Friday, April 20, 2012

Adventures with Lucy the Family Cow

 I would love to talk about what a beautiful girl Lucy is and how she follows us around like a sweet puppy dog. She's patient and gentle and gives us tons of sweet milk. Life is a rainbow ans the sun always shines over here.
(cough, cough)

Let's keep it real today, shall we? I don't want to leave any of ya'll with the impression that my super woman powers are always working!

 First, the kids have been crazy this week...or maybe I am just tired so they get under my skin easily? Or maybe it's both????
Either way, this week instead of telling children to do a certain task once and then they say , "Yes, ma'am." and go off to do such task, I have been having to repeat myself several a million times.

But this story is really about Lucy and our first week with her. As you might (or might not) recall, she started the week off pretty good. She would stand and let me milk for a fair amount of time and overall has been easy going.
Then she got more comfortable here. Now she is seeing what she can and cannot get away with.

She came from a commercial situation where it only took about 5 minutes to milk her. 5 minutes! It takes me a good 40 minutes. This adds up to a heifer that is ready to go and is constantly lifting her legs, trying to shoo me away.
This week, due to the constant foot lifts, she kicked the bucket, stepped in the bucket and flung cow muck into the bucket. Those were three milkings that were given to chickens. What a shame.

Then there is her head butting. Lastnight she came up behind Journee and head butted her in the back. When she tried a second time, Journee shoved her and said ,"no!" I am glad Journee is used to horses and so this cow is no big deal to her. What Lucy is doing is trying to establish dominance. We can not let an 800 lb cow be way!

Now we must carry a stick and keep an eye on her. If she ever tries to head butt we will strike her nose or jab her in the ribs. Today she was good and did not need any of this discipline. We just need to make sure she knows she can't push us around and that we are boss.

As for the milking, I consulted some folks on the Family Cow Forum and was offered many suggestions.

Tonight, we gave her not only grain in her bucket, but we layered hay and grain (several layers of both) and then put two large, smooth rocks in there. These rocks were too big for her mouth, but all of this made her work and spend more time trying to get her grain plus she had hay to occupy her. Needless to say, she licked the bucket and rocks clean. It bought us 15 minutes to milk. (sigh)

When we were done, I did not let her out of her stanchion right away. Big girl must know that I expect her to stand there a while and that her leg lifting and body shifting will not buy her a quick release.

I can honestly say that it has been a very frustrating few days. Devin has been working nights all week, I am not sleeping well, I am getting up early to milk an impatient cow and the milk supply is low because she won't allow me to milk her out.

I have it on good authority that this is normal for a first week as everyone and the cow adjusts.

It's not all bad though. My cheddar cheese is almost dry and ready for some wax to cover it.

Raw milk strawberry ice cream was what we made today and it was perfect!

Here's the recipe:

2 C cream
1 C whole milk
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix these and get them cold. 

1 pt strawberries cut up into pieces
1/3 C sugar

Sprinkle the sugar on the berries and let them sit an hour to pull off juice.

Make ice cream according to your machine by pouring in the cream mixture and pour in the juice from the berries. Add the berries when the ice cream is only about 5 minutes from being done.

I used my cuisinart ice cream maker.

It was delicious, especially with the rich Jersey cream Lucy let me have from her. Yep, I worked for this treat!

So now the weekend is here and we are just a couple days from our 1 week mark with Lucy. Sheesh, kind of feels like a month:-)

Here's to weekends with husbands home and a chance to get caught up on store lists, meal plans and school planning.

What's your adventure this weekend?


  1. Sorry it has been hard and I know you all will adjust. And last I checked milking a cow calls for a margarita to celebrate!.. If you want to come in town some time I will buy you one! :)


  2. Sounds like fun....and some of it not! :)

    1. Mostly it's fun!...actually that first week was the hardest, it's easier now:-)

  3. Awe, we are picking up goats in a couple weeks time to hopefully keep our family in milk. I grew up with cattle, so it should be quite a change. Your ice cream looks delicious! Best wishes for your milking relationship.

    1. My daughter wants a milking goat, however I would really like a good neighbor with one:-)

  4. Would you mind sharing your recipe for cheddar cheese? Our cow is named buttercup, and her calf is Lucy.

    1. I do not have a set recipe I use. I do suggest the book "Home Cheesemaking" by Carroll. It's a great starter book for making cheddar!

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