Saturday, November 6, 2010

cattle heaven

Cattle Heaven

My landlord has been to the big thousands-acres dairy cow ranches, where they sell commercially.  It's not a happy sounding place. 

They are on cement most of the time, probably no where to lie down if they want to.  When milking time comes, they go on a gigantic lazy susan that turns slowly.  What they get fed is done by computer while they are being milked by a machine.  Then the thing turns, they're done, and they get scooted off.  It's assemply line, and not a happy place for them.

A lot of these mega ranches are funded by oil money, as they have to invest it somewhere.  The gigantic milking apparatus, etc, costs over $3 mill.  They never make the money back.  It's just somewhere to dump the oil money, and get an endless writeoff.

The Boss hunts for Jerseys on the internet, and goes and rescues them.  They come in thin and not used to human kindness and touch.  Like Violet (aka Shirley McLaine), they have been in a bad mood.  Violet is mellowing out.  She hangs out with Precious and Serenity, and grazes on fresh spring grass, plus they get grain with vitamins, etc. 

It's a kind of heaven for cows here. And if they want to take a nap in the tall grass, they can, anytime.  It's so nice out there, they didn't want to come in tonight.  So Bob had to drive the quad  out to round them up, with Buster, the border collie, riding on the front.  Buster just adores the quad.

 When it's time to milk them, at 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. they line up in cow pecking order.  No one would ever try to squeeze ahead.  First Prescious  (tends to lie down in her own cow poop), then Serenity (blonde and dumb, but always very clean), and last the biggest but the newcomer, Violet.  They get talked to, and petted; if they kick Bob or Barbara, they get swatted.  When Voilet first came, she was grumpy, and Barbara had to hold her tail up, which made her behave.  In a week and a half, Violet has decided she's found heaven.

The cream they produce is like Devonshire, at least.  You just want to eat it by the spoonful. 

I go out in the evening often to watch the routine.  There is something so peaceful about cows getting milked.  It's impossible to be tense or worried about anything.  I think cows are God's most favorite critter. 

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