Team Cow: Mission Possible?

March 26, 2010 | By | Comments (9)

Remember Adelaide, the adorable Jersey cow we found for milking–and then couldn’t, because of her infection?

Ever since, Team Cow has been on a mission to find another cow.  We contacted the city of Menlo Park to see whether we could have one here at Sunset, just for kicks.

The surprising answer: Yes, as long as we have enough space and the dedication to keep the pen clean. The reality: We don’t have the expertise, let alone the time, to take care of a cow. Milking twice a day is the least of it. Cow ownership means you have to arrange to get your cow pregnant roughly once a year so she lactates–and then you must deliver her calf, perhaps in the middle of the night with odd complications (if you’ve ever read James Herriot, you can imagine)–and then you have to deal with said calf (es)  once born. This is a bit more than we feel we can handle, what with our day jobs and all.

So sharing seemed the right way to go, preferably with a wise and experienced cow-person. We tried 4-H clubs, educational farms, and individual backyard cow-owners. Nada… In part because the cows we did find were in prolonged dry spells (must be like vacation). And dairies disappeared from the San Francisco peninsula long ago.

Finally, just last week, we tried the farm where Adelaide was born: Claravale, south of Hollister. For a milking expedition, it’s really far from Menlo Park (a two-hour drive one way), but it’s just about our closest dairy. We no longer live among our farms.

Claravale’s owner, Ron Garthwaite, liked the sound of our one-block project and our wish to get to know a cow. He immediately said Sure. “Come on down and pick her out.”

More to come, but here’s a little preview:

Claravalecalf

A three-day-old calf at Claravale Farm.

COMMENTS

  1. Margo True

    Dear Cows in Menlo Park,

    Who’s said anything about dumping? Please hear us out a little on our project–we’re just at the beginning. Whatever we do, we’ll be sure it’s done with all good intentions toward the cow.

    Have you yourself had experience in dairy cow rescue? We’d like to hear more, if so.

    May 29, 2010 at 6:54 am
  2. Cows in Menlo Park? Please Don’t.

    And just what will you do with this cow when you’re finished with your fun little experiment and she still has more years to live?

    Dump her and move on to your next brilliant idea?

    Just a thought: If you must amuse yourself this way, why not rescue a dairy cow from a local feedlot where she, and other cows, go when owners use them then tire of them.

    You’ll save her from a sure and cruel death…and do something noble in the process. Unless that would just be a drag for you….

    May 29, 2010 at 4:52 am
  3. Cows in Menlo Park? Please Don’t.

    And just what will you do with this cow when you’re finished with your fun little experiment and she still has more years to live?

    Dump her and move on to your next brilliant idea?

    Just a thought: If you must amuse yourself this way, why not rescue a dairy cow from a local feedlot where she, and other cows, go when owners use them then tire of them.

    You’ll save her from a sure and cruel death…and do something noble in the process. Unless that would just be a drag for you….

    May 29, 2010 at 4:52 am
  4. Cows in Menlo Park? Please Don’t.

    And just what will you do with this cow when you’re finished with your fun little experiment and she still has more years to live?

    Dump her and move on to your next brilliant idea?

    Just a thought: If you must amuse yourself this way, why not rescue a dairy cow from a local feedlot where she, and other cows, go when owners use them then tire of them.

    You’ll save her from a sure and cruel death…and do something noble in the process. Unless that would just be a drag for you….

    May 29, 2010 at 4:52 am
  5. Cows in Menlo Park? Please Don’t.

    And just what will you do with this cow when you’re finished with your fun little experiment and she still has more years to live?

    Dump her and move on to your next brilliant idea?

    Just a thought: If you must amuse yourself this way, why not rescue a dairy cow from a local feedlot where she, and other cows, go when owners use them then tire of them.

    You’ll save her from a sure and cruel death…and do something noble in the process. Unless that would just be a drag for you….

    May 29, 2010 at 4:52 am
  6. Margo True

    It truly is sad, Tina. The farmer at Claravale refers to carton milk as “canned”…this is going to be an eye-opening experience for Team Cow, I think. By the way, we’re looking into not a calf but a fully mature milk cow, because we’re eager to make cheese.

    May 29, 2010 at 2:04 am
  7. Tina

    It’s a shame you’ve lost all of your local dairies! Here in Pennsylvania, we still have a few locally owned operations, but even here, they are falling by the wayside at an alarming rate. Most of the remaining dairy farms here are under contract to large dairy operations and no longer sell to the public. We do have one, about 30 miles from where I live, that sells milk in glass jugs, and produces their own ice cream, etc. It’s run by a not for profit cooperative that offers tours to the local schools so that kids can learn about where milk really comes from. It’s sad, but even here, lots of kids thing milk naturally occurs in cartons. Very cute calf by the way. I hope she turns out to be a great milker!

    May 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm
  8. Margo True

    From what I understand, there were once dozens of dairies in the Bay area…including here, in the Valley of Heart’s Delight (new name: Silicon Valley). It bears investigating! Sure would be nice to be closer to a cow.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:36 am
  9. Margaret

    How sad that we are so cut off from a source of milk. Are there really no dairies anywhere at all in the Bay Area?
    But that’s one cute little calf!

    May 26, 2010 at 9:54 pm

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