After John and I had attended to some business in a nearby town we headed home to scoop the poop.


There was a lot of it. Due to the extremely cold temperatures while I was gone the manure had frozen to the barn floor shortly after it hit the deck. There was no moving it until a thaw.

I reinstated the cows double beds.  I clear most of the floor completely, creating walkways and feeding areas and beds. These walkways are kept scooped clean (on a good day) right down to the concrete.  The feeding areas are also kept clean. Then I  create their beds around the outside of the space and in the sheltered corners –  I build deep beds of straw.  These areas I don’t take back to the concrete floor, over time they build into a deep litter bed with clean straw on top.  This is warmer for the cow. Today everything was covered in manure so we cleared the space between the four main beds and covered the beds in deep clean dry straw.


Like a very grubby dormitory for cows.

On a normal day after the milking, I scrape the clean areas and pick frozen piles of manure out of the new clean straw. (If you get the cow pats out fast it is easy to keep the bed areas clean). The cows always sleep on the clean beds, (important for milking cows with big precious udders). They always choose warm and dry.  The beds need to be properly and frequently managed.

Last night I went out to check them and there were my beautiful milking cows curled up like fossils on their newly clean deep straw beds, their heads tucked against their bending knees,  long necks stretched,  totally relaxed and content, big deep sleeping breaths, dry and warm in the straw – out of the manure mud.  Wooly mammoth trilobites. Everything around them was freezing slowly, freezing right down.  And on they all slept. The three smaller cows were sharing the other clean beds, the calves in their dry sheltered creep. And on they all slept.  My light studied each animal but no-one stirred. On they all slept – relieved to have their clean beds again.


These are grim mushy photos of a grim mushy job.  But I did not have a lot of time for pretty photos yesterday.  Nor was it a pretty day.

When everything was done, and the cows were milked and all the animals fed,  I cleaned myself up and made Spinach and Kale Soup. I make this reasonably often in the winter (I call it spinach soup) but this time I used a new recipe.  Spinach and Kale Soup. This is a really cleansing vegan soup. It is a basic Green Soup that I heard about on a Splendid Table podcast.   I hate to say it but it is much nicer than my usual spinach soup. My spinach soup is much heavier. Here is my spinach soup.

The new recipe begins with caramalised onions, and it calls for a 1/4 cup of arborio rice. These two additions make all the difference and will be stapled steps in my leaf soup from now on. I can use most any greens in these soups which is wonderful. I saved a huge pot of the Green Soup in the fridge. I think I will eat it for a few days. My body feels like it still recovering from Christmas.  Even John who lived on pizza and fried chicken and meaty curries while I was away (using none of the healthy meals I had saved in the freezer) managed to eat a bowl full.

Today dawns cloudy and windy and cold again. Our reprieve is over. It is 19F/ -7C and blowing hard. Back to winter. We received none of the forecast snow yesterday and it will be slick with frozen rain out there. But at least the barns are up to date.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love celi

WEATHER: Cold and Windy (a horrible combination).

Friday 01/12 20% / 0 in
A few flurries possible early. Windy. Cloudy skies will become partly cloudy this afternoon. High around 25F/-3C. Winds N at 20 to 30 mph.

Friday Night 01/12 0% / 0 in
Partly cloudy skies. Low 7F/-13. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph.

7:16 am 4:46 pm

Waning Crescent, 17% visible 3:22 am 1:45 pm


42 Comments on “COWS LIKE FOSSILS

  1. I’m sure the ladies and young ones are very grateful for their clean beds. Now I’m off to check out those soup recipes!

  2. Good but hard work. Glad the cows are snug. Like the soup recipe. I think my husband would like it not puréed. I might try that. He loves soups with big leafy greens.

  3. It’s pretty grim here today. Pouring rain and grey skies. It was nice getting a from break the frigid temperatures we were experiencing but I’m worried about the cold that is heading back and all the wet roads that will freeze over. Lucky cows to have such mindful owners. My sister and her husband never muck out the barns.

  4. Good job, phew! I think I might still prefer your (original) spinach soup, I love onions, potaotoes and bacon fried together, yum. Great compost in the making for next years gardens too 🙂 Laura

  5. Ah there is nothing quite like coming home to getting down to work, the nitty gritty of your existence…I don’t suppose they got cleaned whilst you were away….

    Soup sounds good tasty and wholesome.. great stuff. Fancy John not taking advantage of meals already prepared..typical friend food every time

    Stay warm ducky…lots of love

  6. “Wooly mammoth trilobites.” I like that phrase. It conjures crazy images. I may have to get photoshop turned on. 🙂

    • My photoshop is such an old version- I will be needing a new laptop in the very near future and am terrified about the obligatory update. Technology has streaked ahead in the last years. But there you are – we can learn new things.

      • I recently purchased the latest Photoshop Elements to replace my old version. It was on sale at $70.

  7. lovely post….visions of bovine trilobites amuse me and the fact that they are all snug and warm in their clean straw beds comforts me.
    you are such a caring, mindful and careful tender of all the animals.

  8. A very satisfying job well done, and the result, peaceful sleeping warm cows. 😀

  9. I do the same thing with our chickens, leave the straw down while it is frozen and keep the floor warmer. Today though was the Aegean thing, all clean (mind you I didn’t chase after the chickens to clean up after them). I’ll let the floor dry out a bit then fresh straw. +8C right now then down to -15C tonight.

  10. Heh, heh! So your beautiful cows are glad the “cleaning lady” is back! 🙂 You sure had a full day! Did Boo or Ton supervise the whole affair? Loved your description of the cows sleeping!

  11. Lovely imagery of your relieved and contented cows snoozing peacefully, big deep breaths on their clean beds. Now the earth has to gently sift down on them and embed them in a soft matrix of soil for someone to discover in a million or so years, and think: “these fossil cows look so peaceful in their million year slumbers”. What a great image. But how nice that they’ll wake up with a load of milk on board and a strong interest in where the next mouthful of grass is coming from!

  12. You are such a good care giver to everyone around you. It’s good to see you are taking care of yourself as well with that soup. That gives you the steam to keep on doing for the rest. Think I’ll take a page from your book.

  13. You have such a poetic mind. I love it that you compare your cows to fossils. BUT, I have to confess, I read the headline: “Cows like fossils” as in “Cows prefer fossils” and I was thinking: How does she know that Cows like fossils? At first I thought you were going to find evidence in the, well, the pats, you know, and then when you got to the cosy sleeping arrangements I finally figured it out. LOVELY post. Ditzy reader. Your soup sounds great. We eat a great deal of savoy cabbage and cavolo nero (kale) in the winter, and I love how sweet they get when cooked up with carrots and onions!

  14. I am glad the barns are up to date as it is a giant job. Yes in for some freeze but the good news is Spring is coming. Not today, not tomorrow but it is coming. Most reassuring is an earlier dawn stirring and a later light….it all gets better from here.

  15. The sleeping fossils remind me of how I love to sleep on freshly laundered sheets. The clean energies are so relaxing. xx

  16. Isn’t it lovely to have that job completed and the cows all snug? It’s been so cold here that our cows are walking around stalagmites of poo. The poo hits the ground and instantly freezes into all sorts of interesting shapes. Yuck. But I don’t hear them complain~ especially with a large bowl of grain mixed with molasses (for extra energy in this cold weather) in front of them! Lucky girls! 🙂

  17. Sounds like both the four-leggeds and two-leggeds were just a tad lost whilst Miss C was Down Under 🙂 !! At least the fossilized poo should not smell? And there are clean sheets around both house and barn: ain’t sleep sweet !!

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