Monday, April 9, 2012

I Lost My Calf

This morning was productive. I did all the chores in record time so I could sit down and milk my cow. Milking a cow takes time. Some people are very fast at it. Most people use a machine. I don't have an electric milking machine, but I have two hands and a lot of patience. Good thing. I need it, the patience that is.

Gucci is a good cow. Very good. She gets ticked off at me, I won't lie, because I know she knows I'm taking way too long. But for the most part she just looks back at me with those big brown eyes and waits. On average, it takes me about an hour to milk her. I did some research online and the lowest time I've heard is 30 minutes. I've improved. When I first started a few days ago, it took me an hour and a half. I'll be up to the thirty minutes soon. I will, I will.

I get about a gallon and a half each time I milk. Think about that. Three gallons a day, every day. I've heard a Holstein can give 12 gallons a day. That's a lot of milk, cheese, and butter. I do share Gucci with her baby, Karma. Karma comes to milking time with me and supervises. It's better with her there since she keeps her mom calm. She also tends to nudge mom's udder so Gucci isn't so bothered that I'm milking her. Not that I believe she's fooled into thinking it's her calf taking the milk.

So it was a good morning by then. Good milking; got my gallon and a half. Then I decided the cows ought to go on their usual walkabout. Since the calf came, Gucci hadn't been out to browse and the weeds looked in need of a haircut. So I let out Gucci, her calf, and the black angus steer. I didn't think much of it as they were all staying togther and happily eating. I went off and did some more chores, planted some Italian green bean sprouts from the greenhouse, swept the big goat pen, pulled some weeds in the garden and fed them to the sheep and chickens.

It was starting to get hot then, so I figured I better head home. When I went to find my cows, one was missing. Karma. Gucci didn't seem at all concerned. She meandered around nipping off weeds and greens. I walked about and searched, but Karma was nowhere to be found. I walked for thirty minutes. I put Gucci and the steer back in the corral. Gucci watched me (I swear she was grinning--that this was all some sort of planned cow trick).

I walked the front part of the property. I walked the back. Then the front again. And the back. Again and again I searched. The neighbor boy was over painting the milking area. He watched me too. I think he was in cahootz with the cows. He doesn't say much. When I asked if he'd seen the calf, he shrugged and gave me a grin that seemed to say, 'Seriously lady, how do you lose a calf?'. Then he went back to painting. I think one of my purposes in life is to be entertainment for the neighbors. Scored on that today.

It's times like these that I realize I'm not really a farmer. Real farmers don't lose their animals. And they can milk a cow with four good teats in 30 minutes flat as opposed to my three teat cow taking an hour.

I went to enlist help from my guard dog, Max. He and I searched and searched to no avail. (He's better at chasing feral cats than finding anything else). Then he figured I was walking around way too much in the heat and went to rest on a cool patch of dirt while I kept looking.

Eventually, I found the little calf curled up and napping in the corner of the property, completely unaware that she was lost. I hauled her up and brought her back to her mama. I think she needs a bell!

No comments:

Post a Comment