Friday, June 22, 2012
When I was little we had a neighbor called Chug. Why was he called Chug? I have no idea. Maybe he was a railroad man, maybe he was a party-er, maybe his full name was Chugford. I just don't know. What I do know is Chug had cows and occasionally those cows got out.
The memories I have of Chugs cows are laced with terror. Once, along with my sister and the neighbor children I huddled at the center of a trampoline safely out of reach of the formidable beasts. There we sat bawling as we awaited rescue.
Another time after fleeing to the safety of the neighbors back door and admitting myself with out bothering to knock I stood frozen against the screen door. In the refuge of the door way, after the flight response had settled, I began feeling uneasy over my hasty decision to skip knocking. I didn't dare venture any further into the house. In truth, I was anxious to escape before I was discovered trespassing, but I knew that out there beyond the perimeter of the carport lurked gigantic and frightening cows. I was stuck, too scared to proceed in either direction.
I have no memory of how the situation resolved.
What I'm trying to relate here is the general temperature of the relationship between myself and members of the bovine family during my formative years. These terrifying experiences continued to flavor my interaction with bovinia for years to come.
The truth is, my fear of cows has never really been an issue for me despite it's ongoing presence in psyche. Like your average suburban woman I've only rarely come into contact with the animals and when the circumstances arose that I was near a cow or two they were easy to avoid. Stay well back from the fence, leave all petting zoo responsibilities to the Mr and that's that. Mission accomplished. No contact with cows.
But guess what I did on Wednesday?
I milked one.
Actually I'm not sure you can truthfully call what I did "milking." I tried to milk. I succeeded in landing about an ounce of milk in the bucket. Soon thereafter a fly drowned in that hard-won ounce and the whole of it had to be thrown out.
The good news is, I've grown as an individual. I stood in the pasture with not only the cow but also a horse and a goat and felt only slight trepidation. When my turn came to milk I worried more about how we're going to manage being fully responsible for the care and milking of this animal for an entire nine days than I was about anything else.
Getting the milk from the udder to the bucket, it turns out, is on the tricky side. The cow didn't have a lot of patience with my futile attempts and kept walking away. The good news is: The Mr had a very healthy relationship with cows in his childhood. Armed with that and his previous milking experience he did much better than I. Still we're both going to need to fit in some practice before we're left to do the milking on our own.