Bovine Intervention

She still needs a name.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish once you don’t have to spend two hours per day looking on the Internet for a Jersey cow.

For all the Facebooking I do, this blog is redundant. But I am forcing my brain to exercise longer than one status message because I have, regretfully, fallen off the face of e-Earth according to my former newspaper colleagues. The thought of caring or writing about politics makes me physically ill at this point. It’s very similar to what has happened to my digestive trac: Just listen!

I am intensely, intensely proud of the way my family is eating right now. I am proud of the way the animals who provide our milk, meat and eggs are spoiled to the point of skipping. Yes. These animals skip, and it’s practically winter.

I’m proud of the freshness and tastiness of the meals. I’m proud that there are rarely unpronounceable preservatives in the food and I’m proud that we’re eating WAY better (Ribs, y’all! Without the “Mc!”) for just as much cost as when we ate fast food constantly and did foolish things like buy bread that was already sliced.

And because we are SO CLOSE to our food supply, (There it is! I see it!) we are, as Wendell Berry describes, eating with the fullest pleasure. With full humility required when you crunch something else’s flesh in your teeth. That’s what she said.

But seriously, this is the only way to live and society spiraled to hell the minute we stopped living like this.

That’s not entirely true, of course, but I am going to believe it right now if that is OK with you. It makes those cold winter morning milkings more easily justified.

The only downside to this lifestyle is that when you find yourself in a place where you MUST ingest some normal food like a double cheeseburger and French fries or something, your body revolts for 3 to 5 days. I fear if I wrote about politics with all these wholesome thoughts coursing my body on a daily basis, my mind would similarly revolt. Maybe I would no longer be able to hear the laughter of children or something.

Anyway, it was a good career while it lasted.

Which reminds me: COW!!!!!!

My cow has changed my life. I am thankful to the goats, my gateway livestock, because if it weren’t for them, I would be wholly overwhelmed and scared and crying right now. But since I’m a pro, the transition to cow has been wonderfully drama-free. Well, except the time I had to chase her down the road, but that was the goat’s fault for tearing down the fence.

Got drama?

I actually don’t mind the time-consuming bit about hand-milking several hours per day. Chances are, the kids are asleep or in a safe place watching YouTube, and it’s just me and the cow and the sound of the milk hitting the bucket. No one going, “Play-doh mama play-doh mama play-doh mama play-doh maAMA MAMA MAMAMAMAMAM WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH,” while I’m trying to pee on the big girl potty. You know, for example.

I thought milking chores would be colder, but once you get cozied up to a giant 4-compartment fermentation vat, hunkered down by the udder especially, things get hot real fast. I usually go out there bundled up and have to come back into the house in a T-shirt—with forearms are the size of Popeye’s. I bet I could cling to the side of a mountain for HOURS. I wonder what the neighbors must think is going on in there.

Now that this $14 million milker machine has arrived, the ambiance has changed a bit. It’s loud, it’s loud and it’s very noisy. But it takes about 5 minutes. And the milk goes straight into the closed pail instead of hanging out in the open bucket for 45 minutes collecting pieces of muddy hay and Lord knows what else.

Each night after we tuck the kids into bed, Seth takes his pipe out into the barn (excuse me, “barn”) to sit with me while I milk, and he multiplies the number of dairy cows he wants to own by two over whatever he settled on the previous night. We started out with a nice micro-dairy. I think we’re up to 1,000 or so. We’re well beyond a conventional dairy. I wish we could be dairy cow factory farmers. The animals are so great to work with. Or the animal, rather. I’m assuming more animals would bring ONLY more fun. I wish I would have studied to be a livestock vet or something. Of course, I’m terrible at math and science. And I didn’t enjoy biology that much. But the cows! Oh, the cows! Oh, well. At least I can write about them REAL GOOD.

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