Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Milking the Cow

Here is a photo of a jersey milk cow (with a very full udder). Why am I showing you this?

Because when I was a child, growing up on a ranch in the Texas hill country, we had a jersey milk cow that we had to milk twice a day.

This picture was taken around 1981. It's me about 4 years old, milking Bessy on our ranch. It had to be done every day (twice a day!). (Those of you who have been nursing mothers surely understand!)
I can remember my mom stopping the suburban at the barn to run over and milk her...even dressed up nicely on her way to a meeting or something, running through the grass and hay in heels and pantyhose. Childhood memories.

It was also an initiation of sorts. Any visitors to our ranch, family or friends, usually ended up having to milk the cow on the little wooden stool and have their picture taken doing so.
You have to clean the teats first, then sit on your little stool and squeeze the milk into a pale. The cream rises to the top, and you can use that to churn into butter or make homemade cottage cheese or yogurt. There is something very appealing about living off the land and your own resources, but there is a big debate around "raw milk." Some say it isn't safe to consume because it hasn't been pasteurized, but others say raw milk has health benefits that get lost in the pasteurization process, and that it can be produced hygienically.
Where do I stand on this? I'm not sure...but I grew up drinking this milk and I'm ok...I think.

We also had chickens who produced eggs, a huge vegetable garden, apple trees, pigs, rabbits and cattle that were eaten periodically as well. My dad liked to go hunting and bring back venison. Now, that's living off the land! I'll have more posts on these details (my job with the chickens and my experiences hunting and shooting big guns) at a later date. Oh, the anticipation!

This picture also goes in theme with all the animal butts I posted Sunday from our trip to the circus. lol


Burfica said...

My husband and uncles hunt. I prefer elk over deer.

We used to own chickens but the town we are in made us get rid of them. I loved how they kept the bugs down and the fresh eggs every day.

Rhea said...

Burfica - why did your town make you get rid of them? I've never had elk.

crazy4danes said...

How great to grow up on a farm! :D I love animals and I'm trying to get my own little farm started. So far...just 2 goats and 2 sheep ;P

Fun Post!

Rhea said...

Crazy4Danes - I loved growing up on our ranch/farm. I'd love to have one now...how much land do you have?