Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Meet the Girls!
"Daisy" the resident jersey at little flower farm... "If one has a cow, one has everything" -William Cobbett Dr. Schmiedicke's Theology of Cows: "When I was teaching at university and we were discussing ancient cultures, some of my students thought it ludicrous that ancient peoples worshipped cows. I responded by saying that there certainly was something amiss in their thinking, but that I thought the ancients were in some ways closer to the truth than we were. We pay homage to things that we ourselves have created, they to things they did not create. Imagine, an animal that is not only strong and beautiful, but that takes some of the most useless matter (grass) and effortlessly converts it into some of the best matter--milk cream butter, cheese, etc. The effect seems to far out-weigh the cause. It seems like your are getting something from nothing. There is something a little godlike about a cow. Ultimately it is all about security and goodness. We moderns worship stuff that WE created that gives us security and good things -- Insurance policies, cars, hi-tech phones, etc. They worshipped something they did not create, but which just seemed a gratuitous goodness--a superabundance not explicable by anything we can control or understand. "Ellie", the Dairy Queen of Eden Farm The family cow is the foundation of the family farm economy, taking grass and turning it into all sorts of goodness that can be shared not only by the family, but also by the other livestock on the farm. After the family has all they need for milk, cream can be used for butter (and icecream). Buttermilk and whey from cheesmaking can be fed to pigs and chickens. Even those lovely cow-pies are good for fertilizes. Joel Salatin and others have observed how in nature, birds follow after herds of wild cattle, pecking through the dung for bugs and scratching and spreading it around, thus increasing the fertility of the land. So the ancients took the cow, which they did not create, a little too seriously, just as we moderns tend to take too seriously our own gods which we have created. The mean between these extremes is the family cow. She is cared for, caressed, and loved, but she is not worshipped. She is a source of goodness...but receives goodness from the family as well. She is what she is, not a goddess, but a delightful addition to the family." "But there is no cow more tractable, or indeed lovable, than the little Jersey, and if you want a friend as well as a milk supply, I strongly recommend her" John Seymour, The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It. When you have a cow you find yourself doing all sorts of strange things... you stand, draped over your lovely jersey crooning "cow talk"... you down pints of heavy cream, diets be darned... find yourself making plans for another cow...and more cows after that...and more and more and more... start wondering if maybe, after all she could stay in the spare room in the house... you make plans for icecream breakfast, lunches, and dinners... take any opportunity to go mill around the barn and stare into those lovely deep brown eyes, and be nuzzled with that big schloppy wet nose... When you have a cow, you have contentment. Deep down you know that whether the world end in fire or ice...you will meet it with your arm around a big warm comforting bovine...and in the other hand, a chunk of glorious cheese.