The Christmas cow

No, not Elsie.  Our darling head tossing Elsie. She is not the Christmas Cow. (John asked why she is still  wearing her halter – I still cannot get too close to her, so until she is quite calm with me, I need to be able to have that halter.)

There is another cow coming. Another Dutch Belted Cow. Due to calve late spring. She has a full white belt wrapped around her middle.  I have not seen her. She is a Christmas present. She will arrive on the 21st of January – if all goes well.  You and I will not be here. We will be in New Zealand celebrating the wedding of Senior Son. But Jake and John will welcome her and settle her and have her ready as our Christmas Surprise when we get home.  A Christmas Cow, isn’t that wonderful?  I think I might just call her Christmas.

Yesterday was full of sun. We all raised our faces to the sky as we walked about – lucky not to run into things.  Sheila quite simply decided not to come in. So I left her out there until dark.

It was so warm I opened the doors and rendered some fat into lard. I need to make some soap. But the first step is a smelly business. However, once I have heated and filtered the lard three times, it will be ready for soap making. First I am making the ugly soap with lemon grass and sugar and coffee grinds for my daughter, it is her favourite!

Can you see the windmills, all this winter a whole stream of windmills will appear on the horizon – running along the ridge. I do understand that wind power is sensible but sadly they are lit at night. So from now on our night sky will be speckled with blinking bright red lights. Here is a close up of that shot.

I am grateful that they are not on our land, you have no choice if they decide to sequester your back yard, and the companies do pay for the land and also contribute money to the school districts and so forth, however I am still glad that they are not in my garden.   Living under a constantly humming turning blade would be a bit tough. The enormous blades cast a huge moving knife shaped shadow over everything, circling and circling, I think that would drive me mad. But our swamp land is too low to be chosen thankfully.

Tima and Tane continue to enjoy this weather. Tima has little hooves that are growing upwards like the nails of Thai dancing girls, one in particular is misshapen, so for the last few days I have been following her about the barn on my knees, doing opportunist clips of her nails. I have found that very sharp secateurs are the best for this. She does not mind me trimming her nails, she just objects to standing still.


Today I am taking The Matriarch up to Chicago for her Christmas surprise. We are going to The Ballet. The Nutcracker Suite. Who can resist!?  But I had better get a wriggle on, we leave for the train early and I have animals to feed first.

Do forgive me if I am not in with a Letter from the Farmy tomorrow. Getting up to the Big City and back takes a long day.

I hope you all have a lovely day


47 Comments on “The Christmas cow

  1. What a wonderful Christmas surprise C! A new cow! If you don’t name her Christmas, my mind immediately suggested Merry! I am so happy for you and the farmy! I hope you and the Matriarch have a wonderful time at the ballet! Snowing here this morning — forecasting a couple inches. Again so happy for you!!!!!

  2. I have seen those wind machines in UK and I think that they made do a good job but they are quite ugly and take up a lot of room. You do not realise how big they are until you see them close up….
    Piggy Manicure Parlour..well I never!
    And a new Christmas , that is wonderful. I was hoping that you were going to say that Queenie was pregnant but maybe its too early to tell.
    I love that kitty with the blue eyes, mind you I love all the animals….big, small, short,tall, fat or thin..everyone is loved and cherished

  3. What a fabulous Christmas present. You will soon have a Herd with a capital H instead of a flerd with a sall f.
    You should be thankful for those red lights on top of the windmills: now no aeroplane will be fooled into thinking all that flat land is an airport runway!
    Enjoy the Nutcracker – one of my fave ballets.
    ViV x
    PS, Jock’s Christmas present will come on Monday: A new (to us) car, which he’s been wanting for ages, a 5-year-old Citroen C5.

  4. What a wonderful Christmas present! And how frustrating that you’ll have to wait to meet her, but some things are worth waiting for. It sounds as if Miss Tima needs some road exercise to wear her little trotters down a bit; the field and barn are probably a bit too soft under foot to give her hooves the wear they need to stay level. Hoof trimming is no fun with a wriggly animal; Ewenice and Ewedora used to hate it, but it has to be done.

  5. I haven’t seen the Nutcracker since my kids were younger, it used to be an annual/semi annual tradition. Have fun!

  6. A jaunt to the city and a wonderful Christmas present! Enjoy the ballet. If only you could put Tima on a sandpaper covered treadmill machine to trim down her nails. That would be sight, wouldn’t it?

  7. I didn’t realise that people weren’t given a choice whether they get the windmills in their back yard or not. I’m a fan of them but I thought people had a choice! I wouldn’t want them in my back yard either unless I had a very large property.

