Thursday, February 28, 2013

Milk...and lots of it!

Milking and the importance of Cleanliness!

This is the most important part of the process along of course with making sure that Spirit is happy and healthy.  

We make sure that we follow the routine each and every time we milk...twice a day every day no exceptions!  Once at 6:30 in the morning and then again at around 5 in the afternoon.  Like I said...alot of milk.

We utilize this beautiful seamless stainless steel milk bucket.  Our friend was very generous with us and shared her bucket that she no longer needed the large size.  These buckets are unique because they are seamless which makes for a very sanitary surface to be cleaned and sterilized .  We use this to hold the milk from Spirit as we are milking her.  Before we start milking, we make sure that her udder is clean to minimize debris falling into the milk pail when milking.  We do this by filling a bucket with warm water and a bit of soap and wash her to make sure she is clean.  We then milk each teat and let the first few squirts out, not going into the bucket to again make sure free from debris.  We then bring home our fresh milk to continue the next steps.     

To get the milk from the bucket to our holding jars (sterilized pickle jars from a local diner) we use a stainless steel strainer that we line with disposable milk filtering disks.  The stainless strainer and the jars the milk is held in is also sterilized before using them.  This procedure of making sure everything is sterilized results in milk that stays fresh longer and tastes sweet.  It is well worth any amount of time and effort.

After the milk is transferred from the bucket to the jar, it is put in refrigeration immediately.  I let the milk settle for at least a day and then I utilize a sterilized scoop to skim the cream off the top and put into our butter churn to make wonderful homemade butter.  I wait until I have about 2 days of cream skimmed before I do the butter.  This gives me about a 1/2 pound.  It tastes soooo different and it bakes up wonderfully.

We are also sharing the milk with our cats and chickens and they LOVE it.  I have been able to keep up with the supply so far.  We also have the option of using it as fertilizer which is great for the garden and pasture.

Hope this gives a good idea of our process and what it is like to have a dairy cow.  We are enjoying the experience and challenges that it presents. 

**Sorry no photos today as we are having technical difficulties with our camera...I hope we can sort it out soon!

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