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The Arrival of Buttercup

The Arrival of Buttercup

Gentle Buttercup

On Tuesday, ready or not, Buttercup arrived at our new little off-grid homestead.  We purchased her from friends who sold their small raw milk dairy (pet food only, of course… legally raw milk must be labeled as such in Florida).  She is an eight-year-old Jersey and bred by a miniature Jersey bull, ready to calve in July.  Buttercup is the perfect name for her, because she is going to hopefully be the fulltime supplier of butter for our family!

We were told she is a gentle cow, easy to milk, except for one teat which was dried early this season because of some injury which led to mastitis.  We traded her for 18 pieces (oz) of silver purchased in 2010 for emergency purposes.  We figure if the economy totally falls apart we’d prefer a food-producing cow.  It’s hard to eat silver.  The Arrival of Buttercup

Silver Oak stayed home Tuesday, mostly because we were having a deck-load of company that evening.  My brother and family from Ohio came to visit, so all of my local extended family came for dinner to celebrate our six-year-old’s birthday (he’s known here as Farmer Boy).  Now, Silver Oak is intelligent and very optimistic in contrast with me, the cautious pessimist.  If it weren’t for him we’d never have adventures.  Well, in this case I felt like we may be going overboard to introduce a new cow the same day we were hosting a party for 27, but Mr. Optimist thought it was no big deal.  Ha!  I got the last laugh on this one, as you will see.

When gentle Buttercup was unloaded from the trailer, she was not in a gentle mood.  This new place and all the animals staring made her jumpy.  She immediately tore the lead rope out of Silver Oak’s hands and fled.  It’s a good thing we had closed the gate from the runway back into the paddocks.

The Arrival of Buttercup

A croud of onlookers (goats) waits for Silver Oak to open the gate

The Arrival of Buttercup

She breaks loose

For the evening milking Buttercup was not interested in entering the stall Silver Oak had hastily built.  A small oak tree partially blocked the opening, and she was not going in.  Ok, no problem, just give her a bucket of feed, sit down and milk.  Unfortunately she positioned herself against a tree making it impossible to milk on her right side, so Silver Oak crouched on her left (the wrong side) and Evenstar reached in from behind.

She ate too fast.  All at once she was done and ready to move on, but there wasn’t much milk in the pail.  Ok, so cut down the little tree and try again to get her into the stall.  But now she was no longer hungry and saw no reason to enter.  By this time all of the guests (my family) were here shouting out good ideas and enjoying the show.  I wish so badly I had been out there with a video camera, but I was too busy with dinner.

The Arrival of Buttercup

She refuses to enter the any hint of using a rope or pushing her head in she whirls around

It took over an hour and several volunteers to finally get the elusive Buttercup into her stall!  What a circus!  Then she was so upset she kicked at Silver Oak and knocked over the milk pail three times.  The head gate was not made yet so Buttercup had too much freedom to move in the stall.  Evenstar remedied this by poking her hind end with a stick to keep her at the front of the stall.  Hilarious!  But it was 7:30 pm before the party could really begin!

The Arrival of Buttercup

Finally she's in! Quick, grab the milk pail!

The Arrival of Buttercup

Ugh! Now she's moving around too much and this silly board is too low!

Things did improve.  The next morning it only took five minutes to lure her into the stall (she was hungry), and that afternoon Silver Oak made a head gate and added a fence wall on one side of the barn to complete the stall situation.  Now she goes in easily and is proving to be the gentle cow we were expecting after all!

The Arrival of Buttercup

It's much easier now with her head locked in, standing correctly

The Arrival of Buttercup

Farmer Boy's birthday cake, made by Grandma

Two days after Buttercup came she and the two horses were nowhere in sight at chore time.  After a long search and tracking their hoof-prints through the woods in the paddocks, we discovered they had skipped the country.  Almost.  You may recall that Silver Oak worked hard last month during his days at home to build fence on the unfenced north side of the paddocks.  He did enough that it took the animals a few weeks to discover they could still get out and explore elsewhere.

The horses had turned west and found a gap in the neighboring orange grove fence.  Silver Oak and Evenstar found them happily munching nice green grass at least ¼ mile away on the banks of the canal bordering the grove.  Can’t blame them.  There’s not much grass around our place yet.  But Buttercup was nowhere to be seen.

Silver Oak and I went back to the woods and retraced hoof prints.  We discovered cow tracks that turned east where the horses had turned west.  When she got to our neighbor’s west fence she turned north and Silver Oak finally found her in a mucky swamp.  When he called she lifted her head, turned, and slowly followed us back to the end of the unfinished fence, around through the woods, and all the way home.  What a nice cow.

The Arrival of Buttercup

Peace and quiet reigns again at chore time

Since the great escape we’ve had to keep the gate to the paddocks closed till the fence is finished.  Which explains why Silver Oak stayed home Saturday and today working on fence, in spite of his landscaping work not being done for the month of March!  The animals don’t do the best cooped up in the small runway with only hay (not good for the pocketbook either).

The Arrival of Buttercup

Lots of delicious creamy raw milk (pet food only, of course!)

Saturday when Silver Oak went to build fence he launched us on another unscheduled adventure.  That’s for another post.  For now, let me tell you we LOVE all the milk!  Saturday we made a big batch of deliciously creamy butter, and we have real buttermilk to make cornbread and pancakes with.  Yum! Fresh cottage cheese with nearly every dinner is such a treat.  We’re living like kings!  Except kings probably never milk their own cow.  :)

The dogs and cat love the skim milk after we remove the cream.  We’ve cut back on store-bought pet-food already.  What a life!

