Remember Adelaide, the adorable Jersey cow we found for milking–and then couldn’t, because of her infection?
Ever since, Team Cow has been on a mission to find another cow. We contacted the city of Menlo Park to see whether we could have one here at Sunset, just for kicks.
The surprising answer: Yes, as long as we have enough space and the dedication to keep the pen clean. The reality: We don’t have the expertise, let alone the time, to take care of a cow. Milking twice a day is the least of it. Cow ownership means you have to arrange to get your cow pregnant roughly once a year so she lactates–and then you must deliver her calf, perhaps in the middle of the night with odd complications (if you’ve ever read James Herriot, you can imagine)–and then you have to deal with said calf (es) once born. This is a bit more than we feel we can handle, what with our day jobs and all.
So sharing seemed the right way to go, preferably with a wise and experienced cow-person. We tried 4-H clubs, educational farms, and individual backyard cow-owners. Nada… In part because the cows we did find were in prolonged dry spells (must be like vacation). And dairies disappeared from the San Francisco peninsula long ago.
Finally, just last week, we tried the farm where Adelaide was born: Claravale, south of Hollister. For a milking expedition, it’s really far from Menlo Park (a two-hour drive one way), but it’s just about our closest dairy. We no longer live among our farms.
Claravale’s owner, Ron Garthwaite, liked the sound of our one-block project and our wish to get to know a cow. He immediately said Sure. “Come on down and pick her out.”
A three-day-old calf at Claravale Farm.