I took a plunge and purchased a Jersey milk cow this winter. At the time I bought her, “Karey” was an untrained, two-year-old heifer expecting her first calf. I don’t really know what I am doing. I’ve never owned a milk cow before, the only dairy animals I’ve encountered served as nurse cows raising bumb calves. Since this Spring, I’ve successfully halter trained and stanchion broke her, though Karey is not yet a pet. In May, she welcomed a healthy, bull calf into the world. “Homer” was a small, doe-eyed critter. So sweet to behold, he has grown quickly in the past five months into a something resembling a teenage teddy bear.
The milk drinkers in my household are pleased with the quality of Karey’s output and I enjoy reflective time with her in the quiet of the morning. I know there are those who would disagree *cough* my husband *cough* but I find milking to be a meditative experience. It’s the shadowy, stillness in the barn, dust motes dancing in the sunlight trickling through the small windows, in the presence of my cow I find a sense of peace. I’ve also found forearm muscles, I didn’t know I had.
Now as I wean Homer, I’m spending more time with Karey in the quiet of the barn. In those quiet moments, between the scooping of feed and manure, I am building a life of intention one deliberate moment at a time. The cow might disagree. Much to her chagrin in the past eight months, she has been haltered and led by horseback, made two trips up and down the Big Horn Mountains, where she was picketed against her will and now I am taking her precious baby away from her.