It is good practice to discard the first few squirts of milk in case there is any bacteria in the teat canal. I hand-milk a few squirts fromeach teat into my palm, looking to make sure the milk appears normal (if it has any lumps it would indicate a mastitis infection.) A few times a week, I also squirt milk from each teat onto a mastitis indicator card. LaFonda hasn't had any mastitis, but if one of the circles turned greenish, I would milk that quarter last and not mix it with the milk for human consumption because I do not want any bacteria in the milk.
The remaining inflations are plugged with blue plastic plugs. To attach each one, I pinch off the inflation tube, remove the plug, hold it up next to the teat and unpinch the hose - hopefully it grabs onto the the teat and begins pumping (but if I do not pinch off the tube well, I lose vacuum and everything falls off and I have to start over!)
It sounds easier than it is-- for me, the claw is like handling an octopus and has taken a significant measure of strategy and coordination to master.
Those other products on the ledge are horse shampoo for a beauty bath I intend to give LaFonda one of these days, and Udder Comfort - an herbal lotion smelling of peppermint that I used to cool and soothe her udder when she first calved and it was so swollen and tender.
LaFonda's part is now done - I brush her a bit, thank her and let her out into the pasture with the rest of the herd.
The sieve catches any material that might have gotten into the milk. Filtering was critical when we hand-milked and inevitably a few cow hairs or specks of dirt fell into the open bucket, but now there is rarely any contaminant. I love the bucket milker for saving my poor aching hands and I also love that it is a closed, sanitary system. The milk goes into a tub of ice-cold water in the kitchen sink to be chilled before being sealed up and put into the refrigerator.
Another flawless milking session completed!