My cow stomped at me tonight! And suddenly all the joy and fun of having a cow and making my own butter and dreaming about cheeses disappeared as I found myself obsessively thinking of all the different ways a 1,200 pound animal could do me bodily harm. Everything about milking was awful tonight, I was scared the whole time and frustrated with how sore my hands were and how primitive our milking set up is (we didn’t expect her here so early and we don’t have a milk bucket, so we’re milking into a stainless steel pot that we have to pour into glass jugs over and over again, which means I’m getting out from underneath her every little while which only serves to make her MORE nervous and jumpy.) And to top it all off I discovered that cow poo smells just like dog poo!!!! I don’t know what I was expecting, but I guess I thought it would smell more earthy and sweet… like hay or fresh mulch, or peat moss or I don’t know what – crushed daises, maybe, but no. It smells just like the bottom of your shoe when you step in Fido’s doings. And I have lots of it. Everywhere. Anyone need any fresh fertilizer?
But after we were done milking, I managed to lead Lucy to her pasture by myself (I have these horrible visions of her rearing up like a horse and stomping me to the ground!) and when I fed her hay, I kept it all tucked up under me and made her come close to eat. Eventually, she allowed me to pet her head and even moved so I could scratch an itchy spot. That was really, really wonderful.
And when I came inside, I chatted with a good friend of mine who has raised dairy cows for a few years and she set my mind at ease greatly. She explained to me that cows don’t rear, and that if I tuck my head beside her belly (my favorite place to be when milking), she can’t reach me with her foot even if she DID kick (which, she says, cows rarely do.)
It’s funny how little things can change your perspective, and how fear can ruin something wonderful. I have loved having this cow… until fear made me feel overwhelmed and irritated and ready to throw in the towel. I’m glad that in my ignorance, God gave me that moment with her in the field tonight I sat in the grass with her and sang her name and felt her velvety soft head and I knew that this is going to take some getting used to. And I will enjoy it and I will dislike it and I will have moments of frustration and moments of awe. And all of those moments will be good.
Tonight I am reminded that God watches over me in the fields. Even when the fields smell like dog poo. :)