Yesterday and Today

Closeup of Huckleberry

Facts:  Milked out a little less yesterday than normal.  Dizzy, the naughty mini-horse, had left a little ‘present’ in the water.  Absolutely nothing makes her happier than harassing Annabelle.  Pooping in the water is about as low as one can go in the world of harassment, but she gets points for being terribly clever.  I did a quick barn check at 7:00 p.m. and found Dizzy and the two cows all settled in for a nap within inches of each other.  Have never seen all three of them laying down together before.  Collected 6 chicken eggs.  Tossed one turkey egg onto the floor for chickens to eat.  If I am low on eggs I’ll keep the turkey eggs but they are hard to open and do not have the same thickening quality as chicken eggs.

Today has been busy.  Milked out a good amount of milk this morning.  Collected four eggs.  Dove, the loveliest white chicken ever, made the nastiest noises when I took eggs out from under her.  Have been cooking today.  Chicken stew on stove.  Yogurt in the works.  Custard in oven.  Potatoes baking alongside custard.  Lamb shanks, herbs, and veggies in crock pot for dinner.  Potted rosemary dead this morning for no apparent reason.  Started this plant from a cutting in early December.  It was well yesterday, dead today.

Thoughts:  Today I am thinking about Huckleberry.  I traded Annabelle’s August-born heifer, Clover, for Huckleberry.  I can’t have two milk cows on this property.  And raising a Holstein bull for beef makes much more sense than raising a Jersey heifer for beef.

But here is the problem.  I don’t like having Huckleberry in my barn.

I like Huckleberry.  His pink nose is as charming as can be.  The way he sucks his tongue when he sees me coming with his bucket of milk is hysterical.  The way he kneels to suck up his milk….beyond description.  The way he and Annabelle play together, sleep together, and groom each other is priceless.

But…  he.. well, let’s be straight up here –  he is a bumbling idiot.  He breaks buckets.  He breaks gates.  He breaks clips and ropes.  The other day he got his head stuck in a bucket and I got whacked on the nose trying to help him out.  A few weeks before that he threw my chin into my throat with his head – my neck still hurts.  Every day he lays his lovely white coat in the freshest poop he can find.  This morning, mid-milking, a chicken startled him so badly he tripped and fell, which in turn startled Annabelle and me.  Grrrr…

He doesn’t have bit of ill-will within his body.  He just isn’t a Jersey Queen.  I can look at Annabelle and she knows I want her in her stanchion.  She’s lived with me for two and half years and has never broken anything.  She’s never bumped my chin or my nose.  She did push a pig through a gate once, but that was really the pig’s fault not hers.    She has a certain intelligence and grace about her that Huckleberry lacks.

Perhaps I am taking this too far but just this weekend I gave my children a lecture about being nice to people who are different and here I am, thinking about sending Huckleberry off to the butcher six months early!  I can just see how that will be used against me in the years to come.  “Sure Mom – be nice or be hungry!”

No matter what I need a plan on managing Huckleberry.  Annabelle knows what her job is, my expectations are clear; her behavior entirely appropriate to my expectations.  Huckleberry doesn’t even know he has a job.  And even if he knew that he did and knew what it was how is that going to help?  Giving this bovine critter a sense of productivity on a daily basis is now on my agenda.  Any suggestions welcome!

3 thoughts on “Yesterday and Today

  1. Huckleberry already has a purpose. He is not just a bull, he is an angel sent to teach you grace, grace to be able to stay out of his way, and grace to be nice and not be hungry, and grace to share with everyone because there is a need. Remember Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” who throws himself in the river so James Stewart will rescue him instead of committing suicide? He’s that kind of angel.

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