Billy and I (Anuttama) moved to New Nandagram (Glenoma) 3 years ago and we’ve been endeavoring to live the “simple living, high thinking” lifestyle that our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada prescribed for us. A big part of that lifestyle is protecting cows and treating them as valuable members of the community. We feel that our efforts have been rewarded by Krsna: we found out, after buying our property here, that we had unknowingly also bought an additional 9 acre pasture with another barn in addition to the 3 barns on the main property. Krsna is also gradually sending us good devotee association–something we really need.
We have been learning all aspects of a self reliant lifestyle including bee keeping, growing and processing grain, making oil, making medicine, preserving the harvest and of course home dairying including cheese making. We have been teaching our skills, too as well as introducing our neighbors to Krsna consciousness.
Although it is somewhat scary to breed a cow, knowing that we have to be responsible for the resulting calf for its entire life, we are doing it anyway, without the support of a large community, because we feel that this project is so important that Krsna will send us the necessary help and support.
Right now it is our policy to breed one cow every 2 years. That way we have milk and dairy products–albeit at a significantly reduced quantity towards the end of the 2 years. We are able to send large rounds of cheese to people who support our efforts and also share dairy products with friends who visit the farm. Fortunately I really enjoy milking and take the opportunity to sing the Samsara prayers or the Gaura Arotik song while I’m milking without having an overly critical audience. Maybe there is a reason that I’ve had to tie Lani Moo’s tail to avoid being thwapped in the face…
We’ve had some sharp learning experiences along the way, too. Dhana produced an unplanned calf, Precious, when the vet took too long to come out to “fix” Dhana’s previous bull calf, Torus. So Precious’ brother is her Dad and her Mom is her grandma. And we were unable to milk Dhana because she had severe mastitis. Then the neighbor’s bull jumped the fence and we learned that you can never, ever have an open cow in a pasture next to a bull, no matter what the fence is. That happened 9 months ago and we’re expecting a new addition to our family any day. We will try to milk Dhana who does have delicious, rich milk, if we can just avoid mastitis. From my research, Dhana apparently gets ketosis, causing her milk to initially taste like acetone when she first freshens. It is perhaps the strain on her immune system from the low blood sugar that causes her lack of resistance to mastitis. I’ll try giving her lots of molasses and see it that helps. She won’t mind the experiment.
We don’t really have too many cows: there are two young teams of oxen. One team is just old enough to work and the other team is ready to train. We expect the economy to collapse and having trained oxen in a situation where gasoline is unavailable or overly expensive will demonstrate Srila Prabhupada’s brilliant foresight. Devotees should be in a position of strength, and having two strong teams of oxen certainly puts us in that position. We have a great milk cow, a heifer and a matriarch. What we have is an abundance of beautiful bovines!
We’d like to invite all Prabhupada devotees to join us here in Glenoma!