The cow and the girl

Now that John is working even further North, with an even longer drive to and fro, Lady Astor and I are back to milking alone.

hereford pigs

She is very well behaved now and I find myself sinking into that lovely alone time that is induced by the quiet noise of the barn and the one little light in the ceiling of the cow shed and as the sun goes down the cow and the girl become more and more isolated from the world. The young people are rattling about in the kitchen. The dogs are lying quietly in their corners. The cats watch from their customary perches and the peacocks are in the rafters gently positioning themselves for sleep. The animals are making their beds and circling their tails and gently the cow and the girl go about the ritual of milking. The pump hums along and the milk flows with through sparkly clean hoses into the tank. After we are done I let Lady back out into her field with a satidfied pat on her rump and then I divide the milk up.

One bucket is for the plonkers (this one is taken to the house to be mixed with all the leftovers from the dinner, a dozen eggs and a good portion of yoghurt and fed on the ‘morrow). One pot of milk is for the house.   The basins are filled for the cats and Boo, who waits with such patience for his portion. He makes sure that NO cat sticks her dirty face into the house buckets or the pig bucket.  He is very strict about this. He does not growl or anything he just moves his head in the way, glares at the cat, the cat backs down and Boo sits  again waiting for the proper basins to be filled. Two small blue feeder buckets await the calves ration. Little is big enough to have a bucket now, once a day (and he is eating much better out in the field and I think his cough is less) I place left over oats from Lady Asters treats into the bottom of each calf bucket and pour in the warm milk. This way they spend quite some time over their dinner and forget to try to steal someone else’s allowing me to get back to the work of cleaning up the cow shed.

Once all the lines have been cleaned and the milking bucket and paraphernalia are sterilised I take the house milk up to the house, strain it and pop it in the fridge.  The next day I skim off the cream and pour the skimmed milk into the glass bottles I keep for the house milk.

I like the milking. I like the focus of it. Even when the soles of my feet ache from a day on them – when I am milking every ache disappears, every other thought is gone. It is just the girl and her cow now.

The Plonkers eat huge lunches at the moment. pigs

and are growing fast. They have ransacked their field, in the spring it will be replanted in alfalfa for the next team of Plonkers to have the following year.  plonkers

I hope you have a lovely day.





34 Comments on “The cow and the girl

  1. Nice thoughts….my memories of milking revolve around a shoot I did for Diversey chemicals, out of a Chicago agency, in the 80’s. I had never been in a modern milking parlour, or any milking parlour, in my life so I was unaware of the pratfalls. The cows were linked to the milking machines and stood in a semi circle on a slightly raised concrete platform in front of me, my camera and my array of electronic flash packs. As I fired the camera the flashes sychronised, creating a sort of lightening flash, at which point the cows tails went up and I was doused in cow shit. Through the noise of my cursing I was still able to hear a lot of laughter as the cowgirls were well prepared for this possibility and had kept themselves out of the line of fire:)

  2. How I would love to be able to sit quietly in the corner and feel the barn settle around milking time. So pleased Lady A has decided it is acceptable to behave well for you 🙂 Have a lovely, lovely weekend. Laura

  3. It’s a wonderfully peaceful and contemplative image you conjure up there. I love that Lady A is now calm and co-operative without ‘her’ John. The milk bar lineup is fun too – Nanny Boo on guard.

  4. Boo never ceases to amaze me. Is this behaviour natural or learnt? Good morning, c., and a very happy day to you and the farmy. >

    • Misky I think it’s a bit of both. I have a border collie/cattle dog mix…..Boo’s face, Ton’s body….and she’s like Boo. Knows what the cats and chickens are allowed to do and lets them know with her hard stare or a bit of nudging gently with her nose that they’re out of line. But she’s tuned into me as well, and grew up learning my “oh no naughty chickens” or other ripe words meant they’d got into the vegetable garden, so she knows now they’re not allowed there and comes and tells me or herds them out.

  5. It’s good to read that you and Lady A have come to agreeable terms during the milking times. Quiet reflection is much nicer than dodging cow feet 🙂

  6. I find that milking our two goats is a meditative time as well. Very calming. And of course, their milk too, goes a long way here on the farm. Do you make kefir daily with your milk? It is such a wonderful, powerful pro-biotic. We drink it daily, and a daily dose has even helped our pig with her constipational issue!