    • I think you do have a choice but they will be coming through so either you have one or your neighbour gets one.. either way they are in your view.. but no whining on the yacht.. right! c

  8. The lamb and tree shot is so lovely.
    Enjoy the ballet – my grandmother used to take us every Christmas. I started that with my daughter when she was 3. Nutcracker just IS holiday!
    Windmills. Don’t get me started. Miles of them on the once beautiful bluffs and open high plains of West Texas. (wish people would try living in their shadow for a few weeks before cheering and asking for more of them. There is noise and vibration. Do you know how many eagles, birds of prey, migratory bird they actually burn or slice each month? (despite all the companies’ eco noises they knowingly built these wind farms in CA and TX and across the country directly in the migratory path – which is against fed. protection laws, but….Now a real concern is how many bats are also being confused, harmed and killed. Bats are major crop insect control.
    We see these windmill parts being trucked from the port to points north and west from here. The only one making money is the companies that make them and sell the idea. Wake up people – it’s not what they say. (Sorry, been watching/advocating changes on this issue for years…and if people start using electric cars? Not smart at all. All about profit not environment any way you look at it.)

    • It is terrible about the birds.. I know.. just use less power, that would actually solve the problem, turn the TV right off, unplug the chargers, thurn the lights off as you leave the room and turn the heat down.. simple really.. the reason these are all going up is because we are all using MORE power.. c

      • Using less power is the best solution until clean affordable energy is developed. (Reducing usage of vehicles is how the US has managed to lower emissions so quickly – more than any other country. Of course now that gas is cheap…keep cars tweaked and tuned and tires inflated)
        Many of us were brought up cutting off lights/heat to keep bills affordable, and we really weren’t addicted to TV or electronics. Now not sure many are willing to do without – might be good for people, though. Miserable weather here this morning – hope you are having better!

    • I totally agree PhilMouse, here in the kettle moraine area of Wi., it seems every ridge is growing those things. Now many townships are regulating how far they must be from homes as there are many people saying they’re affecting their sleep patterns and general health. They are particularly ugly, a danger to flying creatures and really not too terribly efficient. And you’re right, if they were so wonderful why must they have government subsidies, if they were the money makers they claim there would be more companies invested in putting them up. We are not far from the Horicon marsh, a very important stop on migratory paths for all kinds of birds and the wind towers are right in that path too. As to the electric cars, fine, you don’t use as much petroleum but the electricity has to be generated some how and the turbines just aren’t up to it.

  9. I have been quite absent. My sweet dog died very suddenly and unexpectedly ,right before Thanksgiving , and I really have been out of sorts. Slowly I am beginning to feel grateful for the 7 amazing years he graced us with…..phew it’s a tough one……

    Bless you for each day I read about you and our fellowship. If you want to shorten the new cows name she could be Noel…….I am glad we are going to NZ…….a need to get away !!


    • Oh Nanster that’s hard, we do get so attached to our beautiful companions….and unexpected is the pits. Welcome back 🙂

      • Oh you poor thing, that is so miserable. Losing your old dog. Much love to you and I am so glad that you gave yourself time to grieve. that is very important.. Good to see you again and yes in 18 days we go to NZ!!

  10. Have you ever read Willa Cather’s beautiful story, “A Wagner Matinee”? I will send it to you. I love it that you can zip off to Chicago in a day and have a totally “other” kind of experience. That’s how we are here in France. We are deep in country. And yet, an hour and a half a way pulses Paris. It is an amazing possibility. Funny how rarely we grasp it. The country offers its own symphonies.

    • Sandy was beyond excited. She is a city girl at heart I think, we had great seats and she was just entranced.. just got back.. whew.. what a day!.. c

  11. How about Noelle–the feminine form of Noel–for the new Christmas cow. A lovely, nodding soft name . . . for the milk-giving sweetie.
    And wind farms are indeed a monstrous imposition on the landscape and upon birds and bats, both with their killing slicing blades and the night-lights that disturb and confuse migrating birds and hunting bats (and beneficial insects like moths). We should try to de-centralize the production of energy, just like Celi is de-centralizing the production of food. Centralizing these things is bad for everyone except the monster corporations that then have a strangle-hold on us . . . . solar panels on every roof! Small wind-generators on the roof . . . small water-wheels in the stream . . . small cows in the back yard rather than wind turbines!

    • I do agree, however theya re here now.. what worries me is what will happen to them in 20 years when they are breaking down and technology has leapt forward again.. I lam told that a wind generator on the roof will shake the house to bits!! however a tower next to the house would be a lovely old fashioned idea. c

    • I think you sell it or lease it, I am not sure that they sequester it, I need to check that, however when all your neighbours have them and they are HUGE, it is hard to say no I suppose… c

  12. I headed to the hills on Boxing Day to a friend’s and passed a not noticed before Dutch belted cattle stud………….dozens of Elsie’s standing around cud chewing………a very pretty sight. I couldn’t stop to take a photo as there was a very rude, very large 4 WD right up my backside trying to push me faster then the posted speed limit on a windy bendy road…he didn’t succeed! On my way back they had moved to a far paddock and I could only see a blur of black and white. We’ll be excited to welcome the Christmas Cow come January.

