BY RACHEL BITTON
Summer definitely got the best of the Bittons so Silo Part Three… will be coming… sometime. In the meantime, I wanted to share what I learned about cows this summer—they can be ungrateful! Remember the time my husband brought home a random mini Angus cow whom we lovingly named Snots? I got a wild hair and decided to turn Snots into a family milk cow. So: I prepped, read, and learned, before her calf was born. My goal was to get a freezer full of grass-fed butter.
Last fall we went to Ireland and one of my Irish cousins asked if I had noticed that their butter “was the proper color,” meaning dark yellow. I asked why their butter was darker and she said it was because their cows were fed properly! Most dairy cows in Ireland are milked and then turned out on the lush green, belly-high pasture until their next milking. The grass adds all sorts of good stuff to their milk and cream.
Bless my husband for helping me with this crazy idea. He worked at a dairy as a young teenager so thankfully we weren’t going into this adventure totally blind. Operation Lots of Butter commenced… until we ran into a large snag. Angus cows aren’t sweet like Jerseys. Snots was not on the bandwagon if you get my drift. I really can’t figure out why she was so ungrateful—she got to spend most of the day away from her calf in the pasture happily eating, receiving an all- you-can-eat buffet of hay and grain while being milked, and reunited with her calf for the night.
My intent was for this to be a ‘me project’ not a ‘me and the husband project’. Unfortunately, Snots wasn’t cut out to be a family milk cow and my feral farm children didn’t like the milk. We even went as far as scrubbing the ‘best buy’ date off an old Costco jug and filling it with Snots milk. The kids barely batted an eye and called my husband and me out on our milk scam. The only saving grace to this whole sad story? I did make one batch of butter. All two tablespoons of it! It was really good on my homemade sourdough bread and it was the proper color! Maybe next time we make a bad animal decision it will be to bring home a sweet milk cow…
“We even went as far as scrubbing the ‘Best by’ date off an old Costco jug and filling it with Snots milk. The kids barely batted an eye and called my husband and me out on our milk scam.”