Friday, September 2, 2011

The Test Cow

Test Cow
We had been searching for a cow and visited one place and emailed and asked questions of a lot of others. We considered a zebu, a miniature jersey, a dexter, and a dexter/mini-jersey cross. Most of the mini cows were far away and pretty darn expensive for us.

After a while, I kind of gave up on the whole crazy idea. My trusty ranchhand neighbor girl and I stacked the corral panels away for another far-off probably never to come day when cow dreams would begin again in earnest. And then, oddly enough, a cow found us...

We received an email from one of our restauarnt customers wanting to know if we were still searching for a family milk cow. Leery of a looming, giant cow of doom that could stare down at me and be a little scary I asked: what kind, how big, where at? Details. I needed to know more. But I wasn't getting my hopes up.

Turns out she is a Jersey.

Immediately I'm thinking EEK! HUGE COW! I don't know if I can handle a huge cow. When I was seven years old and fearless, yes, I could have. But not now that I'm all grown up and have more sense in my head.

We went to see her anyway.

It felt like fate, karma, the magic of the universe pulling together to bring us the cow we had longingly searched for. Happy, excited, and a little scared we piled into the truck and headed out for this new and wonderful adventure.

Until we got lost.

And lost again.

And even more lost....
We drove along a dirt utility road forever. We called the lady at least ten thousand times. She probably thought we were nuts. I can't blame her. The directions she gave me were very detailed. I can only blame myself and my loose interpretation of street names vs. real objects like Cattle Tanks. But I digress...

Frustrated, tired, fearful that this whole journey might be some sort of wild goose chase, we almost turned back and gave up. But the lady came to to find rescue us on her ATV and guided us back to the dirt road of destiny and straight to her home and many, many well-cared for animals. There were geese running free. I heard chickens. Goats! A bull, a Toggenburg buck. A child who shared her goat-kid with us. And cows. More than just one. But there in her own area was Gucci. She was um, kind of big. Not as big as the other enormously massive giganticly huge cows we had met before. She was quiet and minding her own business with her fly mask on to protect her secret identity.

We got to pet her, and rub her all over and talk to her. Gucci is soft. She was taken to the stanchion so we could see her damaged teat and inspect her and learn about her. My husband kept saying she's not that big. I agreed. She was a good size. Not a goat size, not a gigantic Holstein size. And then she took her fly mask off. And everyone said, "Aaaaaaaaw." And we all fell in love with her.


And we want her to come live on our ranch.

She was born at a dairy and has one bad teat--much to our good fortune because that is how she was purchased by her current owners. Dairys cull animals who are not perfect for milking. A cow with three functioning teats is just fine for a home milker not interested in showing at fairs or anything like that.

First we have to get a nice spot all ready for her.

If you have read this blog a while you'll know I like to test things before I try for real. Rocket, the visiting horse, has agreed to be my test cow. Daily, she inspects the corral area for me and lets me know what needs to be trimmed and moved out of the way. She has shown me that the goats are good entertaining company next door and the water and food are located in a convenient area.

I need to reinforce the corral panels at their junctions with t-posts. (Got those today in the back of my truck). I also need to trim off some more mesquite limbs to make room for the coming cow hotel.

It's funny how we have had this property for several years now and I never noticed before how shady and tranquil this one spot is. Rocket the Test Cow has shown me at least three good lounging spots perfectly shrouded from the sun by mesquite trees. I hope Gucci will like it here.


  1. I want one for myself! A great and wonderful ending to a great and wonderful story. Cows in Thailand are never born in Thailand but must be imported. Weather and humidity makes the process of making baby cows impossible here! I think we need to go visit at farm up north and look over the cows. I want one for myself. Thanks.