Bringing in the cows: Idle chatter
Luckily I milk for one of the few smaller herds that still exist in the UK, milking just under a 100 cows through a swing over herringbone 8/16 parlour. This means 8 cows come in either side of you and there is 8 cluster down the center of the parlour which are suspended from a swing over bar, which means they can milk either side of the parlour. This farm is a lovely tidy farm and the stock are looked after really well, which reflects in their health stats putting them at the top for herd health with the company they supply milk to and their milk quality is very high for a predominantly Holstein Frisian herd.
It takes me around 2 to 2 1/2 hours to milk them during the winter months, and as we Autumn calf and during the Summer months they are over half way through their lactations, so reducing in production, milking can be as little as just over an hour or so, but with bringing in and putting out I'm there still around 2 hours or so.
Milking this number of cows means milking is not such a frenetic activity as the large herds and often as I'm finishing milking and as we are calving, Steve the farmer I work for brings down any cows that are freshly calved and there is then a chance to have a friendly chat. Find out what we have been up to since last talking and whats going on with the cows and the farm generally. On a Tuesday the part-time workman can also turn up as milking finishes which adds a bit more banter to proceedings.
This last Tuesday happened to be the 1st December and as Steve appeared with a couple freshly calved cows, we were both in the pit of the parlour I mentioned how it was the 1st December and he only had 24 days left to Christmas to do his shopping. I then said, "It's a bit of a special year this year as our fake Christmas tree will be 10 years old. We are thinking about having a bit of a party." He then said, "Well, I can beat you on that one, our old tree is coming up 16 years old." I laughed and said, "There's always got to be someone who's had their tree longer," and we laughed and he then said, "Our old wood burners ten years old this Christmas, it happens to be ten years ago at Christmas we had to replace the old one," I then suggested, "We can make it a joint party then for our tree and your wood burner, a bring a log party." we laughed and I added, "Better make sure though on the invitations we stipulate it's, a bring a WOOD log party though. Just imagine the shit you could end up in if people misunderstood that." Which got a proper old chuckle from the two of us.
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“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!