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I've never met a cow I liked!

The Reporter's Notebook


Last updated 1/13/2021 at 8:42am

To me, any cow, is one too many.

My personal experience with cows goes back a number of years.

Growing up, I lived on a farm, moving to town when I started school when 6.

Oh, we had cows then, but my three older brothers and my sister had the chores then.

We had a couple of milk cows that obligated the family members to go to the barn and milk very early in the morning and also in the evening.

I got my shot with cows when we moved back to the farm when I was in the eighth grade.

We had one milk cow, and I was it.

I was saved from milking because I couldn’t get the cow to give milk.

So, my job was to take the cow out along the ditch banks where there was fresh grass, drive a stake into the ground and attach a chain to it to secure the cow.

That cow would not be led and broke loose more times than I can count.

My dad blamed me for not taking to the farm life.

Much later, I had another cow experience. I was in southern Idaho visiting Dorothy Compton, who later became my wife.

She lived on a small dairy farm, milking 27 cows, morning and evening.

I would go out to the barn for the evening milk; the morning one was much too early for me.

And, of course I tried to help out. She would give me the task of putting a scoop of grain in front of each animal while they were being milked. I was wearing city shoes, and before I was free of the barn they were something that rhymes with city.

The cows would push you around, swipe you with a dirty tail, and just generally make you miserable.

I don’t know how long it took, but there wasn’t much evening remaining to go to town for a show, or dinner. After we were married it was expected of me to go out to the barn while her brother did the milking. He was always so relaxed, but I was tense, hopefully unnoticed. By then I was expected to use the scoop shovel, and you know what for.

I liked her brother Bob, who would just smile at me. By then they had milking machines, so the ordeal was somewhat quicker. He tried to teach me how to milk, but it would take me a long time to cover the bottom of the pail, reminding me of picking huckleberries and how long it took to cover the bottom of the pail.

This went on every time we made it to the farm to visit.

In a few years we had moved to Othello, where one of our friends was a farmer and, you guessed it, he had a milk cow. He and his family wanted to go on vacation, and he asked me to milk his cow and feed his hogs. I accepted, not disclosing how I loathed cows.

First time out, I solved the milking problem by turning it over to a calf in a nearby pen that was willing, and a cow that didn’t care. So, for 20 or so milkings I got the job done, and never touched the cow.

It remained a secret between me and the cow.

Later we had moved to Bothell, and you could drive a short distance to the dairy and get your milk.

But it was always with the explanation, I did not have contact with the cows.

There was a good thing that came out of it all. My wife has a tremendous grip and could then, and still can, open about any type of object.

However, for me, I am content, as I am sure the cows are, to just see them in the pasture as I drive by.



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