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maryjane

7024 Posts


Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  4:08:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The owner of four different milking machines (one of them a donation to the cause, thank you Ron!), I wanted to give you as much critical commentary as possible to help you make a decision about which one will best fit your needs. The four I’m reviewing are:

NuPulse w/Washing System/electric, $2,500
http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=17552



Ultimate EZ Milker/electric, $550 (hand-pump-powered unit also available)
http://www.udderlyez.com/ultimate_ez_milker.php



QuikMilker/foot-pedal operation, $450 (battery-powered unit also available)
https://quikmilker.com/



Easy Hand Milker/hand-crank, $400 (Pic below includes one of the plastic lids that came with my unit that I replaced with wider metal lids that fit wider-mouthed bottles.)
http://easyhandmilker.com/our-product/



The NuPulse is the only one of the four that has a pulsation mechanism. The other three use constant suction to extract milk. I haven’t noticed any difference whatsoever in teat health, whether I use pulsation or suction. Because I’m part of Idaho’s raw milk program, my inspector asked that I take the NuPulse claw mechanism apart after every use to clean any hoses, etc. that come into contact with milk. I use NuPulse specialty brushes for cleaning the tubing, claw, and extractors. My book, Milk Cow Kitchen, has step-by-step photographs as to how I clean it. The cleaning itself takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Using the NuPulse washing system took the same amount of time. Because I didn’t feel like it cleaned the parts as well, I stopped using it.

The NuPulse is designed to milk two cows at a time if a second claw is purchased. Presently, I use their 7-gallon stainless-steel bucket. The NuPulse is quite a bit louder than the electric Ultimate EZ Milker, but also faster and works best when all four teats are milked at the same time. You can take the extractors off one by one as quarters empty, but it’s not the easiest thing to finesse. Over time, I came around to leaving all four teats hooked up until my cow was no longer giving me any milk. I never had problems with teat health because of it.

The Ultimate EZ Milker uses suction and a small, quiet electric pump. Clean up on this unit is a breeze compared to my NuPulse. To milk using the EZ, I sit on an upside-down bucket with the pump placed next to me (hooked up to an extension cord) and the two plastic bottles it uses resting in a stainless-steel bowl, the extractors screwed on and ready to go. I’ve already cleaned and sanitized the teats/base of the udder and my hands are gloved. The manufacturer of this unit recommends putting a swipe of olive oil on the teats to facilitate good suction. Instead, I use a tiny bit of the cow’s milk to moisten the teats (works great).

Because I think of my time spent milking as meditative in nature, I usually only milk one teat at a time, so I leave the hose to the other bottle clamped shut (often, I don’t even have a bottle hooked up to the end of the second hose). It comes with two hoses and two bottles so you can milk two teats at a time, but they fill at different rates and overflow can damage the pump, so milking one at a time is less tense for me. I’ve never had any problems with let-down when milking only one teat at a time.



As the bottle(s) fill, they are easily unscrewed in order to be able to dump the milk into a stainless-steel transport bucket (depending on how many cows I’m milking, I use one or two 2.5-gallon buckets for this purpose, http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=2288&page=1).

I bring the milk to my kitchen, strain, and thermize it (thermizing instructions are provided in my book). To clean the EZ parts that came into contact with milk, I rinse first using water the same temperature as the milk, then I switch to hot water (if my hands are gloved—I use different gloves than the ones I use to milk with—my hands can tolerate hotter water). Using a couple of different brushes (the handle on their bottle brush likes to rust, so I dry it with a paper towel each time) and soap (I use Liquifan because it cuts dairy oils quickly while also rinsing away quickly, http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/altered_search.php?q=liquipfan), I clean all its parts. The small plastic bottles the milk goes directly into have a small mouth so they never dry out between milkings (standing water is your enemy when it comes to bacteria), so just before I use them again the next day after they’ve rested upside-down in a dish drainer, I spritz the inside of them with a 200 ppm bleach solution (formula in my book—please don’t exceed 200 ppm!!!) using a spray bottle, swish it around, and rinse/drain before using. I also spray 200 ppm bleach down into the tubing and rinse it before use also—tubing rarely dries out overnight.

