January 16, 2011

Three days ago I was questioning my involvement with cows.  It took exactlty one serious kick aimed at my head to break my spirit.  ...Nearly break my spirit...  It psyched me out bad and I think the cow, Little Red, started to figure that out pretty quick.  I was afraid to milk her.  Most kicks in the milking parlor are aimed at the udder - trying to knock pesky flies and human hands away.   This was different; she raised her foot to the level of her hip and shot it straight out.  The only reason she didn't make her mark, was probably because she had to raise her foot so high.  The extra .12th of a second it took to do that gave me time to lean back. 

I went through the barn routine for a couple of days after, but the process was getting me down.  Because I was afraid.  Which made me jumpy.  Which is like a neon sign to cows:  I am quivering mouse/You are big strong cow!   I thought about it a lot.  I discussed my fear with the kids.  Helmets were mentioned.  Tying the calf in the milking parlor was mentioned.  I recalled everything I'd ever heard about cows.  Hobbles?  The belly rope trick?

I decided, mostly, I just needed to get my head together - was the kick actually pyschic?  I decided to project calm assertiveness.  I worked hard to remember "the slow way is the fast way", and I decided to try working from the point of view of the cow.  Der, what took me so long?

What ever worked, the change is very happy.  Baby gets tied in the milking parlor next to Little Red's head; she is less likely to kick wildly around her baby.  I try to move with the casual authority of a Monk, chanting to myself "experts never hurry".  I am lavish with praise.  Also, humming bravely seems to help.

The cows are calmer.  The Baby is delighted to play outside all day.  I'm getting a 1/2 gallon of milk a day. And Little Red is keeping her feet on the down low.   Oh yeah, I do love cows.    Furthermore, I will win.  Quitting is not an option.    I've quit plenty in my life.  Not this time.   The stakes are high for me, the food I want to feed my children, the farm and their investment in a gorgeous new dairy parlor, and for the cows.  Dairy cows can live up to 18 productive happy years.  They have to be well and happy to last that long.  Beef cows?  They die young.  Yeah, this is a coopertive venture; if I win we all win. 
Riley and her friend Maddy gave each other an assignment.  Disgusted with Princess Peach, they decided to find a movie with strong female lead characters.  We suggested Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

1 comment:

Cecelia (CC) said...

Had to look her up.

Laughed at this: "Typically, she does not show an aggressive nature even when she is fighting (this is done by quick slaps, elegant high kicks thrusts in the air, and other gracious fighting techniques..

She was Princess Toadstool once, Wikipedia says. Perhaps Riley would prefer that moniker whenever "She" does show up and ask to sit together at lunch. (Oh yes, we've all known one, right? Tell Riley I have a horrid story of how I scared mine so much - through a mean trick - that she transferred out of the school!)