Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meet Molly!
Yes, that's right. We're now the proud owners of a seven week old Jersey heifer by the name of "Molly". Molly had a big day today going from her home on our friends' dairy farm to her new home a little over an hour away.

Here's Molly's story...

After a trip to Tactor Supply for feed and some supplies, we arrived at the dairy farm around 11:00. After chatting for a bit, Sean and Lori lead us over to the pasture where the cows were. They coaxed Molly away from her brothers and sisters with a bottle and got her to Rob's truck.
Sean lifted her up and we got some towels situated at the bottom for traction and "just in case". :) Her crate was securely fastened down and after some hugs and goodbyes, we headed back home.
Avonlea was beaming.
Heading away from the dairy farm...
...on to Molly's new home.
Isaac, somehow, wound up chewing on Molly's bottle top (don't ask me how he got it had never been used before and was clean).
We arrived home and Rob let her take her time as she came out of the crate on her own.
She was quick to start running around, chasing the kids as they called her name and showing her the ropes of her new home.
Around 5:00, Rob and I started warming her milk and got her bottle ready in our kitchen. She's on a mixture of 1/2 of her mother's milk and 1/2 of a powdered milk supplement. We were amazed at how good the powdered milk a milkshake!
Rob and the kids took turns feeding Molly and she had the bottle finished within minutes. She was so cute afterwards, running around and kicking up her hooves as if to say, "Thanks guys! That was so good and I feel at home now. Let's play!"
As it began to get dark, I was a little worried that her sweet moos would upset neighbors during her first night away from her family. It is clear that she doesn't like being alone! However, our Golden Retriever, Riley, came to the rescue and the two made friends immediately. We weren't sure what to do with her first night alone, so for now, the two are bunking down in the garage together on some old, soft towels and blankets. We'll do this for the first few nights until she's more comfortable being here and then she'll be sleeping in her pen. Rob is busy making a shelter for her to keep her dry and out of the mud during the rains, but it's not finished yet.

Three reasons we decided to go with a Jersey heifer are:

1. I personally think they're the cutest of all cows with their big, brown eyes, floppy ears, long eyelashes, etc. They're just so darn beautiful!

2. Jersey cows are to cows like Golden Retrievers are to the dog species...frisky, lovable, not aggressive and love attention. They're gentle and an amazing family cow to have.

3. Jerseys are known for their amazing cream content in their milk. This amazing cream provides us with dairy products such as cheese, cream cheese, whey, cottage cheese, butter, yogurt, kefir, etc. Holsteins (the black and white spotted cows) are bred to produce large quantities of milk, but their fat content is very low and their milk is very thin. They're been bred this way for years to produce for large scale production. Jerseys have up to 6% milk fat versus the 3% of the Holstein.

It's funny. We've received various responses from various people. Our neighbors absolutely love her and have come over to visit, asking when she'll produce milk and if we're willing to share! :) We've been really blessed with awesome neighbors who love what we do and put up with our "projects". We love showering them with fresh, garden produce, fresh eggs and now the experience of Molly's love and adorableness (is that a word?).

Some have said we're crazy. Some think it's dumb. Some can't wait to come over and visit, wishing they had one. Some say "Don't you know you can just go to the store and buy milk there?". (sigh) Some say it's not "normal". Normal. What really is "normal"? What is normal to one person could be completely polar opposite to another. For me, I don't think it's normal to have to open something plastic which has been grown (or genetically modified) and trucked in for endless hours (costing who knows how much gas!) to put nutrients (or lack thereof!) into my body. I think that's why I love Joel Salatin's new book "Folks, This Ain't Normal".

Sometimes, when I'm driving, I pass large (and small) lots of land covered in perfectly manicured grass (maintained by pesticides and synthetic fertilizers) and imagine that there are beautiful vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, free-ranging chickens eating grass, worms and bugs, and dairy cows soaking up sunshine. It's a silly dream. I know. But one can dream, can't she? :)

Anyway, I'm so excited to begin this new adventure of caring for and lovin' on Molly. I know that someday, Lord-willing, she'll calve and produce lots of nutritious milk and dairy products for our family. I'm so thankful for Lori and how she was willing to sell us Molly. (It's hard to find a dairy farmer willing to sell a female.) I'm thankful for God who knew what He was doing when He completely covered our garden with shade where nothing would grow and my husband gave his blessing on getting a family cow. Oh how I was so disappointed, but the disappointment turned into a blessing I never thought would be possible where we live! I'm thankful for sweet neighbors who love and accept what we do. I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can about dairy cows and products and using that knowledge to teach others who want to learn, just as our friends have taught (and will be teaching) us. I keep pinching myself and am so excited to share this blessing with you all.

We'll be keeping you up to date on Molly's happenings around here, for sure!

Here are some fun videos from our day.


Rachel E. said...

Words can't even explain what I think when I see that little darling. Oh, I am so happy for you. She is cute, cute, cute. How much property do you have? It looks like you are close to neighbors. How much grazing land does one cow need?

Dobson Family said...

Can't wait to see the little one. So happy for you! The milk that we are getting now is wonderful since I don't have to scrape off the cream, I am finding more time to do baby projects instead of making butter :-)