Saturday, January 4, 2014

Adding a New "Maidservant"

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. Proverbs 31:15
Although  I have this fun fascination with all things non-electric and sustainable (and I know that these things don't "fancy" everyone), I do like my washer, dryer, dishwasher (still currently broken, however), electric oven, electric lighting and my hair dryer (I have extremely curly hair and although I don't get to "do" it everyday, with curly hair, a hair dryer is lovely.) I like to call these contraptions "my maidservants". {smile} I use them and as a young mother, I don't know what I'd do without them! Maybe someday when our children are grown, I'll invest in a hand-crank washing machine or something fun.{grin}

Our Jersey cow, Molly, has just about 5 weeks until she calves. Although we're definitely nervous rookies at this, we're very excited. We've already begun trying to throw around both bull and heifer names, secretly hoping it's a girl so we can keep her.

Rob and I were online last night doing our research on electric milking machines, trying to decide whether or not to hand milk or invest in an electric machine. After months of discussion and asking our good friends that run Jersey Acres, we decided to go with a milker. I'm pumped (get it?)!

The process of hand milking takes anywhere from 30-40 minutes for a rookie milker and less than that for someone who is used to milking and who's muscles have "warmed up" to the process. However, I have personally milked cows with an electric milker and it takes no where nearly that long...5-6 minutes maybe. There's always the clean-up afterwards. To hand milk, you're simply cleaning a few buckets, jars, and a funnel, essentially. For an electric milker, there is definitely more work in involved at the kitchen sink as one is washing equipment.
As we went back and forth, we decided that it's best that the milking outside part be as quick as possible so that I can get back inside to help with little ones, monitoring chore training, etc. I'm sure Rob and I will alternate milking, but at this particular stage in life for us, the milker fits us best. It's definitely an investment.
My mind is churning over all the dairy recipes we'll be making and not needing to pay for it. We do pay for hay, kelp, minerals, and some GMO-free grain, but those costs are covered with the little bit that I'm able to bring in from our milk co-op. So, essentially, no cost.
If you've ever considered obtaining a dairy animal for your family, I highly recommend these two blogs for some great information on how to milk, keep it organized, recipes, milking schedules, and more!


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