Sparrow is my sweet little heifer calf that was born to my milk cow, Lilly, back in August. Every evening, she gets separated from her mama so that when I go to milk in the mornings, there is some milk for me, too. Otherwise she runs with the herd all of the time, by Lilly’s side. And she is a spunky little thing that has required some patience when it comes to the “catching” each evening. But cows are creatures of serious rhythm and routine, and she is beginning to learn the ropes. She is almost (almost) to the point of walking herself to the stanchion in the evenings when she sees me coming to fetch her. We’re making real progress, anyhow. Well, a couple of nights ago when I tied her to the stanchion for the night, she walked herself right around and put her head through the head catch, just like she has seen her mama do so many times now. I spent some time rubbing her down, cooing to her a bit, and rubbing her tiny little udder. She seems to know what her future roll is going to be! I don’t think I ever realized just how special my little cow friend was going to be to me. My buddy, Sparrow…
It’s very wet here. Oddly wet for October. September was oddly dry. I think there have been more thunderstorms so far this month than we had during our typical thunderstorm-laden July. For at least the last five out of six days, it has been raining while I am milking the cow. Like clockwork. Milking time=rainstorm. Most sane folks milk their cows in a snug barn where the reality of rain is a mere pitter-patter on a tin roof. And maybe a little extra mud on the wellies. Well. That’s not quite the way it works around here. Several months ago now, when I realized a new family cow was headed our way as a gift from some sweet friends, I had this funny little notion that the milking should occur in a portable stanchion that could be integrated into our herd’s pasture rotation. We certainly didn’t need another isolated chore to be added to our already colorful palatte, and I didn’t want our family milk cow to be separate from the big herd, as cows love company you know, so the portable stanchion it was. And is… This crazy thing that we are doing is working. Mind you, we have had plenty of wrinkles to iron out along the way, and the old shade-shack-turned-milking parlor is small and has no walls. There is a roof (tarp), but when the wind blows like it was this morning, I get pretty much soaked. Maybe a little bit cold, too. I suppose that is one way to become a faster milker.
But my fleeting discomfort gets swallowed by the beauty of the bigger picture.
I know there is a warm house and dry clothes waiting for me when I finish my chore. Comfort zones are meant to be challenged, right? When we stretch just beyond our comfort zone, don’t we more greatly appreciate the comfort we stretched beyond?
When you tread that fine line, it really boils down to the attitude that you carry with you. This morning, by most people’s standards, I had every right to grumble. I was sopping wet, rain absolutely dripping from my face, the occasional wet cow tail smacked across my head, and a stiff breeze blowing on my backside. But I didn’t grumble. I put my cold hands on that warm milk pail, and said thank you.