In April this year, we took delivery of the first two cows who have become the start of our Dexter herd here at 'Near River', and as regular readers know, last week I was away from the farm on a bit of a road trip.
Both girls have been carrying a calf since they arrived, so when do you think our first calf was born?
Yep, that's right, when I wasn't there. But that's no panic, as Dexters are re-known for many positive attributes, one being easy birthing. And further details about Dexters can be found in my earlier post Sustainable Cattle Called Dexter.
Called Dixie, our latest arrival is settling in very well, and although we first thought her to be a heifer, it now looks as though she'll be a steer! And we're looking forward to her sibling entering the world any day now too.
I think we might have to look into changing her name though - can't have him ending up with a complex like Johnny Cash's 'A Boy Named Sue'!
For some time now, I've been keeping an eye on an on-going battle in America between dairy farmers who provide raw milk, and the various Government and industry bodies that are trying to shut them down, under the guise of what's best for the community and 'safe' food. Then my friend Ann at Sunnyside Projects sent me a link for Herdshare Australia, a new movement to have raw milk available here in Australia, so I knew some research needed to be done.
What is raw milk?
Basically, it's milk straight from the cow, unprocessed (homogenised, pasteurised or contaminated in any way) and full of all it's original goodness.
What's the problem with that? If that's what you want to eat, and can source a dairy farmer willing to sell you their milk directly, more power to you, I say. Unfortunately it's not quite that simple, in fact in most parts of the 'developed' world, it's illegal.
The concern that the authorities have is that raw milk is full of bacteria. This is actually the way it's supposed to be - what do all mammal's feed their infants for the first few months? And do we call that 'raw' milk?
Around four weeks ago, our first cows arrived here at 'Near River'. 'Cindy' and 'Jenny' came from Gail Cole, a breeder of some notoriety from Heron's Creek here on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.
They are Dexter cattle, an ancient breed originally from Ireland. Those regular readers will know the link to my wife Therese's ancestry (she is from south-west Ireland!)