It’s hard to express the excitement we feel at finally welcoming our new Homestead Cow, Creme Brulée. Having a dairy animal once again feels so right, so perfect for our little homestead, and yet it’s been a long path to find the right cow, to create infrastructure for a cow, and to invest in a cow. And the learning adventure has just begun!
For Christmas last year, I presented Brian with a homemade Gift Certificate for “One Dairy Animal of Your Choice.” For years we cared for Alpine dairy goats on our Oregon homestead, but when we moved to Missouri, we felt that a family milk cow would be a better choice. For one, our landscape is well-suited for a grazing animal. And the fencing requirements for rambunctious goats were more than we could take on at this point. Plus, who doesn’t love cream, butter, and ice cream?
A cow it was.
But which cow? How does one go about finding and selecting a homestead cow? I admit that I’m a total newbie when it comes to cow care, but I felt very sure about a few specific traits that I was seeking in a cow:
- A gentle disposition, so our children could be involved in the love and care of our homestead cow
- Raised on her dam’s milk for several months
- Fed organic or non-GMO supplements, only as needed to maintain her condition
At first, my search led me to Misty Morning Farm, in Virginia. And I must credit Faith for sharing so freely and generously of her extensive cow knowledge as we tried to find a family milk cow that met my criteria, and her availability. We were scheduled to receive one of their beautiful heifers in October, but unfortunately it did not work out in the end.
One of my favorite quotes from the musical The Sound of Music is, “The Reverend Mother always says, ‘when the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window’.”
I mentioned on my Facebook Page that we were looking for a Jersey cow, and a window opened: a few hours from us, in Kansas, a reader named Lorinda is raising beautiful Jerseys to become Family Milk Cows. We talked extensively before deciding that indeed, one of her bred heifers, Creme Brulée, would make a great addition to our homestead, and that we were the right family to care for her.
Creme Brulée arrived on Saturday, and is settling into her new home, while we all begin the exciting task of getting to know one another.
Cream, milk, and butter are in our near future, as she will calve in the late spring – early summer. For now, we get to enjoy the simple pleasures of brushing and petting her, smelling the sweet smell of hay, and caring for the newest member of our homestead family.