WE DON'T MILK OUR COWS!
Actually that's not news...we have NEVER milked our cows.
There have been a number of guests arrive at the farmhouse this summer and the first thing they want is a glass of cold raw milk....
I don't drink raw milk. I don't know where you can get raw milk.....as far as I know it's illegal.
Then I have to deal with all these disappointed faces....because there is no raw milk and no cows to milk.
I honestly don't think a dairy farmer could run a farm vacation where complete strangers are milking their cows all the time. Cow milking is complex. It's machines.....they don't sit on a wooden 3 legged stool and milk the cows by hand anymore. That ended years ago.
But I did milk a cow once at Upper Canada Village. The milking experience from the 1800s is still alive and well there.
Grady works for a dairy farmer. He milks cows. I wash his clothes. I don't want to milk cows. I don't think you would want to either.
So....after much disappointment about the no raw milk or milking of cows....the guests want to know why we have cows....and really...are we REALLY farmers? Because....isn't farming about milking cows?
We are BEEF farmers. Our cows supply you with meat...hamburger, steak, roasts....BEEF.
We have a cow-calf operation. This means that we have 120 mom cows that give birth every year. We have calves that 'start' in February....that means they are born in February....thru to April. And then more 'start' in July thru September. There were a few new calves born at the farmhouse property this year.
These calves stay with their mom's until they are ready to be weaned and then they are sold....by that time they are a little over a year old. They are not sweet, small calves at that point. They have grown to become large animals....nearly as big as their mom's.
And we have sheep. But unfortunately there is no milk with those either.....I've been asked. Apparently sheep milk is amazing....and I'm sure it is. But I don't have any. Our sheep are bred for their meat too. Lamb chops...leg of lamb....all that yummy goodness is from our sheep.
We have 25 ewes that dropped 45 lambs this spring....that means that they gave birth to them. They do have milk....but it's for their babies.
So we don't farm everyday then right? Because there's really no milk. Uuuummm....yes. With that many animals under your care it's hard to just walk away and say 'sorry gals and guys I'm just not going to bother with ya'll today'.....
We do manage to get the odd day away...but it does take some planning. There have been no vacations where we disappear overnight for days and days. I remember spending an entire summer day at a cottage once....visiting with relatives....and we came home with the lawn covered in cows. All just chillin'....relaxing.....laughing at us.....because we had a day away and they had had their own vacation day as well.
Honestly the vacations that I grew up with were so horrendous that I'm not the vacationing type. You can read about that here. It's much safer to just stay at home. The planning and organizing involved to try and take a vacation and leave all these animals here is a little overwhelming for me.
Some guests are shocked to learn that this whole farming gig goes on year round. There is no possible way that these animals survive here all winter....??
Yes. Yes they do. We feed them all the hay that we cut and rake and bale all summer....during the winter. And we make sure that the water bowls are not frozen....they need a good supply of clean drinking water all winter too. We keep them in sheltered areas where there is a windbreak or at the edge of the bush or in the barn. They are all very hearty animals and they manage the winters quite well.
So enough of this farming stuff....I made some cakes on the weekend.....
There were TWO 50th Wedding Anniversary cakes in one weekend....
And a family reunion cake....
I just got this new ruffle tip and it was my first attempt using it....