EZ also sells glass bottles in lieu of plastic (better for sanitation because unlike the plastic bottles, they can go into a dishwasher w/a dry cycle), but they’re heavier and when using two at a time, they can clang together and break (Janet suggested covering them with a homemade cloth sack), but the glass bottle (using only one at a time) wouldn’t stay on my little mini-Jersey very well—her teats are small and suction was lost. I haven’t tried the glass bottle on any of my bigger girls, but I’m hoping it will work fine on larger teats. The plastic bottle weighs .24# and the glass bottle weighs 1.12# so perhaps letting the pressure climb a tad above what they recommend would help keep it on.

glass left, plastic right



The QuikMilker model uses a sturdy, well-built foot pump (brilliant in every way). The milk goes into a commonly available half-gallon wide-mouth canning jar (awesome for clean up and sanitation, but requires some sort of crate for transportation or you have to dump the milk into a transport bucket as described above). The snap-on components (the gauge and the lid that goes on the jar) are equally brilliant in design.

The silicon tubing and extractors are the same size as my EZ, but more rigid. I’ve found I like the softer silicone that came with my EZ, as well as its hose clamps. The Quik comes with one standard red extractor plug for use in order to keep one extractor plugged (to maintain pressure) while putting the other extractor on.

You can also easily kink the hose with your one free hand (remember, you’re using your foot to create pressure), and then un-kink it after you have the extractor in position on the teat. The unit has a gauge, but nowhere in the directions does it talk about what pressure to shoot for (or never to exceed).

Once you’ve pumped with your foot and have the extractor suctioned on a teat, I’ve found only 5 inHg keeps the extractor on and milk flowing, so I see no reason to exceed that. (Also, keep in mind the recommended reading of 12.5 inHg on the EZ takes into account the weight of a plastic bottle hanging on the teat.)

I’ve found that once I have good suction, I only need pump my foot occasionally to maintain pressure. Again, brilliant design. But their website and customer service leaves something to be desired. I had to call and wait a day for a call back because their website wasn’t working. (They thanked me by saying I’d get a free brush with my order and gave me a code to use. No brush came.) There’s a warranty registration page on their site and a code attached to your unit, but it didn’t work for me and I still haven’t received a call back. In other words, be patient, I think they’re still getting all the kinks worked out.

The Easy Hand Milker is a more complicated unit in design, but once you get it all screwed together, it maintains pressure nicely just like the Quik (requiring only the occasional hand crank). They suggest a gauge reading of 7 inHg. The milk goes into gallon glass jars, requiring a transportation problem unless you dump the milk into a transport bucket (see above). Dumping the milk is more difficult with this unit because of the gear coming into the lid. (With the Quik, the snap-on lid is truly snap-on and very handy). Also, as you can see from the photo, there’s just one little part that requires a somewhat difficult rinse/sanitize routine. I use a cup and pour water through it directly onto the floor once I have the lid pulled away from the unit, and then I spritz it with 200 ppm bleach.



Also, lifting the bottles from their wooden transport unit (somewhat heavy and cumbersome) is sort of an unsanitary proposition, so I have extra lids (available when you buy the unit) that I screw on before I lift the bottles out.

But I love the simplicity of the extractors on this unit because I can see the teat clearly (you really can’t see the teats in the silicone models and not at all on the NuPulse). Their extractors suction on nicely (and as is always the case, the base of the udder must also be cleaned/prepped and shaved weekly). Easy Hand Milker has great customer service. Mine arrived with a broken part that was easily replaced simply by e-mailing them.

NuPulse



Ultimate EZ Milker



QuikMilker



Easy Hand Milker



In summation, the best Ultimate EZ Quik Suction Milker is probably a combination of all three. I will always love my electric Ultimate EZ the very best, but I also love a combination of the Quik foot pedal with the tubing and hose clamps from the EZ and the extractors from the Easy Hand Milker.



