah, I suppose I’ll sit here and pine away for my own beloved bovine. Until then, I shall enjoy the deliciousness that is fresh milk from Mia the cow.
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