Friday, July 6, 2007

Little farm girl

This is one of the photos I came across in my search yesterday. The cow was a purebred Brown Swiss (named Brownie-very original). Oh, how I loved my cow. I was so proud to own such a beautiful docile creature.

The idea was that I would be fully responsible for her. I would do the milking chores, and when her calf sold each year I would put the money into my savings account.

Turned out I wasn't so great at milking. I could do it, but I remember getting in trouble because I didn't milk out each quarter completely. Brownie was our sole source of milk and butter-so it was a big deal. Dad ended up doing most of the milking. Mom took care of the milk once it reached the house. And I did the small jobs in between, like carrying the pail to the house, shaking the butter jar and so on.

Brownie lived out her long life at our farm. We kept all of her female offspring. She contributed greatly to the distinct herd that Dad eventually called his "Little Deer Cows." I did get to put some money in my savings account when Brownie would produce a bull calf. Her first calf, Twister, was a bull. He was a wonderful brindle beef cross. But he was born out in a snow bank and had to be warmed up by our stove. He was a sweet pet, and so comical. I had the job of feeding him skim milk from a bucket after Mom used the separator to take the cream. I remember the day I figured out that in order for me to get the money I had heard about, Twister would be sold and eaten someday. I was more than unreasonable about it. Twister could just live at our farm forever I exclaimed through my sobs. No deal. Dad was not about to raise an ox just for me.

Livestock farming can have some harsh realities. I never made pals with another calf after Twister. I just knew my little heart would get broken again if I did. All these years later I have learned to invest my affection in the female livestock. I make sure my ewe lambs all become lovey. I try to ignore the rams. But oh how those little boys are the sweetest. Just like Twister, they are outgoing, and funny, and adorable. Aside from the fact that one shouldn't handle ram lambs due to behavior probems down the road, it would break my heart anyway when it's time for them to go.


Becky Utecht said...

Sabrina,I love reading your blog entries. About the house you grew up in, going off to college and saying "Minnesota" for your room mates and now this great photo of you milking that cow. What a great history and sense of place you give us.
FYI, I got married in 1975 and moved off to Pipestone, MN, the year your parents bought that house you grew up in. Man, do I feel old now!

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Becky, thank you for those kind words. I'm glad you enjoy the blog. And you are NOT old.