Friday, August 21, 2009

The Cow Chronicles

Man, those first few days after calving can be rough on the milkmaid. Especially when she has little ones of her own to also look after. The theme this morning was sh*t. Let's see milked Berretta first, then Happy. Now Happy doesn't kick much, like Teeny does when fresh, but her udder is so huge, and stuffed with milk, that it is like trying to hook a milker up to a square bale of hay. The pulsator slows way down, we lose suction and inflations keep popping off. She isn't letting down, is EXTREMELY agitated about Henrietta's whereabouts. So we usher Henny up by her head, she slobbers her grain all over the calf, trying to eat and groom her at the same time, and pretty much looks rabid. I get this brilliant idea to feed the calf a bottle while Happy is still in the milk parlor, because Happy has some issues. She will drink milk, doesn't nurse anyone or anything crazy like that, but will drink the buckets of milk I put out for the pigs, and I found out yesterday that yes, she will drink from a bottle. Imagine my surprise when trying to teach Happy's baby to take a bottle, I also have to fight her away from the darn bottle! That's a first! 900- 1,000lb cow drinking from a bottle. I really should get a video.
Anyway, I pour about a gallon of colostrum on the floor trying to fill a 1/2 gallon calf bottle because I'm shaking, because I'm hungry and haven't eaten yet. Before I even cap the bottle, theres a golden shower cascading to the floor splashing in the spillled colostrum. Happy was peeing, Jude dove for the bucket, I've set in the corner for such emergencies. Tally---a 1/2 bucket of p*ss so far. We get Henrietta latched on her bottle, and there is this strange plopping sound. Happy was now crapping in the puddle of spilled colostrum and pee. This time unfortunately, Jude made a grave error in his bucket holding technique and left his hand right in the line of fire. He got a steamy surprise to say the least. He yelled, " YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and I said a bad word--again. Tally--- a 1/2 bucket of p*ss, and a 1/2 bucket of sh*t. I told Jude we had to get her out of there NOW! And gave him the bottle with calf attached to it, Happy in hot pursuit and wouldn't you know it, he stepped backwards into a fresh pile of--yup-- poop. Beretta's little gift in the middle aisle. He was wearing Crocs and it just oozed out the holes. I said another bad word. Jude almost puked and meanwhile the calf was butting him HARD wanting more milk. Then I slipped in the stinking sh*t, trying to make a graceful leap to get her out of the barn for goodness sake, and YES I was also wearing crocs so you know how THAT went!
Somehow we manage to get the other cows milked, and by the time we returned them to pasture we've simmered down, and are admiring what just might be the cutest little Mama and Baby EVER! Seriously those two are incredibly cute, even cuter when I'm wearing rubber boots next time, I think.


    Besides spitting my coffee out--because I can picture it all soooo well--and I am not laughing at you I am laughing with you (please say you are laughing by now)! :)
    Golly, I hope the next milking goes better! I will be thinking of you. Fresh cows can certainly be a handful, or um, bucketful.
    You have full license to laugh with me in a month or so when we go through it all.

  2. Liz,
    I am laughing now! After a shower and after I trekked over our 20 acres of pasture this evening looking for Henrietta, with Ida May on my hip.At least its all good for my diet. I KNEW other milkmaids would know EXACTLY how I felt!

  3. Oh, THANK YOU, for posting that! I too am sympathizing and laughing at the same time! And I know exactly what you mean...............those cute, little, baby, Jersey heifers make everything worthwhile!

  4. Oh my word what a day!!!!!

  5. Read this aloud to my "hired-hand with benefits" and we both laughed - mostly because we were so THERE yesterday - although not to your degree with only one cow and calf - still enough sh*t and p*ss to go around...thanks for the post!

  6. A little improvement today, no p*ss but plenty of sh*t! We expertly caught Happy's in " the bucket " and got her the heck outta there,but then Gale marched in, I locked the headgate and she opened the floodgates! I need some cow diapers or duct tape, I'll let you imagine what I'd do with that!

  7. We use to have a Jersey cow we called the Elephant because every time she came into the parlor she sh** a big pile like one!The term manure just won't do when you own cows.Lonnie/Washington State

  8. LOL, Lonnie! Manure is nowhere near desriptive enough. This morning I was milking Happy and my 3 year old kept asking when we'd feed the calf, and I said, " Not now! Mommy's busy! " As I stood behind the cow like a catcher with her mitt.