the story of ted. and friday.

ted is the name of our calf. it is also the name of the calf on our two farms ago farm, in western mass. nick and i decided to name all bull calves going forward, ted. to allow for anonymity but also to provide a name other than bull calf. a couple of you astutely asked what about the calf? when i flippantly mentioned yesterday we had taken him from the mother. (brian, he and his mother are both pure jersey, btw) what about the calf? he's a bullcalf firstly. and as my landlord says, life sucks for a bullcalf. she's very right. because, who wants a bull? we don't and certainly not a jersey bull. so you take his balls. which means he is destined to either be a very large pet with high demands in hay and grass. OR he will be reared to fatten. becoming next year's food. i know this sounds awful. and you must know that this turns my insides around. i hate it so much. not only does his ending sound certain. BUT his current life is pretty crappy too. because we have separated him from his mum. well, more accurately, the farmers before us separated them when she calved this past February. and even if we wanted to, it would wreak emotional havoc to put them back together now.

the main reason for separating calf from mother is to control how much milk you get from the mother. if she is nursing her calf then she can (and, likely, will) hold back milk from you at milkings. she is also capable --because cows are incredible creatures-- of withholding her butterfat and saving that for the calf. meaning we would get a watery, cream-less, milk, and little of it.

predominately these are selfish reasons for keeping calf from mother. we have the calf in a nice clean, sunny, warm, hay-bedded stall. we bottle feed him his mother's milk. we give him hay and a little bit of grain. but he is lonely and bored. and so we are trying, very desperately, to figure out where else he could go. be it on our farm or another's. any ideas?

so that is the story of ted.

and this friday morning in photos:

1. ted. that bastard.
2. finally started some tomatoes, peppers and herbs. fortunately, the vermont spring has procrastinated as much as i.
3. tiniest little thyme seeds. how??! is this going to make something edible?
4. preparing itself for yogurt straining
5. going to strain extra long today. for super thick. greek-style yogurt.
6. the morning's haul. i always get .15 gallons less than nick. this makes me feel inferior and silly.
7. breakfast of granola, honey, and yogurt. and a cheese book. in lieu of previous three days' breakfast of toffee and tea.
8. donkey of a dog in the sunshine.
9. homemade dog treats from his aunt rachael.


  1. jerseys, wonderful! that must have been little ms. bella in the background of the photo.

  2. It was! Boy is she pissed about the new additions to the farm. Poor little princess Bella. She spent the first day enamored by her new skinny friend. But now she is acting out. Like tipping over the hay feeder and eating paper towel. An odd cow for sure.

  3. I am the wife of a butcher/chef (and proprietor of a local pasture meat butcher shop - themeatmarketgb.com ) and a veterinarian- so I feel your pain and the inevitability of this life. BUT if you are looking for a real adventure then consider training a team of oxen!

  4. Having lived near a 4000 cow dairy farm, I know for a fact that Ted has it waaayyy better than mainstream calves. He will be ok.

    Oh, and we use Baker Creek seeds, too. Good stuff!

  5. @ wife of a butcher, we have considered oxen, though jersey steers are, apparently, not well known for their oxen capabilities. we want to do it with devons though!

  6. we have a "ted" goat. He's getting fattened. love what your doin girl!

  7. Jerseys make great oxen, gentle, easy to train- but small- so not as strong- but for a small farm as plow animals perfect. Not loggers probably!

    Vet advice: watch out for calves in the cold (body mass to surface area ratio), and with post-partum hypocalcemia.

    My brother in law is a raw dairyman, has a mixed herd and sometimes raises another farmer's bull calves for 'meadow veal'- delicious, in case training is not on 'the list' for a while!

  8. that is so good to know! thank you, first i had heard of jerseys re: oxen. also, your butcher shop looks very cool. next time we are in west mass we'll have to check it out!

  9. I will never lose my amazement at the fact that one seed can become SO MUCH MORE. and a whole handful of seeds? Just wow. Btw, your new digs look super cozy!

  10. Kate!
    I wanted to share with you a great resource I've discovered recently. It's called Vermont Agriview - http://www.vermontagriculture.com/Agriview/index.html

    It's a wonderful semimonthly publication about agriculture in vermont. especially useful is the "marketplace" classifieds section. i hope it is helpful to you!

    p.s. i second the butcher's suggestion to raise some oxen! i'll help!

  11. reading your posts makes me more excited to wake up and milk the goat. and to do so before bed.

    though, admittedly, that's not how i naturally feel all the time.


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