“When you’ve got 400 quarts of greens and gumbo soup canned for the winter, nobody can push you around or tell you what to say or do,” F.L. Hamer

We’re still waiting on the majority of vegetable crops. Just eating loads of asparagus. Haven’t tasted that first cucumber or tomato. There was a patch of spinach that overwintered and we got a few harvests off before it went rather desperately to flower. So we mainly survive on eggs and young garlic, pork from the freezer and the last of the boughten rice, last year’s broilers and milk. Can’t underestimate the milk.

And yes, it is a commitment. Its almost a part time job to milk 3 cows, machine the milk – separate the cream, process it to make butter, turn the skimmed milk into yoghurt and process that into dried curds. And all the washing of stainless steel entailed. I think there are 20 little metal pieces inside the spinning do-dad that makes up the milk machine’s inner parts. All that gets washed twice a day. I think about doing that with no running water. Anyway you look at it, it is a commitment. It is also a living, a means of sustenance.

A friend tells me that there were Mongols living in Stalingrad or some other city left without resources, after being bombarded by the Luftwaffe. The Mongols survived just fine on dried yogurt – ааруул. I ate some a few weeks ago that was 2 years old, no refrigeration necessary – no plastic wrapper or anything.

The milk also goes to the pigs. And some goes to the dogs and Governor the cat.

All that sunshine grass being turned into milk and sustenance for people and animals. A pillar of the small farm.

But then who are you going to find to come farm-sit for you? Who is going to look after your home-place while your family takes a vacation? How many people do you know that hand milk cows?

When it gets hot and the flies are out, the noseeums biting, bovine tails swatting you in the face, how long are you going to last?

Don’t worry. I’m not going to judge you.

Historial image credit:


4 thoughts on “Milking”

  1. 🙂 Wow, Governor is well fed and your guys’ dedication is inspiring. I love the yellow of that cream. Hand cranked separator, that is cool. My grandma used electric one. Grandma and my mom (if cows let her) would milk, and we kids were responsible for washing the machine parts, no running water those days. Yes, full time team work, and all kids kept busy.
    Good to see that dehydrated yogurt is catching back on now.
    Where do we sign up for those 2-week classes before your vacation? 🙂

  2. That IS dedication. I love what you guys are doing. I thought of you when I was bushhogging my front field last night, the one so disastrously filled with green onion. I kept thinking I should stop and harvest some of it, but I didn’t. I’m talking about eating off this farm, but haven’t tried to harvest what’s around me… It’s great to see that you are. How are your gardens? Ours is limping along, seemingly not thriving.

    1. We have a giant jar of those chopped and brined for winter. Mainly we eat the renegade garlic which seems to be available all over the place just outside the door. Pretty soon it’ll be scape season. Gardens are coming a long. Probably going to need a good mulching again soon. The garlic and early potatoes look good.

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