Wednesday, October 02, 2013

TBF 031 :: Milking and Freezers and More, Farm Fun, and a Hard Lesson Learned

Micro-daries, cheese making, milking Dexter cows, and keeping our Crooked Gap Farm pork/chicken/beef/lamb frozen. Those are all topics on todays episode of The Beginning Farmer Show. Thanks to a great question from Scott in Minnesota I spend some time talking about why we aren't milking on the farm right now, and why it could possibly be an enterprise in the future. The biggest hang-up I have is the capital costs needed to do an enterprise involving milk or cheese for sale. Scott also gave me a great suggestion about using a walk-in freezer instead of our current set-up of a multitude of upright freezers. I think this is a great suggestion on many levels and I will be looking into it very closely this winter ... I hope!

Links Mentioned in This Episode
If you have an input on the topic be sure to leave a comment below or send us an e-mail.

The Beginning Farmer ShowAs always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn. If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five start rating and review (by clicking the link or the image on the right). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with The Beginning Farmer and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ... 

**Special Note :: A few users are experiencing issues downloading the show on iTunes. If you have any experience with podcasts and how they can play nicely with iTunes I would love some suggestions.**

(if you are interested in the music in this episode check out my brother's record label, Historic Records) 


Scott Morey said...

Hey, Ethan! Thanks for talking about my email! I tell you, it was the strangest experience to listen to this podcast. I loaded it on my phone and was listening to it in my car on the way to religious release time instruction in one of the communities I serve. It was like you were sitting in the car with me, talking to me--and I kept wanting to interrupt you with a question or idea!

Here is an introduction video to Bob White stuff--this is what got me hooked on thinking microdairy. There's a great video of their morning chore routine, too.

Keep up the great work! I'm sure I'll pester you again.



Wes said...

We are about to be thrust into the world of milking Dexters. Our 15-year-old boss cow just unexpectedly dropped a dun calf (our 10 month old bull calf got in with the cows on Christmas day last year). We aim to share milk--we'll give her about a week with just the calf--whereby we'll pen the calf away from his mama at night, milk her out in the morning, then let them run together for the day. I expect we'll get in the ballpark of a gallon a day.

While a small-scale dairy certainly is and can be done profitably, I think the real economy of milking is in having a homestead cow or two. What she produces above your family's level of fluid milk consumption goes to ice cream, butter, cheese, etc. And the skim milk can go to the hogs (as can any extra whole milk, if you don't have a market for it).

With the Dexters my main concern is hand milking. Seems like cows of all breeds haven't been selected for hand milking much, so while their teats are fine for the milking machines they're a bit hard to grip by hand. My wife milks our Nubian doe currently; I tried but could barely use three fingers, and I kept accidentally diverting the milk stream with my ring finger! Unfortunately my cows' teats aren't much bigger than the goat's, if at all. Guess that's another trait to be considered when selecting breeding stock.

There's a great presentation given at an E.F. Schumacher Society meeting/conference by Sally Fallon Morrel of the Weston A. Price Foundation (author of Nourishing Traditions) where she discusses how a small dairy can pretty much change the world. In short, what doesn't get consumed as fluid milk or butter & buttermilk gets turned into cheese; the whey is used to fatten hogs; the manure from the hogs and cows is used as fertilizer for a market garden; and probably chickens provide meat and eggs from cleaning up what the cows and hogs miss. That's a lot of food, and a lot of jobs. Our food system would be revolutionized with a certain number of those small farms. But I digress.

And I'm sure you've found it by now, but Bob-White Systems is a small-scale dairy equipment company ( Pretty neat stuff.

Will let you know how the milking goes.

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