Twice a day, four lovely cows get called in from the fields to be milked. The evening time-slot is when my education most often occurs. My technique slowly but surely improves by the day.
Once called, they amble in slowly and line up in their spots, ready for a snack. They will all need to be cleaned and have their milk tested by hand. The machine will then be attached and the milk collected in what's called a bucket unit. First is the quickest which is Rosemary. She doesn't have much to grab on to, but she is patient. Linnea comes next. She is the greediest when it comes to pellets but easiest to milk because she is large in every way. Svarte-Mari is getting tapered off milking as she is due for a calf in the fall, but otherwise she would be next and is an apparent favorite to both cows and all those who milk her. She wears a beautiful bell from Italy as an indication of the respect she commands. Bonny is last and she has the most attitude. She will kick and swat her tail in your face, but she is otherwise a gentle soul with beautiful eyes circled in black. Slobbery Joe gets a portion of the warm milk via his bottle (soon in a trough) but he will never be satisfied and will as of late moo as though with a tiny horn the moment you walk away. And then the cows are let back out into the field. They always take their time and inspect every single thing that was there the day before, and the day before that. A very systematic cleaning of the machine will then take place and depending on the next morning's tasks, we will either use a machine to separate the milk from the cream for cheese making purposes that evening or leave it in the stream (literally) to stay cool for the night and to deal with in the morning. A fairly straight forward process but one requiring some finesse.
My fantasy future as a milkmaid on a summer farm in the hills of Norway looms ever closer meanwhile.