Homesteading in my Blood

IMG_1329

The void in the woods at top center is where the trees for the barn came from.

It has long been said that a Milk cow is certainly the hub of the farm or homestead.
We had been homesteading as we called it for a couple of years. We were cooking and heating with wood only.
I had cut a number of Big white pines(some 30″ + diam) and was able to have the logs milled by a friend who had a Woodmizer portable sawmill.  I then  began to build a mini-barn pole building.  We had chickens

IMG_1332

Sorry for the blurry photo- this is part of the barn with my wife and cow.

IMG_1328

Our kids and Blossom

and a few goats, Nubian and another type–.
Milking wasn’t bad , but as a family of four we wondered.  Then we heard of a nice Jersey
cow not far from us.  We ended our time with goats and I built  the next part of our
little barn. It was setup with a center door into a small area between  chickens to the left
and  an area for the cow on the right.  So we went off and purchased Blossom.
Blossom was  about 850 pounds and it turned out she was already bred.  When she calved it was time to learn for sure what milking was about.   Three Gallons a Day
Three jars rotating in refrig(we used the large glass pickle jars)- freshest had a place  and  the other  two were in various stages of use – skimming the butterfat  at top ,  making butter, saving buttermilk,  The second was usually the milk for drinking.  The oldest jar just went out to the chickens, pig, dog, cats.. We never saw the dog’s coat and the cat’s looking so good. We hadn’t yet seen the best eggs, better looking  hens.  The pig was always fine with the addition of milk
Our pancakes were beyond good and butter was real again.
The other by-product especially for the homesteader was the manure pack.  We always made sure the straw bed for Blossom was clean. That meant whenever it was soiled we just threw on more straw.  This pack was fresh on top and breaking down underneath. It also was a source of a bit of warmth due to the activity of breaking down. You would notice this when temps got below 0.  Quite the chore though when it came time to  take  the pack out to finish composting.  But that meant so much to the soil we had been developing in the garden.
The first calf was a Holstein , offspring of a BIG, BIG bull  who was twice the size of Blossom.
That was amazing in itself. The photo above  is just after a tug of war- you CAN NOT wait  before trying to get  control of a animal–Start on day 2. This was after a couple of months-sometimes the way we have to learn.
After that we had her bred to a Hereford. We got a nice  bull calf and before long he was a young steer.  We raised him to just beyond veal to baby beef. That was the best beef we ever had.  And we had a part in it from the start.

That to me was the greatest success in animal husbandry ever.

IMG_1334

Get control BEFORE they get this big.

.

 

3 Comments

  1. shrey

    This was a really interesting piece of article and I came across it when I was searching for some information on Homesteading.
    After my parents moved to a city we never were so closely related to cows after that but in our villages we had so many of them, I really missed playing with them when I was a kid and always keep those memories close to me.
    The picture of your kids with blossom is really beautiful and I feel maybe I had taken one too but that time the idea of taking pictures was not as popular as it is now.
    It was fun reading this post and I’m leaving a comment because your story touched my heart.

    Reply
    1. Al (Post author)

      Shrey,

      Thanks for that and I am so glad how you feel . I has been my hope to touch people with our experiences.

      I’m glad to hear about your memories

      Al

      Reply
  2. Al (Post author)

    Feel free to e-mail me- al@thecountrysage.com

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *