The sunrise when I got to the barn this morning
Ruby and I have settled into a pattern - and it is SO much easier to milk now. She is relaxed enough to be calm about everything even if its a bit new. The only thing that I'm working on with her now is to stop pooping/peeing while I milk! Right after she finishes her grain, every time we milk, she poops. I have to re-wash her bag and then start milking again. Kind of annoying, but as long as she isn't trying to kick me I figure I can deal. Sometimes she won't pee if I say "no" firmly and tap on her leg, but it's not 100% effective by any means. She has been giving over a gallon of milk a day, and I'm having trouble keeping up with all of it. There's straining and skimming and bottling that has to be done twice daily (not a big deal if I didn't have the kids distracting me), then making butter and whatever else I can without cheesemaking supplies (they're in the mail, definitely should have ordered earlier). Our neighbors would like to have some though, so hopefully we'll be able to give them some on a regular basis so that we don't have quite so much.
Headed into the barn for milking
I stopped in to the the NRCS office this morning to introduce myself (and by default, the kids) to the Range Management Specialist that I have been emailing and talking to on the phone. Justin Morris. He is such a help! Just a wealth of information and really wants to see a intensively managed pasture system started in this area, apparently no one here does it and he'd like to be able to show them that with the right pasture mix its possible. Sure is nice to have him behind us and so forthcoming with related information. We're hoping to start in the spring, even if its very small, and grow from there. We've been so distracted by all thats gone on in the last month that its sure nice to start working on our goals again. We're putting ourselves on a tight budget this year so that we can save more. Provided we don't have to make any more urgent trips to California, maintaining a savings shouldn't be too bad. It'd sure be nice to not have to borrow the majority of our start-up costs. We'd much rather just borrow a little bit.
All this quiet milking time sure gives me a chance to line out plans and ideas; had I known that this is what it took to have time to think while the kids are around, I would have gotten a milk cow a couple years ago lol.