Although, when I’m milking my bigger Jersey girls, I fire up my NuPulse. I should point out that I did put the EZ onto the biggest teats I have (I had to sort of shove them in the opening they were so wide), and they did go on and give milk, but when I’m getting serious volume from milking more than one cow, I like my NuPulse.

But wait, there’s one last thing I wanted to bring up. Why do I strain my milk? Even though I brush my cows before I bring them into my milking parlor, they shed hair (this time of year, shedding hair is their new full-time job), and there’s always that moment when you’re about to suction an extractor onto a teat and a floating hair gets sucked in (remember, what you have in your hand is a tiny vacuum at that point), so I always strain my milk as part of my sanitation protocol:
http://bobwhitesystems.com/products/stainless-milk-strainer-lightweight

I hope I haven’t confused you, but I wanted to be thorough. Let me know what you decide to buy/do—a farmers’ straw poll of sorts. Plus, don’t hesitate to weigh in with anything you’ve learned about any of the above machines (or different machines for that matter).

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~

NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  4:57:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much MaryJane. Not confusing, just a lot to digest and think about. Like you, I really like my Ultimate EZ milking machine. I may still consider the Quik milker as a back up but not thrilled about the poor customer service. So may buy a generator instead, if electricity should fail. May even think about a second Ultimate EZ for backup if mine should quit for some reason. And I have the strainer you show above, for larger quantity, but I like my smaller strainer also from Lehman's Home. http://www.lehmans.com/p-999-stainless-steel-milk-strainer.aspx

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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chives

313 Posts
Victoria
Shelton WA
usa

Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  5:30:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Its a lot to think about. This was great of you to break it down.

A cow is the heart of a farm
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chives

313 Posts
Victoria
Shelton WA
usa

Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  5:42:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Janet, that is the exact strainer I purchased.

A cow is the heart of a farm
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  5:50:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's really handy. Lighter weight than the larger one. When I was milking both gals, I would use the larger one, but now that I'm just milking Nellie, I just use this smaller one.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

7024 Posts


Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  6:14:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A generator is a good idea Janet. We find we use ours more and more for outside jobs, like fencing projects. When we traveled with Samson to Montana, we used it. So it can do more than just be something for your cow.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  6:54:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know nothing about generators, but I have three freezers in the barn that may need a generator if something would happen to electricity. So it' something to think about. Or the Quik milker which wouldn't require any electricity, just a few pumps from my foot. ?

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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chives

313 Posts
Victoria
Shelton WA
usa

Posted - Mar 17 2015 :  7:14:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Maryjane, you need to design a milking machine with backup foot operation. Put all the good things you like about each one into it. Good idea?

A cow is the heart of a farm
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Mar 18 2015 :  08:46:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for putting all this information into one spot! I appreciate it.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Mar 18 2015 :  7:54:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for weighing in MaryJane. I'm still feeling torn between the Ultimate EZ and the Quik Milker, but I'm thinking I'll try the Quik Milker for now. I don't need a backup plan in case of electrical failure and I love that I can transport in jars in a crate, by just changing the lid. It seems doable and very closed as opposed to a lot of transferring.
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chives

313 Posts
Victoria
Shelton WA
usa

Posted - Mar 18 2015 :  8:47:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I wonder if you could affix the quick milker crate to a wagon. hmmm

A cow is the heart of a farm
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Mar 19 2015 :  04:45:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good idea!
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2015 :  6:30:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks for this MJ, looking forward to trying things out this summer!

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Apr 28 2015 :  10:27:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After using my Quik milker for the first time I thought I should add a few things here that might be helpful for others. My machine did not come with the red plugs to maintain suction while attaching one inflation at a time. I ended up using my hand more often than not. It helped me know how much pressure she was feeling as well, but it was good to refresh my memory when I reread what MaryJane said about kinking the hose as an option as well. Also Elli's teats were so big I wasn't sure she was going to fit in the inflations at first. They seemed to conform to the shape as we got going.

