November 28, 2015

What I have Learned from Learning to Milk a Cow

 It's been roughly seven months since Aleph was born, mama cow's first born and since that time I think I have finally earned my milk maid status.

 You see, growing up near my uncles farm exposed me to many an agrarian practices, but the actual milking he did...  which means that I 'knew' how to do it in theory. But knowing & doing are two different things. And life has a way of adding elements into your learning curves that you may not have been prepared for...

So as you read, please remember that I am by no means an expert in cattle nor of being a milk maid, but I am learning as I go, hands on style! Which is my favorite way to learn anyway...

What I have Learned from Learning to Milk a Cow:

  • Create a Semi Quiet Area - that is dry and clean: it's more pleasant for mama cow and for you. We don't have a technical milk station... but we do have nice places to milk. Even with life happening all around you, this special place is where she receives her alfalfa and her milking. 
  • Hobble: even after months of milking, I still hobble - in the beginning it was for training her and safety for myself. Now I think it's more about the process and being consistent. Our hobble is just a simple lead style with a loop around her leg, in place above the hoof and below the fetlock joint. The hobble is then attached to a stable spot... in our case it's a stake.
  • Give Alfalfa: mama cow now comes from a far end field at the sound of the alfalfa bucket handle banging against the side of the bucket. It's rare to have to go fetch her and if we do she meets us more than half way. Alfalfa and her are tight, what can I say.
  • Keep it Clean, Warm and Dry: this means keep your dairy supplies clean, your water warm and your hands/her udder dry. The clean dairy supplies are a no brainer, your dealing with raw milk and lost of wonderful living micro buddies. Warm water is for cleaning her udder and depending on the season, her udder can get quite dirty. Dry hands and dry udder, this is for multiple reasons... obviously wet hands make milking interesting in a negative way and create the perfect environment for chapped surfaces. 
  • Don't Rush and Check your Mood: if your in a hurry, having a bad day and showing it, or just plain not in a pleasant mood. Mama cow knows it and I can guarantee you that your milk production {if not the whole experience} will be down. This may sound odd, but it's true... this cow knows what your mood is and if you don't check it, she will check her udder. 
  • Be Consistent: 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. That is milking time and she knows it! Now she can be flexible, but don't be surprised if she is standing at the gate staring at you as you prepare your milking accessories.
  • Show the Love: okay - so this one is an extra. But after milking and mama cow is off the hobble and just before I unclasp her lead, I scratch her 'spot' just behind the hump of her horns. She loves this and often times she nuzzles her head along my torso like a dog.
  • NOT a Pull: it's more of a downward squeeze, a succession of your fingers tightening around the teat down ward. With the base, near the bag being closed with your first finger and thumb as you begin. Definitely NOT a pull! Her tail and hooves will let you know it too.
  • Give yourself Time: for you and mama cow to learn each other. Seriously. When I first started to milk it took me almost an hour... now I am in and out in roughly twenty minutes. Maybe thirty if I include the clean up. But do give yourself time to develop a system and to learn...
  • Milking Muscles are Going to Happen: - as you go along, your gonna earn them. My forearms are solid and only getting stronger as I go. However in full disclosure, I have had to back off my milking nights because of my hand inflammation, and I really need to figure that out so I can get back in the swing of things. 

I have also learned that milking is work, but it's so rewarding and I would not trade my learning experiences for one single thing. In all honesty as I am writing this post more and more things come to mind, but I will save those for another day.

~ blessings!

November 23, 2015

Evidenced Based Learning w/ Vintage Remedies Black Friday Sale

Howdy! I wanted to get this post out as soon as I could, but beings that it was a long drive... sixteen hours on the road. {Thanksgiving in the north will be just what my heart needs. Snow. Pine trees. Long winding rivers. The warmth of the wood stove... and yes, Turkey.} I am little behind on sharing the news about the Vintage Remedies Black Friday Sale! Which actually starts tonight at midnight!

this post contains affilate links...

Some of you may have read a few of my posts regarding the herbalist learning I have enjoyed thru Vintage Remedies, but if you haven't - you can still find those posts in my side bar. Anyway this 'Black Friday Sale' has some great pricing and I am telling ya, if you have ever wanted to take any of the Vintage Remedies evidence based learning courses, now is the time!

Their - Black Friday Sale runs November 24 - Dec 2 -  and includes more than just the herbalist courses... take a little peek at what on sale:

  • ALL Intermediate courses (Aromatic Medicine, Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Botanical Pediatrics, and Botanical Skincare) will be only $165 (regular $215). 
  • Family Herbalist will be $100 off at only $395 (regular $495)! 
  • Master Herbalist is a whopping $200 off at $795 (regular $995)! 
  • And ALL of the resource books are discounted between 50% off and 85% off!  

Like I said. Those are great prices. The course I just completed was the Master Herbalist course, which is $200 off it's regular price... seriously that is a huge deal and worth every penny. Friends - your health and that of your family's is priceless.

My eyes are getting heavy, and I am ready to snuggle in for the night so I will leave with you two things - both of which will give you a taste of Vintage Remedies. The first is the FREE webinar replay on Essential Oil Ingestion - and the second is just in time for your holiday weekend: a FREE Thanksgiving menu and recipes download. I hope enjoy and utilized them both...

~ Blessings!

Sale fine print: these prices don't apply to previous purchases and the sale prices are only available between Nov 24th and Dec 2nd. At midnight (CST) Dec 2nd, the sale is gone for year. So hurry on over!

Affiliate Links: this post contains affiliate links and any purchase made through those links may result in a small commission. Thank you! You are also invited to use my banner in the side bar if you prefer.

November 21, 2015

A walk through the herb garden

I was able to spend some much needed time in the herb garden this week, I know I have said it before and I will probably say it another twenty times, Fall is my most favorite time of year. And a walk through the herb garden this time of year always brings such solace.

Would you take a turn about the garden with me?

There's Yarrow – achillea millefolium ~ a wonderful diaphoretic herb used for fevers. There is anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, as well as being anti-microbial and astringent. A member of the Asteraceae family, of whom sensitivities have been reported. She also enjoys spreading beyond her boundaries and is happy to share just about any location in your garden... or lawn. 

I sat with Comfrey – symphytum officinale ~ that's her over there... for a little while, admiring the green of her leaves, given this fall season... capturing the little remaining blossoms that seem to bow or to curtsy as you get to know them. Anti-inflammatory and astringent, wonderful in the way of promoting cellular growth and proper scar formation... yes, Comfrey has been a friend of mine for many years. Even with her controversial history... 

And just down the row lives Echinacea – echinacea spp. ~ the leads of this group are often seen in E. purpurea, E. angustifolia and E. pallida. Earls really, in antimicrobial action, being anti-inflammatory, and a large supporter of the immunomodulator committee. Extremely effective when dealing with issues of the upper respiratory tract and when the season is over, they often spend their evenings assisting many a migrating bird.

Miss Melissa – melissa officinalis ~ excels in carminative action, relieving spasms of mind and body. Her fragrance is very notable of lemons and her ability to calm the nerves is simply outstanding. She is delicate of air, but strong and highly productive in her work. Making her a welcomed addition to any occasion... howbeit she does have some binding effects on TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) sadly, often running interference. 

Ah – here at the gate is Moses, he watches mostly... and though not an herb to meet, but worth a mention and an introduction. Because these cool nights and rainy days have cause him to come calling more often. He has great manners, isn't pushy at all and is not opposed to pat as long as there are no dogs in the area.

That concludes our turn about, I thank you for joining me and I will be looking forward to more turns about Creation in the future.


He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, 
And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth...

~ Psalm 104:14 ~

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