Saturday, October 29, 2011

Red Hen, Red Cow

The lad is carrying two pails as he walks alongside his dad, footsteps crunch, crunching in the gravel as they walk. One pail is the milk bucket, the other the near-gallon lard can for collecting eggs. Daddy insists that this is the day the boy will "learn to milk the cow."

When they get to the chicken coop, the boy sets the milk pail down and goes in to collect the eggs. For the most part, this is an easy job. Forget the squawking, the feathers flying around-- pft! pft!-- and the dust the birds kick up. Just go to the nests and gently lift the eggs and place them carefully in the bucket. But of course Old Broody will not get off the nest, and when the youngster attempts to reach beneath her, a quick and painful peck on the wrist encourages quick retreat. David steps out of the enclosure with his bucket of treasure and Dad says, "Did you get Old Broody's eggs?" "She wouldn't let me have them." "Get in there and throw her off the nest." You see where this is going-- caught between the mad dad and the angry hen. "Pkawt! pkawt!" That was not a hen. So back into the coop, grabbed the hen and threw her across the house.

Now we take the pail and enter the milking stall, where the "little Jersey" patiently awaits the relief she so richly deserves. She places her head in the stanchion, the boy gets the stool and places the bucket beneath the cow, all the time thinking, "There's no way I'm going to milk her." David sits on the stool and tentatively reaches for a teat. The tail whips around the back of the boy's head. He flinches and complains loudly. "Get your head up in her flank. Don't let her push you around." The boy obeys, reaches again for a teat. A bit of fumbling around with no visible result, unless one counts an increasingly impatient cow and ever more impatient "instructor." Finally the mentor gets down and demonstrates the proper finger motions, starts a stream. The boy again fumbles around with the resulting trickle further irritating both animal and parent.

"Get away from her," says the parent, "I'll do it myself." And he did.


Jim Grey said...

But did the lad ever master milking?

Secondary Roads said...

That is, I'm grateful to say, one lesson I never had to learn.

Lin said...

And my kid moans about emptying garbage cans?? At least the can doesn't fight back!

vanilla said...

Jim, no.

Chuck, nor did I.

Lin, we all have our burdens to bear.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Aw... I bet you got it right the next time, right? You are the David, right?

vanilla said...

Shark, my name is David.