The Arrival of Buttercup

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36 Responses to “The Arrival of Buttercup”

  1. Gone Country says:

    Oh my, never a dull moment at the LiveReadyNow farm!

    How exciting to have a dairy cow and such a sweet one at that. I bet the fresh dairy products are so much better than store bought. Enjoy!

    And, happy late birthday to Farmer Boy!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Yeah, no dull moments. :)

      The fresh dairy products are better in many ways…taste & texture, no GMO’s, no hormones, no antibiotics, no unhealthy fats (from homogenization), and tons of healthy live enzymes.

  2. amanda says:

    She looks like my AnnaBelle! Jersey’s are so beautiful. Yes, I would rather have a cow and what she produces than silver. After having AnnaBelle for 3 years, she is so much part of our family. I’m sure your Buttercup will be too!

    Isn’t GOD great?

    Have a blessed week in THE LORD!

    Matthew 6:33

  3. I am SO excited for your family! Congrats and may God bless this addition to your homestead.

  4. Bobbi says:

    you guys are amazing. I would love to visit your little farm sometime. :) I would love to have a cow also.

  5. Deb says:

    Loved hearing the story of Buttercup. Thanks for sharing. Would love my own milk, but it’ll never happen for me. Love your posts. Happy late birthday to Farmer Boy.

  6. ……….if I had land, I think one of the first animals I would get is a cow! :) So happy for you!

  7. michelle says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Glad to know buttercup calmed down. Will you be making other cheeses?

    • Rose Petal says:

      I want to try mozzarella first. Don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to try aged cheeses, but maybe some day. I looooove cheddar.

  8. Glad she finally came around! I guess it really was just overwhelming for her at first.

  9. Tracy says:

    Awesome news on getting the cow. That is one of my projects for this year. I do have a couple of questions for you. How long does it take to milk Buttercup at each milking? How long does it take to process the milk and how much milk does she give? I am so very curious about dairy cows!!! Thanks and may God bless your sweet family!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Well, we are still learning and I’m sure once we are better settled in a routine it will go faster, but for now we figure about 20 minutes to milk her each morning and evening, then about 10 minutes to filter the milk and clean the pail, etc. So, I guess that would translate into about 1 hour/day right now, if one person would to it all. Right now we are getting 3 1/2 gal of milk per day, which is down a gallon from when we first got her. Just as with goats, a move like this is stressful on a lactating cow and as expected her milk production dropped. I’m glad though, because it’s already enough of a challenge to know what to do with all the extra milk!

  10. Congratulations on convincing Buttercup to be cooperative. :) Homemade butter sounds absolutely wonderful.

  11. Pat says:

    It looks like Buttercup is a great addition to your homestead. Happy Birthday Farmer Boy!

  12. You’ve got your hands full, but seem to have it all under control…an exciting week!

  13. Heidi says:

    Hi Rose Petal,
    What an edventure this week has been for you already. I love the comedy of errors in getting Buttercup situated and I am so glad she’s settling in now. I am very jealous of all that raw milk… Have a wonderful weekend and a very Happy Easter.

  14. Oh my! I can totally relate to escaped cows and bulls. Always an interesting time! At least you had help to get Buttercup back in.

    Thank you so much for sharing at Rural Thursdays. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Yes, it could have been a whole lot worse! We found everyone and got them all back fairly easily. Now the fence is done so no more escaping…I hope!

  15. Kelly says:

    Wow, lots of adventures and hard work, but it already looks like it is all worth it.

    • Rose Petal says:

      Yes, sometimes we feel overwhelmed. But once we get something new settled into a routine it is not so bad…and it is worth it. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. michelle says:

    Dear Rose Petal
    I read your post about wash day . I thought this might help make it faster and easier.
    I found this video that shows how to make your own Dasher washer. It had the agitator to help get your clothing clean. It looked really cheap and easy to make. Just go on you tube and type in my dasher washer.wmv into the search bar. It will take you right to Misty223 videos. Have a blessed week. Almost forgot you will need someone who knows how to weld . Please let me know if this helped.

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thanks so much Michelle…I didn’t mean to be ignoring your comment, but I’ve had major computer problems, and still can’t do videos. I am curious about it though, and will let you know when I watch it.

  17. I do love to read your posts and this was no different- I agree with another of your comments- never a dull moment and Buttercup looks just gorgeous- I bet her milk tasted sweet too! Thanks for sharing this with us on Seasonal Celebration! Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network x

  18. Kristin says:

    I found your little blog by searching for “how to hand wash clothes+homestead”. I’m so happy that you had pictures of how you do things! :) We’re moving in about 6 weeks and we will not be able to bring our washing machine and unless it’s an emergency, I will not be going to the laundromat (it’s $6 to wash and dry ONE load here – nuh, uh! No thank you!)

    I was really concerned about extracting the water from the clothes, because as you said, some of the bigger clothes/items (jeans, towels & sheets) are nearly impossible to wring out by hand.

    Thank you for posting the bucket-with-the-holes idea. :) I know 100% that I can do this now. :) Thanks so much for sharing.

    Have a wonderful day!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Hello Kristin, I’m so glad you stopped by and introduced yourself! The bucket with holes is good for getting a lot of the water out, but it doesn’t nearly get it all. Did you happen to read the other two posts following this one? Just want to make sure you got the whole picture.

      I hope you have a smooth move to your new location!