A lyrical tale of life with a cow

Laura Livingston, writing on Kimberly Hartke’s blog:

“Jenny came to live with us when she was twelve years of age. She was a Jersey, was bred, and had been living on good pasture at her previous home. Jenny was old, though. Her digestive tract had been compromised by a diet supplemented with probably a lot of grain, as was attested to by the large diameter of her cow patties. Jenny was a well behaved family milk cow.

Three of my daughters and I, and one granddaughter, were living off-the-grid. Roughing it, you could say. We did things the hard way, carrying all of our water from the well up the road, except what fell off the roof at our door when it rained.We cooked mostly with wood, and had no cow fences at that time. Jenny had a small enclosure to live in, but I tethered her all day on tall grass and other forages. That meant that Jenny had to learn to walk with a lead. And graze within a small circle.

She was a smart cow. Jenny obviously knew that she was much stronger than any of us. She learned every way there was to untie her tether rope from her halter. And, when dragging me full speed down hill, she would do an instant 90 degree turn then throw all her weight straight ahead again to whip the rope free from my hands. She would then run away and wait for all of us to quietly “sneak” up on her as if she didn’t know we  were there. After some of these games, Jenny would chose one of us to have the honor of snagging her with a hay string we all had hidden in our pockets so she wouldn’t see them.

Jenny grew wide. I began brushing her before each milking as I gradually cut grain out of her diet, other than as a treat mixed with chopped sea weed when I could get it. She had had milk fever with her last calf, so I did a lot of research in old books on milk fever. I had decided not to dry her up and just keep her milking less than two gallons a day straight through. Jenny enjoyed the brushing. She started licking my pant leg while I did the milking. I had miscounted the weeks since Jenny’s last visit from the AI guy, so was surprised one morning to find her beautiful calf snuggled down in the spilled hay of Jenny’s bedding….”

Read it all on Kimberly Hartke’s blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s