There’s something special about milking Moo each morning. Naturally, we love the rich, creamy milk she gives. And we enjoy all the homemade dairy products her milk facilitates. But it’s the simple, basic act of hand-milking Moo that is so nurturing, so soul enriching for me. My face resting against her ample side . . . the sound of warm milk splerting into the bucket . . . Moo munching . . . my hands settling into their simple rhythm. Sometimes I think about things. Sometimes I just rest in the beauty of a farmer’s morning.
Moo is, quite literally, the perfect milk cow. She has no problems with clippers occasionally zipping down her underside . . . keeping her udder shaved, her belly neat, and her tail nicely groomed. She will stand perfectly still for me to clean her udder with a spray bottle and cloth. Milking buckets don’t tempt her to kick. She doesn’t even flinch when I finish our session by treating her teats with a homemade teat dip.
Moo, however, has no tolerance for foolishness and shenanigans. Routines are sacrosanct. Familiarity is the law. She’s smart and willing and absolutely reasonable, but even Moo has her limits. Of course she enjoys her private breakfast in the barn while the rest of the herd jockeys for position at the feed bunk: a little grain in the orange tub, a little hay on the right side, the loose blue rope halter tied low in the aisle to accommodate her short stature. Moo will stand calmly and patiently through any leisurely milking session as long as no foolishness interrupts her placid routine. But I MUST use the RIGHT spray bottle, the RIGHT cloths, the RIGHT clippers, the RIGHT milking buckets, and the RIGHT teat dip. If I abide by her simple rules, all is right in Moo-ville. However, if I decide to pull some crazy shenanigans by changing our milking tools or altering our milking routine, all bets are off!
And what does” foolishness and shenanigans” look like, exactly? An electric heater in the barn aisle on a frigid January morning, for one example. My husband thought it was a great idea! It was meant to make our milking session warmer, more pleasant. But it smelled a little smoky. And it made a kind of buzzing noise. And if the crazy farmers were going to burn the barn down, it wasn’t going to happen with Moo IN IT! So I milked her in the pasture that morning. In the dark. Squatting in the snow.
Lesson learned: Moo-ville is pleasant-ville. Oh Moo . . .
Routine is the right way to begin a day anyway. Unexpectedness and craziness and problems shouldn’t arrive until after a glorious sunrise has had a chance to wake the world up a bit . . . after Moo has headed back out to her pastures and her herd for the day. Then the farmers can deal with their own issues as best they can . . .