"Yeah" or "Boohoo"- I'm not sure how to respond to no more milk from Margie! She is getting a 2 month break from milking because we dried her off in preparation for calving. She gets a break to grow the calf and rest - and so do we!
While I will admit, it is nice not to get up at 6 AM to milk, I really do miss the fresh milk. We have a milking rotation so everyone gets to share the love of milking - John and I take the morning and evening milkings on Wednesday and Sunday to give the children a break. They milk morning and night and rotate off for a break the rest of the week. So, milking doesn't fall on any one person - it is nice to have lots of hands to share the work!
When the time came for drying Margie off, she was giving 1 ½ gallons twice a day for a daily total of 3 gallons of milk. This may sound like a lot of milk but with 6 children still at home, it went fast. Especially when you consider that our evening meal was homemade ice cream! We eat our biggest meal midday and more of a snack meal at night. From Vanilla to Blueberry to Coffee everyone enjoyed the nightly bowl of ice cream!
I have still been making a gallon of kefir each day and some Mozzarella but to be honest, having to save enough milk for ice cream did not leave much milk for other cheeses. Oh well, when she freshens (the time after calving when the milk comes in) she will be giving about 6 gallons each day so there will be plenty of time to catch up on cheese making!
Another disadvantage to not having your milk cow producing milk is the effect on the budget - it is suffering! Having to buy milk is the pits! But, I am only buying it for kefir which I have cut down to just under a gallon a day...plus, enough for various recipes that call for it.
You might be wondering why all the pictures of Margie's udder...
Well, I wanted to show you how it looks when she is not being milked - it is soft and saggy.
OK, maybe saggy is not the best word to use but it fits!
When milking, her udder is tight and firm - very different from the way it looks now. I routinely look at her udder because as calving draws closer, it will begin to swell and is a good way to tell that calving is near.
And finally, here's the queen of the barnyard showing off her figure - she is 7 ½ months pregnant. We had a friend who owned a dairy check her just to make sure she was pregnant before we dried her off.
Now we watch and wait for the birth of the calf!