Saturday, September 22, 2012

Small Pleasures

There is such a feeling of something impending these days, and along with it a sense of endings. I find autumn both stimulating and uncomfortable.....

I guess the boss is going to stop trying to bale hay and fall to chopping and bagging it. Hopefully the rains don't get carried away and he can get some of the second and third cutting that is out there stored away for winter. It is good stuff.

Been chopping it green right along and feeding it to our girls morning and night and they are doing great on it. In a wet year green chop like that tends to go right through them without doing much good, but in a dry year it puts the fat on their backs and the milk in their udders.

It is a treat for a farm heart to walk behind a line of contented cows each morning and evening, milking machines in hand. Seeing rows of smooth, tight udders, full of good wholesome milk, waiting for you to step up in the stall, gently prep them, each with a separate, clean, paper towel and disinfectant solution, then dry them, strip out a couple shots of "fore milk", and attach the milkers. 

They actually milk out quicker when they are producing well, and are happy for your ministrations for the most part, although there are always a few who ignore you as they stretch and quest for that last pellet of grain each day. 

I can attest that it hurts to be stepped on or slammed across the head with a hard, bony tail. Broadway is irritable until she has finished her grain and will kick me intentionally if I interrupt her....and of course she is the first cow on my string so I have to. Still it is really comforting to see them doing well.

It is not the glow of great profits, although it is nice to every now and then make enough to pay the bills. It is the delight of working with animals that you love and being able to do it right. Knowing that they are comfortably doing what they do, in partnership with you doing what you do brings a deep satisfaction that new clothes or a new car can't equal. Nothing shallow about a good cow.

The boss was saying the other day that he didn't think he would miss them much if we had to sell out though. They are stern task masters and he is tired.....getting worn out from decade upon decade of hard physical work each day. The knees don't bend, shoulders ache, especially the one he broke, and he can barely lift his feet to step over stuff any more. 

The mid-sixties are not an easy time to do what he is doing. He has been milking cows since he was a little boy and driving tractor for field work since he was nine. It gets harder each year I think.

I told him that I would miss them and badly though....but then I came late to this business, only 34 years of milking cows for me to his fifty-plus.


June said...

Having to get up and out every morning and every evening to take care of however many cows . . . it is, like the concept of infinity, something beyond my understanding. Getting up to take care of the one remaining dog is nice and comfortable for me.

Terry and Linda said...

Ralph sounds like Terry. But they still keep on keeping on. He said this is the last pinto bean harvest. He never wants to do another one the rest of his life (I wonder, but he did get rid of the cows and I thought that would never happen). I don't like this ending stuff.


threecollie said...

June, when I was a kid and visited farms I swore I would never do it. lol, you can see how that worked out

Linda, I don't either :(

Cathy said...

"Nothing shallow about a good cow."
And nothing shallow about the people who care for them . . . love them.

"Only 34 years."

Had to smile . . "only".

June's and Linda's comments . . . Yep.