Morning at the Milk Stand


Steam rises off the milk in my bucket in the crisp November air. Beulah Petunia feels good on my cold fingers. Her teats are natural hand warmers.

The chickens help her with her feed. In case she needs help. Before I got here, I gave hay to the goats and donkeys and filled their water bucket. Cat food goes on the back porch, dog food on the front porch. I got a bucket of feed for BP. She watches me carefully from the fenceline as I go about my chores each morning. She knows breakfast is coming.

She loves breakfast.

I clamber up the hillside with my milk bucket and her feed bucket. She crowds me when I carry feed, trying to steal the bucket, and I don’t have a third hand to hold a stick to make her stay back. The electric fence runs along the backside of the milk stand, so I climb up on the hill outside the fence.

She watches me carry the feed to the back of the milk stand, walking out of her reach.

She wants her breakfast.

I climb over the back of the milk stand with my buckets. It makes me feel like I am ten years old. Glory Bee thinks I am a funny lady who climbs over the back of the milk stand with treats. Beulah Petunia pokes her head over the gate at the front of the milk stand. She doesn’t think I’m all that funny. I make her wait a few more minutes while I tie Glory Bee to a corner post and pour feed into the box. I leave a little feed in the bucket for Glory Bee then I let hungry mommy come in.

And I milk her all I want

When it’s Glory Bee’s turn, I untie her and she goes right to the milk faucet.

Cows have weird tongues.

I feed the ducks and fill up BP’s water buckets while the chickens scratch in the woods and run across the frosty ground.

I go back to the milk stand and let Beulah Petunia out. She goes right to her water buckets. She can drink five gallons like nobody’s business.

I take my bucket inside to finish my morning chores in the house. I put more wood on the fire. It’s cold and my hand warmer is outside eating a bale of hay.

It’s morning on the farm and I have milk. I think I will make cream cheese today because I feel like I could eat a whole cheesecake by myself.


  1. Nancy says:

    You have WAY more ambition that I do! I make goat milk soap and considered buying a couple of dairy goats, so I’d have my own supply of fresh goat milk, (I raise Shetland sheep) but I decided that I don’t want to be tied to milking ~ nor do I need or want the extra work, so I barter for my goat milk. I teach spinning or knitting or felting or soap making and have been able to trade lessons for milk so far…

  2. Rose H says:

    Suzanne, I’m surprised at you – fancy not warming your hands first! πŸ˜†
    (What lovely photos and way to start my day, thank you). :heart:

  3. judydee says:

    Love the early morning photos–what a beautiful time of day. That’s the reward for early risers!

  4. Gem says:

    Suzanne, you have such a knack (pure talent, really) of putting EVERYTHING so neatly into words-especially for me, as they refect my farm life so eloquently! Thank you for that.

  5. glenda says:

    I loved the description of your mornings on the farm. I can walk right along side you and see everthing….that is a gift. Thank you.

    It sounds like you have your milking with GB under control now. I think I do too. I put Angus in a pen in front of Willow where she can see him while I milk. Then I let him out.

    Yesterday was my first try at this method. I almost filled my milk pail….got tired and just let Angus have some. Now to see if she truly let me have some cream.

  6. lauren says:

    what a lovely morning! πŸ™‚

  7. Linda Segerson says:

    Way to start a beautiful morning! You have your work cut out for you but you live a interesting and fulfilling life! :shimmy:

  8. Rebecca says:

    Beautiful. So similar to my morning (only I’m milking a goat instead of a cow). Nice to know I’m not alone out there in the early morning. All my fellow farmers are out there, tending their fields and their animals, doing the little things that matter, bringing the milk inside.

