Inspired by this thread about cow tipping in GQ and the number of cow questions in it, I thought it might be nice for the city folk to get a chance to get some questions answered. Since I’m moving off the farm for good this summer, this will also be a nice way for me to get all misty-eyed and reminisce about all the crap that I’ve done (and not done) on the farm.
Want to know how to milk a cow? Want to know how to feed a calf? Want to know what calf-pulling is? (Doesn’t have much in common with taffy, I’ll tell you that much!) How about what the grossest thing I’ve ever seen is? Want to know some jargon? How about milk grades? Want to know why neither my brothers nor I have any intention of becoming dairy farmers? And why I hate California cheese? Oh, ladies and gentlemen, I am your girl.
A little background: I am, of course, from The Dairy State, Wisconsin. The farm I grew up on was officially established by the McKnittingtons in 1848, but we were probably there some time before that. We’re Cornish. The farm buildings all date from the nineteenth or early twentieth century. The main barn underwent renovation in the 1940s, expanding it from a fourteen-stanchion barn to a thirty-stanchion barn. (Stanchions are the things you tie cows in. There are tons of different types.) We milk about sixty cows twice a day–it’s a small farm. Pipeline systems have come and gone since the expansion of the barn, and right now we have one that runs via vaccuum pump.
I can’t promise that I’ll be able to answer all the questions, but I"ll try to answer them to the best of my ability. Any I can’t, I’ll either field to Pa McKnittington or maybe some kind Doper who knows more than I do will be kind enough to step in. I’m long on family history and funny stories, but kind of short on the elaborate science behind animal husbandry.
So ask away!