Why We Keep a Family Cow

Reader Contribution by Brenda Arthur
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We got Daisy, our full-size Jersey, a year ago. We had been discussing getting a cow for a couple years when the farm where we had a herd-share called to say they were looking for a new home for Daisy. Daisy was 3 years old at the time and had just freshened with her first calf a month or so earlier. The problem for the farmer was she was milking from only 3 teats – no mastitis – just no milk from one quarter. She seemed perfect for us since there are only 2 of us and we don’t need that much milk.

The day came when I went to meet Daisy and see if we would be a good fit. Without any coaxing she walked right up to me and licked me in the face! Yuck – her tongue was rough like a cat tongue and slobbery – but I instantly fell in love with her. A few weeks later we loaded her in the trailer and brought her home. She quickly settled in and the milk started flowing into the refrigerator!

Finally I was able to make all the dairy products I had been dreaming about. Growing up on a farm in the mountains of West Virginia I was used to all the homemade natural dairy products that I could now make myself! Sadly my grandparents both passed away several years ago and with them the knowledge that I needed to use all this milk and cream. Of course the butter making was easy, but what about everything else? I wasted a lot of milk trying to make things that tasted as good as what I remembered but have finally achieved the results I wanted. Maybe not making them the way my grandmother did – but just as good none-the-less.

Nothing beats fresh buttermilk, homemade ice cream, yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese. I can feed my family healthy dairy products that I make (with Daisy’s help of course). I know what the cow that produces the milk eats and know that no hormones or antibiotics taint her milk.

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