    • I used to but when I was in NZ last time John thought the Kefir mother was something nasty in the fridge and threw it out..(he who has never thrown a thing out of the fridge before in his life!) not to worry though I have another coming – the same starter actually shared years ago.. I always have home made yoghurt though and it is good stuff too.. c

      • Homemade yogurt is wonderful! We often make that too, but the kefir is so easy to have going and harvesting (I guess that is the right word?) daily, and it’s easy to make enough for every being on the farm! Let me know if you need any of the culture and I’ll send it your way. I have a very healthy culture going right now! xo

  7. Today’s post –well, I SO needed it. Just knowing that you are there finding a peaceful, reflective moment for yourself. I learn from you. I just received a nasty email and I could feel my face just flaming– and I know you have plenty of reasons to have your blood pressure shoot up. We all do. But you handle life’s shit with such aplomb and wisdom. What is so hard to know is–is our anger justified… or not. Did I deserve the nasty? How to know??

    • It is hurtful when you receive a written nasty email. We worry at the words and turn them over and over and we cannot interject the actual tone of the person writing and sometimes people set out words gently and then they are read as a shout. Often too, i think, people who feel they must correct other people using a mean written tone must have deep troubles themselves or very much needed to write what they did. not for us but for themselves. This happened to me not long ago when a longtime internet friend wrote and rather angrily said he could not be my friend anymore as He and his Wife were very hurt because I had not commented on their posts lately, and I was not being friendly or something.. For the life of me I could not work out what I had done wrong, I worried and worried over his message then his wife got in on the action and ripped into me as well, on Facebook. I am still confused actually as to what I had done that could cause such a furor but it seemed that I was being neglectful. Being neglectful is so easy on the internet when you have never actually met a person, or spoken to them. Friend is such a loose word now. So I did not answer. I just said Oh dear I am terribly sorry and then gently closed their pages in my book. I was sad about it. And very hurt mainly because I had no idea what they were going on about! But there you are. Life is not perfect. And nor am I. Anyway – hope that helps.

      • Thank you, Cecilia, it does help to know I’m not the only one who worries over something or other.

  8. P.S. Every now and again, I go back and listen to your barn sounds. That is such an enjoyable post. Maybe you’d do it again one of these days! (And I’m not anonymous! Equus here.)

  9. By describing very detailed your milking session I feel as if I were there with you following your each and every hand movement and enjoying the beautiful silence and atmosphere with you. Love that vision… It’s kind of meditation, isn’t it?

  10. Such vivid imagery you conjure up for us, and we’ve had the sounds. How are we going to experience the smells? You’ll have to mail us all a “scratch and sniff” card!!

  11. Your posts always make me happy. Thank you, Celie – you couldn’t be more of a treat to me every single day!
    I’m sorry John has even further to drive – he must be exhausted when he gets home – but home is always worth the journey.
    ViV xox still revelling in the prolonged Indian Summer.

  12. Like Viv, I could only think poor John, he must be exhausted at the end of the day, but also, hurray for you, how wonderful to be able to go about your evening chores, knowing your dinner’s all taken care of by the kitchen crowd. Lovely photos and story today (yesterday?)

  13. I am reading after a rather busy day. I hope you do not feel I am neglectful since I have missed several days of commenting, mind you I am way behind with my own blog posting. My eye is amazing but it does get tired. Time for me to lie down in a darkened room, I would hate too undo all the good work. night night.

  14. I just listened to the March 17th cacophony. It is both hilarious and sad. The goats hilarious—Godot, so so sad. His gentle calling (as you said.)

    • Thank you, Equus, for telling us the date. But alas I get no tone, not a single one. The bar does not move at all (it does on another site, so it’s not my computer). Maybe later on there will be a chance….

  15. Beautiful description of that peaceful end of day, just the girl and her cow. Thank you, I felt calm just reading it.

  16. I remember the restfulness of milking by hand, my head pressed against Esmerelda’s side–I loved it. And I love Boo. What a soldier!

  17. It’s good to hear Lady A is on her good behavior with you now. Poor John, he didn’t need a longer day.

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