  13. So much packed into this post. A Christmas Cow surprise. Who would have thought? Was this from Our John? And then off to the ballet. How lovely.

    I agree with you on the windmills. I understand their value for energy. But I cannot tolerate how they change the prairie landscape with their towering unnaturalness. And, yes, I believe living in close proximity to those rotating blades would be enough to make one mad. I am so sorry these giants have intruded into your vision, upon your landscape.

    • They are on two sides now, but there you are.. nothing i can do, and they do put money into the schools evidently and the schools out here are terribly under resourced.. they don’t even have drama or music .. c

  14. Like Viv and Kate I absolutely love windfarms and wish there were a lot more of them in out v windy SE Australia. But yours are close enough ’cause they do make quite some noise and I have not heard ours being lit up at night! That I would not like. Close to a flightpath?? Am so happy you are getting another dairy cow . . . and am with you on your tonight at ‘The Nutcracker’ – one of my faves too!!

    • I do feel bad for the birds though, it is a nasty end.. they are all lit in america, regulations.. loved the ballet.. just glorious!.. c

      • OK – horses for courses in the middle of a Sunday here 🙂 ! You are making me do ‘homework’ Miss C . . . it seems that unless a windfarm stretches more than 150 metres up into the air, no lights have been installed or those done have been removed in Oz. Can’t swear by 5 minute homework! Loving modern art [I could absolutely live in art galleries!] I so do love the elegance and style of the shape of the turbines!!!! I have sat for hours watching them turn according to how nature wished and been absolutely thrilled. Especially love how Denmark has built theirs into the sea and is gaining such huge benefit!!!! Bootifuls!! BUT, do not like any lights and would not like them close to my home!!!!!! OK: birdies – yes, I agree, but I would rather lose some birds than have coal stations [as still mostly here] or nuclear ones! Methinks after a few generations ‘going wrong’ the bird instincts would be a teacher? SO glad you and The Matriarch enjoined the ballet, so, so glad!!!!!!!

        • Anyone at all interested in the issue, Please go to Mr Google and type in ‘wind farms’ for both Denmark and Sweden: surely two of the most intelligent nations in the world. Interesting reading! Yes, some ‘damage’ to animal life both above and below the sea during construction but the need for balance being noted and so much being done!!

  15. What great gifts! A cow and the Nutcracker. Perfect!
    A few years ago, I heard a discussion of talk radio about the windmills. At the time, there was a possibility that they’d put them along the North Shore of The Lake. Can you imagine? I’ve not heard much more about it but I think that plan was doomed from the start. Even so, that program was very enlightening. Both sides of the question were well-represented. There are windmills around Zia’s area but in the next county. Who knows whether they’ll spread to hers? From what I’ve been told, there in Michigan, the companies pay the farmers several thousand dollars a month to use their land. I don’t know if the county and state gets anything other than taxes. The “gripe” is that often the farm’s owners don’t live there, having leased the land. They make the money without any of the headaches. Ask them and they think windmills are wonderful. Ask the “resident” farmers and you get a different story completely. Don’t ask me cuz I don’t know nothin’. 🙂

    • well put john.. it is a catch 22 for sure.. wish i had my own wee windmill .. one of those lovely old fashioned ones.. but they are deeply expensive.. c

  16. I dislike the wind turbines. They mar the beauty of the landscape and they interfere with migration and nature. In a few years the federal production tax credits that have helped propel the wind power industry will end and these giant structures will be a problem to dismantle (who will pay for it?). Yes, generally if the landowner does not accept the offer to purchase or lease by the utility company , the land is condemned and the landowner gets whatever is determined to be fair (usually less than the original offer). I am all about renewable energy, but wind power leaves much to be desired. I’m so sorry you must look at those wretched structures, especially the blinking red lights at night.

    I remember the awful smell of rendering lard. Mom did it a couple of times a year. Making soap sounds like fun actually. I need to give it a whirl one of these days!

  17. Thank God they didn’t choose your land!! Those things are making people VERY sick. There are lots of articles about it. I met a couple from Maine when we were living in NH who had to relocate and leave their dream house behind because their neighbor put windmills right next to their land. Evidently the constant humming (like a train she said) is not only unnerving, it gets your body all out of whack and causes illness.

    • Awful.. now I am even more grateful..our land is ld swamp land, low lying, so hopefully we are safe.. c

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