Friday, February 5, 2010

The Calf is born!

Honey had her baby!!

It's already been about 3 weeks since the baby was born. We were glad Honey waited until the weather warmed up a bit. It was a little girl calf. She was about the size of Nougat when she was first born--a huge baby. Honey did fine, though, and knew exactly what to do.

The calf is light brown with a few white spots. She is fuzzy and soft with funny licks of hair. She has a little white splotch on her side that looks like the letter "I" so we called her Isla (pronounced eye-la), a name meaning island or stream of water, since she is a Jersey cow. She is very, very playful but shy of us. She's been playing with Belle, our new Great Pyrenees dog, who we have yet to photograph and do a post on.

Honey was kind of a pain at first, but now she has settled into the routine of milking and punctually moos at me from the gate when she knows it's time for her evening milking/treat.

We've been milking twice a day and getting about 2 gallons a day. We've got our kefir grains working on a half-gallon right now, and my Fil Mjolk (Swedish buttermilk) culture is doing great. We also made clabber, which is where you just let the raw milk sit out in a warm place (above the stove) and it sours naturally with it's own good bacteria and enzymes. Most people who drank milk a hundred years or so ago in this country drank clabber. It was only recently that we drink sweet (unfermented) milk. The reason the baking powder brand is "Clabber Girl" is because people used to quick-leavened breads by using clabber or sour milk and baking soda.

The clabber turned out to taste somewhere between the kefir and buttermilk. It was very good. My children drank the whole quart in one day. When you let it clabber when it is fresh and at a warm temperature it gets nice and sour. Older milk will taste bitter.