Saturday, January 23, 2010


Iris is my first and favorite cow, and the sweetheart of our cow family. Actually, right now she is the only bovine on our property. But I plan to remedy that this summer....

We bought her in June 2003 when I had just turned 14, from the Wechslers of Samish Bay Cheese.

She gave birth to Mo that January, but had such an atrocious time calving that we never bred her back. This would be enough for most dairy farmers to send a cow straight to slaughter, but I kept milking her for another four years. And after that, she raised a calf.

A cow needs to be milked every twelve hours, every single day. That first year I woke up at five-something each morning to milk her before school. And come 6 PM, no matter where I was, I would have to rush home to milk again. Every single day! Such is the life of a milk maid - slave to the cow.

(winter coat)

After the first year I met Charlene, who was willing to milk Iris in exchange for milk. This made our lives so much easier! All through high school Charlene milked every school morning, while I did the evening milkings. Eventually I switched to once-a-day milking, which made things even simpler, although it also meant less milk. So of course, I turned around and bought another cow (Lil), and we were right back to that 12-hour schedule!

Other cows and steers have come and gone, but Iris still roams the pastures of Fort Bantam. She is now milk-free and retired, but currently living the good life and enjoying a midlife career change - horse baby sitter.

I have to say - Lil's milk was mighty fine, and raw milk from other farms is quite tasty - but nothing will ever come close to Iris's milk - creamy and sweet and luscious - simply incomparable.

And isn't she cute?


  1. Oh, I will second that about Iris's milk! I drank so much more milk from her than I ever had at any other time in my life. The sweetest, creamiest, yummiest milk ever. Your blog is really enchanting my dear, keep writing! ~Rachel (on Vashon)

  2. Hey Kelsey,

    Iris feels like a member of our family, the kids still talk about her. And when we ask our youngest (who just turned 4) what her favorite animal is, she says it's a cow, because they give her milk. So that is thanks to you and Iris.

    Julie and Darryl