  9. Joycee says:

    Whew! I’m exausted just reading this, why do I want to live your life so bad??? I’m a summertime farmer, that’s it! I’m thinking how cold it’s going to get and having to lug the water in snow…how will you climb that hill when it’s icy? I do like the cheesecake part…

  10. heidiannie says:

    Lovely post.
    Thank you for sharing your morning’s toil so poetically! πŸ™‚

  11. LauraP says:

    Ah, warm hands, my favorite part of winter milking — it’s the most peaceful, happy part of my morning routine, sitting there close to my Jersey, doing my thing while she does hers. Is it weird to like to milk?

  12. texwisgirl says:

    I liked Joycee’s comment – yes, it would be wonderful if farming could be fair-weather work only. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your morning with us, Suzanne (and BP, GB, the chickens, etc.) πŸ™‚

  13. Kristen says:

    Great Post….tired just from reading it though…That’s a lot of morning chores :moo:

  14. Louise Clark says:

    Suzanne, I think most of us would love to spend a day or two learning to make soap and cheese with you. Love your blog. It is the first thing I go to every morning. Thank you for all of the inspiration.

  15. Jersey Lady says:

    I love my farm chores. They get me up and out and give me time to watch closely as the seasons change. I like the regularity of chores because whatever else is happening, two times a day I know here is something I can do right and well. Doing chores gives me great satisfaction. Chores are honest and meaningful work. They keep me humble; and yet I take pride in them.I feel good when I am finished, seeing my animals are welll cared for and that our place looks neat and tidy.

  16. marymac says:

    I get up early every day, but it takes me till noon to get moving. That’s why I love reading your blog. You’re amazing!!

  17. claudia w says:

    Oh my! I think this all sounds so wonderful…then I wonder how it’s going to be when the snow falls. Any way you could get BP in your front room or something?
    I was just wondering…are you going to continue milking Clover at some point? Or are her boys taking up all the milk?
    Thank you for taking me along on your morning. I feel as if I have done my chores now…

  18. Leanna says:

    Burrr Rabbit! It’s too cold to be doing all that! Good for you!

  19. mintamichelle says:

    There is serenity in this post….I love it.

  20. farmershae says:

    What a wonderful post! I love crisp morning chores…I wish I had a handwarmer too!!!

  21. Vicki in So. CA says:

    I apologize if this question is dumb (city girl here)… but, you begin your morning routine at approximately what o’clock? Also, do you collect eggs when you’re finished, or do you do that later in the day?

    Thanks for sharing your morning with us. It looks/sounds like a lot of work, but oh, how beautiful the mountains are in that crisp air! And you’re right β€” weird tongue!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Vicki, I’m out just after 6:30 am to take the kids to the bus. When I get back, I drink some coffee and start feeding animals and usually get to BP last because she takes the longest so I like to get everything else done first. I collect eggs in the mornings sometimes, but I usually wait till the afternoon.

  22. AnnieB says:

    I can just feel the frost in the air and smell that good, sweet cow smell. I lived on a farm when younger but am now a city person who wishes she were on a farm again. You’ve made me feel as if I were there. Thank you :hug:

  23. Barbara W says:

    I just made one of your cheese cakes for work.
    They LOOOOvvveedd it.

  24. Chic says:

    Sounds like a great way to start the day. Sure makes you appreciate coming inside to a warm fire doesn’t it!
    Enjoy the rest of your day Suzanne.
    Maura :hungry2:

  25. paul says:

    enjoy the hand warmers now because when it gets real cold they don’t help much… Do you wash the teats befor you you milk? I use to milk 4 to 5 goats every day 2 times a day an the hands would freeze on the cold mornings.

  26. northcountrygirl says:

    Sounds lovely. I wish I had a farm in the country like yours.

  27. Rhea says:

    You have to milk every morning, right? Do you scrape off the top curdle? We used to have a dairy cow on the ranch I grew up on, and now I want my own. I don’t even know how to begin affording land and animals but I know it’s something I need to do.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Rhea, I don’t know what you mean by the top curdle. I milk her a few squirts out of each teat before I start milking into the bucket. Is that what you mean? That’s just so any milk that may have been sitting in the teat is disposed of.

Add Your Thoughts