some 4x4x8 treated pine lumber, handmade soap, unique antique roses or rose cuttings, new saw blades, and the ability to make real butter are all right up there on the list.
Which leads us to this post, and the need for whole non-pasturized milk to make butter. I could be simple and go south of town where it is rumored that such milk is produced and sold quietly to those with the secret code word and $9/gallon. But alas that is just not me.
I'm difficult that way, and I want my own cow.
A cowopotamus for Christmas.
As it turns out, I'm not quite ready for such endeavor as more secure fencing is necessary to contain such a bovine delight.
"A house cow?" What the heck is a house cow?
Dexter cattle are a very old Irish breed, developed to thrive on scrubby pasture. Sometimes referred to as the Irish “house cow,” they have provided both milk and meat to single-family households since at least the mid-1700s. The first Dexters were brought to America between 1905 and 1915.
These gentle, hardy and easy to handle animals are one of the world's smallest bovines. They require less pasture and feed than other breeds. They thrive in hot as well as cold climates and do well outdoors year round, needing only a windbreak for shelter and fresh water. Fertility is high and calves are dropped in the field without difficulty. They are dual purpose, being raised for both milk and meat.
Although they are the smallest naturally occurring (non-dwarf) cattle, Dexters are not miniature cattle. Cows range from 36 to 42 inches in height and can weigh up to 750 pounds. Bulls range from 38 to 44 inches tall and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
Dexter cattle eat about 12 to 15 pounds of hay per day, which is about half the ration of a typical large breed, and they have a relatively high meat-to-bone ratio compared with some breeds.
When milked twice a day, a Dexter cow at the height of lactation can produce 1 1/2 to 3 gallons of milk to share between her calf and the homesteaders family.
What does all this mean to the modern homesteader? Plenty of milk for the family with less expense for feed, shelter, vet bills (when the cow has difficulty calving) as compared to a more modern "dairy" breed that produces 6-10 gallons of milk per day.