All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow. (Grant Wood)
I’ve been inviting readers – that’s you – to not be shy and ask me some questions. About writing. About my books. About things down here on the farm. Anything you might want to know. I don’t promise to have an answer, but I’ll say something!
Well, Sally took me up on that and asked her question. Do you have any cow stories? And so then my problem was which cow story do I tell. You have to keep in mind that I grew up on a farm and I still live on a farm. I have always been around cows. A lot of different kinds of cows. My dad liked Herefords. My father-in-law milked Holsteins. My husband liked Charolais, but then switched to mostly Limousin because of their ease in calving.
I don’t know why I told you all that. It has nothing to do with my cow story. Well, maybe a little. The cow in question wasn’t a Hereford, Holstein, Charolais or Limousin. She was a mix of something. Blackish body. White face.
First before I begin my story, keep in mind that I am a bleed blue University of KY basketball fan. That’s important to the story.
Okay, so once upon a time in March some years ago, that cow with the white face was ready to calve. Normally, this is not a hard process for cows. They go off by themselves, labor a while, have the calf, lick it clean, nudge it to its feet and help it find the udder for its first meal. Generally, cows don’t need help with this process. But now and again, something goes wrong. Something went wrong for the white faced cow. It was obvious she was trying to have a calf since a tiny hoof was in evidence, but no progress was being made. My husband decided to give her a little more time before he tried to “pull’ the calf or call a vet. You probably don’t want to know those calf pulling details. I don’t want to know those details!
At any rate, Kentucky was getting ready that day to play in the NCAA Tournament. Maybe for the regional championship. Something big anyway, but then every game in the tournament is big. I had no plans to miss it. But after stalling all afternoon, a half hour before the game was to start (and this was prior to those handy record buttons) my husband decides to go check on the cow. A half hour before the game!
So we go get in the truck and find the cow. She hasn’t had the calf. I get out and he goes on to the barn to open the doors. I’m supposed to herd the cow that way. Sure, no problem. At least I never had problems herding cows toward the barn before. I had a black lab dog then, not Oscar, but Max who always stayed right with me, but he wasn’t crazy about cows. So Max and I get around behind the cow up on the hill and I make motions toward the old girl to get her started toward the barn. She gives me a decidedly unfriendly cow look and before I can say whoo calf, she lowers her head and bounces me out of her way. A cow’s head is very hard. I end up several feet away. On the ground. Bruised and battered.
The thing was only a few days before that I had heard a news account of how a man had been killed by his pet cow. At the time, I had wondered how a cow could kill a man, but there in the field, one on one with Mrs. White Face Cow, I am suddenly enlightened. My dog, Max, already knows. Where is he? Right there with me! Hunkering down behind me! So with that cow still looking at me, head lowered for charge two, I don’t stay down. No indeed. I scramble to my feet, glad my majorly bruised leg was still operable. I put a tree between me and that cow and we do a few circles around that tree that wasn’t nearly big enough as Mrs. White Face definitely intends to do me more harm. At last the cow seems to lose a little interest. After all, she is having problems at the other end. I make my escape.
I limp over to the hill above the barn. My husband yells up my way to ask where the cow is. I tell him the cow is right over there on the other side of a few trees and if he wants her, he can go get her. Then Max and I limp back to the house where I examine the damage to my leg and my chest and my face – the cow made a clean sweep knocking me aside – after I turn on the television to catch the game.
To tell the truth, I don’t know what happened to the cow. I assume she eventually had the calf. But I am pretty sure the Kentucky Wildcats won and got to play another game.
And so that is cow story one. Somehow in all my cow stories I end up with me some worse for wear. Hope you enjoyed the cow story. Especially you, Sally. Who knows? Maybe I’ll tell another one sometime.
Oh, and that quote up top has nothing to do with me. I used to come up with ideas while I was ironing, but I never learned how to milk a cow. Probably a good thing with my luck with cows. The nurse/midwife in my upcoming novel, These Healing Hills, coming in September does have to milk a cow. I let her be a lot like me in that skill category.
I’ve got a couple more questions – these about writing. So if you want to add your question, feel free. And thanks for reading. I do appreciate you all.