Sunday, January 23, 2011

Frozen Milk

It is -35 C outside with the wind chill (a high of -22 today!) and I've been out each morning this week at 6am milking our dear Bonnie. Her calf left us Monday which now puts me entirely in charge of making sure this girl gets milked. So far I've been getting between 5 and 6 litres (including what those two very happy barn kitties drink) and a good lot of that is being stored in the freezer. Thawed milk has a different texture, but I find for cooking, hot cereals, baking, and coffee, when heated it works just fine and the taste is the same. I did up a 4L batch of yogurt too and we are so happy to be back in 'real' yogurt. Like bread, or tomatoes fresh from the garden, it should be illegal to call anything else yogurt due to the vast difference in what you get. No offense to the good stuff out there - its just hard to beat it when it is fresh.

Of course, I had grand ideas of making cheese this winter but I find myself too deeply coveting the milk and yogurt. 4L of yogurt from 4L of milk (which is around $20 if we buy the Organic Meadow stuff we like best from the store). Or 20L of milk can make me 2kg of cheese which I can get for $35 or so from a local cheese factory. In addition to costs, I have to admit that I am also afraid that I will like the cheese I make too much and become dependent on that too. I love making cheese but I don't love the inflexibility of milking a cow at the exact time each day when there are so many other demanding commitments around here. It also leaves us little flexibility for going anywhere - though both of us don't usually ever get too far away. So it's nice for a while but not something I want to tie into for the whole year.

Anyway, my eyelashes were frozen before I even made it to the barn this morning. The milk froze on the edge of the stainless steel bucket as soon as it hit (and this is coming straight from a warm body). The water was freezing in the cat bowls minutes after I filled it. This world is cold today.

Despite all my worrying, Bonnie and I are getting along just fine. I am faster at milking and she has learned to tolerate me with 2 scoops of grain. I think we both kind of like our quiet time together in the mornings. I know I do.

Life is good. Right and clear. Just like the stars overhead at 6 this morning.

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