Also, when cleaning this machine you can take the blue hose off the snap on lid make it easier to clean by pulling up on the connection. The way it connects is very much like a hose on an air compressor. It slips up to remove and then you slide it back down into place when everything is lined up. I didn't see how it all hooked together until after I had cleaned it and got water in the tube.

It took three of us to use this machine tonight. Some of that was because it was Elli's first time being milked and some of it was because it was our first time milking this way as well. My husband was hooking inflations on and dodging feet. I was pumping the foot pedal, trying to keep Elli calm, and helping to empty jars. My son was holding the jar in case we needed to move at any moment and dumping the full jar in the milk can as quickly as possible. I think once we get going it will be much less work and chaos, but it will take some finesse because there is a lot to think about. I think with time we will get it down and drop people out of the milking procedure but there is a lot to coordinate at first. I can say that without a doubt we were way more efficient than hand milking. It was lovely not to have to worry about cords and plug ins and focus on just the tubing. However to keep Elli flowing we had to keep the gauge closer to 10 and to start it was almost 15. I'm sure some of that is because she wasn't used to letting down, was worried about her calf, etc.
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - Apr 29 2015 :  04:40:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Keeley, good information to have. I have found that I like milking by hand more and more. So I will probably continue using the Ultimate EZ Milker and hand milking. I feel confident now that if electricity or storm caused outage I will be able to milk by hand. I'm sure you are correct too, that it will be less work once you have done it a few times. Always kinks to work out it seems.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

7024 Posts


Posted - Apr 29 2015 :  05:21:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great feedback Keeley. I posted over on your other thread. Janet, I must say it's nice to see you getting to a place where your daily milking is routine and full of pleasantries. That's the goal, right? I know it always is with me.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - Apr 29 2015 :  06:19:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Absolutely MaryJane, or why would we continue. It's the thing I look forward to each day. Spending time with the gals, looking them over for any problems. Listening,(yes listening) to them for any issues they may have. Watching them in the pasture, enjoying the milk they provide. Yes, full of pleasantries. It has brought me more happiness than I can explain in mere words. It's a feeling. Full circle sort of thing.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - May 05 2015 :  10:38:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Love your thoughts, Janet. I enjoy my milking time with my goats and am looking forward to my milking time with Clover (after our learning curve levels out!). There is such peace watching our animals and most definitely "full of pleasantries" like you said. Well put.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - May 19 2015 :  9:05:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, Gus is 3 weeks old today and that means I've been using my Quik Milker for 3 weeks as well. There are things I absolutely love about it and things that I wish were different. First, let me just say a thousand thank yous to MaryJane for recommending that I get a plastic plug for one of the inflations. This $2.55 part from Hamby Dairy Supply meant that for the first time I got to milk Elli all by myself because I can do one teat at a time and have one hand free to switch jars when one is full. Peace and quiet and calm milking is now mine! This morning Gus and I hung out while I milked and told him what a good cow his mama is and how I expect him to grow up to be a gentleman since she is just the best cow ever. He responded by putting his head on my shoulder and tickling my face with his whiskers. I think he liked the change too instead of just rubbing his head on one of his scratching posts (my kids) while they ran the foot pump and switched lids for me. (I swear he knows he has a hard head and just likes to see their faces scrunch up while they attempt to stand still.) I've been missing my bonding time with Elli because it seemed like up until today milking was much more businesslike than the brushing, talking, training, and spoiling I had done before she calved. It would have been lovely if this part or some other way to close off one side came with the machine.

