Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lucinda, the Psychic Bovine??

Yesterday morning, after milking chores were finished, I helped Husband load two cull cows onto the trailer to be taken to the sale barn, where they are bought by a packing plant to be slaughtered. Unfortunately, this is the inevitable fate awaiting every milk be "culled" from the herd. Eventually, each cow reaches the point of not being productive enough to keep around, usually because of udder health problems or old age. (Ironically, Husband told me that Sunday's sermon was about Jesus' parable of the farmer who had an unproductive fig tree that he wanted to get rid of......production is and always has been an issue with farmers, I guess.)

The two cows that we loaded were named Burniece and Lucinda. Lucinda had had a lame leg for awhile, probably due to a fall. That can easily happen, as the big clumsy cows jostle and push to gain position at the feed bunks. I assisted in the loading by standing in a certain spot in the barn and directing the cows to turn toward the trailer, parked outside the door. Burniece went on first, followed by Lucinda, who immediately plopped down on the trailer floor and refused to get up. Husband groaned, wondering if she would get up at the sale barn. They won't take a cow who doesn't stand up.

While he was gone, I scraped manure in the barn. That may sound like an unpleasant task, but actually, I find it enjoyable. I push a scraper along the floor to clear the barn alleyway of piles of poop the cows drop as they make their way out to the cowyard. Many people may not realize how much manure a cow produces all day long. Cows eat constantly, and they poop almost constantly, too, it seems. Its all part of the milk-making process......the more they eat, the more milk (and manure) they produce. When the cows stand in their stanchions in the barn, their poop falls into a gutter behind them. The bottom of the gutter is lined with chain-driven paddles which convey the manure to a pit outdoors. Of course, not all of the manure falls neatly from the cow into the gutter.....sometimes the cows cough and poop at the same time, projecting manure onto anything or anyone who might be in the way. Yes, I have had the pleasure of being splattered with warm, fresh cow manure.

Because Husband was gone this morning for awhile, I could scrape in solitude. I've come to appreciate solitude, no matter what the circumstance. During solitude I feel like my mind can take a deep breath and become refreshed and rejuvenated.......even if I'm scraping manure. I've found that when I do a repetitive task which requires the use of my hands, but not really my thoughts, then my mind is in a unique state, free to sail to new vistas of discovery and creativity. It can also be a good time to pray. Pushing a scraper, washing dishes, sweeping with a broom, vacuuming, raking, etc......that type of activity is what I'm referring to---repetitive action of the hands.

When Husband returned from his trip to the sale barn, I noticed he left the trailer parked with its back door open. Oh, dear......I could figure out what that meant.
Lucinda was still in the trailer, contentedly chewing her cud. She had refused to get up at the sale barn, even when they used the cattle prod on her. Husband was very displeased. When he came in for lunch I offered him this theory: Lucinda must have had a premonition of the dire fate that awaited her if she got up and walked off the trailer, and she just wouldn't stand for it! I said to him, "Dear, don't be dismayed, instead be in awe of Lucinda's psychic ability!" (I was trying to promote laughter in place of grumbling.) A few minutes later, there was a knock on the was our feed man who had just driven up in his pickup. He said, "Do you guys know you have a cow out wandering around?" Yup.....Lucinda had gotten up on her own and walked out of the trailer! Husband rolled his eyes and shook his head.......and laughed.

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