Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend with Molly

Sorry for the huge delay in updates. I guess we've been busy. ...Though I can't, for the life of me, explain what we may have been doing that was out of the ordinary. ...farming is sometimes like that. It's kind of a black hole for time and resources. It is a black hole so dense you can't even prove you ever had that time or those resources in the first place. In my mind, it is still July 5th or so and I don't know exactly how to reconcile today's actual date. Whatever -- water under the bridge.

So yeah. Molly was here last weekend. Molly is a lovely young Dexter cow, owned by FOF Leslie, who also sold us our very first goats. Leslie wanted to take some time to attend her kids' fencing tournament in Dallas, but as you may have gathered by now, there is no such thing as "time off" when you have dairy animals. They need to be milked twice a day, every day. Or they stop making milk. Oh, I suppose you could go down to one-a-days for a while, but what would be the point? You still couldn't leave town. Understanding that hard truth, we gladly took four of Leslie's goats and her cow for the weekend. We have been considering adding a Dexter to our farm for a while, so we thought this would be a great trial run.

Let me just say we will not be adding a cow based on this trial run.

This is not an indictment of Molly. And further, I'm not saying we won't ever have one, but poor Molly had a bit of a tough time at our farm and I do not think we can judge cows based on her brief, unusual stay at our farm. Here's the rundown.

Thursday 10 pm: Molly and the goats arrive. We get the full disclosure on Molly's situation. Her weanling calf had just been taken away that day and sent to its new home. Molly makes it apparent that she has no idea where in the hell she is and, more importantly where the hell her baby is, approximately 14 seconds after Leslie leaves. We are treated to sad, mournful and occasionally angry bellowing until about sunrise.

Friday 8 am: We put Molly's lead on and bring her to the milking area. She leads like a dream. She really is a sweet cow. We get the bucket out, set up a stool and coo gently to her as we clean her teats. The milk starts leaking out before I even get started. This bodes well.

8:05 am - Molly has decided she has given us enough milk. But it is only about 2/3 the amount Leslie said would be the minimum she should give. I remember Leslie saying we may have to sing to her to get her to let the milk down. Christian and I sing Happy Birthday (the only song we know all of the words to) about 10 times before we just start making up songs about cows and milk. Bad songs. There is to be no more milk this morning.

Friday 6 pm: After a day with much bellowing we repeat the morning ritual and get only 1/2 the milk we got that morning - or 1/3 the amount we should get per milking. We call Leslie to see if she has any other tricks to get Molly to let the milk down. No dice. She says not to worry and just take what we can get.

Repeat this for three days. (Minus the call to Leslie. That was, I am sure to her relief, a solo-event.) In each successive milking, we get only the amount we got that first night, which is less than our goats give on a bad day.

Let's just say I spent A LOT of time freaking out hoping we did not ruin Molly for the whole season.

The good news is that Molly's agitation level decreased with each day she was here. But the experience left me less than jazzed about getting a cow. I can't see adding another animal to the mix with a whole different milking mo-jam if we aren't going to get at least two or three gallons a day. ...which, honestly we probably would have if it weren't for the stress and the insane heat we were having here. I think the poor girl just didn't have it in her. I think she was mad. And to the extent she was able, I think she showed it by holding back her milk. She didn't know who I was, but she was dang sure I wasn't her calf.

Aside from the low milk output and the sad, sad and extraordinarily loud bellowing, we really enjoyed having her here. She was a gentle, sweet, easily handled love of a beast. I only wish we had had a better representation of what life with our own cow might be. I suspect we'll have to go visit her and milk her over at Leslie's place some day.

On Monday we were about to leave the farm for a dinner out on the town when I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of her before her scheduled departure that night. Christian snapped a couple before I realized how absurd it was to pose with a cow in makeup and a dress. Enjoy the silliness that followed. I call that last look "Blue Steel".

2 comments: said...

Maybe you should have tried Feliz Navidad instead of Happy Birthday. Everyone knows I want to wish you a merry christmas from the bottom of my heart.

Feliz Navidad.

Feliz Navidad.

Annette said...

I love the pictures. You probably dress up and wear makeup all the time on the farm and we don't know it! Those pictures should be framed. You just need some with your goats now.