Projects take time, but you do have to start somewhere, lest you never begin.
This was our thinking and applied plan for a future micro-dairy.
As some of you may know, we have a big red barn with a grand milking parlor.
Some have opined that it was the first “modern” milking parlor in Essex County thanks to Mr. E. Vreeland Baker.
We had been keeping an eye out for some cows in order to get some livestock out on the fields, get experience with them on our place and to build up soil fertility.
Little did we know they would arrive much sooner than anticipated.
Meet the Cow (…and calves)
We had planned to acquire some animals later in the Fall, but Ashlee at North Country Creamery changed all that with the announcement she had a nurse cow and 4 calves to part with.
We half-jokingly called it the “micro-dairy starter pack.”
What caused this abandonment of reason right in the middle of a busy farmers’ market season?
For the answer, you just need to meet Big Red and the calves she has nursed for much of the Summer.
They have moo-ed their way past all of our apprehensions and allowed us to begin to dream big into our next farm project.
A newbie’s best friend, an experienced cow
My buddy Adam, also an experienced dairy man, hauled them over from Keeseville and in a short amount of time the girls settled in nicely.
Having Big Red as an experienced nurse cow was a huge reason in purchasing this small herd, mainly because we wouldn’t need to bottle feed the calves as Big Red would do that job for us – a nice time saver when your baking bread in the middle of market season!
So you’ve met Big Red and the four (4) calves are pictured below.
A welcome addition
Right now, we’ve been moving them to fresh pasture every few days and feeding hay in between.
The calves are growing and are suckling milk from Big Red less and less every day, although I think her calf, Feather, still sneaks a drink every now and then.
The place feels more like a farm now that there are animals roaming around, chewing their cud, adding their natural fertilizer here and there.
We even have a vet, Palmer Veterinary Clinic.
Dr. Sarah had a nice visit with us to meet the girls and talk about future needs, especially around breeding and preventative health.