Milking in winter

3° F this morning, with a mean little wind.  A grey landscape and spitting snow. While putting out the hay I pulled my turtleneck up over my nose to shield my face from the cold.

Milking at these temperatures is no fun. Milking means bare hands and inevitably, damp fingers.

I am as slow at milking as I am at all other physical tasks. Allen watched me milk once and shook his head, smiling. No dairy would hire me.

But my lack of speed is never a problem except in winter. Though I only take a gallon, leaving the rest for the calves, it may take me ten minutes to milk that gallon. My fingers ache and go numb. Every minute or two I shove a frozen bare hand to thaw in the warm pocket between Katika’s udder and her thigh. Similarly, at home I often revive my icy hands on the back of DH’s neck under his collar. Katika is much more tolerant of this maneuver than DH is!

When it falls below zero, I will leave all the milk for the calves.

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