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Got Milk?

Updated on June 27, 2008

There are some experiences that are memorable not just because they happened but also because where they happen. Let me take you to a place so different from our own that one thinks it belongs to a different time.

It is early morning just past 5:00 when I got up, put on my pants, my boots and my poncho on and carefully opened the door because its frame is actually lower. It is still dark and my companion is already standing outside with a bottle of water, a couple of empty buckets and a small stool. We set up for our walk uphill... he walks, I stumble, trying not to step on a rock or fall into the small channels that the water carves while rushing downhill when it rains. The fog does not help. It is so thick that I think I can touch it. Although we are up in the mountain, I don't feel any cold.

We walk on the road and finally get out of the road to a terrain full of grass. We finally get close to our destiny. The air changes. I start walking more carefully now. Every step I give and consciously hope I will feel the grass. You know you are in trouble if you feel your boots sinking slowly. We finally arrive. There she is... standing, looking directly at us as if she knows there is someone new that has come by to visit.

My companion steps forward and greets her with a pat on her back. She greets back... muuuuuu. I am a bit nervous. After all, the only time I have been close to a cow is when enjoying a piece of steak. My companion is just a kid but he is very experienced. He pats her on the side for a minute or two so she relaxes. Then he cleans her udder and teats and asks me to give it a try. I grab and squeeze but nothing comes out.

Finally, my companion rescues me and shows me how to do it right. The secret is to squeeze a teat at the top with your thumb and forefinger and continue squeezing each finger around the teat so it forces the milk in a stream.

Here are the tips to properly milk a cow:

  1. Milk at the same time every day and sit on the same side. Cows like a routine and this makes they feel more comfortable.
  2. Place the stool at a right angle and rest your head on her flank.
  3. Wash udder with warm water and clean cloth.
  4. Place pail under teats.
  5. Take a teat into the palm of your hand. Squeeze the teat at top with thumb and forefinger and continue squeezing each finger around the teat. This forces the milk in a stream until all fingers are around teat.
  6. Release teat. Repeat.

It took some getting used to it but I can tell you that it is a relaxing, unforgettable experience.

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