In order, we didn't get Jamestown started this morning as we were planning to. Last week....no, a good couple weeks back....we were ready to go with the beginning Colonists; notebook pages printed from Paths and other sources, mini units pulled together and laid out in proper order to flow with Paths as our main focus, the *great* unit lapbook from Homeschool in The Woods about the Colonists (wow! we are excited about that one!!), a lapbook unit on Colonial Life in general, some History Scribe pages, extra books, hands-on projects like a cardboard Susan Constant and The Godspeed, etc. We were ready to go.
But you know how life works. Things happen, best laid plans and all that. Then last week, Jersey Judy was a GO....
That meant wood posts to get in, fencing to run, barn cleaning on our unused side, and the like. So, yet another extension. Really, the extension was just from paperwork and textbooks...we watched several good documentaries from our Netflix account on Jamestown, The Lost Colony of Roanoke, Pocahontas, John Smith and the like. Good foundation work, sure, but not Jamestown itself.
:::side step with me a bit::: Jersey Judy arrived Saturday morning, chatty and ready for a milking. How pretty! Gorgeous rich brown coloring and gentle as the day is long. She's a sweetheart with the disposition of soft butter....hmmm, is it 'politically correct' to compare a cow with butter?
We were yet unprepared for her arrival and she was a bit taken aback at the sort of family hands she was being placed into. This wasn't her barn, we weren't her usual milk hands (ha, we were all thumbs and then some, truth be told!). Things take time. Adjusting is a time thing.
Bro John came well-prepared...far beyond what we ever imagined! Not only did Judy arrive, but she came fully equipped...some 16 gallon jugs for milk, a full gallon of her milky goodness and about 3 lbs of butter, a wonderful cheese press even!
And the most amazing possession she thought to bring with her...a perfectly wonderful Surge belly milker!! What an incredible blessing that was!!
She also came equipped with Bro John for a few hours...questions answered, tips shared, ideas and thoughts passed along. All detailed, ready and willing to share!
Saturday evening, on our own the first time, poor Judy was really suspect. If she could've talked, I'm pretty sure she'd have been asking directions off this little mountain side and hitchin' a ride back to Arkansas. We had some difficulties with getting her on the 'stand' we built -- no, I'm not trying to milk her on a stand persay, but she has a stall just wide enough for her comfort, and about 6in off the ground. We also had everything set up and *someone* had pulled my barn power. Here I am, dying of heat stroke in the barn, stressing over Judy who I swear was real close to cow-cussing at my fumble-ness, and I flip the pump and....nothing.
Once we remedied that little issue, she did great. LOL...I'm also sure SHE wanted to hook herself up to the milker...I was rather slow. Trust me, having done the baby thing 9 times over, I *know* that feeling of full in milk and wanting to burst. My stress level was no doubt just as high as hers!
Sunday, milking went better, but I think we need a time adjustment. Judy is standing at the front gate, getting vocally impatient as it were around 6 am...where as I'm still gathering and putting the milker components together. When I get outside, she follows me all the way down the fence, waits at the back gate, then escorts me to her stall. I feel like a trouble-maker waiting to see the Principal!
Dewey headed back to his work week around 1 am this morning and had to say goodbye to Judy first. He called her from the front gate and she came strolling up, sweet-talkin' all the way. He told her he had to go, but she was in fairly capable hands and he'd be back in a week or two. Yes, my husband fancies himself a funny wit :)
Despite being told Judy's sharing about 4-5 gallons a day, we were/are woefully unprepared for her volume of milk. WOW! Do you know what several gallons of milk look like in a refrigerator??? It's way more milk than you can visualize unless you've done the cow stint, trust me! Are milk baths still en vogue???
I have 22 quart jars, filled to 3 cups, freezing out in the chest freezer right now. I have a half-gallon of cream awaiting its transformation into butter. I have 2 full gallons of milk in the fridge. And I'm about to head out to milk...that means about 15 quarts in one bucket and 5-6 quarts in another going into the fridge tonight. I'll skim their cream after milking in the morning.
See why I need serious milk ideas?? This week...cheese and butter. Lots of it. And pancakes for breakfast until they're coming out our ears (my large batch uses up 8 cups of milk).
That's the "juggling" portion of the title there. I'm already making budget adjustments to get my commercial fridge. Wonder if I can use it as a tax write-off this year???
The Vet has me listed as having raw milk. I've done up some simple signs for a few places locally....fresh raw milk $5 a gallon, "for pet consumption". The gas station/store on the other side of the mountain said she'll take whatever butter I want to sell. That's a plus :)
But, I hear Judy calling, and Abigail has the milker ready to go. Homestead duty calls!