25 July, 2016

Our First House Cow Workshop


On Saturday 23rd of July, Critter Care held our very first House Cow Workshop!

It was quite a turnout with 12 guests; we were almost booked out. It was a clear, sunny, warm day, although quite windy.


Everybody arrived on time for the 11am start and by quarter past we were heading up to the paddock. The first lesson was a brief overview on cattle safety; not intended to scare the guests, but just a general warning of things to be aware of when handling cattle. Nimue was also the first up to greet the guests; a little timid but very well behaved. An explanation of ‘calf sharing’ followed, as she had been separated from her mother Arwen for the night. The donkeys were curious and had to get up close and personal with the guests, of course; JD and Milo were a big hit.

Next we set up in the ‘milking parlour’. Unfortunately the wind picked up to such an extent that the roofing ripped up slightly on one side, which sadly meant a very noisy milking session which stressed out the cows – Arwen in particular. Combined with the crowd of strangers, her reaction was to promptly empty her bowels in the stanchion, which elicited a few laughs and cries of disgust from the guests. Eventually she settled down, but I decided to keep things easier on her and only milked her myself. Tallulah took things a lot better and stood very calmly as the others practiced hand milking her. Two kids who attended, Jakeeta and her brother Cooper, had a great time in particular!

After the somewhat hectic start to the workshop, and with two buckets of milk in hand, we returned to the Verdigris Retreat’s kitchen to filter and bottle the milk. Everybody also got to taste a glass of fresh, cold milk which was thoroughly enjoyed! After that it was time for a little shopping spree, with our range of Mad Millie cheesemaking supplies, books and kits on display which were very popular. Natasha, who makes all our delicious dairy products from cheese to yoghurt and butter, was onsite to answer the many questions about how to make various dairy products.

Everyone had worked up quite an appetite by that point so by 1:30pm we seated everyone in the Imaginarium, our lounge/dining room, for a delicious lunch of Noodle Fetta Salad with plenty of coffee, tea, chocolate milk and cordial to go around. All the guests were excited to sample some free, fresh homemade goodies including different flavours of yoghurt, fetta, mozzarella and butter. We also drew our lucky door prize, which produced quite a roar of laughter from everyone when Jakeeta was lucky enough to pull out the ticket of her own mum Stacey as the winner!

Afterwards we returned to the paddock for the final topics of feed, training, breeding, and health and welfare. During lunch Nicholas had fixed the shed’s roof so it was a lot quieter this time around. Tallulah demonstrated haltering and leading and very generously gave the guests a good boot polish! The workshop ran a little bit later than intended but everyone seemed very content as they said their goodbyes and happily took away their goodie bags, filled with 6 recipe cards, a Mad Millie booklet and their itinerary of the workshop topics and any notes they had taken.

All in all I believe the workshop was a great success and I’m very much looking forward to offering an even better experience at our future workshops! We are going to continue to improve and refine the topics and expand our range of products to accompany the workshops. Here are some testimonials from Saturday’s workshop…

My husband, children and I had a wonderful day, so pleased to find this type of thing offered. Feel more confident with what we are currently doing and what to do to have our first house cow. Thank you Tamara and family
      Stacey Stevenson


Had a great day today at the Toogoolawah House Cow Workshop, thank you Tamara from Critter Care for putting this very informative workshop together. We loved your Cows and all the other critters, and We now have more cheese making recipes thanks
         Johanne Trapp


Lots of very useful information. All our questions were answered really well. Tamara is a good teacher and very friendly / approachable. All promised topics were covered. The lunch and food/fresh milk tastings were fantastic. I would like to return for some cheese & yoghurt making lessons, so I hope you will schedule some. Please keep me on your mailing list so I know what courses are coming up. Thanks for a great day.
         Marj Henderson

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