Sweet Jerseys

When I was young I longed for a Jersey cow to own and milk for the family.  Because we only had a few acres we decided to get goats instead, (which ended up being just as good for learning how to milk, probably easier) and I had to release my dream of having a sweet brown-eyed cow.  Taking care of Jersey cows is in my blood.  Both grandmothers had them growing up and I wouldn’t be surprised if both my grandfathers did as well.

As God would plan it, when I married Grady he had started a Jersey herd!  We ended up milking about 6 cows (Grady traded cows often) and many families in the extended area drove down to the farm to get fresh raw Jersey milk.  Some of the home-school moms traveled as far as 60 miles one way!  I guess the milk was that good.  Anyway, I’ve been missing our “girls”.  Lets see if I can remember some of their names… Miss Scarlet, Annabell, Coco (we told the kids she gave chocolate milk), Lizzy, Maggie and JB (short for Jaw Breaker, named by the previous owner… not sure why).  I know there were more cows throughout the two years we were in Oklahoma, but I guess these were my favorites.  We couldn’t bring them with us when we moved and although it is nice not to have all the milking equipment to wash twice a day there is nothing like having a herd of cows and all the milk and cream you can drink and churn.

Last summer we had lots of extra milk so Grady bought a cream separator and we began separating.  He would separate milk once a day and I would make butter… lots and lots of butter.  I remember begging him to stop separating because I was so tired of making butter.  I was never serious, but one gets tired of churning.  When we ran out of extra milk and ceased to separate, I had stored away about 20 or 30 lbs of butter.  That butter lasted until the first week of June this year.  I miss our butter.

Thankfully we are still able to have milk from a Jersey herd, (thank you Ben and Kristen :-)) and look forward each Saturday to our week’s supply.

I also came across this video, that Grady took of Annabell rolling her tongue with Coco looking on, and thought you might enjoy it as much as we do.  She did it often and usually after eating the alfalfa hay we gave them during and after milking.  Below that is another video I found of another Jersey cow rolling her tongue somewhere out there in YouTube land.  Enjoy.

What kind of milk do you prefer?

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About Erin Phelan

Born and raised in western Michigan, Erin came to Polyface first as an intern in the summer of 2009. While here she met and got to know Grady Phelan, an apprentice at the time. The next spring they were married and after a couple years in Oklahoma they are back, working as sub-contractors for Polyface. Erin keeps herself busy with the jobs of a wife and mother, as well as helping with the animals, gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, knitting and reading.
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15 Responses to Sweet Jerseys

  1. Leilani says:

    Not fair, I want a cow to milk really bad. Rick is not there yet and so it will wait. We both have full-time off farm work/school obligations so milking morning and evening is really not a good fit right now but I long to have our own milk and make cheese and butter. One day!

  2. Brandon says:

    Why did you leave milking ? I have said for several years…..and I have heard Joel say it too…….one could make a nice living on 10 jersey cows

    • Erin Phelan says:

      We decided to take a break from it while we are here in VA, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had cows again. Our goal was to get to about 13 and then we figured that Grady would not have to have another job, but God had different plans.

  3. Marilyn Wilkie says:

    Loved the cow story Erin and really loved Annabell’s antics. They do have real personalities, don’t they? I hope they went to happy homes.

  4. Your video was hilarious – I have NEVER seen a cow do that before!

  5. We had planned to get a milk cow but have decided to start with goats until we learn the milking process. Can’t wait for fresh milk!

  6. David & Tina says:

    Jerseys sure are sweet cows. We love ours (we have 19 total including calves—milking 8 currently with 2 more calving in the next couple weeks) and the wonderful milk they give. That’s a great video of Annabelle’s tongue! I like Coco’s color…..we once had a “black” Jersey, too….very pretty animals.

    Check out our website & facebook to see some pictures of our Jerseys.



  7. Kelly says:

    We currently have two Jerseys – Betsy and AnnaBelle (1 month old calf). I milk her every morning and evening and love every bit of it! Her milk is delicious and we are able to sell the surplus, make butter, and occasionally feed extra leftovers to the chickens, once it curdles. I too always wanted a cow and find that it is one of the most enjoyable parts of my day!