Back to milking a cow again after not for the last 3 months. We've enjoyed the break, but now it is nice to be back in action. And, at the end of next month we should be adding 3 goats to our "milk line" as Gretel and her two daughters, Flower and Thumper should be kidding-- so the break was especially lovely.
During our time off we reorganized our milking parlor, and are still tweaking things a bit. One of our "tweaks-yet-to-do" is to add a vacuum line. This will save needing to lug the compressor between the stanchions and our filtering room where it is used to run the milker as well as to wash up. Whew, that'll be a nice improvement.
And we've made two elevated stanchions, one for each cow. These will bring the gals up 6 inches, which we plan will improve our access and visibility to their udders. Yet the new stanchions will be a small enough step the girls can easily walk in and back step out. We're thinkin' stanchions will also be a better setup when the vet visits and when we AI. We haven't tried these yet; so next week we'll drag them into the parlor and know how we did.
Other improvements yet to finish: we'll be adding a hand sink in the parlor and we'll be switching which gate the girls enter after we pour another pad of concrete. So more than a few tweaks yet to do, but more finished than not. Already we can see this setup is much better than our earlier arrangements. Less hay in the milking parlor, no more lugging the heavy milking equipment to the hot water as we have hot water IN the parlor-- woo hoo!
So it's particularly fun to be back at this farming chore which is a pretty lovely activity with any sort of milking set up. But especially delightful with these subtle improvements.
And then of course we are back "in" milk again. Hot dignity! We are milking Pansy once a day, borrowing from her calf who so far hasn't caught on to our thievery. We are making off with a gallon and a half a day right now. The week after Bob was born we were skimming off a bit more than 2 gallons, so it appears our little man at 2 1/2 weeks is already claiming a larger share now. Eventually we'll need to separate him in the evening from Pansy so to stake our claim and get our milk share from the deal. But for now, even with Bob snarfing up all he can, the milk accumulates fast around here and we have more than enough for all the 2 leggers who enjoy Pansy's bounty.