The overall design of the Quik Milker is wonderfully efficient and super clean. At first we were trying to milk into one jar and then dump it into a milk can to carry, but we have found as MaryJane suggested that a crate of jars works much better. It is easier to protect the jars from bumping/kicking/tipping and is incredibly easy to keep the milk clean. However, now that I'm able to milk alone I think I may need to invest in an off road wagon of some kind to haul all of my stuff out, or I can just get more exercise. I have a bag full of milking supplies, my crate of jars, the foot pump, hay, and her alfalfa pellet/grain treat to take out each time I milk. This morning it took me a couple of trips to get everything out and set up. It is also really nice not to have to plug it in since for me that would mean running a cord. Also, because the vacuum isn't created until you start pumping your foot, you can put the inflations on first and then pump. This eliminates the possible sucking of dirt or hair into the tubing and then into the milk.

Here are some of the things I think anyone who wants to buy a Quik Milker should know. When you get it in the box, you are in essence buying the machine. It comes with a card that shows a few basic steps to milk and to clean the machine. (They recommend rinsing it with hot water.) There are no maintenance instructions, troubleshooting tips, or any tools to clean it. They do give you instructions and a link to register for the warranty, but I was unable to connect to the link. I sent them an email asking for help and got no response. I'm going to try calling next because I have some questions and concerns. The gauge is already malfunctioning. It has gotten jostled some on our trips back and forth to milk, but it seems like it should have lasted longer than 3 weeks. Also, when I was first cleaning the tubing and hard plastic pieces that teat inflations go into I put a sponge down into the plastic pieces that hold the inflations to clean them. I should have not done that because the silicone that goes around the end is starting to come off and that affects the way the pieces seal together and how the vacuum is created. I think it would be possible to get some food safe liquid silicone to redo it, but I'm not sure what the drying time would be. Also, I think I should probably oil the working mechanism in the foot pump since it is squeaking now, but I'm not sure what to use or where to put it.

As far as trouble shooting goes, one night when my husband and I were milking, we could not get a good vacuum created. I went back and forth trying to figure out what was wrong. I pushed the teat cups up more making sure it was sealed around her teat and on her udder. He pumped the foot pump faster. I went and got some avocado oil and put it on her teat to make sure it creating a good seal. No matter what we tried we couldn't create suction. Finally, I took everything off and examined it closely. When I had put the machine together after washing, I hadn't pushed the teat inflation down into the tube completely and there was a small gap creating an air leak. The good news is that it is a fairly simple machine, so there aren't too many parts to trouble shoot, but a few more instructions and potential solutions to problems might be nice.

Overall it definitely does the job, I love how clean the milk is, and I think it will last for some time, but I also think there will be things about it that we rebuild or adjust as we use it. Just as an FYI when I bought the machine they offered a 1 year warranty, but on their website now they are showing a 3 month warranty.
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - May 20 2015 :  04:37:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Keeley for the detailed information on your milking machine. It sounds like the Quik milker is working out for you, with a few kinks. As long as it's working for you and you like it that's what matters. So glad to hear that Elli and Gus are doing well. You will have to post photos of them sometime you get a chance. I can honestly say I've had no problems with the Ultimate EZ milk machine and where I have electricity in the barn I will probably continue with it and if power fails, will hand milk. Love the information you provided for us. Love this chatroom forum and the education is valuable. Thanks Keeley.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - May 20 2015 :  06:14:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The ultimate milking machine!


Did I mention I am a smarty pants.....

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - May 20 2015 :  06:27:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello "smarty pants." I bet your hand milking machine is the most reliable, but if one of the parts is shot it's impossible to find replacements. The hands are a marvelous thing.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - May 20 2015 :  06:41:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Comes with a replacement hand...right and left..lol

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - May 20 2015 :  06:57:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You win, hands down. (no pun intended)

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - May 20 2015 :  07:43:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thumbs up ?...lol

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - May 20 2015 :  11:38:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Two thumbs up, Ron for sure. You get an extra points for milking all of that golden Guernsey milk from Harriet. She really makes you work! I got two gallons from Elli this morning and was grateful that not all of it came out from milking by hand. That would have taken me a long time!
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